Register Soon for 2018 CWI Summer Institutes!

CWI’s 2018 Summer Institutes on Place Based Service-Learning and Sustainability —LIMITED SPACE
Los Angeles and Burlington, Vermont

Expert training, experienced guidance, with supportive collaboration. Create academically rigorous service focused curriculum programs. Connect your academic and social goals with compelling student centered community projects. special early bird rates and team packages


Join K-16 and community educators, from across the U.S. and international schools, for a week of expert training, and inspiring curriculum design work. A unique opportunity to dig deep into place based service-learning and sustainability and how to use it most effectively with your students. This is your opportunity to move your classroom curriculum or school program to the next level. learn more

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Does Education “Kill” Creativity?

Why We Must Be More Creative about the Education of the Future


“Creative Thinking” class in Japan

Reforming education — putting in place an education appropriate for a digital age — is a challenge.

I always knew that.

But, the important lesson that I have learnt over the last week is that I might have been a little naïve as to the scale of this challenge.

The experience of preparing for an “accreditation event” forced me to confront some of the hard realities about the current state of education.

Put bluntly, I thought reform would be easier and that creativity and innovation would be welcomed.

After all, most of the people that I talk to in my working life — both inside and outside the university — are convinced that education must change. Everyone agrees it is necessary to include “creativity”, “teamwork”, innovation” and “storytelling” in all levels of education.

This is particularly true in the context of a digital age.

Constant technological change will have an unpredictable and uncertain effect on the way we live and work.

Giving young people the skill-set to deal with this uncertainty is the only option. Continue reading

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School Shootings: What Does Early Childhood Have to Do with Them?


I realize this isn’t the kind of thing I typically write about — and it would certainly seem to have nothing to do with early childhood — but lately I’ve been thinking a lot about school shootings. I’ve found myself asking: What is it that incites such rage in these young people that they see killing as the only resort?

Immediately following all of these incidents, everybody talks about the need for better attention to mental health, in addition to gun control. I couldn’t agree more that that’s essential. But if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking about mental health as it relates to people old enough to purchase or acquire guns. People who have been bullied or ignored for so long that something finally snaps in them.

Upon reflection, however, I’ve realized we can probably assume that the kind of anger, frustration, and helplessness — the mental health issues — evident in school shooters doesn’t just suddenly crop up. It builds! And based on what I know to be happening in the education and lives of today’s young children, I’m firmly convinced that it often does begin in early childhood. Continue reading

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Getting Our Students Out of Their Bubble

Educator and CWI alum Shai Pina talked with us about the importance of providing intentional opportunities for our students to personally experience the real life and humanity of their community. learn more:

learn morecwi summer instituteswhat is service-learning?

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Exile and Restitution: Thoughts on the Riddle of Childscape


Dr. Stuart Grauer is a teacher, the founding Head of School at The Grauer School, and Founder of The Small Schools Coalition.

This is part of the answer to the riddle of childhood unhappiness: their minds need, and deserve, a whole world of utterly unfenceable freedom where everything has othering, everything is radiant with the possibilities of elseness. —from Kith: the Riddle of Childscape, by Jay Griffiths

1809: Enclosure Act divides English countryside into strict fence-lines
1830: President Jackson prompts U.S. Congress to pass the Removal Act, forcing Native Americans to their land and settle in the Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River
1867: The first patent in the United States for barbed wire was issued to Lucien B. Smith of Kent, Ohio
1956: Construction starts replacing the Manhasset (Long Island) village woods with a 220,000 square foot “premiere” section of the Miracle Mile
1964: Chairman Mao denounces gardens and grassy fields as “bourgeois”
1965: The original AstroTurf brand product is invented and installed in The Moses Brown School in Providence, Rhode Island
2013: African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights calls for the forced relocation of Kalahari Bushmen and tribal people in Ethiopia to be halted

My earliest memories are in nature. Behind my childhood home in Manhasset, Long Island, was a thick woods. I remember filling my pockets with eye-catching stones—stones for gathering and arranging, throwing and hunting. I remember running renegade through the narrow, leaf covered paths. I read that fireflies are hard to find these days, but not back then. On summer nights, we illuminated glass jars with fireflies we caught from around the low hanging trees and set them free the next night. A moon of my own in a jar. Back then, we were free to roam, to take, to lie, to shapeshift and to run to our escape as far as our legs would take us and never be caught. Continue reading

