Register w/ Scholarship Support for 2019 CWI Summer Institutes

CWI’s 2019 Institutes on Place Based Service-Learning and Sustainability

—Los Angeles, California and Burlington, Vermont

PLAN AHEAD 2019 PREMIUM and SCHOOL COHORT Registrations are Now!
Register NOW with 50% Scholarship Support

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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Global Citizens: What Schools Need to Do Now

Saidy Godette, a teacher at Georgetown International School and alum of Community Works Institute (CWI) is very clear what our students need to experience in school to think like and become global citizens. learn more:

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Communities Without Limits: Ambiguity, Uncertainty and Questions


When I began my Master’s degree in English Literature back in the mid-90’s, all of us had to take a compulsory course in Literary Criticism. It scared the heck out of most of us; the professor was known to be very challenging, the readings were dense and seemingly impenetrable (I’m looking at you Jacques Derrida!), and the assignments and exams were legendary for how demanding they were. It was also the first course you had to take — everyone was new, and everyone was together, and everyone felt exposed and self-conscious about their relative ignorance and the quality of their ideas. Continue reading

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If You Want to Learn the Pipes, You Will Need a Great Teacher


It was the greatest drought in forty years and we were concerned the emerald isle would be brown, but we were keeping quiet about it. I had a teacher’s scholarship to study Irish culture at the esteemed Trinity College. Really, though, I was in search of an Irish tradition I have long treasured: the uilleann pipes.

Now, musical and other deep, place-based cultural traditions (like uilleann piping) are becoming scarcer and more hidden for the oppression of population growth, cultural standardization, and global sameness.

We landed in Dublin and headed north for the grassy suburb of Trim, home of the medieval castle used in the film Braveheart, where I had read the music was good and the town was quaint. That night, in the first of many strikes into traditional music pubs, we headed into the Bronson Hotel and Pub, but the barkeep said there was no music that night. “You should have been here yesterday,” he said, something I’ve heard many times on surf trips. The crew had sung and played late into the night, but tonight it was just a pub where mainly men were gathered around tables having a couple of pints after work. “Fekkin Iddyats!” we kept hearing as they got rowdier. Continue reading

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K-16 PD Trainings with Passion at the Core

#TeachwithPassion Bring a CWI Faculty Training and Planning event to your school. We meet schools exactly where they are. Customized trainings, presentations, and guided planning sessions that integrate your school’s own unique needs and resources. learn more:
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Learning from a Failed Community-University Research Project


In recent years, there has been a growth in the number of university-based graduate programs that aim to provide students with “practical research experience” through enrolling them in experiential education courses that connect them to research opportunities with local nonprofit organizations. These courses often come in the form of a practicum, capstone, or externship. Their benefits may include gaining project management skills, applied research skills, consulting experience, experience working with community-based organizations, and improving verbal and written communication skills.

However, many experiential education courses that aim to increase the practical research experience of students fail to meet their goals. In the article, “Learning from Failure: Barriers to Using Experiential Education In Graduate Nonprofit Research Training” published in the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, my colleagues and I explore lessons we learned from failing to meet the goals of such an experiential research project. Continue reading

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Stop Reinforcing the Status Quo, Inside or Outside Academia


The ivory tower as a whole doesn’t uplift anything, but those who reinforce it. It reinforces existing power. The status quo. A lot of folks within it do too. A lot of people who preach social justice do it every single day.

Let’s stop pretending.

How many times have you intentionally or perhaps unintentionally wielded your power and privilege only to use it to silence so you hold on to your own existing power and privilege?

How many times have you supported colleagues (if you even see us as that) not on a tenure track? How many times have you yourself called us not academic enough? Put us down? Stole our ideas and words then claim you are working for social justice and to give voice to the voiceless? To the oppressed and so called powerless? How many times have you gone into community, claimed community only to use it to get that next publication without building sustainable and truly respectful relationships? Continue reading

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What If Early Childhood Professionals Pushed Back?


Last week I wrote about the uphill battle of advocating for children — especially around the topic of play. But, as you know, our battles these days concern not just play, but also developmentally appropriate practice in general! Sad but true.

This hit home recently, when I was conducting my third professional development training for a Virginia school district. In the middle of one of my (fabulous, I’m certain!) points, one young woman raised her hand and asked, “Why are you here?” As you can imagine, this was not exactly the kind of question I was expecting.

My confusion was obvious (I’m rarely speechless), so she expounded. “You come here and share all of these ideas of things we should be doing with the kids,” she said, “but what good is it if the county isn’t going to let us do them?”

Wow. Continue reading

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EVERY TEACHER CAN BE A NATURAL TEACHER: 10 Ways You Can Add Vitamin “N” to the Classroom & Beyond


Not long ago I met some dedicated young women who were doing their student teaching at an impressive nature-based preschool. They made it clear that they’d love to pursue careers at similar schools. But they were discouraged about the prospects. Despite growing demand from parents, the number of nature-based preschools remains relatively low.

“Is there a business school at your university?” I asked. Yes, they said. “Have the business school and your education school ever considered working together to prepare future teachers to start your own preschools?” The students looked at each other. They had never heard of such a thing. Nor had the director of the preschool.

Why not?

Probably because it doesn’t exist. Bringing more nature experiences to education will be a challenging task, and teachers can’t do it alone. Higher education, businesses, families and the whole community must become involved. Continue reading

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The Climate Change Battle Needs Youth Voices


Participants of the 2018 Western New York Youth Climate Action Summit gather around a banner they created by stamping their footprint and signing their name, pledging that “The oceans are rising, and so are we!

“Climate change is a real and serious problem facing global society in the coming decades and centuries. Climate change in recent decades is primarily caused by human activities, especially related to energy use. Humans can take actions to reduce climate change and its impacts.” (Duggan-Haas, 2017).

As an Earth Science educator in New York State, I have felt it a part of my duties to include the topic of climate change in multiple facets of my teaching routine throughout the school year. Naturally, Earth Science topics lend themselves well to an investigation of climate change. Inevitably the discussion of climate change — depleting resources, noxious gases filling our atmosphere, ecological devastation, monster storms, and generally an altered picture of the world as we know it — naturally raises some concerns. Brows furrow, smiles turn to stiff frowns, and here or there a hand goes up… “just what are we supposed to do about it?” sounds more like a desperate demand than a question. Continue reading

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Don’t Miss This Chance to Move Your School Program Forward

PLAN AHEAD this year. Register yourself or a School Cohort this week for CWI’s 2019 Institutes with 50% Scholarship Rates, thanks to a generous private funder.



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