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Divisions of Boating and Waterways, Historic Preservation and Off-Highway Vehicles

News Release

For Immediate Release: 8/25/2014

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California State Parks Offers New Distance Learning Program at Angel Island State Park for California Students

Heather Holm

(916) 240-1068


SACRAMENTO, CA.—The California State Parks award-winning “Parks Online Resources for Teachers and Students” (PORTS) program is launching a new distance learning unit at Angel Island State Park beginning this September 2014. Using interactive videoconferencing, the new PORTS program will explore the topic of immigration through the lens of those individuals who came through the U.S. Immigration Station on Angel Island.

PORTS is a free distance learning program that uses the power of interactive videoconferencing to help K-12 schools teach Common Core State Standards in the context of California State Parks. PORTS Programs include:


  • Fully developed units of study to prepare and assess learning;
  • Live, interactive videoconference presentations on science, history, language arts and other academic topics.


For the new Angel Island program, students will tour the U.S. Immigration Station barracks with a State Park Interpreter during the free videoconference session, learning about the immigration process and what life was like in the barracks through primary source materials and the poems etched into the walls. The Immigration unit is aligned to the California Common Core State Standards and provides supporting curriculum for teachers to use.

"With immigration continuing to capture news headlines, the history of the Angel Island Immigration Station and the people who were detained there are as relevant as ever,” said Michael McKechnie, executive director of the Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation. “This program is a critical step in sharing with young people the story of Pacific Coast Immigration and help those students connect the historical dots to today’s immigration issues."


For the past ten years, PORTS has partnered with educators across California to bring unique resources protected by California State Parks directly into K-12 classrooms, especially those in diverse, low-income communities. Currently, PORTS actively engages 40,000 students every year, providing them with quality, highly-interactive educational programs. Distance learning programs are delivered from a varied sampling of state parks environments across California, covering a diversity of natural and cultural history topics.

For the new distance learning program at Angel Island State Park, PORTS will be deploying for the first time a battery-powered telemedicine cart equipped with the videoconference equipment and other educational technology components. The telemedicine cart allows the State Park Interpreter to navigate through historic rooms with ease while videoconferencing, bringing students directly to the topic of study, whether it is the poems carved into the walls or historical artifacts.

The Angel Island Immigration Station Foundation funded equipment and contributed to developing the curriculum of this new Angel Island PORTS program.

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California State Parks Mission

To provide for the health, inspiration and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high quality outdoor recreation.