On Monday, June 2, 2014, the C&O Canal Trust presented a $16,907.50 check to the C&O Canal National Historical Park (NHP) in support of their Canal Classrooms education program. C&O Canal Trust Board Chair Mary Jo Veverka presented the check to C&O Canal NHP Superintendent Kevin Brandt at the Great Falls Tavern in Potomac, Md., with the assistance of two DC City school children who were at the Park participating in a Canal Classrooms program that day.
The Canal Classrooms program is the C&O Canal NHP’s new education program, currently in its second year. This scalable program has the potential to provide tens of thousands of school-aged children with the chance to use the Park as an outdoor classroom, where they will learn through experiential opportunities that utilize Common Core, STEM/STEAM, and new technology concepts. Canal Classrooms served 15,000 students last year and plans to increase this number every year as the program capacity grows.
As the official non-profit partner of the C&O Canal NHP, the C&O Canal Trust pledged $50,000 to the Park in fiscal year 2014 to support Canal Classrooms. The first pledge installment of $33,092.50 was gifted in November 2013. This second installment of $16,907.50 will support the continued development and implementation of the Canal Classrooms program at Great Falls, serving primarily Montgomery County students.
“Without support of Park partners like the C&O Canal Trust, the Canal Classrooms education program would not exist,” stated Superintendent Brandt. “In the past two years, the Trust has supported growth of the education program to include three school districts in the state of Maryland, serving tens of thousands of students with quality learning experiences in their local national park.”
Hallmarks of the program include a flexible staffing model that pairs retired teachers with Park Rangers to deliver education programs in the Park; the development of an integrated curriculum for elementary, middle, and high school students; and a Transportation Scholarship Fund that pays for bus transportation to and from the Park. The program is currently being run in Washington and Allegany Counties.
“The C&O Canal Trust is pleased to raise funds to support the growth of this important program within the Park,” remarked Trust Board Chair Veverka. “Canal Classrooms offers a very unique experience for schoolkids. What I am personally most excited about is the approach the Park staff have taken to scale the delivery of their programs in a very cost-effective and flexible delivery model.”
The C&O Canal Trust raised the $50,000 from individual donors and foundations. The June 2 check hand-off will take place during a presentation to donors about the progress of Canal Classrooms and plans for the program’s delivery at Great Falls.