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  • Writer's pictureLaura Tavares

Ecosystem Exchange

Over two weeks in October, the WPS team met with the staff of FabNewport, a Rhode Island non-profit that helps youth build a “positive future vision” through afterschool and summer programs that provide equitable access to learning opportunities in the local community. On a beautiful fall day, we drove down to Newport to see their programs in action. The highlight was an afternoon surfing class at Newport’s beautiful Second Beach, where FabNewport youth rode the waves under the guidance of Gnome Surf, a non-profit surf school that melds surfing with social-emotional development.

Two weeks later, a group of FabNewport staff, interns and educators from Newport’s Thompson Middle School completed the exchange with a visit to WPS’s Community Innovation partners at Collins Middle School in Salem, Massachusetts. Students in the Middle School Pilot shared how new ways of learning, including Studio Design sessions and Learning Immersions in the local community, helped them feel more excited to come to school and more connected with their teachers and each other.

Salem and Newport have interesting parallels as historic maritime communities with incredible cultural and natural assets for learning. Both communities also have the opportunity to make those assets more accessible to their increasingly diverse youth. As WPS works to build ecosystems that bring learning to life throughout communities, we look forward to continued collaborations with inspiring organizations like FabNewport.

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