On July 16, the senior leadership team of the San Diego Unified School District visited the Early Readers/Future Leaders summer educational program at Chollas-Mead Elementary School and the Earth Lab.
Earth Lab is a new community greenspace that community organization Groundwork San Diego is developing as a site for outdoor, intergenerational learning in Southeastern San Diego.
The Early Readers/Future Leaders summer program at Chollas Mead/the Earth Lab is intended to counter the “summer learning loss” all too often experienced by urban youth across the long summer holiday. Designed by CREATE staff in partnership with the Diamond District Educational Partnership (DEEP), which includes Groundwork, the program combines fiction and science literacy activities with afternoon physical activity hosted at the Jackie Robinson YMCA.
Two CREATE-based teacher development groups—the California Reading and Literature Project (CRLP) and the San Diego Science Project (SDSP)–are core contributors to this innovative 5-week experience for 90 Chollas Mead third-graders.
Regional CRLP Director Kathy Melanese provided 12 Chollas-Mead teachers with training designed to help them implement the State’s new Common Core Standards. Cristina Trecha, SDSP’s co-director, introduced these teachers to techniques to enable them to teach inquiry-based science instruction consistent with Common Core goals.
In a “Hands On Lab” designed by the SDSP, the Chollas-Mead teachers led their 90 students, supported by UCSD undergraduates, through observations of wildlife at the three ecosystems of the Earth Lab. The elementary students’ fieldwork culminates each day with writing about their observations in science notebooks.
“The Earth Lab is great. It’s better than Sea World!” said one student upon leaving the lab.