Monday, October 26, 2009

Coalition of Essential Schools Highlights Service-Learning at National Conference

The Coalition of Essential Schools announced that they will offer a strong service-learning strand at their Fall Forum in New Orleans November 5-7.  (Note that Oakland’s ARISE High School will offer a workshop on the school’s social action project.)


How does effective service-learning impact the lives of young people and their communities?

The Service-Learning strand at Fall Forum will encourage the engagement of students and practitioners in meaningful service to the community connected to classroom curriculum and learning goals. The approach will be both experiential and didactic: exploring both the principles and practices of effective service-learning and providing hands-on service learning experiences and a context for discussing and learning how to integrate service learning into classroom curriculum that enable students to gain 21st century academic skills in real-world environments while strengthening their commitment to their communities.

Here are some of the selected sessions that will be offered:

Authors of Change: Our 10th Grade Culminating Service Project
Facilitators: Rob Feigal-Stickles, Jessica Torvik Lee; Nathan Hale High School
Friday: 8:00am - 9:45am
Is it possible for a culminating project to do it all? Demonstrate mastery of skills and content? Integrate English, history, and biology coursework? Be appropriately differentiated so that students with diverse skills, interests, and supports can succeed? Provide a stepping-stone to the 12th grade capstone project? And, finally, to involve students in real service-learning? Teachers from Nathan Hale High School’s Integrated Studies Program will present a sample project and facilitate an interest group discussion.

The Forgotten Faces of Katrina: Lessons From New Orleans’ 7th Ward
Facilitators: Sam Frumkin, Lehman Alternative Community School
Friday: 8:00am - 9:45am
This workshop will focus on the role of leadership in generating compassion, concern, and service for the forgotten individuals of New Orleans as well as the underserved in our own communities. The facilitator will share his own experiences working in New Orleans’ deluged 7th ward over the last two years. Participants will engage in a discussion centered around strategies for cultivating leadership and inspiring participation in providing service to our neighbors.

Learning as a Political Act: Social Action in the Middle School
Facilitators: Freja Joslin, Matthew King; Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School
Friday: 10:15am- 12:00pm
Do you believe that middle schoolers are ready to take on changing the world? Would you like to hear success stories and learn tools from teachers who have engaged students in social change work? Teachers from PVPA will present a unit conducted as a culminating project with their 8th graders. This interactive workshop will feature a sample unit plan, examples of student work, and a lesson for students on how to take social action. Participants will consider ways to implement this type of project in their classrooms and schools.

Four Pillars of Service Learning: An Integrated Approach
Facilitators: JoAnn Groh, Paulo Freire Freedom School
Friday: 1:30pm- 3:15pm
The Paulo Freire Freedom School is a middle school with a curricular focus on social justice and environmental sustainability. Our commitment to service learning occurs in four ways. It is: 1) woven throughout our curriculum; 2) a component of our advisory program; 3) part of our Intersession/Expedition programs and 4) the work of individual students in their learning lab and graduation portfolio. Participants will hear about specific successful examples and help presenters think through challenges.

How Do We Create Change and Movement? A Historical Research Project in which Students are Agents of Change
Facilitators: Eileen Barrera, Laura Flaxman, Jasmine Herrera, Devin Carberry; ARISE High School
Friday: 1:30pm- 3:15pm
Juniors at ARISE High School in Oakland, CA, pioneered the school's first "proficiencies"—a series of five projects and presentations by students in the school's "Senior Institute." These students conducted a research and social action project related to the essential question of their humanities class: "How do we create change and movement?" Teachers and students from the class will share their experiences and lessons. This workshop will help you connect academic work with students' own interests and meaningful service learning. Participants will leave with their own ideas for how to engage students in real-world projects that also meet high academic standards.

Paint the Change
Facilitators: D. Banfield, Crescent City Art Project
Saturday: 10:15am- 12:00pm and 1:30pm- 3:15pm
Help to transform the Fall Forum exhibit hall into an environment of color, art, and education. The Crescent City Art Project works to aesthetically enhance communities throughout New Orleans through artistic expression that embraces culture, individuality, and pride for one’s community. To date, D. Banfield, Creative Director and co-founder of Crescent City Art Project, has produced over 2000 images that have been installed at many New Orleans schools, churches, buildings, and streets. Join D. in co-creating unique and original works of art that encapsulate the spirit and energy of Fall Forum, CES’ 25th Anniversary, and a legacy of changing schools and changing lives.

Seniors Taking Action: Implementing Social Action Projects
Facilitators: Joseph Corsetti, Amber Jones, Danielle Palmieri, Lesek Ward; New Haven Academy
Saturday: 1:30pm- 3:15pm
Each senior at New Haven Academy, as an outgrowth of the four-year "Facing History and Ourselves" program, designs, implements, and presents their own Social Action Project. In the context of senior Humanities Classes, each student identifies a local, national, or international issue that he or she will explore, writes a formal proposal, and works with a mentor to implement the project. This workshop will explore this process and how it enables students to implement change in their own community.

Again, to browse through the entire conference program, please access the Online Program Guide.


Thank you for your interest in the CES Fall Forum. 




Nate Ivy


Service-Learning Lead CalServe Region 4 |

Service-Learning Waste Reduction Project |


Alameda County Office of Education

313 W. Winton Ave., Room 220

Hayward, CA 94544-1198

Ph: 510.670.4283

Fax: 510.670.4578


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About Me

The CalServe Network posts news and updates of interest to the service-learning field in California. News and updates are drawn from the CalServe List Serve and the National K-12 Service-Learning List Serve and various other sources.