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TerraCorps, A Great Program Recruiting Team Members

TerraCorps is an innovative national service program helping communities conserve and secure land for the health and well-being of people and nature. This year we are looking for 36 new members to become part of the TerraCorps team! As a member you will join 35 other TerraCorps members to serve with nonprofit partner organizations across Massachusetts. Members serve as a Community Engagement Coordinators, Youth Education Coordinators, Land Stewardship Coordinators, or Regional Collaboration Coordinators. Continue reading

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No Straight Lines: Local Leadership and the Path from Government to Governance in Small Cities

Small cities face intricate challenges. No Straight Lines provides the basis for a refined model of community-engaged leadership and research designed to realize equality of quality of life.

With particular attention to the small city of Kamloops, BC, this book explores the impact of extended, short-term, and unique leadership collaborations and local responses to homelessness, sustainability and food security, aging populations, and the recovery of local history. It offers exciting insights into the role of the university in the small city, from generating local learning opportunities to the integration of undergraduates and faculty in achieving positive change.

Based on active engagement, No Straight Lines reveals the obstacles present in addressing local needs, and the transformations that can be achieved through effective collaboration. It offers rich accounts and valuable insights into flexible practices that respond to the needs of community organizations while recognizing the challenges associated with resource constraints and limitations in capacity. This unique collection provides new insights into the barriers and benefits of leadership and learning in the small city. learn more

With contributions by: Ginny Rastoy, Lisa Cooke, Robin Reid and Kendra Besanger, Dawn Farough, Tina Block, and Terry Kading

About the Author(s):

Terry Kading is Associate Professor of Political Science in the Department of Philosophy, History and Politics at Thompson Rivers University. He is editor of Small Cities, Big Issues: Reconceiving Community in a Neoliberal Era.

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The Place Based Concept in Education

Jane Jack is Director of Small Learning Communities at Decatur Central High School Choice Academy in Indiana. She is an alumna of CWI’s Summer EAST Institute and shares her thoughts on the importance of “place based education” in her students’ development of a sense of self. learn more at

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Gathering for Purpose: Educational Change, Confucius, and the Moving Vehicle


Place Based Service-Learning and educating for Sustainability provide a unique opportunity for making a complete shift in our educational and societal paradigm, at a time when, by nearly everyone’s estimation, we need to return to the essential roots of community.

Those roots include finding shared common cause and building a sense of self efficacy among our students, around creating positive social change. But for all of the enthusiasm I encounter in schools for this sort of thinking, there are clearly challenges to doing so. Working recently with university faculty in China, I was struck by both local educators’ innate enthusiasm and sense of urgency for this work, coupled with the desire to reconnect with the traditional Confucian ethic of transcendent ideals for society, echoed in these educators’ reverence for the work of John Dewey.

ABOVE: An interview with CWI Summer Institute alumna Tonya Williams, principal of Githens Middle School in Durham, North Carolina.

If substantive societal change and building sustainable communities best begins with local needs and actions, then what more important place to begin than with local education. Saddled with societal challenges, questionable mandates, sometimes less than desirable community support, and a host of restrictions from finance to class size, many heavily burdened schools — gifted still with teachers and administrators who care — face an old question. Education to what end? Continue reading

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The Real Power of Schools and Students in Their Communities

Matt Budd is an outstanding veteran educator at the Berkeley Carroll School in Brooklyn, New York, and an alum of CWI’s Summer Institute on Place Based Service-Learning and Sustainability. He shares his Institute experience and his thoughts on the power that schools and their students have to do crucial work in their local community.

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The Power of “I Don’t Know”


“I don’t know,” I stammered, a few weeks ago in my anatomy class. I was not prepared. I had not finished the reading assignment.

Despite my discomfort, though, I felt proud that I was honest and didn’t try to make up an answer or make an excuse. It was a life lesson for me, and not just a learning moment. Despite long hours working and going to school, I need to carve out time for doing homework, reviewing notes, making flash cards, and quizzing myself. Yes, I needed the reminder of that very basic lesson. Continue reading

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