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Contact: Greg Shine, Chief Ranger & Historian, 360-816-6231
Fort Vancouver NHS Selected for Teacher Ranger Teacher Professional Development Opportunity; Seeks Applicants for Summer 2014
VANCOUVER, WA -- Superintendent Tracy Fortmann announced today that Fort Vancouver National Historic Site has been selected as one of thirteen national parks in the Pacific West Region to receive funding for a Teacher-Ranger-Teacher professional development opportunity in the summer of 2014.
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.
Applications from units of the National Park Service were rated by a committee consisting of staff from the NPS Office of Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers in Washington D.C. and representatives from natural and cultural resources disciplines. Funding for the TRT opportunity is provided by the NPS Office of Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers in Washington D.C.
"We feel so honored to have been one of the national parks selected for this important program," said Superintendent Tracy Fortmann. "It will offer a participating teacher a unique opportunity to infuse their teaching skills with NPS-based STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education resources and the use of primary sources and place based learning."
Area educators interested in applying for this professional development opportunity for summer 2014 can access more information and an application form at http://go.usa.gov/k9SJ
"The main goal of the program is to reach out to underserved students from urban and rural school districts that have fewer opportunities for educational enrichment by training their teachers in NPS resource education," said Greg Shine, chief ranger and historian and the park's TRT coordinator.
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 $3000 and three graduate credit hours from CU Denver.
At Fort Vancouver NHS, the TRT participant will analyze the park's two most popular elementary education programs, Beyond the Columbia Department: The Global Reach of Fort Vancouver and Dawn to Dusk: The Work Day at Fort Vancouver, and suggest changes that make these programs more supportive of classroom goals, more responsive to student needs, and creatively engage Common Core standards.
"How can these programs be adjusted to better serve and engage the different learning styles of students? How can these programs be better marketed to busy, overwhelmed teachers? How can these programs better serve underrepresented audiences? How can the park best prepare the staff and volunteers who lead our programs? How can the park ensure that Fort Vancouver remains a relevant component of the elementary school curriculum? Our goal is for the TRT participant to address each of these questions and recommend concrete changes to these two core elementary education programs," said Shine.
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 young people," said Fortmann.
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.
One major improvement to the program for 2014 will be the inclusion of all TRT participants in the online graduate course. The Washington Office of Interpretation, Education, and Volunteers will cover the cost of tuition for all TRTs to enroll in the graduate credit course. The instructors from CU Denver will provide guidance and review of all TRT projects and lesson plans. TRTs will also have opportunities to converse with other TRTs in the program to share experiences and best practices.
For more information on how to apply to be a Teacher Ranger Teacher at Fort Vancouver NHS this summer, go to http://go.usa.gov/k9SJ