As Educators Ourselves, We are Reflective
1. Professionalism is Expected: Developing an age-specific, formal curriculum has proven to be more effective than responding to the requests of individual classrooms. We are more focused, more efficient and more professional.
2. Guidance is Good: Are we on the right track? What else could we be doing? Questions like this that led to formation of an Education Committee comprised of NSEA education staff, board members, parents, partner teachers and community volunteers with expertise in pedagogical development. A prime example of something the Education Committee developed in 2016 was our Youth Safety Policy to protect our participants.
3. Simplicity is Virtuous: Given the incredibly busy schedules of teachers we sought to make it simple for them to sign up for our programs. That led to the development of an online calendar that teachers use to quickly see available dates and time slots to sign-up for our program.
4. Helping Teachers Stay on Their Game: We provide a curriculum that not only supports the Next Generation Science Standards but also helps teachers better understand how to connect the dots between a standard and a lesson. This speeds up their selection process and provides more time for teachers to teach.
5. Place-Based Education Makes Good Sense: Conducting field trips for students within the schools' watershed helps students, teachers and parents increase their sense of ownership, deepening how much they understand about where they live; a precursor to ensuring that the watershed is well cared for.
6. Transportation Included!: We provide funding so that schools can reimburse their bus department for transportation to and from their local creek and restoration site. At one point identified as a hurdle to participate, this change has made it easier for schools to say YES to an experience with NSEA.
7. Service is on the Rise: Including an action component into our curriculum has increased participation from partner schools, identifying a desire that teachers would like to see their students apply the knowledge gained through our programs.
8. Smart Staffing Models are Resilient: Recruitment of interns through Western Washington's Huxley Environmental Education program and Woodring's school of education has enabled us to provide career building opportunities for young college professionals while balancing our operating budget.