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Don’t Miss It This Year • Space is Limited

CWI’s Summer Institutes on Service-Learning and Sustainability —Los Angeles, California and Burlington, Vermont

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 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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JUST ANNOUNCED: Affordable School Team Accommodations for CWI’s Summer WEST

JUST ANNOUNCED: Affordable School Team Accommodations for CWI’s Summer WEST Institute on Service-Learning and Sustainability—Los Angeles, CA
learn more or call 909.480.3966 (PST)

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Where Have All The Sharks Gone? A Teen Led Ecological Literacy Project

By JOE HARBER

Joe Harber is the education programs director at the National Aquarium, Baltimore, MD and oversees programing and staff working with schools, teachers, and kids. Joe has been at the Aquarium for 13 years, and before that was an urban environmental educator at the Irvine Nature Center also in Baltimore. He has worked on various environmental education programs in New Jersey, South Dakota, and California.

On a warm humid afternoon in July, ten teenagers rollout of a white cargo van in front of an Enoch Pratt library branch in Baltimore City. Without being told, they unload a bag of costumes, several props, a backdrop, and a cooler of seawater and live animals and lug them inside the library’s air-conditioned auditorium. Like clockwork the teens set up the backdrop, arrange props, get into costumes and wait. Within a few minutes over 100 children, families and adults file in and take seats on chairs or crisscross applesauce-style on the floor. The play is about to begin.

The teen actors are participating in a National Aquarium sponsored summer and afterschool program called Aquarium on Wheels. About 20 teens participate each year. A significant part of the program is dedicated to creating, producing and performing an environmental theater-style play. Continue reading

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Educating for K-16 Place, Service, and Sustainability — 2017

K-16 Professional Development Opportunities from CWI

CWI’s 2017 Summer Institute on Service-Learning and Sustainability

Don’t miss our annual series of professional development events. Limited space exists for CWI’s Summer EAST and WEST Institutes on Service-Learning, in Vermont and Los Angeles. Join with educators from across the U.S. and around the world for a week of learning, exploration, and practical curriculum design.

Since 1995, educators from across the U.S. and around the world have come together at our Summer Institutes for an intensive and deeply rewarding week immersed in developing service-learning, sustainability, and place-based education.

CWI Summer Institutes are the perfect way for individual educators and school teams to deepen their use of service-learning and sustainability. These dynamic best practice based events are appropriate for K-16 and community educators. Early Bird Rates and School Team Packages are NOW!  learn more

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Exceptional Summer Institute Rates for School Teams!

Join us in Los Angeles, or Burlington, Vermont this summer. We have an exceptional opportunity to bring a team from your school or educational organization with our School Team Support Package! learn more

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K-16 School Service Programs: Here It Is!

Join us for a transformative design and planning experience.

Exceptional School Team Institute Packages. learn more

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Passion for Place in India

By DIANE SHINGLEDECKER

From the Inside: Thoughts on Place-Based Education at a Community College

This February I took part in a three-week international service trip to southern India. During my time in the Tamil Nadu region of India, I was based at a British women’s school, Lady Doak College (LDC). I worked closely with the students there building deep relationships that allowed me to learn about their community so that I could effectively serve alongside them. While our service together in orphanages and schools was personally transformative, I expected that. What was unexpected was the way LDC’s place-based education programs energized me to go back to my school and raise the bar in my own domestic service work. That was truly unexpected! Honestly, I had expected them to be in need of direction, instead of them directing me.

Schools of higher education in India are three-year institutions. The first year allows students to get settled in, test the waters in their major, and take required general education courses — similar to our freshman year in the United States. LDC uses this grounding year to challenge students with open discussions of the current caste, gender, and social issues that impact their culture. They encourage students to open their eyes to the big issues of their world and empower them to make a difference. I should note that the students at LDC, for the most part, come from families who can pay for them to attend college and so, can be somewhat sheltered from these cultural issues. Continue reading

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The Time is Now: Transforming Community Through Dialogue

By MARLENE K. REBORI

Marlene K. Rebori, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) and the Community Development Specialist with Cooperative Extension. Marlene is the Founding Director of the Office of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement (OSLCE) at the University of Nevada, Reno Campus.

