Let the Revolution Begin!

We’re excited to announce that our partner, the Cohasset (MA) Center for Student Coastal Research (CSCR), was recently awarded a NOAA education grant that will help “build the bridge” between hands-on summertime learning and school-year programs. CSCR engages “Varsity Research” teams of middle and high school students in authentic, community-driven inquiries throughout the watershed, from the upper reaches of the rivers, brooks and streams that feed their harbor to the greater estuary of Massachusetts Bay waters. 

While the research takes place primarily from June – September, CSCR provides students with stakeholder engagement opportunities all year long culminating in their annual State of the Harbor presentation, a community forum for students to share their findings the scientific community, as well as residents, municipal and state officials, area educators, family and peers. 

Students walk away from these real-world experiences confident and enthused to pursue related studies in college; equally important, CSCR inspires students to “create the sustainable and just communities our world needs.”

This NOAA BWET grant will allow CSCR the ability to collaborate with area schools and institutions to “evoke and provoke” a revolutionary iteration of Professional Learning, something that founding member and current President Jack Buckley described as the bridge that allows students to seamlessly travel from in-school academic calendar year learning to informal community-based learning – and back again. This expanded vision of a school year” requires building and training a dedicated Professional Learning Ecosystem of teachers, administrators, and community partners who collaborate beyond their individual town borders to provide students with “meaningful watershed education experiences” during the summer months in ways that integrate experiences into their traditional school experiences. Buckley believes that such authentic, community-based learning is not only the way to make school more meaningful, it’s “the only way we can actually help students create the just and sustainable communities our world so desperately needs.” 

CSCR inspires students to create the sustainable and just communities our world needs.

Buckley continued, “We can’t ignore education’s inherent power to inspire change, and we can’t postpone engaging students in civic action – and frankly, our high school students don’t want us to box them out of the real world. Students know that getting good grades and getting into college is important, but they’re much more excited about being able to merge their interests and passions with their education in high school. It’s not new, but actually making the transformation to authentic, integrated, year-round, community-based learning is revolutionary. Many are doing it and we’re just one more revolutionary cell answering this call to action.” 

CSCR and partners will launch the grant with an immersive teacher training weekend in the Fall and sustain engagement with monthly workshops throughout the school year in preparation of teachers collaborating with local partners to develop and lead students through “meaningful watershed education experiences.” Professional Learning Ecosystems are designed to support and sustain teacher and school leadership that creates the community bridge for students to cross as they travel seamlessly from watershed investigation in the summertime to “back to school” learning in the fall. It’s all about creating local iterations of integrated, competency based community-school-watershed collaboration year round. 

The LiFT® team looks forward to continued work with CSCR developing learner portfolio tools that help schools better understand, interpret, and “credit” competency based learning that takes place beyond the school walls, beyond the traditional school calendar. It’s part of the bridge, part of the new educational infrastructure we all need to build.

Help celebrate this milestone achievement for CSCR by sharing with your network. We are proud to be supporting CSCR and working together to reimagine new ways of learning.