Each year, WCS Education delivers thousands of programs to more than 130,000 schoolchildren from 3K to 12th grade. The school programs evaluation – conducted annually since 2017 – uses registration data and a post-program survey of teachers to understand our reach and impact.
Evaluation data indicates that our in-park field trip programs primarily serve schoolchildren at New York City-based schools, with 91% of school groups coming from schools located in the city. Of these schools, 55% were public schools and 46% were Title 1.
During the COVID-19 pandemic we moved all of our in-person field trips online, launching Wildlife School Online in Spring 2020. This conversion to virtual programming broadened our reach: 21% of groups were based outside of New York City, including other states in the Northeast, as well as Canada.
Regardless of program type, almost all teachers rated their experience as superior or excellent. In-person field trip teachers described their students’ memorable moments participating in STEM activities, animal demonstrations, and spending time at exhibits, while virtual program teachers appreciated the high level of interaction their students had with a knowledgeable educator. Ninety percent of teachers said that the programs increased their students’ understanding of the natural world.
Each year, we publish a year-end report for our school programs. The 2019-2020 report includes information on our in-park programs and our new Wildlife School Online programs and will guide our development and implementation of programming in the upcoming school year.