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Multicultral Educational Plan: MERITO

II. Description of the MBNMS Multicultural Education Plan—"MERITO"

A. Areas of Need and Program Goals

1. Professional Development Program

The first phase of the Multicultural Education for Resource Issues Threatening Oceans Plan will include a Professional Development Program which will:

  • Provide professional development opportunities for Hispanic-serving teachers,
  • Provide paid-internship and job training opportunities for Hispanic undergraduate and graduate level students,
  • Produce a set of universal, Spanish-language bilingual curricula and materials that can be utilized by other National Marine Sanctuaries and beyond.

    a. Provide professional development opportunities for Hispanic teachers—MERITO's Professional Development Program responds to the need of new teachers flooding the Central California schools for professional development focused on how to effectively teach science to diverse students. While most university teaching credential programs require one course in scientific techniques, Dr. Josephine S. Hawkins, Vice Provost of the National Hispanic University in San Jose, states "most of our new teachers are uncomfortable with science and need additional professional development in that subject area". Out of these discussions has emerged a partnership between a university offering teacher education, a local marine science laboratory, and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary that will provide Hispanic-serving teachers with additional knowledge and confidence in marine science.

    Through the MERITO Plan, we propose a week-long Summer Teacher Institute for Hispanic teachers in partnership with the National Hispanic University (NHU) and California State University's Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML). The program (proposed to begin in 2001) will be conducted at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory's new state-of-the-art facility, where National Hispanic University teachers will be transported by bus on a daily basis. The objectives of the Summer Teacher Institute will be to 1) provide pre-service teachers with marine science knowledge and teaching skills that they can use to educate their Hispanic students about marine resources and stewardship; 2) enhance and support NHU's teacher education program by targeting their pre-service teachers, and providing bus transportation and stipends; 3) provide support to MLML and their summer teacher institute by providing some aspects of the work such as interdisciplinary lesson plans, curricula, supplies and instruction costs; and 4) support the new California Science Framework and the National Science Framework by training teachers with effective science skills and techniques for implementation of the state standards and guidelines presented in the new frameworks.6,7 NHU's Dr. Hawkins fully supports the MERITO partnership for all of the above reasons, and also believes that professional development programs with lasting influence are usually long-term and locally based, with teachers playing a substantial role in planning and implementation.

    In July of 2000, MLML successfully piloted a one-week teacher institute that will serve as the model on which the MERITO Teacher Institute will be developed. The acclaimed pilot program serviced teachers from underrepresented high schools in Salinas and Watsonville and featured in-depth science content and advanced marine research techniques in ichthyology, marine mammalogy, and phycology. Follow-up classroom labs are currently being conducted with support from graduate students who provide in-class instruction and all materials. MLML is interested in expanding their enrollment and developing more interdisciplinary curriculum materials for future teacher institutes. Additional partners for last year's pilot included Friends of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, California State University at Monterey Bay, and the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center at Monterey Peninsula College. The MERITO Institute would use similar content and lab exercises but would be more transportable and relay less on MLML follow-up support. Thus, the NHU pre-service teachers will be able to implement what they have learned at their future schools. They will also be taught how to develop relationships with future nearby academic institutions for the type of support that MLML provides to local teachers."

    Seventy percent of the 400 enrolled students at the National Hispanic University are low-income Hispanic women. In addition to teacher credential programs, NHU also offers degrees in computer science, liberal studies and business degrees. They have cooperative agreements with San Jose State University, Santa Clara County School District, NASA/Ames Research Center, and SAP business offices. They also have articulation agreements with East Side High School District, San Jose City College and Evergreen Community College. NASA has provided a scientist on loan for a past semester. A cooperative agreement between NHU and MBNMS would complement the enhancement efforts that are already in place.

