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Kestrel Educational Adventures

 186 Main Street, Unit A2
 Gloucester, MA 01930
[P] (978) 515-7177
[F] --
Jessica Kagle
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 06-1703921

LAST UPDATED: 11/21/2017
Organization DBA --
Former Names --
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years No


Mission StatementMORE »

We inspire wonder, understanding and connection to the natural world through playful, outdoor scientific inquiry.

Mission Statement

We inspire wonder, understanding and connection to the natural world through playful, outdoor scientific inquiry.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Sept 01, 2017 to Aug 31, 2018
Projected Income $142,750.00
Projected Expense $140,104.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Get Outside Kits
  • Homeschool Class
  • School and After School Programs
  • Summer Program

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Mission Statement

We inspire wonder, understanding and connection to the natural world through playful, outdoor scientific inquiry.

Background Statement

Kestrel Educational Adventures helps get students out of the book and into the woods. We support schools in rooting their students in the nearby wilds, building a deep sense of love, belonging, and connection to the complex, wild, muddy natural world. We have seen that immersion in the natural world stimulates strong interest and skills in the field of science. Through these experiences, we also strengthen students' commitment to sustainability, and build curiosity and empathy for living things. Research on the impacts of both place- based education and wild play show strong support for these approaches.
Kestrel Educational Adventures has been open since 2003, and has strong relationships with school systems throughout Cape Ann and in Beverly and Salem. Depending on funding, we have served between 800 and 1700 students each year over the last eleven years. Funding for program coordination and salaried educators has made all the difference in how many students we can reach each year.
The bulk of our programs are field ecology exploration for school groups. These programs are staffed by our experienced, professional naturalist educators. Our educators bring school groups to a free, accessible wild place near the school, and empower students to conduct investigations into the natural world. During a Kestrel program, students follow their own curiosity, and use their senses and imagination to make and share original discoveries. They are guided by instructors to apply their discoveries to understanding natural systems.
When young students share their discoveries and learn alongside their instructors, they express pride and excitement. We also find that because our students discover concepts for themselves based on personal and emotionally connected experiences, their conceptual learning is meaningful and memorable.
Through our field science investigations, we not only teach science skills but also empower the development of a sustainability ethic. Through building an attachment to and knowledge of an accessible, nearby wild, students begin to see themselves as belonging to an ecosystem. Simply by following streams, finding tree cavities, or catching salamanders, they become explorers of a place they see as theirs. We believe this attachment and knowledge does at least as much to ensure long term interest in sustainability action as direct instruction on the topic of sustainability.

Impact Statement

FY16 Accomplishments 

  1. Integrated more deeply with partner schools. In particular, we built stronger partnerships within the Manchester-Essex (MERSD) and Salem school systems.
  2. Expanded our programmatic reach by reaching new schools within Salem with the STEM program for elementary school students, and with programs in Georgetown High School, Faith Christian School, Rockport Middle School, and the Cambridge Friends School.
  3. Expanded Summer and Afterschool Programs.
  4. Developed and launched Kestrel consulting to leverage our existing pedagogical model and core teaching staff to help classroom teachers implement inquiry-driven, nature-based science education in their own classrooms.
FY17 Goals 
  1. Continue to strengthen existing school partnerships by increasing the number of programs we run at each school and the number of visits we make to each class with the ultimate goal of increasing the total number of contact hours we spend with students.
  2. Continue to expand our programmatic reach by seeking out new school partners in Essex County, especially in Salem and Beverly.
  3.  Develop and implement effective tools for assessing student growth in science skills, conceptual understanding, and care for the natural world.
  4. Increase the effectiveness of the Get Outside Center as a service for connecting people with the local natural world. Specifically:
    • Increase visibility and visitation.
    • Hold an increased number of events in the Get Outside Center.
    • Provide services targeted to adults.


Needs Statement

We are seeking the funds to:
  1. Hire a full-time Executive Director ($60,000) to manage the day-to-day operations of the organization. 
  2. Support our ongoing partnership work with local schools ($100,000 / year)
  3. A sponsor or sponsors to help defer the cost of operating the Get Outside Center.

CEO Statement

Sometimes people ask me why Kestrel is needed when so many other environmental organizations serve Essex County. I reply that I founded Kestrel because no one else in this region is doing what we do, and I believe it is of urgent importance. I have not seen any other organizations that take young people to free, nearby wild spaces and ask them to be field ecologists. In so many cases, education is becoming a rootless, placeless experience, and I believe that the world needs young people who understand the ecology of places they can claim as their own. I have also seen first hand that the blending of wild play, science, and story captures the interest of many young people and teachers who do not usually feel comfortable with science. I believe this kind of rooted, interdisciplinary ecological literacy contributes to building communities in which people love and act to protect the natural world.

