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• register by March 31: $959

• register by March 31: $859
—TEAM rate per person

• register by April 14: $989
team rates available

• register by April 30: $1,029
team rates available

• register by June 2: $1,089
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—if space remains

• regular tuition rate: $1,189

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Summer WEST begins promptly at 8:30am on Monday, July 24 and ends, following an important culminating activity, promptly at 4:30pm on Friday, July 28. Late arrivals and/or early departures are discouraged out of respect


Limited Scholarship
Support Available

CWI is committed to empowering all educators to attend the Summer Institutes and we have partial scholarships to support this vision. Our goal is to distribute partial scholarships on a needs basis, especially in public schools and underserved communities. contact us

service learning

“You make the five day commitment worth it! I really thought you hit the mix dead on.”
Leitzel Schoen
Service-Learning Director
Westminster School, Atlanta

“Excellent! This has motivated me to get to the next level. Thank you so much for the best professional development I’ve ever had!”
Marc LaVoie, Teacher
American School of Budapest

“Transformative work during the week! I found myself becoming even more determined about the role that service-learning can have in our school.”
Vernita Vallez, Principal
Inter-Amer. Magnet School
Chicago, Illinois

“I can't over state the importance of this event to my vision and enthusiasm."
Julie Metzler, Director
Community Arts and Service-Learning
Kansas City Art Institute

“I believe you touched many hearts and will start movements around the school. This was a very good session. Thank you for giving us the motivation! I now think it’s possible and have the willingness to do so.”
Ana Gabriella Ochoa Arias
American School

“Through teamwork at the Institute, my challenges turned out to be my biggest advances. My enthusiasm for service-learning has grown ten fold. CWI's Institute was beyond my expectations.”
Saidy Godette
Social Studies Teacher  
Georgetown Int'l School

more testimonials

CWI Institute video short [3 min.]
Rhonda Mitchell, Elementary Teacher
Trinity School, Atlanta, Georgia

CWI Institute video short [2 min.]
Dan Guardino, AP Science Teacher
Punahou School, Hawaii

CWI Institute video short [2 min.]
Jennifer Sertel, Outreach Director
Roberts College, Istanbul, Turkey


Planning and Collaboration

Renewal and Inspiration

Youth Voice

Social Justice

Sustainable Communities
service learning

CWI's 2017 Summer WEST Institute
on Service-Learning, and Sustainable Communities
July 24-28, 2017 • Los Angeles, California


A Professional Learning Lab for K-16 and Community Educators

Summer WEST Workshops and Special Events

Please Note: Additional workshops may be added. Check back for updates.

A Framework for Place, Service-Learning, and Sustainability
DESCRIPTION: Service-Learning, Place Based Education, and Education for Sustainability provide complimentary approaches to creating vital learning experiences that contribute to the well being of the larger community. This workshop will offer an introduction to CWI's teacher friendly framework for making service-learning an integral part of the academic school experience, through activities and projects of concrete and lasting effect. The framework has been extremely useful to educators across the U.S. and internationally in creating a comprehensive approach to service-learning. It is also important to efforts to create local understanding and support for cohesive approach to place based service-learning and sustainability. This workshop, along with all of our work during the week, will help educators bring their school or organization's pedagogical approach to a much deeper and coherent level.
eastlaDESCRIPTION: We are honored to present a special intimate screening of the award winning film East LA Interchange. We will be joined by director Betsy Kalin who will share her crucial work in documenting the story of working-class, immigrant Boyle Heights, the oldest neighborhood in East Los Angeles. Targeted by government policies, real estate laws, and California planners, this quintessential immigrant neighborhood survived racially restrictive housing covenants, Japanese-American Internment, Federal redlining policies, lack of political representation, and the building of the largest and busiest freeway interchange system in the nation, the East L.A. Interchange. This acclaimed documentary explores how the freeways—a symbol of Los Angeles ingrained in America’s popular imagination—impact Boyle Heights’ residents: literally, as an environmental hazard and structural blockade and figuratively, as a conversational interchange about why the future of their beloved community should matter to us all.