    An additional avenue to provide professional development to Hispanic-serving teachers is the recently established "Monterey Bay Professional Development Consortium." The consortium includes representatives from informal marine science organizations, universities, aquaria, museums, school districts and teachers who are interested in improving coordination of all regional offerings such as teacher workshops, lecture series and other teacher enrichments programs. The group is now investigating the development of a two-year "master teacher graduate program" offered through California State University, Monterey Bay. This Master of Arts and Science degree would allow teachers to earn college credit for participating in a series of institutes and workshops offered by regional marine science organizations, in conjunction with fulfilling three core credential courses. MERITO partners will work with the Consortium to insure that developing educational opportunities are made available and accessible to Hispanic-serving teachers and students in the greater Monterey Bay area.

    b. Provide paid-internship and job training opportunities for Hispanic undergraduate and graduate level students - This goal is based on the need to increase the number of Hispanic marine scientists, technicians, educators and policy-makers in our national workforce. On November 13, 2000, The White House's Office of the Press Secretary issued a press release "Extending Ocean Conservation, Encouraging the Next Generation of Scientists." In signing the National Marine Sanctuaries Amendment Act, Former President Clinton reaffirmed this nation's commitment to ocean conservation. In addition to strengthening and extending the National Marine Sanctuary System, the Act established the Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarships to recognize outstanding scholarship, particularly by women and minorities, in the fields of oceanography, marine biology, and maritime archeology.

    We propose that during the first phase of the MERITO Plan, four Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarships be made available to Hispanic students currently enrolled in California State University, Monterey Bay's (CSUMB's) Institute for Earth Systems, Science and Policy. CSUMB is identified by the United States Government as a Minority Serving Institution. As such, the university is required to provide opportunities in science and technology for women and minorities. They have a number of programs in place that are underutilized by that audience, and are interested in finding ways to recruit and enhance minority participation, particularly in the Institute for Earth Systems, Science and Policy, Teacher Education, and the Seafloor Mapping Lab. Students from the Seafloor Mapping Lab would make ideal candidates for Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarships. Both the Sanctuary and the Lab depend on Geographic Information System (GIS), a tool for conducting habitat mapping and stock assessments and assessing overall ecosystem health. Additionally, by focusing the scholarships on GIS technology, we can help the Department of Commerce to close the "digital divide", by fostering Hispanic, female scientists with advanced computer skills that can become future role models.

    There are a variety of ways that the Sanctuary and CSUMB could partner to offer paid-internships focusing on science and technology that would ultimately enhance knowledge and understanding for Hispanic undergraduate and graduate level students. Internships will be administered through CSUMB and offered through the Sanctuary office, where students will receive training on a number of topics. The internships in the first year would include:

    MERITO Internship #1 - will focus on the application of GIS technology in resource management issues. Interns will work with the Sanctuary research team to assist with current habitat mapping projects such as kelp beds or marine zones, and will learn how this new tool can help answer critical management questions. There is an enormous need for GIS technicians who can also interpret and disseminate information to Sanctuary constituents. This internship would provide the Sanctuary with a valuable asset; especially in the upcoming management plan review.

    MERITO Internship #2 - will also utilize the Sanctuary's GIS station, but will work across departments to develop, package and disseminate educational tools for use in conjunction with other MERITO Plan programs. A CD ROM of GIS data layers is one example of a product that would simultaneously promote GIS development and meet the MERITO Plan's goal of producing universal, Spanish-language bilingual curricula and materials that can be utilized by other National Marine Sanctuaries and beyond.

    MERITO Internship #3 - will work with the Sanctuary's water quality monitoring programs to train students to take GIS readings of the storm drain outfalls that are monitored by Urban Watch volunteers. This information will be added to reports and used as outreach material by the Sanctuary, city officials, local organizations and schools. In addition to the GIS readings, interns will conduct visual surveys of the urban areas surrounding storm drains looking for clues or problem areas that may contribute pollutants to Sanctuary waters.

    MERITO Internship #4 - will work directly with the MERITO education team to assist with community and site-based outreach programs, as described in the following sections. Marine education and outreach is a solid basis on which to develop knowledge of marine ecology and resource management, and can serve as excellent training for Hispanic students interested in a marine science career.