 So often, when I first ask young people what they know about ecosystems, they reply that they are places like rainforests and deserts, and that they are in trouble and we should save them. They often describe humans as disconnected from natural ecosystems, causing only harmful effects, or not depending on ecosystems at all. Even if they have been on outdoor field trips, young people are often told that they are "visiting animals' habitats." Kestrel instructors begin programs by guiding students to tell stories that help them understand that they live in and are part of an ecosystem, not simply visitors. When we venture into the nearby wilds, we tell everyone that they are a part of the place, and that it is good for them to be there and to explore. I believe strongly that if we want well informed people who are prepared to solve problems in an ever -changing world, we should begin by teaching everyone to view themselves as surrounded by life and as integral parts of an ecosystem. 
As a Kestrel program day begins, I often hear both students and teachers exclaiming excitedly that they never knew the beautiful wild place we are exploring was right outside the school doors. Later in the day, I see students teaching their teachers about the place, through their own discoveries. After a Kestrel program is over, I love to hear that students have told their families about the wild place we explored, and perhaps introduced them to it. Through programs for young students, we are connecting a whole community to the ecology of nearby wilds.
- Jessica Kagle, Founder/ Program Director 

Board Chair Statement

Have you ever watched a four-year-old dig up worms? Ever heard the tender mutterings to the worm? “Hi little guy. Oh- sorry - where you going?” or answered the ensuing questions – “Where does it live? Can I take it home? Where is its mom?” The tenderness, concentration, intensity and affection visible in that interaction are closely related to what makes Kestrel special. As a preschool teacher, it was easy for me to find ways for my students to connect with nature, play with abandon, and consider questions that would help them understand their place in the world. It’s not so easy for school-age kids to get the chance to dig up worms or catch turtles, frogs, and salamanders in a local pond. Schools under pressure to improve test scores, kids busy with activities, and lack of access to wild places are all barriers that get in the way of playful outdoor scientific inquiry.

I love Kestrel because we take on those barriers and help get kids outside to find their own places in the natural world. When I attended a Kestrel field trip last year, the weather was so hot even I didn’t want to be outside. Nothing daunted, the Kestrel instructors handed out nets, buckets and water resistant field guides. Within minutes sweaty eight- and nine-year-olds were engrossed in scooping pond water – and even more amazingly, they were figuring out how to use the field guides efficiently to identify their catches. Although the glory of finding a baby turtle almost eclipsed the everyday pleasures of dragonfly larva, all creatures eventually found an appreciative audience and the only complaints that day were when the students were asked to switch activities. Students would never look at that pond the same way again. Later, when they explored the relationships between the pond, a stream and waterways closer to their school, students began to take the connections they had made to pond life and turn them into a dawning understanding of the web of life. This sophisticated understanding takes time to develop. The amazing thing about Kestrel is that we find the time in the lives of busy teachers and kids, to help them wonder, build understanding, and form deep connections with the natural world. As Board President, I can’t imagine more essential work.

- Caitlin Featherstone, Board President

Geographic Area Served

We currently serve Eastern Essex County, including schools and communities in Gloucester, Rockport, Gloucester, Essex, Manchester, Beverly, and Salem.

Organization Categories

  1. Environment - Environmental Education
  2. Education - Elementary & Secondary Schools
  3. Youth Development - Youth Community Service Clubs

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)



Get Outside Kits

Get Outside Kits are full of durable, high-quality equipment for educators to use and enjoy with their students in the field. Each kit supports up to 26 students, and is designed to engage children of different ages, levels, interests and abilities. Kits are free to borrow from the Get Outside Center with a Kestrel School Membership 
Budget  $800.00
Category  Environment, General/Other
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 
  • Steady increase in number of young people being connected to the natural world during the school day
Program Long-Term Success 
  • At least 10 educators per year borrow and use the the kits to teach their students
  • Within two years, Kestrel will help connect an additional 1,000 students to the natural world through educator use of kits
  • Educators will report greater comfort and ease in facilitating outdoor natural science exploration based on accessibility of kits.
Program Success Monitored By 
  • Kestrel tracks the number of teachers using the kits, and the number of students they serve
  • Educators complete an online survey when they return the kits. The survey includes questions about how and where the kits were used, and their effectiveness in making nearby wilds more accessible for teaching and learning.
Examples of Program Success 
  • The Vernal Pond Exploration kit has been piloted by a Science Coordinator from Beverly Public Schools. He received a short onsite training from a Kestrel instructor, and then introduced 100 2nd and 5th grade students to small ponds just outside their schools. The Science Coordinator filled out our online survey and reported: "The kit allowed students to spend more time identifying individual species and observing some adaptations. The long white pans, guides, and viewers were excellent for this. I will also be using pond specimens (and hopefully your kit) with grades 1 and 4 in the spring."