Boyle Heights was once one of the most sustainably diverse, multicultural areas in the United States. A 1954 article in Fortnight declared, “Few districts in America are as ethnically dynamic, politically tolerant, and community-proud…” East LA Interchange charts Boyle Heights’ evolution from multiethnic to predominately Latino as this still tolerant and community-proud neighborhood becomes a cradle of Mexican-American history and culture in the U.S. We see the neighborhood’s political activism from its early multiracial days. East LA Interchange presents a complex picture of issues Boyle Heights’ residents have faced through the betsyyears such as access to education, gang violence, immigration policies, environmental pollution and gentrification. A recent New York Times article on the neighborhood used the term “gentefication” referring to young Latinos returning to Boyle Heights to invest in local businesses: “(Gentefication) has provided a jolt of energy and a transfusion of money, but it has also created friction with working-class residents here. And tensions over just whom this neighborhood belongs to are a clear sign that Latinos have come of age in Los Angeles.” The question of whether an evolving Boyle Heights can preserve its unique culture and history along with a desire to create new opportunities for its residents is one that many communities throughout the country are currently facing. In East LA Interchange, NYU historian John Kuo Wei Tchen says, “Places like Boyle Heights are literally on the cutting edge of what this country is becoming. It’s not based on making more money, moving further and further away from other people. It’s based on the new kinds of social relationships that can happen in a mixed and mingled kind of community that really makes up the promise of what this country should be about.” East LA Interchange tells the story of how one neighborhood found its political voice in its fight against the largest freeway interchange system in the nation. Though there are different issues today, these activist residents are still organizing and speaking out for their rights as a working-class, immigrant, community of color. The film asks if Boyle Heights as we know it will survive the next round of challenges from environmental pollution, industrialization, development and gentrification. East LA Interchange provides a compelling look at what the future of America can be if communities like Boyle Heights work together to secure our nation’s pledge of providing justice for all. learn more
Community Ethnography: Discovering Your Community
DESCRIPTION: The process of inquiry and discovery involved in place based education leads to a deeper understanding of the nature of community itself, in all its forms. This in turn leads to looking at sustainability—uncovering the interconnectedness of people, cultures, place, the natural world, and our own role within that. We will explore and use a hands on process that we call "community ethnography" that facilitates students and teachers exploring and understanding the place they call home. We begin from a premise that every place is unique and special with a story to tell. Participants will have an unusual opportunity to practice place based service-learning through community ethnography.
A River Runs Through It: Sustainability in Real Time In Los Angeles—FIELD TRIP
la riverDESCRIPTION: Sometimes real life serves as a parable with larger implications and inspiration for any community large or small. Once home to steelhead and grizzlies, the Los Angeles River meandered through wetlands, marshes, willow, alder and sycamore, providing desperately needed water for the region. Now running over 50 miles long—from the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley to the ocean in Long Beach— the Los Angeles River flows through the heart of Los Angeles, as well as 14 cities and countless neighborhoods. When the Army Corps of Engineers initiated a flood control project in the late 1930′s, they began the process of concrete paving 80% of the River, creating the world’s largest storm drain. Over the ensuing decades, the River that had been the sole water supply for the City of Los Angeles before the Los Angeles Aqueduct was completed in 1913 almost disappeared from public consciousness. With the cement came a perceptual shift: the River no longer existed. Instead, it was a “flood control channel,” a no-man’s land, surrounded by fences and signs. That is now changing rapidly with support of many organizations, students, teachers, and community members. There are many lessons in this process for any school or community attempting change on a micro or macro level. watch video
Social Justice, Participatory Community Art, and the Mural —FIELD TRIP
contreras muralDESCRIPTION: Not just for art teachers! Community murals represent social history, culture, and the opportunity for participatory democracy and collective action. We will visit and explore The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC). SPARC, one of the most important educational and cultural resources in Los Angeles and located in nearby Venice. An extremely unique public resource, SPARC was founded in 1976 by muralist Judith F. Baca, painter Christina Schlesinger, and filmmaker Donna Deitch. The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) is an arts center that produces, preserves and conducts educational programs about community based public art works. SPARC espouses public art, particularly community murals, as an organizing tool for addressing contemporary issues, fostering cross-cultural understanding and promoting civic dialogue. Working within this philosophical framework, SPARC has created murals and other forms ofpublic art in communities throughout Los Angeles and increasingly in national and international venues. [click to enlarge above image] SPARC’s Mural Resource