    In addition to continued support for the above internships, the second phase of MERITO (proposed for 2002-2003) will include scholarships for undergraduate and graduate level students in partnership with a local nonprofit organization, the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans (SACNAS). The SACNAS mission is to provide a national forum for minority students to present their research for exposure and review by peers and large, nationally based scientific institutions. NOAA's Office of Civil Rights and the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries currently support the SACNAS annual conference by providing planning support, speakers and workshop presenters. MERITO can build upon those national efforts by working with SACNAS in a regional capacity. Planning might begin as early as 2001 with the assistance of the NOAA Civil Rights Office.

    Potential MBNMS and SACNAS partnership ideas to investigate include:

    • Providing Sanctuary scholarships to train Hispanic graduate or undergraduate level students in marine technology, education and policy. The MBNMS can direct and coordinate the training by placing students with staff members within our office, according to the previous internship descriptions.
    • Co-sponsoring local teacher workshops with teachers in Alum Rock and San Jose school districts.
    • Developing across-the-border opportunities through student and scientist research collaborations to be presented at a future SACNAS conference in Mexico.

    c. Produce a set of universal, Spanish-language bilingual curricula and materials that can be utilized by other National Marine Sanctuaries and beyond - As mentioned in the Executive Summary, the education products that evolve from the MERITO Plan collaborations will fulfill the needs implicitly expressed in Appendix 1. Of the thirty groups surveyed, seventeen requested bilingual curricula and resource materials. When asked for more specific information, groups expressed their need for marine and coastal information and curricula that reflect a multidisciplinary knowledge base as well as a focus on issues important to local communities and ecosystems. All education products will be developed in partnership with the MERITO Education Committee and regional marine education experts such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve. Initial plans are to develop issue-based products focused on watersheds and wetlands, as this topic is relevant to Hispanic communities and highlights our vital land-based connections with the oceans. In addition, this topic coupled with careful translation to the Spanish-language will enable the products to be "universal", meaning not limited in terms of regional ecosystems, or in terms of regional Spanish dialects. Our goal is that the products are fully transferable, relevant, and accessible to people across the United States. We will be exploring new communication technologies such as CD ROM with GIS overlays and programs, and online products such as interactive video. These product technologies will enable MERITO programs to produce materials of greater depth to the active learner.

2. Site-Based Bilingual Ocean Outreach Program

This second program area addresses the need for Hispanic students and adults to gain an appreciation of and connection to the marine environment by spending more time in it and near it. Effective on-site (outdoor) education is fundamental to resource protection and conservation. Gaining an understanding of how the local Hispanic communities interact with and utilize the Sanctuary is the first step to effective resource protection and integral to the success of the Multicultural Education Plan. For example, we know from observation that pier and onshore fishing and family visits to the beach are some ways that Hispanic residents enjoy the rich diversity of the Sanctuary. In addition, families utilize the Salinas River and slough areas that connect to the Sanctuary. Many of these coastal visiting sites fall under the jurisdiction of other governmental agencies, such as California State Parks. By collaborating with these agencies, we will both increase our understanding of how Hispanic audiences utilize coastal areas and more effectively reach the Hispanic public.

The first phase of MERITO Plan implementation (proposed for 2001) addresses the outreach needs expressed by two of our closest regional partners - the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve (ESNERR), and California State Parks, Monterey District - for on-site marine science programs to Hispanic youth and their families. Following is an outline of a site-based MERITO Plan pilot project that will meet the needs of the Hispanic community and further the common education missions of the MBNMS, ESNERR, and California State Parks.

