Community action in the Middle School occurs as a part of the structured curriculum as well as in elective and extracurricular venues. Each grade level has its own distinct service-learning project that runs in concert with elements of the curriculum.
In Grades 7 and 8, students have an opportunity to take a service-learning elective class where they examine school, local community and global issues, and actively participate in initiatives that have a positive impact in each of those three arenas. Both our Student Council and Social Justice Council also work on service-learning projects over the course of the year.
Within ASL community action we strive to integrate several key components in order to offer experiential learning, critical engagement in the social world and meaningful partnerships that encourage empathy and equity.
Community service: Where students take action that seeks to do good for others or the world. At their best these projects are relevant to community needs and have been co-developed with those served. Examples: Community Service Days; Materials Drives.
Community engagement: Experiences that deepen student learning, which involve equitable and ongoing engagement with members of a community. At their best, these programs have positive impacts for both groups and help students an appreciation of the systemic roots of local and global issues. Examples: Grade 3 Drama Project with Barrow Hill School; Grade 2 Identity Project with Barrow Hill School; Grade 5 Elder partnership; Middle School youngERpower Conference; High School Community Partnerships; High School Health Class Elder Partnerships.
Service learning: Learning opportunities where students identity and investigate a problem, plan and execute a course of action to address it and reflect on their work. At its best, service learning is rooted in deep understanding, arising either from community engagement, or other forms of learning. Examples: Grade 8 Bio-diversity Project; MS Global Issues Community Action Class Projects; HS Human Rights Symposium; HS South Kilburn Documentary Film Project.
This year we hope to build off the great events from last year by developing a climate Justice Conference in collaboration with the HS and create after school opportunities for some MS students to visit and support our community partners.
Sean Ross, the MS Community Action Integrationist, collaborates with students, colleagues, community partners, and the PCA MS Parent Representative and K-12 Director of Community Action, Brandon Block. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or ideas you would like to share.