FLOW to be incorporated in a William Penn Foundation-sponsored teaching program, at the Water Works

Thursday, October 9, 2014

My collaboration with the Fairmount Water Works is long and rich, and today I'm pleased to share the news that that relationship has now been extended through a fantastic new program funded by the William Penn Foundation.

The program, designed to "improve environmental education in Philadelphia middle schools and to engage new audiences in art," is fully described below. Flow: The Life and Times of Philadelphia's Schuylkill River, a book I've taught to the children of Project FLOW, will be an integral part of this program—a copy given to each participating student and teacher. I'll also be meeting with the teachers to conduct a writing workshop based on the book.

I am, of course, delighted.

The release about the broad program, as it appears in today's Philly.com:

Fairmount Water Works Receives More Than $500,000 from William Penn Foundation

Grants Open Up Opportunities for Watershed Education, Art and Engagement
PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A pair of grants from the William Penn Foundation will allow the Fairmount Water Works to improve environmental education in Philadelphia middle schools and engage new audiences through art.

The Foundation awarded the Fairmount Water Works $506,000 to launch a three-year Middle School Teacher Fellowship Program to develop a curriculum that integrates urban watershed education with core science and English standards for sixth through eighth grade students. It also awarded an $82,500 planning grant for the Fairmount Water Works to prototype an interactive and kinetic sculpture near the river and the Water Works’ historic building.

Middle School Fellowship Program
Fifty-four Philadelphia School District teachers will create and test lessons in their classrooms and receive monthly training, classroom support from environmental educators, curriculum specialists and experts from the Philadelphia Water Department, and funds for supplies, staff development and bus transportation for field trips. The program is based on the Fairmount Water Works’ existing program, Understanding the Urban Watershed Curriculum Guide, a framework for lessons on watershed, and water use in the context of an urban environment. More than 1,500 students will be reached in the program’s first three years.

“We’re developing this curriculum at a time when the need for high-quality environmental education is critical so students can understand the issues we face in Philadelphia, and across the United States,” said Karen Young, Director of the Fairmount Water Works. “Our goal is to help teachers increase engagement and academic achievement by integrating real-world environmental experiences, hands-on exploration and project-based learning into the classroom.”

Student teacher volunteers from Temple University’s TU Teach program, University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and Bryn Mawr College’s Community Praxis program will also support the teachers.


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