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HCS teacher participates in the National Park Service Teacher Ranger Program
Jennifer Menzel, an English teacher at Hampton High School, participated in the National Park Service Teacher Ranger Teacher Program during the summer of 2022. The program was held at the Fort Monroe National Monument on July 1 through August 26, 2022.
The National Park Teacher Ranger Teacher (TRT) program is a professional development opportunity for K-12 teachers to learn about the resources and the educational materials available through our national parks. Through this program, participants became familiar with the resources available at the Fort Monroe National Monument and then applied those resources in the development of a cross-curricular project-based on the PBL model with a place-based learning approach.
Menzel assisted in developing and advertising the weekly, Friday evening Campfire Talk Series. This educational series included environmental presentations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) representatives, presentations by members of a local indigenous group, historical re-enactors who offered “in the moment” perspectives on what it may have been like to live through various historical events of Fort Monroe, and literary re-enactors who performed readings of works associated or created on the fort.
The driving idea is to increase park access to underserved communities and then provide access to the resources available in the national parks by establishing a mutually beneficial connection between Hampton City Schools and our local national park.
“It was an immersive experience that has completely altered how I view our national parks,” said Menzel. “Before this summer, I considered the national parks as excellent sources of recreation for families who wished to go camping or hiking, etc. Now I understand they are also a rich, and largely untapped, educational resource and how collaboration between the public school systems and the national parks has the potential to transform learning and build better communities.”