Monday, October 17, 2016

With Friends Like These: A Circle of Friends in the Warwick School District

Bridget Kubis Prescott, Director of Education


Save The Bay long ago recognized that if we are to fulfill our mission to protect and improve Narragansett Bay, we’d have to reach deep into a new community of supporters—the hearts and minds of young people, school children, who would one day become keepers of our beautiful Bay. Our education program has since evolved from isolated classroom presentations into rich integrated experiences with entire grades, schools and school districts. The success of these programs is rooted in strong partnerships that begin with relationships with individual teachers and grow over time. 

A Circle of Friends in the Warwick School District 
The generous support of the Defenders of Greenwich Bay and The Rocky Point Foundation laid the groundwork for a long-term partnership with the Warwick School District. In 2009, we began working with the entire student body at Robertson Elementary School, and, in 2011, with the fourth grade at Warwick Neck Elementary School. Our education staff worked with teachers at both schools to tailor programs that would integrate seamlessly into their science curriculum and provide hands-on, field based programs. 

Although the two initial Warwick programs were not formally connected, the enthusiasm and excitement they generated were. Parents were thrilled to learn about the presence of Save The Bay in their child’s classroom. Recognizing the value of the partnership to students, the Warwick School District this year expanded the program from two schools to include all fourth-grade students in the district. “These hands-on activities enrich the life science lessons received in science class. By using similar vocabulary, questioning, and inquiry, students have had multiple opportunities to expand their learning. Save The Bay staff has brought the Bay to life in the classrooms,” said Ryan Mullen, math and science coordinator at Warwick Public Schools. 

Our educational partnerships do not happen overnight, but require time, personal attention, flexibility and openness that we are happy to put into them. True to the early visions for a Save The Bay education program in the 1980’s, we feel we’ve been able to develop amazing opportunities for students and foster the growth of future stewards of Narragansett Bay. Our team truly values the school relationships we’ve built over the years; we look forward to building new ones in the years to come.