I remember one of my father’s strict rules for guests while I was growing up, “No talking politics or religion.” As a child growing-up I often wondered why my dad, who was a veteran of both WWII, serving in the Pacific theater, and the Korean War, would make such a hard-fast rule. I assumed it was because he witnessed enough conflict both politically and ideologically in his lifetime that he did not want his home to be a hotbed for political discussions. Perhaps he realized one person would never change another’s opinion or ideology. Although this was a strict rule my father enforced with guests coming to our home, it was not a rule that he followed when conversing with his family.

Growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s, I learned from both my parents about being aware of current news events, and most importantly, learning how to discuss current events. Our family conversations taught me how to engage in dialogue. At the time I did not realize we were engaging in dialogue, coming from a traditional Italian family we had some very lively family conversations. But in retrospect, it taught me how to talk and listen with others. Now, as a community development professional I understand from my own research, as well as others, the significant impact parental values and habits play toward influencing a child’s connection to their community and the skills needed to engage in the community. Parental habits are one of the strongest predictors influencing youth engagement and developing the skills for involvement in one’s community. Second to parental influence, educators have an enormous impact and responsibility in nurturing and enhancing student civic skills both in the community and in the classroom. Continue reading

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Dismantling Neoliberal Education: A Lesson from the Zapatistas

By LEVI GAHMAN

We thank Levi for sharing his work here with us. For those who care deeply about teaching from the context of place, through themes of sustainability and service, this piece contains a powerful narrative of the power of place based education. Enjoy! — Joe Brooks, Publisher of Community Works Journal.

The story of the Zapatistas is one of dignity, outrage, and grit. It is an enduring saga of over 500 years of resistance to the attempted conquest of the land and lives of indigenous peasants. It is nothing less than a revolutionary and poetic account of hope, insurgency and liberation — a movement characterized as much by adversity and anguish, as it is by laughter and dancing.

“Zapatismo is neither a model, nor doctrine. It’s also not an ideology or blueprint, rather, it is the intuition one feels inside their chest to reflect the dignity of others, which mutually enlarges our hearts.”

Continue reading

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Finding Our Roots as Educators

By KARY SCHUMPERT

Do you remember when you first knew that you wanted to become a teacher? Was it a childhood dream? Or, did you discover your love of teaching and learning as an adult? What in your life inspired you to teach? On the long and sometimes harried days of teaching, what in your roots serve as your points of strength and inspiration?

Do you remember when you first knew that you wanted to become a teacher? Was it a childhood dream? Or, did you discover your love of teaching and learning as an adult? What in your life inspired you to teach? On the long and sometimes harried days of teaching, what in your roots serve as your points of strength and inspiration?

Recently, I was spending some time looking forward, specifically working on some goals and plans for my professional and personal lives — both in the next few months and over the next few years — the near-term more definite, while the future is sketched out in broader strokes. At the end of that exercise, and at the urging of my editor (thanks, Joe!), I realized that I needed to look backward to look forward. Continue reading

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Taking Hands On Civics to the Street

By SARAH ANDERSON

Sarah Anderson teaches middle school humanities and interdisciplinary studies at a place-based charter school in Portland, Oregon. Originally from rural Vermont, Anderson has also taught nature studies to urban middle school students in the California Redwoods, career skills to at-risk youth on an educational farm in Vermont and Civics and Global Studies at an independent school in Maryland. She earned a masters in education in Integrated Learning from Antioch New England Graduate School. Sarah is an alumnus of CWI’s Summer Institute and her essays on teaching are regularly featured in Community Works Journal.

The charter school where I teach has three areas of focus: environmental science, civics and art. Prospective parents know what environmental science and art look like, but the civics piece seems more of a mystery. Civics, as a subject, can trigger a glazed-over look in people’s eyes — it is associated with mandatory classes in high school where students memorize excerpts of the Constitution and learn the tedious steps a bill takes towards becoming a law. Many people think of civics as the “study of government.” But, by definition, civics is the study of what it means to be a citizen- the rights and duties of citizenship. There is a definite distinction between the study of government and the study of citizenship, and although they are certainly interconnected, noting the differences is essential in how we teach civics and raise citizens. Continue reading

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