What's So Special About Our Community? The Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Place-based Education Project is a standards-based, science and mathematics content and pedagogy-based professional development program for grades K-8 teachers from high need school districts in our region.
Southwestern New York State is blessed with some marvelous ecological, geological, and culturally significant places. The French Creek headwaters is listed as one of the 40 "Last Great Places" by the Nature Concervatory; Allegany State Park/Allegany Reservoir, the Ripley Hawk Watch, Chautauqua Lake, Wheeler's Gulf, and Dunkirk Harbor/Point Gratiot are all listed as "Important Bird Areas" by the National Audubon Society. These places and others are the focus of a 5-day summer institute and academic year in-service days for teams of teachers from Cassadaga Valley, Clymer, Dunkirk, Forestville, Gowanda, Jamestown, Pine Valley, Randolph, Ripley and Sherman School Districts.
The SUNY Fredonia School of Education, in partnership with the science content departments and the Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History, offers a model teacher enhancement program focusing on instructional techniques for observing regional "special places" and methods for integrating the study of these unique places across the curriculum. Our primary goals are: (1) to offer local teachers background and ideas to use the region's natural "places" for learning science, mathematics, and other disciplines; (2) to link personnel from non-educational organizations (nature center, county or state park, soil conservation service or others) from the community and/or special places to local teachers; (3) to correlate place-based activities to NYS standards and assessments, with particular attention to MST and ELA standards; and (4) to link pre-service teachers to this project's teachers and place-based science and mathematics education.