Homeschool Class

Every season Homeschool Class investigates a different theme. This fall our Homeschool class is exploring the life of a fish over eight sessions. Each 4-class session builds toward a final art piece, which students present at a public gallery opening. This journey empowers kids to work together to make decisions about where to go and what to learn. Every class students explore the river, the fish, and the chemistry and movement of the water itself. The class ends with a project on the life of specific river fish chosen by kids, envisioning their life cycle and relationship with the river and the people of the river.

Budget  $2,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Adults
Program Short-Term Success 
    • During the program, all participating students will practice scientific inquiry skills, including questioning about the natural world, gathering evidence, making comparisons and connections, and communicating their findings
    • 20% of students and their families will re-visit the local wild place explored on the Kestrel program at least once within a year of the program
Program Long-Term Success 
  • Steady increase in number of young people being connected to the natural world 
Program Success Monitored By 
  • Instructors use formative assessment measures during programs, such as observation of changes in ability to find and describe living and non living things and recognize their interconnections. Storytelling and project work is also used in each session as an assessment of group level of understanding of concepts.
  • Instructors write narratives after each program session documenting observed changes in conceptual understanding, examples of inquiry work, and assessing successes and challenges, to be used to improve the programs.
  • Kestrel tracks which families sign up for programs repeatedly
Examples of Program Success 
We have a group of families that sign up for homeschool classes every season, and have asked for increased programming throughout the year.  We have expanded our programming to meet their needs.  For example, so many family participants in the 4-week Homeschool Science photosynthesis series in spring 2013 asked for more programs that we added a three week extension to study animal use of plant energy.  We have also added winter programs this year and last, to meet demand. 

