In 2014, Fort Vancouver NHS was one of thirteen national parks in the Pacific West Region selected to receive funding for a Teacher-Ranger-Teacher professional development opportunity.
The following questions and answers help explain and place into perspective the Teacher-Ranger-Teacher program at this unit of the national park system.
What is Teacher-Ranger-Teacher (TRT)?
The National Park Service Teacher-Ranger-Teacher (TRT) program is an extended professional development opportunity for educators from K-12 schools to learn about the resources and educational materials available through the National Park Service.
Teachers participating in the TRT program will have the opportunity to engage in parks and park resources, participate in a webinar about lesson planning, develop at least one lesson to be used in their classroom or school, assist the park with an education project, and increase their understanding of place-based learning.
This program will offer teachers a unique opportunity to infuse their teaching skills with NPS-based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education resources and the use of primary sources and place based learning.
Administration of the program, professional development hours and graduate credit hours will be made available to participants through the University of Colorado, Denver (CU Denver) through a cooperative agreement. While participating in the TRT program, teachers are considered "student interns" at CU Denver. Upon completion of the TRT program requirements, TRTs will receive a $3000 stipend and three graduate credit hours from CU Denver.
The emphasis of this program is to link National Park units and teachers from schools with underserved student populations in urban and rural school districts. Teachers perform various tasks depending on their interests and the needs of the park that focus on education programs of the NPS.
TRTs spend most of their time engaging with park education projects, learning about park resources, and developing lesson plans to use in their classrooms and in the park with students. Their experience will also include exposure to a variety of work performed in National Park units by employees from many career fields in the service.
When TRTs return to the schools in the fall, they spend part of their classroom time presenting their TRT projects to their own students and to a wider education audience. These presentations can be connected to NPS outreach during National Park Week in April or at other times during the school year.
How can I apply to be the 2014 TRT at Fort Vancouver NHS?
To apply for this professional development opportunity, please:
This professional development opportunity will remain open until filled.
What are the TRT program goals?
What are the TRT program elements that support the overall goals of the program?
Program administration The TRT program will be administered through a partnership with CU Denver. While participating in the TRT program, teachers are considered "student interns" at CU Denver. Any compensation to the TRT will be the responsibility of CU Denver. CU Denver will issue the TRT an IRS income tax statement. The TRT will be responsible for paying income taxes on the program compensation from CU Denver. CU Denver will also require the TRT to sign a liability waiver to participate in the program.
Level of Effort The TRT experience will equal approximately 230 hours of effort by the participant. The actual number of days or weeks that the TRT is at the park can be negotiated between the teacher and park TRT coordinators. The level of effort includes the park-based TRT project equal to 160 hours of effort or about 70 percent of their TRT program time. The 160-hour project can include skill development in areas of research, lesson plan development, and/or immersion experiences. Each TRT is also required to produce at least one lesson plan based on NPS resources or themes. TRTs can spend up to 30 percent of their time (approximately another 70 hours) experiencing park operations, working with the public and learning about the work of the different divisions within a park.
Website CU Denver will create and host a website for participating parks and TRTs. The website will include a wiki page for posting lesson plans for review, archived lesson plans, a communication forum, blog space, photo and video posting pages, FAQs, and links to the NPS TRT webpages. TRT coordinator contact information, enrollment information, and graduate credit process information will also be available on the CU Denver TRT website.
Training All TRTs and park coordinators will attend a webinar that outlines the program and the lesson plan requirement. This webinar content will be developed by NPS and CU Denver.
Lesson Plan At least one lesson plan will be developed that the teacher will use with students either in the classroom or in the park. The lesson plan is first reviewed by the park TRT coordinator for inclusion of park resources and accuracy of information and will also be reviewed by CU Denver to provide feedback on the lesson. CU Denver will provide all teachers with a rubric for the lesson plan review. Certificate of Completion- Each TRT will receive a transcript from CU Denver indicating accrual of three graduate credit hours.
Graduate Credit The University of Colorado, Denver will provide TRT participants three graduate credit hours. Tuition payments for the graduate course will be covered by the Washington office funding source. All TRTs will register for the online graduate course and be required to complete the reading and discussion requirements. The 160-hour project and lesson plan produced by the TRTs will be used as 2 assignments for the purpose of the graduate course. CU Denver will provide instruction and evaluation of the TRTs projects and assignments. Park TRT coordinators will have access to the TRTs' progress through an online course account. TRTs can opt to continue their studies with CU Denver and earn up to six additional graduate credit hours at their own expense resulting in a nine-credit hour graduate certificate in place-based education.
Background check Each park will be required to pay for a basic National Agency Check and Inquiries (NACI) background check for each TRT.
Uniforms The national program will provide each TRT with two shirts and a hat that identifies the teacher as part of the TRT program. Shirts and hats will be funded by the Washington offices. Shirts and hats can be ordered at www.nationalservicegear.org. Parks will be responsible for a $20.50 handling fee plus any shipping charges to ship the items from the Industries for the Blind warehouse to the park.
Project Agreement Each park and TRT will outline their TRT program requirements on a project agreement form provided by the national TRT program coordinator. Project agreements will be signed by the TRT, the park TRT coordinator, school administrator, and park superintendent.
Program Evaluation All TRT sites will participate in a program evaluation. A program evaluation report form and instructions will be provided on the TRT website.
TRT Project TRTs will produce a 160-hour park-based project. This project will serve as park TRT requirement and as major project for online graduate course assignment.
What is the anticipated TRT Project at Fort Vancouver NHS in 2014?
At Fort Vancouver NHS, the TRT participant will analyze the park's two most popular elementary education programs, Beyond the Columbia and Dawn to Dusk, and suggest changes that make these programs more supportive of classroom goals, more responsive to student needs, and creatively engage Common Core standards.
Our goal is for the TRT participant to address each of these questions and recommend concrete changes to these two core elementary education programs.
In return, the TRT participant will develop the skill set necessary to be an ambassador for both the education programs at Fort Vancouver NHS and the National Park Service in general. He/she will develop core knowledge of the site, its history and resources, and the reason for its continued protection today—all of which can aid his/her teaching after returning to the classroom.
Beyond the newly-developed relationships with park staff and volunteers—and there will be many—the TRT participant will develop site-specific knowledge, a better understanding of how external programs can be crafted to meet curriculum goals, and an understanding of the role of the National Park Service in educating our nation's youth.
How does TRT fit into the bigger picture of education within national parks?
The TRT Program is the centerpiece of a larger NPS Teacher Corps concept. The NPS Teacher Corps is an umbrella concept that incorporates all of the ways that educators interact with the NPS including, volunteerism, summer seasonal employees who are teachers, teacher workshops and professional development seminars, retired educators who work for or volunteer for the NPS, or park-based activities that include teacher involvement.
The NPS through the NPS Teacher Corps wishes to acknowledge all of the ways that educators participate in the NPS education mission.