Our sister program, ESNERR, is currently undergoing a management plan review and is assessing the strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in their education program. Like the MBNMS, they realize the need to reach their Hispanic constituents. The Slough is a popular field trip site for school groups and hosts approximately 10,000 students annually. But, even with a large Hispanic student visitation, it has become apparent that students are not returning on the weekends with their families and that Hispanic adult visitors are limited. To begin to meet the need of their constituents, ESNERR education staff is in the initial phase of implementing a pilot after-school program with Hispanic students from a nearby school. The program will focus on plankton ecology and students will visit the Slough to collect and analyze plankton samples with Slough staff. Due to lack of funding, ESNERR is limited in their capacity to offer pre and post-visit outreach programs that would strengthen the effectiveness of this pilot program, as well as the entire school visit education program.

California State Parks is also very interested in expanding their outreach to more diverse audiences. On November 16, 2000, the California State Parks Director, Rusty Areias, issued a letter outlining a number of key strategic objectives and initiatives that will serve as their "Paths to the Future." Diversity was identified as one of five key objectives and included the quote, "In general, park visitors and employees are not reflective of the rich diversity that is the heart of the California experience. The State Park System is in danger of becoming irrelevant to many cultures and interest groups in the State." With the local State Parks District Interpretive Specialist, we identified two park sites that represent significant visitation from Hispanic audiences, yet lack staff resources to provide adequate programming. The sites identified include North Beaches (City of Marina), and San Juan Bautista State Historic Park. SJBSHP is a popular field trip location for Hispanic students and families traveling from the Salinas Valley and the Hollister/Gilroy area. A large number of Hispanic youth and families utilize North Beach Parks.

We propose a new FTE (permanent) Sanctuary position that will serve the MERITO Plan as a bilingual education specialist, working in partnership with both ESNERR and California State Parks. The educator will work at Elkhorn Slough two days a week, providing support for their Hispanic outreach programs, and spend the remaining three workdays at the selected State Park sites. Programs will be developed at each site, targeting school age youth and families, and incorporating issue-based curricula and hands-on activities that emphasize the area's unique natural and cultural resources. State Parks has suggested a three-way partnership between Parks, the Sanctuary, and the O'Neill Sea Odyssey Program, an educational nonprofit based in Santa Cruz. The goal is to provide bilingual instruction for 4th through 6th grade students that participate in the O'Neill Sea Odyssey's educational cruises and are required to complete a community service project such as a dune restoration, or a beach clean-up. Similarly at ESNERR, a bilingual educator would be able to conduct bilingual interpretive tours, restoration activities, after school programs, and assist with existing professional development workshops.

This new Sanctuary position will be able to capitalize on the strengths of all of the agencies: well-established field programs at the Slough, high pre-existing visitation to State Parks, and sophisticated education products and resources of the Sanctuary. The new position will be able to maximize the environmental learning opportunities by highlighting the vital connections between coastal watersheds, wetlands, and the Sanctuary. As mentioned in the previous section, the newly developed MERITO curricula will emphasize the relationship between watersheds and the marine environment through outreach programs that include hands-on classroom and field-based activities, restoration activities, teaching kits, community events, teacher workshops, videos, CD-ROM's, and printed and online resources.

The next phase of MERITO (proposed for 2002-2003) will be to expand site-based programming to Santa Cruz County in partnership with California State Parks, Santa Cruz District. Three state beaches identified by Santa Cruz County Park staff as having very high Hispanic family visitation are Seacliff, Palm, and Sunset State Beaches. Future Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarships could be dedicated to this initiative. Interestingly, the MBNMS is discussing plans with State Parks of Santa Cruz to develop a visitor center at Seacliff State Beach, which has an annual visitation of 1,470,000 people, many of which are Hispanic. Establishing a Sanctuary visitor center at this site will directly support the MERITO Plan's efforts to expand site-based programs to this area, and will allow us to reach thousands more Hispanic families every year.

