MVA Teacher and Alumnus Creating Curriculum for National Park
The National Parks Service is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment. To commemorate the milestone, Yosemite National Park has planned an exhibit and curriculum for their museum. Ms. Nicole DeLuca, Upper School Social Studies teacher, was chosen to create the student curriculum and teacher’s guides for grades 2-12 to enhance the exhibit. In addition, Madelyn Moore (’20) a recent Montverde Academy graduate, is working as an intern on the project with her. The work will be used by teachers across the country whose classes are learning about Yosemite National Park and the women’s movement.
For Ms. DeLuca, teaching is second career. Her first career was as a Park Ranger with the National Park Service, where she spent nine years working throughout the country including parks in Washington D.C. and the Grand Canyon National Park. While with the National Parks Service, she worked with Ms. Laura Goforth, Branch Chief of Education at Yosemite National Park, who brought the project to her attention.
“This is a dream opportunity that combines my passion for nature and the National Parks with my interest in teaching and women’s studies,” said Ms. DeLuca. “Developing curriculum about topics that I’m deeply interested is so great. My past experience is valuable in creating lessons that combine my park knowledge and experience with the 19th Amendment material.”
Ms. DeLuca is creating the grades 6-12 curriculum, while Madelyn is focusing on grades 2-5 lessons. Their curriculum will be used by teachers across the nation for subjects such as history, science, natural resources, or women’s studies. The lessons can be used in the classroom, on-site and as a post-visit lesson; or the lessons can be used individually, depending on the topic being taught. There are in-depth pieces where middle and high school students use primary and secondary sources to analyze and discuss topics as well as PowerPoint presentations and scavenger hunts for the younger students to engage and learn with.
“Through her project Nicole is exploring the impact of the 19th Amendment on the women of Yosemite National Park from historic times to the modern day,” said Ms. Goforth. “Indigenous women, female park rangers, and women visiting the park have been impacted by the legislation that gave women the right to vote. Their stories will all be shared in a digital exhibit on the NPGallery website in August 2020, and the exhibit will be on display for in person viewing at the Yosemite Valley Museum beginning in May 2021. Nicole’s curriculum will guide teachers in how to use the exhibit to engage their students in exploring both national parks in general, and dive deeper into women’s suffrage, the 19th Amendment and the impact on women’s access to and work in public lands. Yosemite was also excited to bring on Madelyn Moore, a soon to be college student, to assist Nicole with this project. Madelyn’s assistance has been greatly beneficial.”
“We’ve covered some of the geology, flora and fauna studies, park history, and more to attract visitors to Yosemite. We’ve also interviewed different women in the park service who have shared their insight on being a woman in wildlife, law enforcement and interpretive positions in the National Park Service. They have been candid, sharing their experience and struggles, talking about opportunities that now exist that didn’t before, and how they’ve overcome the stereotypes that still exist,” said Ms. DeLuca.
Madelyn will attend High Point University in North Carolina this fall with a major of elementary education and a minor in women’s studies. “Madelyn has jumped right into the project and is doing great work. Her work is an indication of what a wonderful teacher she’s going to be,” said Ms. DeLuca.
“My goal is to teach fourth grade, so this project is the perfect opportunity to starting learning how to build lessons that engage and teach students,” said Madelyn. “Through Ms. DeLuca’s classes in my senior year, I developed an interest in women’s studies, which led me to pursue that as a minor. The project is ideal, giving me hands-on experience toward my career.”
“Our work will be used for this coming school year and in the parks for next summer,” said Ms. DeLuca. “I’m thankful to have MVA’s support to pursue opportunities outside the school. I appreciate the opportunity to combine my background as advocate and park visitor with teaching the classes that focus attention on non-traditional areas, such as women’s studies. That’s only one of the many aspects that makes MVA stand apart from others.”
Check out Yosemite Museum Exhibits for information about this amazing National Park.