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Oyster Bay Enterprise Pilot - Schools

Sagamore Hill Adopts Kindergarten Class

The Oyster Bay - East Norwich School District has partnered with the National Parks Service (Sagamore Hill site) on two key programs.

In the year 2016 Sagamore Hill will celebrate its centennial. To coincide with the centennial celebration of the National Parks Service, the Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School will participate in a three-year “Adopt-a-Class” program. The plan features both school visits and field work at Sagamore Hill. The “Adopt-a-Class” Program is sponsored by the National Parks Service and the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. Each year, students will learn some aspect of being stewards of the National Parks and how to care for Sagamore Hill in particular. As second-graders, they will assist in giving a tour of the house that President Theodore Roosevelt and his family lived in during their years in Oyster Bay.

As part of a new collaboration between Sagamore Hill and the Oyster Bay - East Norwich School District, all kindergarteners were treated to a visit by park rangers Josh Reyes and Scott Gurney and park volunteers Kathy McLeavy and Nancy Hall. Ranger Gurney’s daughter Jane is a first-grader at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School.

They visited each of the kindergarten classrooms and gave the children an introduction to Sagamore Hill and to the concept of students becoming stewards of national treasures. The park volunteers read the book Care for Our World by Karen Robbins to the kindergarteners. The rangers introduced the students to the Theodore Roosevelt family, Sagamore Hill and the National Park Service how they all “care for our world.”

In June, the kindergarten classes will visit Sagamore Hill and explore the museum and the property.

Next year, as first-graders, and the following year as second-graders, students will deepen their study of the National Parks with additional lessons at school and at the site. This opportunity for these students was coordinated by Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School Principal Tami McElwee and Social Studies, Career Technologies, and Service Learning Supervisor Lara Gonzalez.

Oyster Bay – East Norwich Schools may also benefit from a program through the National Parks Service called “Teacher-Ranger-Teacher.” Gonzalez has collaborated with ranger Josh Reyes at Sagamore Hill on a grant to offer a stipend to an OBEN teacher to work at the site during the summer and to develop lesson plans that might be used in secondary social studies programs. Sagamore Hill has been awarded the grant and the district is awaiting further details.

National Park Volunteer Nancy Hall wants the community to know that even though the house is currently closed for renovations, there is still plenty to be enjoyed at Sagamore Hill with the nature trails and beautiful grounds, especially now with the cherry blossoms in bloom.