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

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Turning the Tide
Inspiring Concern for Other and the Common Good through College Admissions
Harvard University
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for Independent Schools

service learningCommunity Works Institute (CWI) offers a wide variety of professional development opportunities and customized ON SITE trainings for independent schools and organizations.

What We Do
Since 1995, CWI's founder and director Joe Brooks and associates have worked with thousands of educators across the U.S. and internationally. We help educators to create exciting and authentic curriculum and programs that connect students and schools to their communities. CWI’s best practice based model has supported educators around the world in making service-learning a core part of their school culture and teaching practice.

"Joe makes place-based education, student engagement, and school change come alive. I have always drawn on Joe's visionary work, as an independent school head. In the local context, Joe's years of experience enable him to engage schools and teachers in: how diverse groups work collaboratively; how to engage and leverage what’s best about local and diverse communities; and how to inspire teachers to become more student-centered.”
Stuart Grauer, Head of School at The Grauer School
Encino, California

Bring CWI to Your School, District, or Organization
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)

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 plac   e 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.

"The Service Learning and Place Based Educational practices our educators experienced through CWI and Joe Brooks was truly transformational at Mulberry School. CWI provides a pragmatic and focused vision, using powerful and reflective exercises to help propel a school’s best practices and curriculum forward. Service-learning projects and conversation became more relevant and meaningful with our students at our school. By implementing monthly staff and faculty inservice collaboration days, we accomplished planning continuity with a clear focus. Our projects have helped connect and strengthen us as a community. Much gratitude to CWI for providing us with such a rich and ‘awe’ of inspiration opportunity to network and work with like minded educators around the world."
Jane Murphy, Assistant Head of School
Mulberry School, of Silicon Valley
Los Gatos, California

joe brooksOur 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 Brooks 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 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

How We Work
We will meet your school exactly where you are, through a customized training, presentation, and/or coached planning and strategy sessions that integrate your school's own unique needs and resources. (fee schedule available on request)

We Support Independent Educators and Schools by:
• Providing high quality training, consulting, and professional coaching;
• Offering annual open enrollment Summer Institutes;
• Showcasing resources and curriculum examples that work;
• Publishing and sharing teacher created work;
• Connecting practitioners in the field.

“You make the commitment worth it”
I really thought you hit the mix dead on.”
Leitzel Schoen, Service-Learning Director
Friends Seminary School, NYC


On Site Support and Events
Community Works Institute (CWI) offers coaching and consulting support, as well as on-site trainings, retreats, and professional development. CWI’s Model for Service-Learning is highly effective and comprehensive, at both the instructional and site levels. We will assist your school or organization in assessing specific needs and build a collaborative plan to meet those needs.

• CWI events/workshops are customizable and available in one or multi-day formats.
• we emphasize service-learning, sustainability, and place-based education.
• we support curriculum design that maximizes academic integration, student voice and engagement, while building reciprocal relationships with community partners.
• CWI sessions can also be designed specifically for administrators, youth, and parents.
• We will meet your school or organization—where you are—helping to align your goals with concrete outcomes that faculty, students, and parents will engage with and support.

“If there is one word that describes my experience, it is “inspired.”  I am excited to help bring service-learning to Campbell Hall!  Developing students who are informed, caring, and active citizens is worth it!
Bridget Zuver, Teacher
Campbell Hall, Los Angeles

Developing Long Term Professional Development Plans
We provide onsite assistance in developing a comprehensive professional development plan for service-learning. CWI will work with your leadership team to clarify their goals and then coach them through the process of developing a professional development plan that includes the training needed for successful implementation. Schools with clearly stated goals and a plan of action for service-learning have found they are more focused and more productive. Our support services can be customized to include: onsite work with the planning team, grade level sessions, and virtual follow-up.

"A very structured five days with a clear path toward an outcome! It gave me the language and the knowledge of the range of possibilities for service-learning and sustainability curriculum.”
Jenni Voorhees, Academic Technologist
Sidwell Friends School, Washington, DC

Workshops and Presentations
CWI is known for conducting highly interactive, practical, and engaging workshops. Participants in our workshops frequently cite the active, hands-on approach we take All workshops are designed to meet the needs of your specific learning setting.

Participants will learn to use best practice based tools and strategies to:
• Identify high quality service-learning projects;
• Create a plan that incorporates service-learning into their teaching environment;
• Implement a high quality service-learning project for diverse types of learners;
• Build a collaborative and student voice driven learning environment;
• Facilitate reflective activities that are responsive to a variety of learning styles.

CWI employs dynamic presentations that are designed to inspire and engage faculty members in mission driven work that will bring out the best creative and collaborative spirit in our professional practice. Our presentations are experience based and draw directly from educators in the field.