School and After School Programs

We offer custom designed inquiry science programs for K-8 school groups. We base program design on teachers' requests, local ecosystems, and the school's culture. Most sessions are 2-3 hours long, and most time is spent outdoors. 
Our programs follow a model similar to the work of professional field scientists. On each, we conduct an investigation relevant to a particular science concept, such as habitats, soil layers, microclimates, adaptations, life cycles, or ecosystems. We collect observations or samples, discuss their meaning, and then create an original work for sharing what we have learned, such as a map, mural, or chart. The created work is discussed, and we close with telling the story of what we have learned about the place and its living and non living things.
Central to our teaching philosophy is the notion that science is a process by which new information is discovered through experience and experimentation. Playfulness, fun, and student freedom to explore are essential.
Budget  $65,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Extracurricular Math & Science
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 
  • During the program, all participating students will practice scientific inquiry skills, including questioning about the natural world, gathering evidence, making comparisons and connections, and communicating their findings
  • Each school group as a whole will demonstrate advances in understanding of the main concept(s), as evidenced by discussions before and after the program, as well as by the original works the group creates (immediately following the program)
  • At least 70% of students and teachers will report improved attitudes/knowledge of the value of the local natural environment immediately following the program, as well as 3 months after the program
  • At least 25% of teachers will engage their students in further natural science investigations in the local natural world within one year of the program
  • 20% of students and teachers will re-visit the local wild place explored on the Kestrel program at least once within a year of the  program
Program Long-Term Success 
  • All K-8 Eastern Essex County schools will incorporate at least one science unit related to the local natural world per grade level
  • All K-8 Eastern Essex County schools will, annually, incorporate frequent, student directed, exploratory excursions into the local natural world at every grade level
  • All K-8 Eastern Essex County schools will teach authentic scientific inquiry skills to students at all grade levels
  • All Eastern Essex County residents will be aware of at least one publicly accessible local wild place 
  • All Eastern Essex County residents will have a basic understanding of the ecology of their region
  • A majority of Eastern Essex County residents will visit local publicly accessible wild places at least twice a year
  • A majority of Eastern Essex County residents express concern for and demonstrate willingness to work for, the health of the local and global ecosystems to which they belong
  • Environmental health is improved by the increase in people who enjoy and understand the natural world and act for its protection.
Program Success Monitored By 
  • Instructors use formative assessment measures during programs, such as observation of changes in ability to find and describe living and non living things and recognize their interconnections. Storytelling and project work is also used in each session as an assessment of group level of understanding of concepts.
  • Instructors write narratives after each program session documenting observed changes in conceptual understanding, examples of inquiry work, and assessing successes and challenges, to be used to improve the programs.
  • Participating teachers are asked to complete surveys with feedback including how the program was integrated into their year-long curriculum, and how they will follow up in the classroom
  • Kestrel tracks which schools sign up for programs repeatedly, and which ones increase amount of time allotted to Kestrel programs each year. 
  • Kestrel tracks which schools establish permanent study units connected to the local natural world. We accomplish this through consistent phone, email, and in person contact with participating teachers and students, and a presence in our service communities.
  • With more funding and consistent staffing, Kestrel will develop assessment tools, particularly with regard to tracking changes in attitudes, conceptual understanding, and inquiry skills
  • Kestrel will also connect directly with organizations conducting studies on the impact of outdoor and place based education to determine more widespread and long term changes in our communities.
Examples of Program Success 
  • Gloucester Public Schools began in 2002 with short vernal pool programs for 2 classes. Eventually, all district 4th grades conducted half day vernal pool explorations with Kestrel and established a permanent vernal pool study unit. Kestrel staff facilitated the field portion of this unit for 10 years before the school staff began conducting their studies independently of Kestrel
  • Rockport Public Schools began working with Kestrel in 2004 with only a few class groups and only short indoor programs. As of spring 2013, every class now spends 2 half days in their local woods with Kestrel.
  • Our 1st program year began with 140 participating students at 2 schools. We now involve 800-1700 students per year, depending on funding level. 
  • Beverly's Ayers Ryalside School's 1st grade has established a permanent habitat study with Kestrel. On a recent adventure, students began the day unsure of what habitats or wildlife surrounded the school. After 3 hours, they were able to describe different habitats and compare wildlife they found in each. They also understood that the river near the school ran to the ocean and were able to describe landmarks it passed along the way. 

Summer Program

Each summer we offer weeklong outdoor adventures steeped in the natural world, rooted in a strong sense of community, and infused with a wild sense of play. Current summer programs include: Being Animals, Survival Rockport, and Teen Travel. 
Budget  $20,000.00
Category  Education, General/Other Educational Programs
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Families
Program Short-Term Success 
  • Participants develop greater enjoyment of natural science study and of the natural world
  • Participants develop a sense of belonging and connection to the local natural world
  • Through project work, Kestrel develops partnerships with a variety of local organizations and businesses
  • Participants teach other family members about their projects and discoveries
  • Participants spend increased time enjoying and exploring the outdoors
  • Completed student projects help inform the wider community about aspects of local ecology and unique qualities of place
  • Some completed student projects, such as our osprey nest map and nature films, contribute to community vitality and environmental quality.
Program Long-Term Success 
  • Some participants become lifelong explorers of the natural world, choosing natural science careers, outdoor pastimes, or other nature connected lifestyles
  • Most participants grow up to be adults who make environmentally responsible choices and have a lifelong commitment to the health of the natural world
  • Participants, through their own connection to the natural world, increase the general populations enjoyment and understanding of the local natural world
  • Environmental health is improved by the increase in people who enjoy and understand the natural world and will act for its protection.
Program Success Monitored By 
  • Informal observations and reflections of program instructors
  • Frequent verbal and written feedback from participating students and their families
  • Number of families returning for programs year after year
  • Tracking of completed projects and partnerships
Examples of Program Success 
  • Four founding members of the Conservation Club remained members for four years. Two of these became student leaders of their high school environmental club. One of these two went on to minor in Natural Resources Conservation in college. Another former Conservation Club student attributes his interest in volunteering at a conservation area and choosing and environmental focus in high school to Kestrel
  • Essex County Greenbelt Association adopted the Conservation Club's osprey nest map project as an ongoing citizen science project and significantly upon it.
  • So many family participants in the 4 week Homeschool Science photosynthesis series in spring 2013 asked for more programs that we added a 3 week extension to study animal use of plant energy.
  • The first Lights! Camera! Nature! class completed 5 short films about a local woodland and screened them for a packed house at a community cinema. Audience and family members expressed interest in an adult version of the class.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments



