Using the Legislative Process to Make a Difference in Our Community
Audrey Schindler McDonald
teaches Advanced Placement Language and Composition at East Boston High School.


Kathleen Aborn, Barry Lawton, Audrey Schindler McDonald

Students: Grades 11 & 12 English Language Arts, Social Studies & Technology classes
Partners
Collaboration with East Boston High
Technology Teacher, Kathleen Aborn &
Social Studies Teacher, Barry Lawton;
Boston Police Department; Boston City Council; Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA); Office of State Senator Dianne Wilkerson, Aide Matuya Brand; MBTA; Madison Park High; O’Bryant School of Mathematics and Science; Roxbury Community College; Reggie Lewis Center


East Boston High students visit City Council Chambers

Classroom Activities
Research how laws are made
Discuss possible initiatives
Agree to work on a Bill providing Pedestrian Crossover at Roxbury Crossing (site of multiple schools & colleges, city institutions, sports center & residences)
Contact State Senator’s office & invite Aide to classroom
Form groups responsible for Press Release, Pitch Letter, Op-Ed, Letter to Editor, or Persuasive Essay
Draft petition for signature solicitations
Contact editors of local newspapers
Organize display for School Showcase
Community Activities
Visit site to observe traffic patterns
Host State Senator’s Aide & discuss steps, including writing campaign
Obtain data from city agencies & schools
Gather signatures at strategic sites
Explain campaign to reporters
Exhibit information at School Showcase
Meet with City Council President, City Transportation Commissioner & BRA Representative
Distribute articles from Boston Globe, The Boston People’s Voice & Roxbury Citizen to legislators & community leaders
Remain in contact with State Senator responsible for filing Bill
Teacher Reflections
This project introduced students to the legislative process and allowed them to voice their opinions on an issue affecting people in their community. . . . We chose to work on a crossover/pedestrian walkway at a dangerous intersection. . . . As the project progressed, students interacted with other students in other classes and schools and with community members. They became more and more excited at the possibility of making a difference. The real change came when we met with the Boston Globe reporter, and when we started to prepare for our showcase. Students recognized that they were accountable for some important aspects of the project, and that it was their civic duty and responsibility to accurately relay this information. I’m proud of our work, and I believe that our students are as well.

Student Reflections
Michelle: The project was real. We went to Roxbury Crossing and got people to sign our petition. Many said that a bridge was long over due. Madison Park & O’Bryant students were all for it. The intersection is not safe to cross even with a red light. I am glad that I was part of this community project.
Kevin: If we become successful and get a crossover, it shows that we made an impact. When we first started, I was uninterested because sometimes in our community, it’s hard to get your voice heard. Now I have more respect and understanding for people who want your signature and ask you to sign a petition. The signatures from the community were important in this project. We are not the only ones who think that there is a problem.

TeachNet Service Learning is administered by Boston Public Schools Affiliate IMPACT II @ High School Renewal.
Supporting TeachNet are Special Assistant to the Superintendent for High School Renewal, Kathleen Mullin; IMPACT II Affiliate Director Barbara Locurto; WebMaster Andrew Binns; Web Advisor Linda Younis, High School Renewal; and Project Assistant Jean Gibran. For more information, email blocurto@gmail.com.

Back to CHESP Learn & Serve Adapter Projects