E-mail contact
Sandy Simpson ssimpson632004@yahoo.com

Teacher Bio
Sandy Simpson (now at Another Course to College) taught Social Studies and School to Career classes in the Academy of Public Service at Dorchester Education Complex. Equipped with a degree from UMASS Boston Graduate School of Education, this teacher activist entered her urban high school community seven years ago. She is proud of her role in implementing a partnership between Dorchester High and UMASS where she currently teaches a graduate class. Sandy is committed to public service and to being an adult whom students can trust.

Subject Areas
Social Studies, School to Career, English Language Arts

Grade Levels
9 - 12

Academy of Public Service Grade 10 and 11 students represent all educational programs and have a variety of skill levels































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Reach Up ~ Reach Out
To a Lifetime of Service Learning


Key Question How can students change public perception of their school?

Overview In a school determined to improve, students learn about public service in Strategies for Success, the school's transition program. Experiencing hands-on training at their Academy of Public Service, they find themselves on pathways to a stronger community. This project-based curriculum challenges students to practice Service Learning both in a classroom setting and at university sites. They explore local social and environmental issues, interact with public service leaders, and attend public policy institutes. A conflict resolution mentoring project, a book on neighborhood heroes, and a schoolwide food drive result in a more positive image. With local newspapers featuring stories about their commitment to Service Learning, these young activists recognize there's more than one way to make headlines.

Active Exploration + Applied Learning + Adult Connections
Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Conflict Resolution
• Read local newspapers & research Web Sites on conflict & resolution.
• Role-play scenarios of successful strategies that avoid conflict & prevent violence.
• Decide on conflict resolution Vocabulary Lesson.
• Work in teams to create conflict resolution posters.
Attend Mentor in Violence Prevention (MVP) 10-week program sponsored by Northeastern University.
Food Drive
• Read municipal newspapers to explore community issues.
• Interview family members & community service representatives.
• Publish interviews in Book of Heroes.
• Choose hunger as theme for culminating service learning project.
• Research Internet & complete Project Bread activities on hunger issues
• Organize schoolwide Canned Food Drive.
• Explore citizenship values & responsibilities.
• Discuss articles & strategies with family & friends.
• Role-model lessons & conflict resolution vocabulary at playground, in lunchroom & on bus.
• Distribute posters throughout school community.
• Hold Awards Ceremony & distribute Conflict Resolution Certificates.
• Post interviews & photos on central bulletin board.
• Distribute Book of Heroes (Word Document, 16.9 MB) to school & local libraries.
• Donate collection to Greater Boston Food Project.
• Make food drive Public Service Announcements on school intercom.
• Highlight Book of Heroes during school based Service Learning Festival.
• Engage in lesson on school & community rules & law.
• Research law & justice careers..
• Invite Massachusetts Supreme Justice Roderick Ireland to classroom.
• Reflect on visit by Supreme Court Justice.
• Send reflections in a Thank You to Supreme Court Justice.
• Research Public Service & Government careers.
• Attend Public Service Conference at Kennedy School, Harvard University.
• Participate in Harvard University's Model Congress.
• Hold round table discussions with elected Boston City Council member & Linda Johnson Robb, visiting professor from Kennedy School of Government.
• Document & publicize visits.

Academic Rigor

Learning Standards English Language Arts
• Employ various conflict resolution strategies.
• Engage in effective discussion.
• Understand & employ structures of written language.
• Learn & use the writing process.
• Make effective presentations.
• Employ different genres of academic writing.

Learning Standards History and Social Studies

• Examine events and people given norms and values of the time.
• Engage in historical and social issues analysis and decision making.
• Understand and express different points of view.
• Conduct historical and social studies research.
• Collaborate on projects that apply learning to educate others.

School to Career Competencies

• Practice Communication and Technology skills.
• Use Technology.
• Solve Problems.
• Act professionally.
• Organize and Analyze Information.
• Complete Entire Activities.
• Interact with Others.


Students earn certificates for finishing projects. Teacher checks projects and products. Contributing teams use Rubrics and Self-Evaluation forms.

Software or Materials Used For technology: digital cameras, digital scanners, Internet; Microsoft Office for journals, term papers, posters and brochures. For literature and research: The Boston Globe Newspaper In Education Program; The Oxfam America Hunger Curriculum and Food for Thought Project Bread Curriculum for activities and lesson on hunger; for background information and material on citizenship: We the People… The Citizen and Constitution by Center for Civic Education.

Teacher Developed Materials Poster Directions, Interview Directions, Conflict Resolution Certificates, Rubrics for Interviews, Self Evaluation Forms, Web Site Lists on Conflict Resolution and Hunger

Student Developed Materials Conflict Resolution Posters, Neighborhood Heroes Interviews, Book of Heroes, Food Drive Public Service Announcements, Reflections, Thank You Notes, Photo Documentation

Web Sites Web Sites on Conflict Resolution; Web Sites on Hunger

Final Words Some community connecting activities were a first for me. Our university partnerships met our wildest expectations. What a thrill it was for students to interact with Justice Roderick Ireland the first African American Judge appointed to the Massachusetts Supreme Court and Linda Johnson Robb who inspired us all. Other efforts challenged us. I expected my students to be disappointed when they didn't always connect, but they were resilient and proud of their work. Their reactions have strengthened my resolve to include community and university partnerships in future Service Learning activities.

Teacher Tip The Conflict Resolution strategies changed our class by giving us common tools and language to deal with violence. The Facing History web site has been a terrific addition to our classroom resources. Our Book of Heroes made a big impression. Well worth the effort! Topping it all off was the positive news coverage that showed students the value of working together.


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