DCS, CSI earn statewide accolades for innovative summer programming

Published 7:09 am Wednesday, January 24, 2024

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Dare County Schools (DCS) and ECU’s Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) earned statewide recognition for the success of their marine science summer camps. These programs are being celebrated for significantly enhancing the educational experiences of Dare County students, as acknowledged by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s (NCDPI) Promising Practices Clearinghouse.

DCS, in collaboration with CSI, orchestrated an initiative to provide middle school students throughout the district with an immersive exploration of the Outer Banks’ coastal habitats and history. The four marine science themed summer camps, held from June to August 2023, offered an innovative solution to address the educational setbacks experienced during the pandemic and engage students in real-world learning activities.

Selected by their principals, middle school students participated in week-long camps, each with a unique focus: Sustainable Seas Oceanography & Coastal Engineering Camp, Coastal Kingdoms Coastal Marine Biology & Ecology Camp, Legends Of The Atlantic Maritime Archeology & Ocean Exploration Camp, and Shapes in Science Art & Science Camp.

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The camps went beyond traditional learning, providing hands-on experiences that delved into coastal studies and illuminated various career possibilities available within their local community. Dr. Shannon Castillo, director of career and technical education at DCS, emphasized the impact, stating, “Not only are students learning about various career opportunities right here in our coastal area, but they were able to experience and/or be in simulation opportunities to see firsthand what it would be like.”

“We have so many incredible, local resources here in Dare County, like our own CSI, that afford us the opportunity to extend education beyond the classrooms,” said Steve Basnight, superintendent of DCS. “One of the first meetings I had here was with Reide Corbett and John McCord about increasing DCS’ access to the programs at CSI. Thanks to Dr. Castillo and our career and technical education department for offering this opportunity to our students.”