CEO/Executive Director Miss Jessica Kagle
CEO Term Start Jan 2003
CEO Email
CEO Experience
Jessica Kagle is the Founder and Co-Program Director.
She works alongside the Board of Directors and  Vision Team to keep the organization running smoothly and keep the work in line with the mission and vision. 
Jessica holds an Ed.M. from Harvard Graduate School of Education, where she focused on experiential education, alternative methods of teaching science, and curriculum design. She has also completed coursework in field herpetology, forestry, and has studied wildlife tracking and vernal pool ecology. As the Founder of Kestrel, Jessica has over 11 years of reflective teaching and curriculum design practice to inform her educational philosophy.
She is also a licensed elementary and middle school science teacher in Massachusetts, with 1.5 years of classroom teaching experience. 
She used a blend of best practices in constructivist learning and outdoor leadership to develop Kestrel's unique and powerful model of teaching.
Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
-- -- --

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
-- -- --


Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --


Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association --

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --



CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Foundation Comments


Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 1
Number of Part Time Staff 4
Number of Volunteers 10
Number of Contract Staff 1
Staff Retention Rate % --

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 5
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 4
Male: 1
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers --
Management Succession Plan Under Development
Business Continuity of Operations Plan No
Organization Policies And Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

Professional Liability

Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency No N/A


Board Chair Ms Caitlin Featherstone
Board Chair Company Affiliation Essex Elementary School
Board Chair Term Jan 2015 - Dec
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Jeffrey Denoncour Trustees of Reservations Voting
Anna DiPerna Landmark School Voting
Caitlin Featherstone Cape Ann Time Banks Voting
Emily Kahn Landmark School Voting
Deirdre Mulligan Landmark School Voting
Rick Roth Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 5
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): 0
Gender Female: 4
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 1
Board Term Limits 10
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Under Development
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees


CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

Foundation Comments



Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2014 (%)

Fiscal Year Sept 01, 2017 to Aug 31, 2018
Projected Income $142,750.00
Projected Expense $140,104.00
Form 990s

2016 Form 990

2015 Form 990

2014 Form 990

2013 Form 990

2012 Form 990

2011 Form 990

2010 Form 990

2008 Form 990

Audit Documents --
IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Revenue $135,403 $139,603 $93,540
Total Expenses $135,339 $141,801 $54,483

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- -- --
Individual Contributions $61,888 $83,135 $66,106
Indirect Public Support -- -- --
Earned Revenue $73,515 -- $27,434
Investment Income, Net of Losses -- -- --
Membership Dues -- $56,468 --
Special Events -- -- --
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- -- --

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Program Expense $115,477 $74,533 $5,523
Administration Expense $15,868 $64,999 $48,913
Fundraising Expense $3,994 $2,269 $47
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.00 0.98 1.72
Program Expense/Total Expenses 85% 53% 10%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 6% 3% 0%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Total Assets $46,948 $42,777 $41,311
Current Assets $37,155 $32,718 $30,986
Long-Term Liabilities -- -- --
Current Liabilities $8,225 $4,118 $454
Total Net Assets $38,723 $38,659 $40,857

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy Income Only
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? 3.00

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 4.52 7.95 68.25

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2016 2015 2014
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments


Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available. Further expense breakout detail across Program, Administrative and Fundraising expenses is per the Form PC for fiscal years 2016, 2015, and 2014.


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.


The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.

1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

In 2007, a Carnegie Foundation commission of distinguished researchers and public and private leaders concluded that “the nation’s capacity to innovate for economic growth and the ability of American workers to thrive in the modern workforce depend on a broad foundation of math and science learning, as do our hopes for preserving a vibrant democracy and the promise of social mobility that lie at the heart of the American dream.”

And yet, according to the same study, lagging achievement in science and math has led to a steady erosion of the United States’ competitive economic advantage and an inability to confront complex global environmental challenges.

In response to this alarming trend, The National Research Council (NRC), the National Science Teachers Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and Achieve set about developing Next Generation Science Standards, which was released in April of 2013. These standards emphasize a holistic, inquiry-based approach to science education. The acquisition of content is deemphasized and the honing of observational and experimental skills is elevated.

