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"Voice of Educators"
–interviews with k-16 educators in support of service-learning.


service learning

"CWI has developed professional development experiences that provide active laboratories for teachers and community members. These professional learning experiences are invaluable.”
Martha Rich
Head of School
Thetford Academy


“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 of


“This was a wonderful week! I am rejuvenated. The facilitators were brilliant and with vast experience.”
Nathaniel Corwin
5/6 Language Arts/Religion
Doane Stuart School
Rensselaer, New York


CWI Supports Local Schools, Districts, and Organizations
Community Works Institute (CWI) works with school and community educators—across the U.S. and internationally—in support of teaching practices that connect K-16 students and curriculum to their local community and the world.

service learning

Our work focuses on helping educators integrate place based service-learning and sustainability within the curriculum, with the goal of making that a central part of every student's K-16 experience.

CWI’s approach to place based service-learning and sustainability is uniquely powerful. Service-learning is associated with higher student engagement and achievement, improved school climate, and greater teacher effectiveness,

For a free consultation, or to discuss bringing CWI to your school, district, or community based organization, email Joe Brooks, or call us at: 909.480.3966 (PST)

service learning

Reclaiming the Roots of Community in Education
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 shared common cause and building a sense of self efficacy among our students, around creating positive social change.

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CWI's Unique Approach to Service-Learning
We see service-learning as a crucial piece in a larger effort to connect and engage students with real world issues. Our approach is to first consider place as the context, with service-learning as the strategy, and sustainable communities as the goal. To achieve this we begin our work with educators by considering what sustainable communities look like, and how to connect students to a sense of place—their place—in intentional ways that will inform their experience with service and social action. Student voice and creating real reciprocity (genuine deeper and complimenting relationships) are absolutely inherent to high quality service-learning. An emphasis on social justice and diversity is an intentional and natural part of this process as it unfolds with students.

Our site based professional development work with schools and community organizations, trainings, and workshops, is guided and facilitated by CWI founder and place based service-learning expert Joe Brooks—a veteran teacher, who for three decades has inspired and supported educators from around the world to involve students in powerful community focused experiences. We work with field tested best practices and principles of sustainability that support engaging your students in academically based service that contributes to building sustainable communities. Joe emphasizes "outside the box" thinking, the nuts and bolts of design, and long term program development.

“I had the privilege of working closely with Joe at CWI's Institute and was impressed with his diverse experience working towards social justice through place-based service-learning, community building and sustainability. For a veteran educator, with twenty-five years in the independent school setting, it is rare for me to be challenged to go deeper in my thinking and Joe is is a master at doing this, all in his warm, flexible way."
Darcy Ellsworth Yow, Director of Service Learning
Marin Country Day School
Corte Madera, CA

Teaching Implications for Place Based Education,
Service-Learning, and Sustainability

• Direct application of content learning and skills, in meaningful service to the community.

• Intellectual inquiry, risk-taking, with opportunities for powerful collaboration.

• Developing personal values of respect, integrity, compassion and social justice.

• Using the local community and the world as the classroom.

• Active contribution to a democratic society, social justice, and the global community.

• A reminder of the reason you became an educator.

How CWI Can Support Your School or Organization
CWI offers a wide variety of professional development opportunities and customized ON-SITE trainings for schools and organizations. Since1995, we have worked closely with thousands of educators from nearly every context and geography, public and independent—from Manhattan to Los Angeles, and from Warsaw to Hong Kong. service learningtestimonials

“Our experience with CWI helped our staff learn how to better design service-learning projects in our school. As an administrator, I am definitely better prepared to work with and provide leadership in our school’s efforts to improve our service-learning program.”
David Markman, Middle School Principal
The American School Of Guadalajara

CWI Provides On Site Training and Support
CWI offers a wide variety of customizable workshops and presentations. We provide on-site trainings, retreats, and professional development, as well as coaching and consulting support. We will work with your organization to assess the best approach to your unique circumstance and needs. We will help you to identify and outcomes based event that will inspire and motivate faculty/staff. All workshops are facilitated by veteran educators. CWI events are customizable and available in one day or multi-day formats, from nuts and bolts to advanced planning.

Contact Us to Explore Support Options
We would be glad to discuss your school or organization's needs and context, by email or phone, at 909.480.3966 (PST). Our fee schedule is available on request.

• Introduction to Service-Learning
• Instructional Best Practices for Service-Learning
• Transitioning from Community Service to Service-Learning
• Advanced Strategies for Service-Learning

• Site Level Planning and Program Support
• Reciprocity and the Path to Real Relationships
• Connecting Service-Learning to Standards
• Reflection and Assessment
• Publishing for the Community with Students
• Developing Local Cultural and History Projects
• Promoting Youth Voice through Service-Learning
• Planning for the Long Term Survival of Your Program

service learningWe will meet your school or organization where you are, helping to align your goals with concrete outcomes that faculty, students, and parents will support and engage with. We support curriculum design that maximizes academic integration and student voice, while building reciprocal relationships with community partners. Presentation and working sesions can be also designed specifically for students and parents.

"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 International School

Annual Summer Institutes for Educators
We also offer annual intensive Summer Institutes in Los Angeles and Vermont. CWI's Summer Institutes offer expert training, powerful collaborative opportunities, and a chance to work with educators who literally come from around the world. Our Summer Institutes are appropriate for educators who are experienced with service-learning and sustainability, as well as those who are just beginning. Many schools send teams of teachers and administrators.

Service-Learning and the Common Core
With its emphasis on real world application and problem solving, Service-Learning is one of the finest ways to fully engage students in meeting goals for "community engagement" (higher education) and Common Core objectives (K-12).
download Service-Learning and The Common Core

"Service-learning is one of several 'deeper learning' strategies that states, districts, schools, and teachers may use to help students gain a deeper understanding of core academic content and simultaneously build deeper learning skills through the integration of content knowledge with application."
Common Core State Standards Initiative


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