A later phase of MERITO will be to develop and implement education programs in partnership with the Monterey County Office of Education Migrant Education Division. In a December 2000 meeting with the MCOE Coordinator Advisory Council, members expressed the need for leadership training in science for all teachers of migrant students, and the need for outreach programs to serve the Migrant Education Even Start (MEES) Program. The MEES Program is a home and school based family education model which assists migratory parents with children ages 0-7 in increasing their literacy and parenting skills. MERITO partnerships under discussion include marine science workshops presented at the annual Summer Pre-service conference(in May) to MEES Program leaders (teachers and parents), followed by a series of focused, comprehensive summer outreach programs offered through the MEES Program. The goal of offering leadership training and professional development in conjunction with outreach instruction to the children is to ensure that marine science curriculum topics are fully integrated into the overall MEES Program curriculum. In fact, the goal of involving students, parents and educators is identified as a priority for all MERITO partnerships targeted to school or pre-school age audiences.

3. Community-Based Bilingual Ocean Outreach Program

This third goal encompasses the largest number of MERITO partnerships and addresses the overwhelming demand for marine science and technology-based programs to the generally overlooked and underrepresented minority groups that reside in both the urban and rural areas of Salinas Valley. According to leaders of Hispanic-serving organizations, most youth and neighborhood service programs are limited in funding and are not able to provide access to science-based activities. "We need to find creative ways to help our community make the connection between science and our everyday lives. How we interact with the Sanctuary and its environments affects our quality of life," says Wayne Green, Assistant Manager of the City of Salinas. As a city official, Mr. Green has been charged with developing science opportunities for all of Salinas' school age children and he sees working with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as an excellent way to meet that goal. Working together, the City of Salinas' Neighborhood Services coordinator and Sanctuary staff have developed a number of partnership opportunities. One idea is to provide marine science outreach presentations and field trips for groups that work to keep youth-at-risk out of gangs. One such group, called the "2nd Chance Program," is supported by a federal Weed and Seed initiative through the United States Department of Justice, and serves 9-12 year olds considered "at-risk" (defined as exposure to a high crime environment and other negative influences, and have little or no after-school and weekend adult supervision.). A second program identified as a good candidate for a MERITO pilot partnership program is "Kid's House," an after-school, early intervention program for children ages 3-11. Their motto is "No excuses," so parents, as well as their kids, are required to participate in trainings, field trips and enrichment activities. Another impressive city-run program is Mujercitas—It's a Girl's World! This year-long program for approximately 200 sixth grade girls and adult female family members involves girls in a variety of field trips and enrichment activities that culminate in an year-end conference in April.

The same kinds of community-based efforts exist in the nearby city of Watsonville. In recent meetings with Watsonville Parks and Recreation & Neighborhood Services and Pajaro Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) Extended Learning Programs, their Recreation Superintendent expressed great enthusiasm for the Sanctuary to support their after-school activities, which reach over 1000 Hispanic school children. He is very concerned with the lack of science and conservation-related activities that are now available to their youth. The Watsonville program currently utilizes six elementary schools and four community centers. A MERITO partnership project involves collaboration between Parks and Recreation staff, PVUSD staff and Sanctuary staff to pilot a bilingual marine science unit that would include production of bilingual materials, one day a week of instruction (for ten weeks) and bus transportation for field trips.

Another MERITO partnership program is under development with the RISE Program (Recruitment in Science Education) of CSUMB. The mission of the RISE program is to support and encourage low-income students (who are primarily Hispanic) from Salinas and Marina areas to expand their interest in science, in order to increase the enrollment of underrepresented populations in the Institute for Earth Systems, Science and Policy at CSUMB. The program currently utilizes service-learning university students for instruction of after school science programs. The RISE program coordinator has requested assistance from the Sanctuary in the form of after school, water quality monitoring field trips throughout the school year. The Sanctuary would provide pre-field visits, field program instruction, and transportation.

