Promoting Your MWEE
Building broad awareness about a MWEE may strengthen community support and, ultimately, the long-term success of a MWEE. This can be beneficial at the school, district, and broader community levels as well. Actively engaging students in this process can be an interesting extension to the Synthesis and Conclusions element of a MWEE, and depending on the nature of the outreach may even be appropriate as an Action Project.
“My greatest success was student engagement. Students who have not been particularly interested in science this year were drawn in by the real-world application of this project.”
— Scott Hartmen, Hamilton Elementary/Middle School, Baltimore, Maryland
At the school building level, it is important to celebrate success to garner additional resources and excitement for the project, and to build toward or reinforce a school culture that embraces outdoor education. Principals, other teachers, Parent Teacher Associations (PTA), building services staff, parents, and other students are all important partners. Getting them involved in and excited about the project can go a long way toward ensuring that a MWEE has the support to continue into the future. It is also important to recognize partners who lend their support. Schools often have a variety of built-in mechanisms for helping with this—from the school or PTA newsletter, website, or social media accounts to the morning announcements, bulletin boards, or events.
It is also useful to build support at the school district level. Districts can incorporate MWEEs into the curriculum and expectations for schools. This can create the space, permission, and sometimes even funding for schools and teachers to implement MWEEs. Partners at this level include superintendents, members of boards of education, and central office staff, such as curriculum and facilities managers, and staff. Invitations from schools to attend press events, community outreach events, or other celebrations are often met favorably by these partners. Students can deliver powerful testimonials at these events or at school board meetings.
The community surrounding a school is generally extremely interested in learning more about school initiatives, especially because many of the community members have children who are attending, will attend, or have attended the school. Reaching out to the community through the media, public service announcements, meetings of local government officials, and/or community outreach events can increase awareness and support of a MWEE. Presenting to local government officials about the findings of their MWEE is sometimes a logical and powerful culmination of the student Action Project element of the MWEE. Teachers, school administrators, or partners may also want to reach out to local television stations, newspapers, and online media services to invite them to witness a MWEE in action.