Reach Up ~ Reach Out to a Lifetime of Service Learning

Overview How can students Reach Up and Reach Out to a Lifetime of Service Learning? When high schoolers learn about public service in Strategies for Success, the school's transition program, and begin hands-on training sessions in their Public Service Academy, they find themselves on pathways to stronger communities. This project-based curriculum challenges students to experience service learning both in a school setting and at university sites. As they fulfill School to Career competencies and interdisciplinary standards, students explore local social and environmental issues, interact with representatives from public service careers, and examine public policy and agencies. Presented in discrete units addressing Service Learning priority areas, the following Public Service and Citizenship activities illustrate how these young reformers prepare for lifelong commitment to community and country.

Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
 
Conflict Resolution
Read local newspapers & research Web Sites on conflict & ways to resolve it.
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.
Atttend 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.
Explore citizenship values & responsibilities.
Choose hunger as theme for culminating service learning project.
Research Internet & complete Project Bread activities on hunger issues.
Organize schoolwide Canned Food Drive.
Discuss articles & strategies with family & friends.
Role model lessons & conflict resolution vocabulary in playground lunch room & bus.
Distribute posters throughout school community.
Conduct weekly MVP Peer Training in 9th grade classes.
Role model appropriate non-violent behavior in & out of school.
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.
Highlight Book during school based Service Learning Festival.
Make food drive Public Service Announcements on school intercom.
Donate collection to Greater Boston Food Project.
Respond to journalist's questions about Food Drive.
Engage in lesson on school & community rules & law.
Research law & justice careers.
Invite Judge from Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to classroom.
Write reflections 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 classroom round table discussions with elected Boston City Council member & visiting professor from Kennedy School of Government.
Take photos & publicize visits.

Learning Standards English Language Art

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 applies 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.

Assessment 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 https://bostonglobe.com/community/nie/index.stm; 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 http://www.civiced.org/wethepeople.html by Center for Civic Education.

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

Keywords Citizenship, Conflict Resolution, Heroes, Hunger, Law, Mentoring, Public Service, School to Career, Service Learning

Final Words Some of the community connecting activities were a first for me. Our university partnerships met our wildest expectations. What a thrill it was for the students to interact with Justice 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 classroom by giving us common tools and language to deal with conflict. 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 Canned Food Drive news coverage that showed students the value of Public Service Announcements.


E-mail contact Sandy Simpson sesimpson@rcn.com

Teacher Bio Sandy Simpson teaches Social Studies and School to Career classes in the Academy of Public Service at Dorchester High. Equipped with a degree from UMASS Boston Graduate School of Education, this teacher activist entered her urban high school community six 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

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

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