MERITO would also partner with S.E.A. Lab Monterey Bay in the development and delivery of curriculum. S.E.A. Lab is a newly forming residential ocean science camp for youth education and teaching training. A successful weeklong pilot program was held in July 2000. The RISE program assisted S.E.A. Lab by recruiting a largely Hispanic student body for the pilot program. Both RISE and S.E.A Lab intend on continuing this collaboration. In 2001, the MERITO Plan could support RISE and S.E.A. Lab by assisting in the testing and evaluation of marine-related field experiences that may be integrated in the S.E.A. Lab residential program. A variety of day-long field experiences have been discussed, including on-the-water, monitoring, and restoration programs. This three way partnership would support the RISE program's need for science enrichment and contribute to a S.E.A. Lab curriculum that showcases the MBNMS and connects the region's unique array of world-class marine science programs. In the longer term S.E.A. Lab would like to expand it's outreach to other programs that target Hispanic youth, as well as other ethnic groups. MERITO could play a role in making these linkages and in expanding curriculum offerings. S.E.A. Lab plans include the development of pre and post curriculum to complement and enhance students camp experience and pre-service and in-service teacher training. S.E.A. Lab is excited about the opportunity to work with and through MERITO to accomplish these goals.

A MERITO partnership is currently being developed with the University of California, Santa Cruz's MESA (Mathematics, Engineering, and Science Achievement) Program. Nationally-based at twenty-four university and community college campuses, MESA's program goal is to track underrepresented students (who are primarily Hispanic) into science and engineering professions. They also provide professional development for teachers. Three local MESA Centers are based in Santa Cruz, Gilroy and San Jose, and students are mainly Hispanic in ethnicity. For the past four years, UCSC's MESA Program has offered "Natural Resource Management Days." Initiated by the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management, 60 to 80 middle and high school students are transported to Swanton Ranch (on the north coast of Santa Cruz) for a one-day outdoor education experience, three times during the year. U.S. Government and California State agency representatives lead the outdoor programs as small groups hike from the beach to the top of the mountain. Participating agencies include U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, and California Department of Fish & Game, and include the career expertise of biologists, hydrologists, rangers, civil engineers, fire fighters and law enforcement professionals. Leaders share their professional perspectives and natural history information with their group, and lead discussions on issues of natural resource management. However, there is currently no ocean-related expert or information in the program, and the entire Sanctuary and coastal area components are missing from the program. Through a MERITO Plan partnership, we propose the development of an expanded "Natural Resource Management Days" that would include a second day focused on the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and its associated habitats. This would be a great first step toward working with the MESA Program and exploring how the Sanctuary can support one of several local MESA programs offered within our local Hispanic communities.

Looking out beyond city streets to the rich agricultural lands of the Salinas and Pajaro Valleys are the thousands of migrant farm workers who live within a few miles of the ocean but rarely visit or connect with it. Many are working to support families and have children enrolled in the programs that are described above. Initial discussions with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Salinas and the Coalition of Central Coast County Farm Bureaus revealed a willingness to help explore ways to expand education and outreach to migrant farm workers and their families. Industry growers will be asked early on for their input on the best way to incorporate educational materials and events for farm workers into the watershed working group activities that they will be developing. One potential program idea is for the Sanctuary to increase participation in existing regional events with a marine conservation activity booth. Additionally, we might be able to arrange a series of Sunday community events that will invite migrant workers and their families to participate in a variety of engaging marine science activities (with conservation themes) and marine-themed food and music. The main goals would be to engage migrant families in some fun yet educational activities that raise awareness of the Sanctuary and some of the human impact issues that exist here. Working with the watershed-working group, we could focus outreach efforts on all aspects of water quality protection and celebrate the diversity of our region through community events and/or celebrations.

Lastly, another avenue in which to involve our Hispanic communities is through the Sanctuary Citizen Monitoring Network. The Monterey Bay Sanctuary is actively involved with several water monitoring partners throughout the Sanctuary region. Monitoring programs rely largely on the efforts of volunteers from local communities, colleges and schools to collect samples and record data. Currently there is an absence of Hispanic students and community members among the volunteers. In order to increase involvement, we propose the development of a mobile water quality outreach program that would travel to different communities, colleges, and schools to help generate and work with existing Hispanic programs and establish long-term ties with Hispanic communities. Venues to recruit volunteers and participation include the Hispanic Chamber in Salinas, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, high school classes, and many of the community programs described above. Storm drain stenciling and the Sanctuary's bilingual materials would complement the monitoring component.

