An Evaluation of the Prosper PLACE Program
Summary of Key Evaluation Findings
- All of the teachers credited Prosper PLACE with significantly increasing the amount they incorporate the local landscape and community resources in their curriculum.
- Prosper PLACE was an extremely effective professional development opportunity for middle school teachers. It provided a process and a place to apply knowledge and skills gained through their previous participation in a Forest for Every Classroom (FFEC) training. Three elementary level teachers took part in portions of the program; two of these teachers were interviewed and had mixed feedback as to the program’s impact on their teaching practice.
- Community participants believed Prosper PLACE’s most valuable role was to bring together local residents from different backgrounds and perspectives for educational opportunities that celebrated the region’s heritage.
- Prosper PLACE was a meaningful educational opportunity. Participants loved the presenters’ enthusiasm and cited new and exciting stories they learned about the region, or new ways to look at the relationship between the cultural and natural history.
- In general, the non-teachers who were interviewed felt that Prosper PLACE did not significantly change the way they relate to the land or engage with their community.
- Park staff and community response suggests that the PLACE program can serve as a positive education program for Gateway communities.
- Prosper PLACE underscored the public sentiment that the Prosper Valley is a unique place threatened by development. Respondents suggested that PLACE and/or Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Park should play a more active role in promoting increased community participation in planning and conservation oriented action.
- Participants want Prosper PLACE to continue into the future. They would like to see the program continue to offer public presentations, interactive community activities that celebrate local history, natural history walks, and field trips to historical sites. They also believe it should continue and expand its involvement with local schools.
- place-based education, environment as integrating context (EIC)
- cultural education
- service learning
- professional development
- community education