The Education Committee of the Boston Harbor Islands Partnership provides leadership in defining and developing the national park education experience. This includes formal, curriculum-based educational and interpretive opportunities for organized groups and positive educational opportunities for informal contacts through interpretation. Both formal and informal approaches promote park themes and meet committee goals and objectives.
The Education Committee focuses on issues such as: on-site school visits, resource materials, and evaluation of education and interpretive programs. The committee coordinates with and provides input to other Partnership committees for more in-depth discussions on long-term education issues. Plus, it will coordinate with a larger field of education providers beyond members of the Partnership and Advisory Council.
The Education Committee:
- Reviews and assesses park education programs and makes recommendations for improvement.
- Makes recommendations on staffing and budgets for park education offerings.
- Facilitates partnerships among agencies to provide teachers with resources to teach about and experience the islands.
- Sponsors or facilitates training in the development, execution, and evaluation of park education programs and offerings.
- Helps teachers make connections to the Massachusetts frameworks and with national standards. Incorporates harbor related themes and state frameworks into programs.
- Identifies funding for educational programs, such as scholarships for students; curriculum development opportunities; and field trip logistics.
- Acts through its members as mentors for new park education programs.
- Assists with island programming as managers create new educational programs.
- Works with area institutions and agencies to expand and enhance programs to include the islands.
- Creates, manages, and distributes a Directory of Boston Harbor Islands Educational Resources.
- Oversees implementation of a comprehensive interpretive plan for the Boston Harbor Islands utilizing the four park themes developed in the general management plan: Islands on the Edge, Portal to New England, Home in the Harbor, and Renewal and Reconnection.
- Identifies and facilitates development of curriculum-based programs utilizing the four park themes and emphasizing lesser-known sub-themes/stories such as:
· Native American settlement and life
· the King Philip’s War period
· role of women
· role of people of color
· connections with surrounding mainland sites and economic importance of the islands to the region
· role of the Boston Harbor Islands as a gateway for immigrants to the United States with numerous sites of significance including Deer Island, East Boston/Noddles Island, Gallops Island and Rainsford Island
Program Information & Access – Through the use of printed materials, electronic media, and other information outlets, this group will look for opportunities to promote new and existing programs offered by Boston Harbor Islands’ partner organizations. Work on this subcommittee would include:
- Maintaining, and enhancing, the Boston Harbor Islands online education resource guide and program events listing. Ensuring that the park web site links to partner organizations.
- Promoting the resources and programs of the harbor islands through the press, newsletters, brochures, educational conferences, and special events/programs.
Curriculum-based Programs & Experiential Learning – This may take the form of a Teacher’s Advisory group to offer assistance to agencies/groups in program development and evaluation. Work on this subcommittee would include:
- Review and assess park education programs and make recommendations for improvement.
- Assist with the development of new programs to ensure that they meet state education standards and incorporate harbor related themes.
- Facilitate collaboration among partners and schools to enhance access to programs and island resources.
- Provide professional development for teachers.
- Provide support for youth (teen) programs as school to career opportunities.
Interpretation & Program Staff Development –This group would focus on both personal (guided tours, costumed or living history programs, guided nature walks, boat narrations) and non-personal (brochures, waysides, self-guided tours, exhibits) interpretive opportunities for the general public. Work on this subcommittee would include:
- Assist in the development of new programs to ensure that they utilize the park themes developed in the Comprehensive Interpretive Plan.
- Help to evaluate new and existing programs and provide opportunities for visitors to provide feedback on programs.
- Provide and encourage professional development opportunities for program staff and volunteers who are engaged in interpretive functions.