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CWI SUMMER INSTITUTES
INST

Internationally Acclaimed
Professional Development
Place, Service-Learning, Sustainability

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Summer EAST Institute
Burlington, Vermont

Summer WEST Institute
Los Angeles, California


"At CWI's Institute, I met like minded educators who could see beyond the limitations, who thought outside the box, who were willing to ask big questions and delve deep into the answers. It felt like coming home."

Paula Cohen, Teacher
LA Unified School District


COMMUNITY WORKS JOURNAL the digital magazine for educators
community works journal
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We welcome unsolicited articles, essays, and reflections. Our submission guidelines are here.
 
 








service learning




INSTRUCTIONAL
Best Practices for
Service- Learning


These best practices are intended to support the planning and evaluation of curriculum and program design, related to learning outcomes.


BEST PRACTICE 1
Curricular Goals
Curricular goals are defined and stated.

EXAMPLE: During service to improve the local nature trail, students are given the task of mapping four individual animal and plant habitats.


BEST PRACTICE 2
Assessment
Student achievement of curricular goals is regularly assessed.

EXAMPLE: The habitat maps are compared to a rubric or checklist of expectations provided to students beforehand.

BEST PRACTICE 3
Service Goals
Service goals that meet a genuine community need are clearly stated.

EXAMPLE: Students understand that without their help and care, the nature trail will become unusable.

BEST PRACTICE 4
Evaluation
Service goals are evaluated.

EXAMPLE: Students, teacher, and a community advisor (if one is involved), look at the results of the trail clean-up and determine how successful it was and what more could be done.

BEST PRACTICE 5
Challenges
The learning and service goals stretch participants to develop in new or challenging ways.

EXAMPLE: Students are responsible for working in teams, organizing their own tools and jobs, and deciding when they will break to do the map assignment.

BEST PRACTICE 6
Participation
Selection, design and evaluation of the project is shared by all participants, especially students.

EXAMPLE: Students, teacher, and community advisor investigate and discuss needs, and eventually brainstorm a list of tasks to accomplish on the trail. Each shares in the final evaluation.

BEST PRACTICE 7
Diversity
Opportunities are offered to discuss and value differences or to interact with a variety of individuals or groups.

EXAMPLE: Community advisor is a senior citizen who uses a cane and walks slowly. Students help her through difficult places on the trail.

BEST PRACTICE 8
Community Connections
Connections to the community are made that build knowledge about the community, identify community resources, and cultivate partnerships.

EXAMPLE: The community advisor asks if she can bring her birdwatching group to the nature trail for a guided tour by the students.

BEST PRACTICE 9
Participant Preparation
All participants are prepared with the knowledge and skills needed to perform the service.

EXAMPLE: Students understand through previous walks on the trail where there are things to look out for (poisonous plants, wasp nests, etc.).

BEST PRACTICE 10:
Reflection
All participants are involved in multiple methods of reflection.

EXAMPLE: Students sit in their groups to evaluate their group’s work, and then write with the larger group in their field journals.

BEST PRACTICE 11
Celebration
All achievements are celebrated and all participants are recognized.

EXAMPLE: The trail group’s work is recognized at all-school meeting, and they invite their community partners to attend.


BEST PRACTICE 12
Reciprocity
Project design creates intentional, authentic and reciprocal relationships among participants.

EXAMPLE:
The trail group’s work involves interviewing local residents, sharing their experiences with trails, and inviting htem into the process.

SITE LEVEL
Best Practices for
Service-Learning


These best practices are intended to support planning and evaluation efforts at the organizational level.


BEST PRACTICE 1:
Mission, Beliefs and Goals

Service-learning is promoted and systematically practiced as central to the school’s mission, beliefs and goals.

EXAMPLE:
Put mission statement on letterhead, newslettes, handbook cover. Dialogue takes place regularly among staff around mssion, and the role of service learning.


BEST PRACTICE 2
Policy
School policies support the use of quality service-learning on a systemwide basis.

EXAMPLE: Develop a belief statement about service learning to include in your current “Statement of Beliefs.”

BEST PRACTICE 3
Funding
Service learning activities and goals are funded through the school and/or district budget.

EXAMPLE: Create visible line items for service learning in your school budget.


BEST PRACTICE 4
Transportation
The district provides transportation for service-learning related activities.

EXAMPLE: Create line items for service learning field trips. Give such trips priority over other field trips.


BEST PRACTICE 5
Scheduling
The school schedule supports service learning.

EXAMPLE: Make schedule flexibility more visible.



BEST PRACTICE 6
Administrative Support
The administration is visibly active in supporting an integrated approach to service-learning.

EXAMPLE: Keep service-learning on agendas for sharing at monthly meetings/year-end summaries; keep an ongoing list of service-learning activities done at the school.



BEST PRACTICE 7
Risk Management
The school has a risk management plan which covers service-learning.



BEST PRACTICE 8

Coordination of Practice and Resources
Service-learning practice and resource needs are coordinated and supported by school system. Structural elements and resources exist to sustain quality service-learning practice.

EXAMPLE: Coordinate K-8 service-learning curriculum.


BEST PRACTICE 9
High Quality Training
Service-learning training is made available to staff members.

EXAMPLE: Provide training to help staff access service-learning opportunities, regardless of their entry point level (e.g., provide tools such as this one during in-service meetings, along with time to use them and time for questions).


BEST PRACTICE 10
Ongoing Professional Development
There are ongoing professional development opportunities to support service-learning practitioners.




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