and Education Center (MREC) is the country’s largest one of a kind repository of information about murals and other forms of public art. Since 1976, SPARC’s MREC has amassed an impressive amount of written and visual documentationfocusing on multi-ethnic public art, techniques in mural making, and the role of muralism within the historical civil rights struggles of the African American, Chicano, Asian, Women, and Native American movements. A sample of the MREC imagery includes: responses to the Los Angeles Riots of 1992, the representation of the Farm workers movement, extensive and varied images of Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and the Virgin of Guadalupe. One of SPARC's latest projects is a collaboration between Miguel Contreras Learning Center High School students and UCLA students to produce a new 18ft x 33ft Digital Mural for permanent placement in downtown LA.[click top image above to enlarge] The project involves creating a mural commemorating the legacy of Mexican-American labor leader Miguel Contreras while visually representing the issues affecting the students of the Center who come from the local area.
Building Sustainable Communities Through Service-Learning
DESCRIPTION: Sustainability provides an integrative concept for service-learning that helps build participants' skills, knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs with the goal of creating a better future. Embedded in education for sustainability is a process that is integrative and participatory and one that uses long-term thinking to meet academic and service goals in a complimentary fashion. In this workshop we will explore the interconnectedness of communities in all their forms and the high impact role that service-learning can play in this process for both teachers and students. Grauer emphasizes that teaching is a relationship. He coins this generation of students  the “millenials” and looks at how technologically mediated their lives have become. This makes a strong case for why small class size and increased human interaction in education is essential.   
Instructional Best Practice for Service-Learning
DESCRIPTION: CWI's Instructional Best Practices for Service-Learning were designed to create common language and understanding around the use of service-learning as a teaching strategy. The Best Practices form a valuable tool for professional dialogue and are a core component of our work in helping educators (and students) plan, extend, and reflect upon service-learning activities and projects. The Instructional Best Practices have been field tested by thousands of educators who have successfully used them to plan, refine, and evaluate both new and existing service-learning activities and projects. The Best Practices also provide a useful way to talk about service-learning within your own institution, becoming essential to designing high quality service-learning activities and programs.
Service-Learning, Reflection, Social Justice, and Youth Participatory Evaluation
reflectionDESCRIPTION: We know that reflection is a critical part of all learning, especially service-learning.  We also know social justice is included in many definitions of service-learning.  It is a primary reason to do service.  One of the challenges for all service-learning programs is to include reflective activities and to show that programs work; that they lead to learning, social action, social change, and social justice. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) guarantees youth the right to “voice” in their lives and to have a say in their world.  Yet, in many programs, young people are not active participants in developing programs and assessing the impact on themselves and on their communities.  The purpose of this workshop is to describe, define, and develop service-learning programs that use youth participatory evaluation as a mechanism to ensure youth voice, youth ownership of learning, and youth engagement in a structured reflective process (evaluation).  The goal is to develop programs that demonstrate all of the important outcomes of service-learning and civic engagement: impact on the youth doing service, impact on the members of the communities served,  products and outcomes that demonstrate how service-learning works, and a system that is empowered to achieve and measure social action and social justice. This workshop will be primarily participatory in nature.  That means we will use a participant’s setting and situation to describe and define how one develops a participatory evaluation model that attends to service, learning, and social justice issues.  Once the model is developed and discussed, workshop participants will work in small groups to actually develop an evaluation plan for implementation in their unique setting.  Once designed and develop we will meet again in a large group setting to critique and comment on several sample program plans.  The goal will be to discuss some of the common issues and challenges involved in youth participatory evaluation and consider how to implement such programs in the future. with Rob Shumer
Site-Level Best Practice for Service-Learning
DESCRIPTION: The Site Level Best Practices have helped educators, administrators, community partners, and students support long term service-learning efforts for more than a decade. We will explore a practical guide to identifying and meeting site level needs, issues, and challenges on the road to supporting service-learning. Faculty members will offer their own insights and explore practical needs and considerations encountered on the road to supporting and institutionalizing service-learning.
Gardening, Service, and Nutrition: Across the Curriculum
