WCS Education is selecting NYC schools to begin this new model of teacher professional development and support, leading to an incredibly rich experience for students. WCS will pair a Coordinator of Professional Development and Instructor with a cohort of teachers to facilitate common planning time to co-develop curriculum for implementation in their schools and at WCS Zoos and Aquarium. The school-based team will share the same population of students throughout the school year but can be from any subject (in middle and high school) or an entire grade level team in an elementary school.
There can also be variations to the level of contact with, as well as the number of teachers involved based on the needs of the school and their goals for the teachers and students. Regular visits by WCS Educators would be made to the school during common planning time to support planning, WCS Educators would observe and model lessons in the classroom as well as support on visits to WCS parks for programs, tours, and self-guided field trips co-developed by the PLC.
Teachers will learn to see WCS Zoos and Aquariums with new eyes, benefiting themselves from small group instructions and planning, modeled lesson development and implementation. They will leave feeling empowered to make connections to standards and content, enabling their student to get even more richness from their field trip experiences. To stem beyond school time, camp and general audience program scholarships could be disseminated to participating classes. In addition, students could also receive free memberships for their families to enjoy the Parks year-round.
Benefits for Schools:
Teachers and students learn from WCS experts to enhance their content and pedagogical practices!
Schools can customize the content to fit their individual needs as well as the level of contact - including family events!
Teachers work collaboratively in teams to develop curricula for their classrooms!
Learning happens at one of our five WCS parks across NYC and in the school!
Linden Tree Elementary School
In the 2013-2014 school year, WCS partnered with the Kindergarten and first grades at Linden Tree to develop some preliminary NGSS aligned lessons. WCS co-developed curricular units with the teacher teams and modeled lessons in each grade level. We co-developed self-guided trips to the zoo for each grade level and they attended school programs at the Bronx Zoo.
Visionmaker Middle and High School Partnerships
11 middle and high schools in SY 2014-2015 partnered with WCS to learn how the Visionmaker NYC platform can support student learning. These 31 teachers received training on the platform with WCS staff and coaching visits at their schools throughout the year to develop lessons and units implementing the platform. The platform was used in a variety of settings throughout the grade levels and across the curriculum from science to social studies and technology. This partnership will continue into the the 2015-2016 SY with existing and new schools. To learn more about this program click here.
Passaic Community College
In the 2014-2015 school year, WCS partnered with the STEM Animal Behavior Field Research project at PCC to complete observational projects at the Bronx Zoo. The class attended a one-day workshop at the zoo to learn about the collection after training on data collection techniques by their professor. Students continued to correspond with WCS Education staff to refine their methods and improve their projects. Findings were presented to WCS Education staff at the end of the semester. We are currently beginning our partnership with a second cohort of students.
Dos Puentes Elementary School (6M103)
From 2015-2018 WCS partnered with Dos Puentes, a bilingual elementary school in Manhattan. Teachers in all grades attended Professional Development workshops and co-planned custom field trips to the Bronx Zoo to align with their grade specific curriculum, ranging from units on animal classification to the history of the Bronx Zoo as a NYC landmark. In addition to their field trips, students received visits from WCS staff in the classroom to support their learning, and families were invited to attend special Dos Puentes Family Days at the Bronx Zoo to foster community and celebrate their children's learning. Dos Puentes continues to be a valuable partner school though they now need much less support from WCS!