Engaging Staten Island students with maritime curriculum

Staten Island Advance: While a new dedicated maritime-themed school is no longer being pursued on Staten Island, several schools in the borough are integrating maritime curriculum into a variety of subjects.

PS 59, New Brighton, has been incorporating maritime-themed curriculum into its daily teachings by focusing on the impact of the New York Harbor and the Billion Oyster Project -- which works to restore 1 billion live oysters in the harbor over the next two decades -- across all grades from pre-K to fifth grade.

“Our work is really intentional, so our students all the way from pre-K up to fifth grade engage in work that’s kind of vertically aligned,” said Carol Mongiello, principal of PS 59. “By the time our students are in fifth grade, they are extremely articulate and have so much knowledge about the New York Harbor, maritime and environmental issues that are surrounding the harbor, in addition to understanding world history and making those connections. So it just becomes very connected and real for them.”

Teachers work to connect students to the waters just outside of the school, as most classrooms at PS 59 have a view of the New York Harbor and the lower Manhattan skyline.

“Our students leave here having conversations they wouldn’t normally have if they weren’t exposed to so much knowledge,” Mongiello said. "We’ve had families come back and say when they go on the [Staten Island] Ferry with their child, they are sharing stuff they can’t believe their child knows. They’ve never heard such conversations coming out of their children. Read more>>