DESCRIPTION: Learn best practices for supporting school and community based garden work, especially those that lead to curriculum integration. School based agricultural and nutritional education is on the rise. Thousands of schools and communities across the U.S, have evolved their own unique forms of gardening projects. From bean seeds planted in cups on classroom windowsills to elaborate outdoor nature centers, gardening has many benefits, especiallywhen thoughtfully integrated into the school or program curriculum. In this workshop, we'll learn about the rewards and challenges of school gardening and discuss planning and sustaining a school or community garden program. Participants will learn about service projects that can be done using school based gardens. These outdoor classrooms provide a perfect environment for providing the hands-on learner a real connection to science, math, health, and language arts curriculums. We will also make connections to nutrition and the local food movement and learn about successes and challenges inherent to projects that involve managing gardens throughout the school year.
Breaking Down the Walls: Constructing Compelling Education
Paula CohenDESCRIPTION: Veteran Los Angeles teacher, Paula Cohen will focus on how to design projects that expand the walls of your classroom or program and engage and build community, both within and without those walls.  Paula will focus on how we can create and foster open systems that connect our local schools with non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, community members, local initiatives, etc. The workshop's goal is to suggest scenarios that allow for a dynamic flow of compelling learning and growth for everyone involved. If sustainability is recognizing how all systems are interconnected, how can an educational institution or program sustain learning if it works in isolation? Paula will share herevolution as an educator dedicated to chipping away at school gates and fences, closed minds and hearts, and regenerating the "community" in our community schools and programs. Our dialogue will work to connect the dots to create unique ways that our communities can come together to create opportunities for learning for young and old alike. Paula has documented her projects with care and will share the evolution of her students' experiences and the ways in which a variety of projects emerged.  Examples of these projects have involved sustainability issues, with a project focused on waste reduction on the school campus, and focusing on exploring food and ourselves. School based gardens have formed a recurring content access point and theme for Paula's work with her students. These projects also have multi grade application possibilities and all involved a strong aspect of community collaboration. with Paula Cohen
Reflection: An Essential Ingredient for Learning
DESCRIPTION: Take a look at how reflection can become the guiding force behind service-learning and how it deepens understanding. Learn and practice a variety of strategies and techniques with veteran service-learning practitioners. Discuss spiral reflection. Engage in the popcorn method, a refection collage, image journaling, and scrapbook documentation. Take a look at how reflection can be based on the multiple intelligences.
Planning for Effective Student Voice and Participation
DESCRIPTION: What do we really mean when we talk about nurturing meaningful student voice, both in curriculum projects and within the life of the classroom, school, or program? Education is the foundation of our democracy and service-learning experiences that encourage genuine student voice also create opportunities for leadership. In doingso we increase student engagement, ownership, and ultimately learning outcomes. We will put a sharp and realistic lens to student voice through a veteran educator's candid reflections and suggestions. Our goal will be to identify the necessary steps, components, and needs that contribute to making meaningful student voice that is systemic and lasting. Amid a backdrop of actual project based experiences, participants will hear candid reflections and specific suggestions. We will explore a continuum of possibile entry points for embracing a pedagogical foundation that supports real student voice within the curriculum. Service-learning experiences that encourage genuine student voice also create opportunities for leadership. In doing so we increase student engagement, ownership, and ultimately learning outcomes.
Thinking Forward: Meeting the Challenges that Lie Ahead
DESCRIPTION: We will use the collective thinking and experience of the full group to think long term—identifying and problem solving potential roadblocks, unexpected changes, and unforeseen “landscape alterations” that can affect the well being and survival of even the most successful projects and programs.
Service-Learning and Assessment [optional discussion group session]
DESCRIPTION: Assessment is about observing how our students are doing and providing feedback and support so that they can do better. Involving students in the assessment process helps them understand how and why they learn. In this workshop, we’ll look at some techniques for aligning assessment with learning goals in service-learning practice, including deepening the connection between journal writing and service and aligning curricular goals with service and assessment using Connecting Service-Learning to the Curriculum. This workshop begins with a quick resource review. We then look at some powerful assessment models collected by a national study group on service-learning and assessment. The workshop concludes with a frank discussion of how assessing what students learn through service fits into the larger goals of local education. We encourage you to bring your questions and dilemmas about assessment.

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Please Note: Additional workshops may continue to be added. Check back often for updates.



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