The Sassafras Environmental Education Center would like to extend an invitation to KCPS, for the upcoming school year, to use our facilities as an alternative teaching venue. The difficulties and challenges you face opening schools safely are enormous. Teaching children and keeping them safe as well as the teachers, staff, and essentially their extended family and community is a monumental task. Monitoring health, social distancing, and upholding effective teaching in a climate of apprehension is perhaps unprecedented. Community-based environmental and outdoor education programs can help address these needs as well as supporting academic achievement through innovative partnerships, policies, and procedures.
We have 1200 acres of State Park land and 150 acres in the adjacent County Park, where we have been teaching KCPS students for the last 10 years. The students and the teachers are familiar with the property along Turners Creek and the Sassafras River. At the dock there is a large pavilion suitable for instruction and social distancing. The fields and forests lend themselves for creative and hands-on learning in all disciplines. We are addressing covid health and social distancing guidelines regarding the use of our facilities so that students, teachers, parents and guardians are kept well and safe.
We would be happy to discuss the range of possibilities for accommodating any or all grades. We have partnered with a number of local organizations and volunteers to provide an agro-ecology curriculum that is rigorous, innovative and teacher friendly. Our partners include: MD Department of Natural Resources, Kent County Schools and Parks & Rec, ShoreRivers, UM Ag. Extension office, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Center, Washington College, Soil Conservation District, Bayer, (Monsanto), Farmers and Watermen, retired professionals in fields from physics to engineering. All have given and continue to give of their time and resources to help teach the children of Kent County.
We will continue to operate free of charge. We understand that bus use will be limited and have rigorous Covid health and social distancing requirements. We will continue to look at creative ways that students and families throughout the county can access our facilities and will assist in acquiring grants for transportation. A good education is the key stone to success. A community dedicated to that end will be resilient in the face of adversity. We look forward to our possible collaboration.
Wayne T. Gilchrest
Education Program Director
Sassafras Environmental Education Center