These proposed collaborative programs are initial examples of high caliber, community-based efforts that will reach thousands of children, parents, and adults and offer learning opportunities that expand horizons, build academic skills, and promote good stewardship of the Marine Sanctuary.

B. Program Management

1. Personnel

The MERITO Plan will be a major component of the education program at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Its staff, partnership members, and Sanctuary management, with advisory support and assistance from the Sanctuary Education Panel, will direct the Plan. The MERITO Plan Partnership Committee will be established to periodically review the projects and to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs. The daily coordination, program development and supervision will require a new program manager with support from two new Spanish-speaking staff with expertise in teaching techniques and providing marine science programs for Hispanic audiences. Our goal is to hire Hispanic educators and begin the process of building a diverse staff for Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, one that is truly a reflection of our community.

The program manager position is key to the success of the MERITO Plan, as it requires a person to effectively nurture and sustain all relationships contained within the partnerships, including coordination with other city, state and federal agencies, and be able to oversee the daily operational aspects. The program manager will oversee all three arms of the program and provide the main workload support for the "Professional Development Program." A variety of professional skills are required for this position. The level of expertise equates to a GS-12 and includes:

  • A master's degree or higher in science and/or education or related field,
  • Experience with all aspects of developing, implementing and evaluating marine science outreach programs to diverse audiences, including programs, publications, print materials, events, curricula, exhibits and displays,
  • In-depth knowledge and understanding of our local Hispanic community's worldview and needs,
  • Experience working with and coordinating with diverse organizations and groups,
  • In-depth knowledge of and familiarity with a broad range of marine conservation issues and their application to the Central California Coast and National Marine Sanctuaries,
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills specifically in writing and public speaking for diverse audiences,
  • Experience developing and providing professional development to teachers and interns.

One of the program manager's initial duties will be to collaborate with the Monterey Bay Aquarium on the planning and development of new watershed and wetland curriculum and outreach materials. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Sanctuary have identified "watersheds and wetlands" as a common theme for 2001 that can be integrated into the education programs of both organizations. The product will be a series of issue-based curricula and materials that focus on watershed and wetland issues. This topic is highly relevant to Hispanic communities as it links activities in our everyday lives to the sea.

Two bilingual marine educators are required to support the MERITO Plan's partnership programs in the first year. One of the education positions will be fully dedicated to provide the "Site-Based Bilingual Ocean Outreach Programs." Programs under this umbrella include working with ESNERR and California State Parks in Monterey County to provide outreach programs for youth and families. The second bilingual education position will be dedicated to providing "Community-Based Bilingual Ocean Outreach Programs." These programs include working with the City of Salinas and the City of Watsonville to augment science programs for both in-school and after school, working with Monterey County's migrant education office and supporting programs developed for migrant farm workers, as described above.

The level of expertise for both positions equates to a GS-11 and includes:

  • A bachelor's degree or higher in life sciences, environmental studies and/or education or related field
  • In-depth knowledge and familiarity with a broad range of marine conservation issues and their application to the Central California Coast and National Marine Sanctuaries,
  • Experience providing marine science outreach programs to diverse audiences,
  • Ability to work effectively in a team environment and carry out assignments independently,
  • Outstanding verbal and written communication skills including fluency in Spanish language.

2. Process

While the MERITO Plan has been designed to serve as a comprehensive plan long into the future, it will have a phased approach. The first year of this effort, proposed for 2001, will focus on hiring staff, organizing the program management and administration, holding planning meetings and beginning program implementation for the three main areas of focus. The second year will refine and expand the most effective programs, and the three following years will install full-scale MERITO Plan efforts throughout the MBNMS, export the program to the other national marine sanctuaries, and investigate the possibilities for taking the plan across international borders. After the first five years, the MERITO partnership programs will be reevaluated for their effectiveness and to determine future direction. Formal evaluation will play a major role in the program implementation, and so a contract for a professional evaluation consultant will be secured in 2001 to develop evaluation strategies for all of the MERITO partnership programs. In addition, the MERITO Partnership Committee will meet periodically to review progress and provide feedback on how to proceed.

