by Photo courtesy of the Chula Vista Elementary School District.

The Chula Vista Elementary School District received more than $47,000 from the Port of San Diego for its Coastal Education (CE) program, located at the Living Coast Discovery Center. 

The CE program supports students in becoming stewards of their environment, which includes the San Diego Bay, through local wildlife interactions at the Living Coast Discovery Center. According to district officials, the total funding of $47,200 will be used to provide admission, transportation, and instructional supplies over the next three school years.

More than 49,000 students from nearly 2,000 classes have attended the CE program since opening in January 2010. The program also supported live virtual programming for over 2,8000 students from nearly 135 classes during the pandemic. 

“This continued funding support from the Port of San Diego helps to remove major obstacles to these experiences, such as admissions and transportation costs,” CVESD wrote in a statement. 

Over the next three years, the funding from the Port will enable nearly 15,000 CVESD students to access one of 24 different programs. The programs will focus on environmental stewardship, interconnected ecosystems, and watershed and habitats, students from transitional kindergarten through 8th grade have opportunities to engage with their environment and local animal ambassadors.

The program will allow all students to have hands-on encounters with animals such as crabs, snakes, stingrays, and more. To measure the effectiveness of the program, students’ science knowledge is tested both before and after participation. 

“We are so grateful for the Port of San Diego’s continued support in helping to bring these experiences to life for so many of our students. It is truly amazing to see how engaged students are during these programs and how excited they are to take on the roles of scientists,” said Dr. Matthew Tessier, Assistant Superintendent of Innovation and Instruction.

According to the district, students have shown an 18% increase over the past 12 years in their knowledge due to their CEP experience. 

“With our unique location and direct access to the San Diego Bay (and its local wildlife), the experiences we offer provide a wide range of opportunities for students to connect with nature and become stewards of their environment,” adds Karen Quirós, the Science Resource Teacher for the Coastal Education Program.

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