The Gunston School is pleased to announce that it’s innovative new program, The Chesapeake Watershed Semester, is the recipient of a grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation. This award of $100,000, matched 1:1 by funds raised, will provide $200,000 in seed money to launch this ground-breaking program that offers aspiring student leaders an educational experience with a joint focus on environmental science and public policy.

The Chesapeake Watershed Semester (CWS) is a semester-length opportunity for highly motivated juniors or seniors to immerse themselves in the study and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. Through dynamic and diverse field-study expeditions, students will travel the region meeting with stakeholders and conducting research. Rigorous classroom, laboratory, and research project work will deepen each student’s academic foundation, leading to a capstone action project to be formally presented at the end of the program. We expect that each cohort of CWS students will emerge as reflective and confident scholars and leaders who can support regional and global environmental sustainability through their understanding of scientific, social, cultural, and political systems.  

In a highly competitive grant cycle, The Gunston School is pleased to be one of 13 schools receiving awards from the Foundation. “The Gunston School is grateful for the ongoing support from the Edward E. Ford Foundation,” said John Lewis, “the rigorous, multi-stage application process allowed us to reflect on the school’s growth and success over the past eight years. Such work would not have been possible without the support of our Board of Trustees, families, and staff at the school. The EE Ford Foundation is the preeminent foundation for supporting innovations in high school education making their recognition of our new program particularly impactful.” In a letter to Gunston’s Head of School, John Lewis, announcing the grant award, John C. Gulla, Executive Director of The Edward E. Ford Foundation, said, “…it is a very important and exciting program and I look forward to hearing about it in the years to come.”

The grant from the EE Ford Foundation will help to support the program’s successful launch in the pilot years, and help The Gunston School and CWS build a “bridge” between the pilot program and the fully residential CWS program, which aims to enroll students from across the country and around the globe.

Emily Beck, Director of the Chesapeake Watershed Semester, credits the extensive partnership network around CWS for drawing the attention of the EE Ford Foundation. “Our formal partnerships with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Washington College’s Center for Environment and Society, Sultana Education Foundation, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, and the Echo Hill Outdoor School are pivotal to our goals of crafting a program imbued with academic rigor and immersive field experiences for our students” Beck said. “We have designed the program to meet the educational challenges of our time and are eager to begin our first semester in a few short months.”

The Gunston School and the Chesapeake Watershed Semester will raise a matching $100,000 as part of the grant requirements. The cumulative sum will be the rocket fuel that helps to launch the nascent program. The pilot semester, fully enrolled with 13 students, will launch in August of 2018. Students interested in the program can learn more at chesapeakewatershedsemester.org and consider applying for the Fall 2019 cohort. Follow along the adventures of the CWS1 on Facebook and Instagram throughout the fall of 2018.

 

About the Gunston School:

The Gunston School offers an intellectually rigorous, highly personalized, and nurturing college preparatory educational experience. Valuing a healthy balance between mind and body, a strong sense of community, the creative process, and our connection to the Chesapeake Bay, Gunston strives to educate ethically and environmentally minded scholars, citizens, and leaders for our globalized society. The Gunston School, located on the banks of the Corsica River in Centreville, MD, serves 200 students in grades 9-12.

 

About the Edward E. Ford Foundation:

The Edward E. Ford Foundation supports and strengthens independent secondary schools with its mission to “challenge and inspire them to leverage their unique talents, expertise and resources to advance teaching and learning throughout this country by supporting and disseminating best practice, by supporting efforts to develop and implement models of sustainability, and by encouraging collaboration with other institutions.”