The educational mission of the Schooner Ernestina is to establish educational, cultural and experiential programs in a context that celebrates human diversity, creativity, value and dignity

The essence of Ernestina's mission extends from the vessel's phenomenal track through history. She has served as a commercial vessel engaged in the honest objectives of fishing the banks and coastal commerce. Her northern expeditions have made manifest the spirit of the explorer, willing to take astonishing risks in the pursuit of knowledge. She has carried immigrants to a new land rich with opportunity. Now, her preservation and continued use help link us to the lessons of the past and the promise of the future. The ship is the embodiment of the ties of culture, family and tradition that encircle the American immigrant epoch.
On a more technical level, Ernestina's working lives provide vivid examples of technological solutions to complex problems:

- catching, preserving and delivering to market 125 tons of fish (1890's)
- traveling to within 600 miles of the north pole (30's and 40's)
- transporting cargo and passengers across 3000 miles of Atlantic Ocean on a regular basis (50's and 60's)

The concepts of math, science, technology, economics, and resource management employed by Ernestina's mariners over the decades are powerful tools for Ernestina's teachers and students of today. At every turn, learning on board Schooner Ernestina is somehow amplified and energized by the powerful overlay of 108 years of human ambition, struggle and triumph.

  Schooner Ernestina programs are consistent with initiatives using the environment as an integrating context for learning. What are some effects of the this approach?
  1. Students examine complex inter-relationships and interactions that take place among diverse socio-cultural and natural systems.
  2. Students discover their own skills and appreciate those of others.
  3. Students learn to treat each other with more care and they exhibit more self-discipline.
  4. Students understand math and physics concepts and skills more thoroughly.
  5. Students gain a better understanding and appreciation for science.
  6. Students refine their abilities in scientific observation, data collection, analysis, and formulating conclusions.
  7. Students’ interest and dedication to studying science grows.
  8. Students remember their math skills longer.
  9. Students learn to share ideas, discuss their reasoning, and develop new ideas that emerge from team discussions.
  10. Teachers and students become an enthusiastic learning-teaching team focused on the same objectives.


Equity in education means creating an environment in which all students can prepare themselves for the challenge of leading a productive life. Ernestina can foster equity by creating initiatives and programs which take into consideration race, gender, national origin, physical condition or attributes, age, class and/or socio-economic status to ensure full participation in Ernestina's programs.

Multicultural Education

Multicultural education is a process which deliberately infuses history, beliefs, traditions and values of diverse cultures and peoples into all aspects of the learning experience. It enables persons to accept, respect and value their own cultural uniqueness and that of others. It provides members of the community with the critical thinking skills they need in order to challenge the racism, stereotypes and biases that plague society.