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Buffalo Teachers and Students Benefit from Grant-Funded D’Youville Summer CampPage Title

Buffalo Teachers and Students Benefit from Grant-Funded D’Youville Summer Camp

Buffalo, New York – A summer camp at D’Youville helped students learn about the importance of Buffalo waterways while training teachers on how to use specialized geographic technology, thanks to a Department of Education grant.  

This summer, D’Youville’s Data Citizens Western New York Grant team collaborated with Buffalo Public Schools (BPS) to train high school teachers to embed Geospatial Information Systems (GIS) technology into their classroom instruction. The grant also aims to educate students in social studies and civic engagement by having instructors practice applying the GIS technology while teaching a student summer camp organzed by D’Youville.

“The overall theme of the camp was 11th grade social studies with an emphasis on exploring civic engagement through a water theme,” says Courtney Jane Belmonte, PhD, project manager for the Data Citizens Western New York Grant. “In addition to the classroom sessions, we collaborated with the Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, the Division of Citizen Services, and the Buffalo Sewage Authority to get students out of the classroom, examining our waterways, and thinking about how those systems and human behavior relate to environmentalism and public health.”

Grant activities were funded by a three-year Department of Education Academcies for American History and Civics Program at the end of 2019. The first year of summer grant activities were unfortunately postponed due to COVID-19 and the NYPause Act. However, this summer’s camp went forward and was the first major program hosted in the Center for Health Equity and Innovation in D’Youville’s new Health Professions Hub.

“Our aim to go beyond instruction and also use the data gathered from the teaching and learning experience to publish research papers and provide policy directions,” says Henry Boateng, PhD, co-director of the Data Citizens Western New York Grant.

In an effort to cultivate sustainable change, the grant activities also support continued educational training and support for teachers throughout the academic year. The grant is funding two GIS Specialists to work with teachers at various schools to continue training and support troubleshooting issues. GIS Specialists are also training and developing connections with Instructional Technology Coaches at schools so there can be an on-site presence to support further training opportunities that provide access and opportunity to a wider array of teachers.

The grant is currently finishing the second year of a three-year program. Additional trainings and research activites are scheduled throughout the academic year and next summer.

D’Youville is a nationally-ranked private university headquartered in Buffalo, New York, providing in-seat and online academic programs around the world. Founded in 1908, D’Youville offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees focused on healthcare, liberal arts, and business. D’Youville’s small class sizes, experiential education, and interprofessional learning environments prepare students for success. For more information, visit

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