Consultations On Site
Visits to schools usually range from two days to one week. We integrate best practice based strategies to create a sense of shared purpose and collaborative process and accomplishment. We assist with long-term planning, alignment with the school’s mission, and practical steps for implementation.

Work and Planning Sessions
Our planning sessions provide a coached opportunity for teachers and administrators to develop their own curriculum plans and/or school wide continuums, with guided feedback aimed at creating a coherent and viable site plan. We believe that professional dialogue, planning, and work sessions are an often neglected but crucial part of professional development. Our participants consistently tell us that having focused work time with experienced guidance and support is invaluable to their process.

So impactful and relevant, well organized with great tools. The facilitators
were excellent.”
Cathy Townsend, Director of Campus Ministry
Bishop Connelly High School,
Corona, California

Specialized Local Institutes for Schools
We work with independent schools to create intensive multi-day institutes. These institutes incorporate local priorities and initiatives within a strategic approach to service-learning. Our experience teaches us that truly effective institutes and PD events require a coaching and consultation component.

“This week has been exhausting and rewarding. The exchange of ideas has been motivating and encouraging. I will leave with high hopes for making our program one of the best in the southeast.”
Marsha Lucas, Chemistry Chair
Savannah Country Day School
Savannah, Georgia

Service-Learning, Community Engagement, 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).

"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

"Joe Brooks and CWI support educators in developing crucial programming and curriculum to bring back home and implement. CWI is dedicated to empowering youth to become agents of change within their communities." CWI provides the time and space to focus on integrating community engagement and service-learning into their schools and classrooms.
Hannah Rouche
Service-Learning Director
University of Chicago Laboratory Schools

"Wonderful! The spirit of the process was inspiring. Great instruction with master teachers who have a vision for impacting students and our world.”
Ann Tedesco
3rd Grade Teacher
Westminster Schools
Atlanta, Georgia

“Thank you so much for the thought provoking, inspiring, supportive and transformative week. I learned and grew a great deal as an educator.”
Sheridan Edley,
6th Grade Teacher
Carlthorp School
Santa Monica

“CWI gave me the opportunity to go deep in my understanding of service-learning and the way it can transform education. This has given me a framework of concrete ideas on how to implement service-learning.”
Elizabeth Ferguson, Teacher
The Lawrenceville School
New Jersey

“Thank you so much! It’s crucial to spend time with CWI’s concepts, applying them to projects.”
Karin Soriano-Bilal
2nd Grade Teacher
Marin Country Day School
Corte Madera, California

"I LOVED this Institute! As important as the formal teaching was, The amount and depth of information delivered is outstanding.”
Lori Easterlin,
Service-Learning Director
Trinity School
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

“I truly enjoyed myself on many levels. What a blessing! I left knowing that I can and should be an agent for change at our academy.”
Mike Street, Teacher
Franklin Road Academy
Nashville, Tennessee

“This was the best Institute or conference that I have ever attended! I am newly inspired! Thank you all for your thoughtfulness in planning out such a well rounded and stimulating program."
Terry Yamamoto-Edwards
Science Teacher
Punahou School, Hawaii

“A great week filled with truly incredible and talented people. I loved being able to learn and then apply concepts to my school.”
Mark Quinto
5th Grade Teacher
Crossroads School
Santa Monica, California

"The most important component of my experience with CWI was how it presented a new view for future service and service-learning, with tangible examples of how easily that knowledge can translate into a more responsible approach to each program and project we do."
Jini Loos,
Service-Learning Director
The Haverford School, PA

“The experience was stimulating, invigorating, eye opening, and empowering! Our overall expectations were not only met but exceeded. CWI’s instructors were outstanding, approachable, learned, and flexible.”
Corinne Maron
Elementary Teacher
The Green Vale School, NYC

“I would absolutely recommend CWI. I now have a direction in which to take my program. I’ve gained confidence in my belief that we should move in this direction. The facilitator's understanding was strong, sensible, and practical.”
N. Elijah Sivin
Dean of Students
Poly Prep High School
Brooklyn, New York

"Wonderful faculty members. You were one-hundred percent accessible and supportive. I truly felt you took the time to learn about me and my project ahead of time. You checked in on my needs throughout the week, and you were supportive of my questions and growth.”
Tracy Gallo, Science Teacher
The Woods Academy
Bethesda, Maryland

“This gives me a lot of confidence for the coming year, especially as I work with my colleagues to bring some structure to our existing programs and to push for more service-learning projects in our curriculum. CWI did a
wonderful job.”
Nancy Richardson
German and Women’s Studies
St. Louis Country Day School
St. Louis, Missouri

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




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