Wednesday, July 24, 2024

New Grants Lead to Enhanced Watershed Learning for 4th Graders

(WJCC Schools)

WJCC SCHOOLS — Three organizations with one focus — Williamsburg-James City County Schools, James River Association, and Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail — are teaming up to enhance the watershed experiences for all WJCC Schools fourth-grade students during the 2023-24 school year. 

New grants from Dominion Energy, Williamsburg Community Foundation and National Park Foundation will fund nearly $60,000 in enhancements to the division’s elementary school watershed lessons this year, according to WJCC Schools.

“We are grateful for our amazing collaboration and funding partners who make it possible to connect our students to nearby natural experiences,” said Jessica Gateau, Williamsburg-James City County Schools science coordinator.

The organizations are working together to support all 39 WJCC Schools fourth-grade teachers and nearly 850 fourth-grade students. Students will receive an in-class lesson on watersheds, water pollution, and the James River, with experiences culminating in a field trip to Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail. 

During the hands-on field trip, students will explore the natural world through three different stations, connecting the curriculum to the Standards of Learning (SOLs) in an outdoor setting.

According to WJCC schools, part of the grant funds will also be used to support professional development for the division’s fourth-grade teachers who will learn more creative ways of enhancing students’ learning experiences in natural settings.  

“When students get out and get their hands dirty in nature, they start to experience the connections they have to their environment,” said Gateau. “This year’s fourth-grade watershed experiences will likely help students learn and make connections to their environment they will not soon forget.” 

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