Appendix C: Table 1,"Work Plan for the Multicultural Education Program," will clarify its annual goals and projected goals through 2005. Three additional staff positions will be needed to implement programs 2002-2005, but can be developed congruently with larger projected community projects such as the Seacliff Visitor Center in Santa Cruz.

C. Evaluation

The MBNMS Multicultural Education Plan provides a wide variety of targeted educational and research-related opportunities that promote a better understanding of the marine sciences and the MBNMS. Each program will be closely evaluated in its effectiveness in meeting its goals by both internal and external entities. The Professional Development Program inherently contains evaluation strategies due to the fact that the teacher and student programs require course or degree completion. The Site-Based Bilingual Ocean Outreach Program and the Community-Based Bilingual Ocean Outreach Program require a number of different approaches to measure their effectiveness. A contract for a professional evaluation consultant will be secured to develop evaluation strategies for all of MERITO Plan partnership programs.

D. Funding Strategy

There are three basic components that will contribute to support the MBNMS Multicultural Education Plan. First, NOAA, or some other government or private funder, will need to provide annual support of $410,000 (averaged over 5 years) which includes funds for the three new MBNMS staff positions and administrative and program management support. In addition, $550,000 in annual operating funds (averaged over 5 years) will be needed to implement the focused MERITO Plan programs. The Plan's total annual operating plan budget for the first year will amount to $706,000. By year three, the MERITO Plan's total budget will have increased to almost $1,000,000, primarily due to expanded program implementation.

Secondly, the twenty partnership agencies working within the MERITO Plan will support the effort with their available infrastructure and resources, depending on the scope of their particular project. Since this plan reflects the specific needs of our Hispanic community, we hope and expect to leverage needed support from other Hispanic-serving agencies in the area. A multitude of federal and state agencies, universities, and private groups are currently onboard to support efforts described in this plan. As the programs gather momentum, we hope to develop new partnerships and identify additional funding avenues that can further support this effort. In addition, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary will provide management and administrative oversight to the MERITO Plan. Total matching funds and in-kind support, including Sanctuary management, will be approximately $30,000 per year.

The third component will come through the provision of Dr. Nancy Foster Scholarships. We request the MERITO Plan be allocated between two to four scholarships a year over the next five years.

Several budget spread sheets (Appendix D: Tables 2, 3 & 4) are attached that outline the overall program costs, the staffing and program management and administrative costs, and the distinct MERITO Plan programs and their associated costs.

E. Conclusions

The Multicultural Education Plan will be a comprehensive, long-term collaborative program that takes a multi-faceted, community-based approach to expanding and improving marine and coastal outreach and education to Hispanic communities in Central California. The MERITO Plan's programs were developed collaboratively and in direct response to issues and needs that our Hispanic communities have identified. By working closely with our community, we have identified and developed well-defined and focused programs that provide Hispanic-serving teachers, and Hispanic youth, adults and families with issue-based education that promotes ocean stewardship and enhanced understanding of science and technology. We feel strongly that this approach will ensure a better long-term success rate. The MERITO Plan will also provide a set of tangible Spanish-language education products and tools that can be utilized by other National Marine Sanctuaries and beyond.

In addition, this plan will empower decision-makers by providing a conduit for the vital exchange of information between resource managers, scientists, educators and our region's largest ethnic constituency, the Hispanic communities.

Finally, NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary System is interested in using the Monterey Bay National Marine Multicultural Education Plan as a model marine conservation outreach and education program for other national marine sanctuaries, and will offer to help develop similar programs at other sites over the next five years. Due to the collaborative partnerships with Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and California State Parks sites, other government agencies along the Central Coast and nationally will also be looking closely at this integrative approach to developing and implementing a community-based outreach and education plan.