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Jeremy Greenfield

Teacher Bio
Jeremy Greenfield teaches Law and Justice at English High, a School to Career School. A first year teacher and Skidmore College graduate in Philosophy and English, Jeremy brings his commitment to critical thinking and literacy to the classroom. Recently transitioned from the non-profit sector, this teacher activist is working to fuse his interest in social justice with youth empowerment. To this end, Jeremy co-founded the Global Studies Student Congress to provide representation for the students in his small learning community. In addition, Jeremy is also working with a group of teachers in the school's Global Studies small learning community in an effort to provide cohesion and direction for the community.

Subject Areas
English Language Arts, Social Studies

Grade Levels
10 - 12




Bringing Justice Home ~First Steps toward Community Action


Key Question How can high school students engage in activities that will bring "justice for all" to the community?

Overview Learning that justice is not simply a subject in a book, but a day-to-day, life or death matter, students investigate the current state of their own community. Touring a neighborhood initiative and conducting interviews, students begin to explain how is justice is served or not served in the community. As local issues and topics arise, the project becomes student-inspired and student-driven. After reading about urban ecology and environmental justice, one student wants to know, "Is my community environmentally safe?" A study of urban poverty and gangs helps another understand why there are so many neighborhood gangs. The culminating Community Justice Career Fair brings information to several classes of peers. By planning and carrying out this event, students learn the intricacies and difficulties of planning community action. Meeting professional community activists connects the classroom experience to careers and demonstrates that Bringing Justice Home starts with informed citizens.

Active Exploration + Applied Learning + Adult Connections
Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
View video on Community Revitalization & read Declaration of Community's Rights.
Research & discuss articles on urban poverty, economic opportunity & the distribution of local, state & national resources.
Write essays demonstrating comprehension of articles.
Respond to & reflect on readings in Justice Journals.
Examine & graph local issues: ex. median costs of housing, environmental facts, comparative crime rates, etc.
Conduct interviews & report on concerns in differing local communities.
Choose questions about community (environment, housing, violence, etc.) & research answers.
Design boards, flyers & invitations for Community Justice Career Fair
Organize & plan fair details.
Contact officials at local Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI).
Tour Roxbury with DSNI & observe organizations that serve the community.
List local community partners, ex. organizations addressing housing, environment, local peace issues, etc.
Distribute environmental justice survey to classmates & community members.
Share concerns & survey results with class & community partners.
Coordinate list of potential community partners for fair.
Create introductory phone "rap" inviting community partners to fair.
Invite school community, parents & neighborhood activists to fair.
Design & set up stations for fair contributors.
Distribute agenda, flyers, brochures, & answer questions during fair.
Share reflections on "What can you do with your own two hands?".
Respond to career survey.
Observe & interact with several community organizers at DSNI.
Record reflections on careers related to community justice.
Interview teacher about prior experience in non-profit sector.
Discuss how workers in social services & health, use math & English for presenting data.
Interview representatives from Jamaica Plain Environmental Initiative on asthma in community.
Explore careers dealing with distributive justice in the private, public & non-profit sector (e.g. trial attorney, probation officer, community organizer).
Research health & social service careers that bring justice to the community.
Consider volunteering with selected community partners from fair to gain experience in organizing communities.

Academic Rigor

Learning Standards English Language Arts
Deliver informal and formal presentations, giving consideration to audience, purpose and content.
Identify and analyze the topic and main idea of different texts.
Organize information they've read or heard about into a coherent paragraph that includes a topic, supporting details, & concluding idea.
Formulate original, open-ended questions to explore a topic of interest; design and carry out research or inquiry.

Social Studies

Demonstrate an understanding of cause and effect, and the relations between events.
Be familiar with continuing racial tensions and culture wars.
Be familiar with the effects of technological change and the global economy on American business and labor.
Be familiar with the continuing racial tensions and culture wars.
Be familiar with major immigration and demographic changes during the 20th and 21st Centuries.

School to Career Competencies

Demonstrate Communication and Literacy Skills.
Organize and Analyze Information.
Identify and solve problems.
Complete Entire Activities.
Act professionally.
Interact with others.


Teacher-made quizzes and essays evaluate student comprehension of articles. Justice Journals allow students to regularly examine a community issue. Journals are collected weekly. The teacher responds with individual notes and follow-up questions; this transforms the writing process into a personal dialogue with each student. Guidelines and a rubric for the project clarify student expectations.

Software or Materials Used For technology: Internet access, digital camera, Microsoft Office, VCR access for classroom viewing; for information on Community Justice: articles from daily national and local newspapers and law journals; for articles on International Justice Daedalus Winter 2003; video chronicling Successful Resident-Led Community Revitalization Holding Ground: Rebirth of Dudley Street; Jamaica Plain Asthma Environmental Initiative Resource Guide; Shelterforce, Streets of Hope The Fall and Rise of an Urban Neighborhood by Peter Medof and Holly Sklar, 1994: South End Press; The Journal Book by Toby Fulwiler 1987: Boynton/Cook; The Boston Renaissance: Race, Space, and Economic Change in an American Metropolis by Barry Bluestone, Mary Huff Stevenson, 2000: Russell Sage Foundation; articles from The Journal of Affordable Housing and Community Building; Upfront The New York Times Magazine for Teens.

Teacher Developed Materials Bringing Justice Home rubric, Career Survey, Justice Journal Expectations.

Student Developed Materials Justice Journals, Environmental Justice Bar Graph, community interview, Photo Documentation, Essays & Readings Responses, Display Boards, Invitations, Flyers, Agenda, With Our Own Two Hands.

Web Sites Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University Ongoing Projects addresses wide ranging issues in urban communities; Common Dreams News Center for the Progressive Community up to date articles and opinions on community concerns; Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative information on organizing for community action; National Housing Institute comprehensive news on relevant legislation and community building; National Low Income Housing Coalition resources on affordable housing and joining together to create justice; Scorecard environmental statistics about communities across the nation, URBAN Teacher Education Network Research on gangs; US Census Bureau detailed tables and graphs on Poverty in the U.S

Final Words The overall value of our project is threefold: By studying the students' communities, we validate their families, their interests, and their beliefs; by using student-generated topics, there is a sense that the learning is authentic, meaningful, and not divorced from the students' real-life, outside-of-school experience; finally, by meeting people whose job it is to work for justice in the community, students learn that one's community could actually be one's career!

Teacher Tip Before you begin, make sure you know available resources and plan accordingly. Nonprofits are notoriously overworked and understaffed. To reach them, you and your students need to keep calling and calling. Once you reach someone, they are bound to be helpful; the trick is getting them. Finally, with the grant money I was able to buy a unique high-quality journal for each student. Students took great pride in their journals, and this pride led to wonderful introspective writing. I highly recommend anyone doing the same!

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