Anza-Borrego Desert State Park PassPORTS Symposium

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park PassPORTS
passPORTS blended access

Click here to explore Instructional Resources from the Donner Memorial Symposium!

On November 13th, 2021, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in partnership with Parks California, the Anza-Borrego Foundation, and CUE hosted a PassPORTS teacher symposium at the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park visitor center. Teachers from San Diego, Imperial, and Riverside counties came to explore the park, learn about resources available to them, and understand how they can bring the parks into their classrooms. Keep reading to learn more!

But how DO teachers bring parks into their classrooms?

With the help of Scott Shepherd, K-12 Access project coordinator for California State Parks, and passPORTS project manager Steve McGriff, teachers were equipped with new 5E lesson design templates.

Shepherd and McGriff sought to reimagine the school field trip through developing low-prep, customizable instructional design templates that empower teachers to plug and play park resources into their very own lessons. Rather than spending hours on google to find relevant articles, photos, and videos, passPORTS’ curated instructional design templates make it easy for teachers to identify resources to support their student’s learning whilst simultaneously tackling the CCSS and NGSS standards of their grade level. The 5E scaffolded lesson asks students to Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate their thinking on a given topic and supports experiential learning opportunities both in and outside the classroom, whether virtually or in person.

In addition to accessing these vast online resources, participating teachers have the opportunity to schedule blended-access field trip (virtual and in person) experiences with their students to Anza Borrego to foster a personal connection with our California’s largest State Park!

“This is so much fun!” — Heather Moural, 4th Grade teacher

This collaborative effort wouldn’t be possible without the support of CUE and Parks California. CUE, whose mission is to transform teaching by connecting educators with ideas, resources, and each other to use technology to prepare all students to succeed in a rapidly changing world, is a direct partner with PORTS in this project and empowers us to connect with a collaborative network of innovative educators in K-12 education statewide. Despite the barriers of the pandemic, passPORTS has already made significant steps to discover and address barriers to access to K-12 teachers and students. To date, passPORTS has made it possible for over 1,600 students to visit a California State Park through blended-access and will serve well over 4,000 by the end of the school year.

Interested in joining us for a Symposium?

This year, we’ll be guiding K-12 teachers through Mount San Jacinto State Historic Park and the 2022 Spring CUE Conference. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to reimagine the school field trip with us! Click here to register and learn more!


Lydia Stinson

Posted by December 21, 2021
by Lydia Stinson, State Park Interpreter I at Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Are you a teacher looking to connect with PORTS resources? Sign up for our mailing list here and check out our new PassPORTS instructional resources!

Are you a State Park staff member interested in hosting a teacher symposium at your park? Contact Scott Shepherd for more details.

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