Education Week - April 19, 2017 - 24
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When It Comes to Service Learning,
Students Are Community Partners
example, met recently with the New York Citybased advocacy group Care for the Homeless.
The students learned about the group's request
for discretionary funding from the city council.
As a result, the students are writing letters to
their local council members and organizing a
petition drive in support of the group's budget
proposal. They are learning firsthand how to be
change-makers in their community, while also
helping advance a critical initiative on behalf of a
To the Editor:
Thank you for shining a spotlight on service
learning in the first-person piece by San
The Service Learning Project
Francisco teacher Kyle Redford ("How Can We
Make Service Learning Less Self-Serving?,"
Education Week Teacher, www.edweek.org, Feb.
Redford shares her concern that too often
Parents Need to Feel Empowered
service-learning efforts organized with
community partners benefit the students but
To the Editor:
not the partners themselves. She worries that
Kudos to Trise Moore and to the Federal Way
"community organizations twist themselves into
public school system in Washington state for
a knot so that they can serve us," instead of the
developing a community- and family-engagement
students serving the partners.
model in schools that empowers parents to
At the Service Learning Project, a New York
advocate for their children ("Giving Parents a
City-based civic-engagement program, our
Prominent Voice in Schools," Education Week,
students often work closely with community
www.edweek.org, Feb. 22, 2017). It is heartening
organizations to address social problems the
to not only learn about such programs, but to
students have chosen to help solve. As Redford
read that they are being used as models for other
advises, our discussions with community
districts to emulate.
organizations always begin with the question,
As an attorney who has devoted her career to
"What do you need?"
advocating for children who are too often either
By inquiring about existing advocacy efforts
ignored or considered disposable, I know how
that our students can help advance, we
critical it is for parents to feel empowered to
ensure they are having a real impact on their
speak up on behalf of their children to school
communities. They are building important
officials and law enforcement. This is one of the
academic skills, as is intended through service
reasons why the organization I lead, Strategies
learning, but they are doing so while becoming
for Youth, has developed a parent's checklist for
leaders in their schools and active participants in
school resource officers in their children's schools.
The checklist is publicly available on our
A group of 3rd graders in Brownsville, www.edweek.org/go/webinar/AcingTheTest
website. Designed to help parents understand the
Beyond State Assessments:
Start Building Lifelong Math Learners
Systematic and systemic improvement
processes are accelerating college
and career readiness district-wide.
Chris Marczak, superintendent of
schools, shares how Maury County
School District is increasing student
achievement, empowering educators,
and fostering a collaborative culture.
TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 2017
2 TO 3 P.M. ET
24 | EDUCATION WEEK | April 19, 2017 | www.edweek.org/go/commentary
* CHRIS MARCZAK, superintendent
of schools, Maury County School
* KELLY URLACHER, curriculum
designer, DreamBox Learning
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