From the Next Generation Science Standards:

“Beyond the concern of employability looms the larger question of what it takes to thrive in today’s society. Citizens now face problems from pandemics to energy shortages whose solutions require all the scientific and technological genius we can muster. Americans are being forced to increasingly make decisions – including on health care and retirement planning – where literacy in science and mathematics is a real advantage. Contrast these demands with the results of the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy. Fewer than one in three college graduates can perform tasks such as interpreting a data table about blood pressure and physical activity.”

Today most schools recognize the need to change how science is taught, and yet most schools (by their own admission) are ill equipped for the challenge. Teachers, especially in elementary school, receive almost no training in science or how to teach it. In Essex County, for instance, there is one science teacher for every four hundred elementary school students.

Scott Morrison, Director of Curriculum for the Manchester-Essex School District and a valued Kestrel partner says:

"We need to work on demystifying STEM for elementary educators. STEM, as we know, is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, but it is much more than just that. These subjects are clustered because they are held together be a set of practices and processes that enable students to access their higher order thinking skills.

Our science lessons should be replete with collaborative inquiry where students are actually 'doing' as opposed to just observing. Student participation does not equate to ownership and all too often we focus on prior knowledge at the cost of students trying and doing.

Since learning is the ability to 'do,' we must shift the focus of school away from the mere acquisition of knowledge and more towards and understanding of the learning process. When we do this, we will have prepared our students to not only live in the world, we will bring them to a level where they are prepared to change it."

To the best of our knowledge, Kestrel is the only nonprofit in Essex County dedicated exclusively to working with teachers and students, especially at the elementary school level, to improve science education by “doing” actual science in accordance with Next Generation Science Standards. For us the School Program is not a means to end: it is the end.

2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

To achieve this overall result, Kestrel has developed a plan to both broaden and deepen our work with schools. As part of this process, the Program Director has conceived, and the Board of Directors has accepted, the following outcomes and measures:

A. Deepen our programmatic relationship with existing school partners:

A1. Increase the number of hours we spend with unique individuals.
10 percent of Kestrel students will participate in a program lasting 12 or more hours. 80 percent will participate in a program lasting 3 to 6 hours. 10 percent will participate in a program lasting 1 to 2 hours. If we engaged 3,500 students annually, we would expect 350 students to attend a 12-hour program, 2800 students to attend a 5-hour program, and 350 students to attend a 1-hour program.
A2. Increase the number of classes we serve.
We will engage every classroom within a grade level. If a school houses 3 second grade classes, and if we worked with 1 second grade class in Year 1, we would expect to engage the other two classes in our work by Year 3.
A3. Increase the number of concurrent grade levels we serve.
We will work with at least two concurrent grade levels in every school. If an elementary school houses 6 grade levels (K – 5), and if we worked with the entire second grade in Year 1, we would expect to work with the entire first and/or third grades by Year 3.

B. Expand our programmatic reach by seeking out new school partners:

B1. Increase the number schools we serve within existing districts.

We will add three new schools to our list of partner schools each year. If we partnered with 17 schools in Year 1, we would expect to partner with 26 schools by Year 3.
B2. Increase the number of school districts in which we have a presence.

We will add one new school district each year for three years in a row. If we had a presence in 8 school districts in Year 1, we would expect to have a presence in 11 school districts by Year 3.

C. Improve the quality of our Educator Training Program:

C1. Increase the number of Educator-In-Training hours.

We will increase the length of our new educator orientation from 24 hours to 40 hours. If our educators received 3 days paid training in Year 1, they could expect to receive 5 days paid training by Year 3.

C2. Increase the length of the educator apprentice period.

We will extend the period under which a new educator shadows a veteran educator from 5 teaching hours to 25 teaching hours. If a new instructor shadows a returning educator for a single day in Year 1, a new instructor could expect to shadow a returning educator for an entire week by Year 3.

C3. Increase the number of one-on-one mentoring sessions an educator receives.

We will increase the number of opportunities instructors have to meet privately with the Program Director to review their maturation as an educator. If an instructor meets with the Program Director once or twice during the spring program season in Year 1, he or she could expect to meet with the Program Director on a weekly basis by Year 3.

3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?


4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

In the years ahead, Kestrel is poised for a period of rapid transformation. Our organization will pursue a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound approach to programmatic growth and strategic staff development. In particular, we envision increasing the number of students we work with by more than 100 percent over the next three years with a more modest increase in revenue of about 35 percent.


Historical Estimated Projected
                    FY13     FY14     FY15    FY16     FY17     FY18

Students     855         1292     2200        2500     3000        5000

Revenue     -                  -       40,000    80,000    95,000    110,000

5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?