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The MERITO Academy is a comprehensive hands-on Earth and ocean science education program that provides 4th-8th grade educators with the tools to teach Common Core and the Next Generation of Science Standards in the context of coastal and ocean environments while addressing current issues and using and generating real scientific data. The academy also exposes and builds interest among students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers, and increases awareness of how our actions affect the health of our watersheds, coastal and offshore environments through the application of meaningful, inquiry-based classroom and field experiences.

Over 12,000 4th-12th grade students and 300 teachers from Ventura and Santa Barbara counties have been immersed in this program since 2006. Each year, an average student’s knowledge of Earth and ocean science and interest in science careers has increased 30-60% after exposure to the academy as documented by external evaluators’ reports and teachers’ Testimonials. There is a scope and sequence for the MERITO Academy to be effective. The use or implementation of only one of the below components will not render the recorded evaluation impacts. The scope and sequence involve the following components in the following order:

  1. Content and Curriculum and supporting materials,

  2. Professional Development (MERITO Academy Educators Workshops),

  3. Ocean Science Field Trips & Camps

  4. Program Evaluation


The MERITO Foundation and partners work together to raise funds through donations, grants, and in-kind contributions to provide the above program components at no cost to educators and students in need (especially Title-1 schools).  However, the demand for this program is much larger than our capacity to raise enough funds to sponsor the program. The MERITO Foundation is a non-discriminatory charitable organization that can be contracted by Schools and School Districts that have the financial ability to cover all the above or selected program components.


Please contact us if you are a school or school district administrator, or PTA Chair interested in contracting our services, or interested in venturing into a collaborative grant proposal to bring any of our ocean, climate, or environmental education, outdoor recreation, or educator' Professional Development, or curricula to your school. The MERITO academy runs through the school year (September through June) although it can be adjusted for summer-long camps and/or adapted to other regions in the USA and abroad, especially near National Marine Sanctuaries or Marine Protected Areas.  Please contact us if you have any questions.

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