Sustainability -- supporting teachers' service-learning practice
Vol. 9 No. 1
Sustainability -- supporting teachers' service-learning practice; My Voice Teacher Network -- building sustainability;RED -- Need in Deed's 20th anniversary celebration; Bob Fabiszewski joins NID Board; Meet Walter De Sheilds -- Program Coordinator; My Voice/My Community: student photos focus on community
Supporting teachers' service-learning pracitce
“Very early on in the process, I could see this was ‘clicking’ for them,” she recalls. “Many of the kids I see come to school angry, with no one pushing for them. School is not a priority. During the course of our [service-learning] projects, I have witnessed so many dramatic transformations. When you’re doing something they [students] want to do, affirming their concerns, it just works for them. Even at a young age, they see they can have a voice and can make a difference – in their communities and in their lives.”
In March of this year, Terri traveled with three teacher colleagues, Kim Barth, Janice Henderson and Elizabeth Soslau to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she co-facilitated a workshop at the National Service-Learning Conference entitled “Going Above and Beyond in an Urban Environment.” Feedback on the session was extremely positive.
All four teachers are members of Need in Deed’s My Voice Teacher Network, a community of educators committed to using NID’s service-learning framework to advance the achievement of goals for their students, including engagement in school, acquisition of problem solving skills, civic engagement, personal/social development and academic achievement. Terri was on the network’s original steering committee and currently serves on the Teacher Network Advisory Committee.
Research shows that “professional learning communities” or “communities of practice” are a powerful form of professional development. Through the network, Need in Deed provides participants with practical and ongoing training and support necessary to apply NID’s framework to their teaching practice. Teachers have the opportunity to share resources, learn from their peers and develop leadership skills in a supportive, nurturing environment.
Three years ago, Need in Deed’s Board approved this new program delivery model, a significant departure from the former “direct service” approach, in which program staff visited local classrooms and guided students through their yearlong project. Not only are we able to impact more young people with this new direction, but the likelihood of teachers incorporating My Voice methods into their teaching practices is also greatly increased.
By supporting and recognizing the leadership of educators like Terri Salvucci, we hope to develop a core of progressive teachers whose mastery of and commitment to this teaching strategy becomes an inspiration to others in the profession. The ultimate beneficiaries, of course, are the students they teach.
Says Dr. Mary Lou Fischer, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction for the School District of Philadelphia, “Service-learning is a practical and sensible way to integrate curriculum while sustaining and supporting learning in a rapidly changing 21st century. Once teachers and students experience this kind of intellectual and emotional engagement, teaching and learning are never the same.”
My Voice Teacher Network
Factors that lead to sustainability of service-learning in teacher practice
- Teacher mastery and commitment
- Administrative support
- Strong norms for practice
- Culture that fosters a common sense of mission
- Professional development process that nurtures intrinsic motivation to engage in challenging practice
- Intentional strategies that allow reproduction of successes
- Climate that allows practitioners to discuss their concerns openly
- Evidence of success (particularly if data is collected and analyzed by an independent entity)
Source: RMC Research Corporation, September 2006
RED dazzles, delights
Images from NID's 20th anniversary celebration
In accepting NID’s Citizenship Award, Amy Gutmann, President of the University of Pennsylvania, said, "Need in Deed has reinvented the concept of learning through doing. You put the young people in the driver seat.”
In a poignant moment during the program, Whim Lynch’s daughter Daphne presented her with a gift acknowledging her contributions.
NID Founder and Honoree Whim Lynch (far left) is joined by Honoree and Board member David Montgomery (far right), Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania CEO Steve Steinour and his wife Patti, and NID Executive Director Barbara Dundon.
Bob Fabiszewski joins NID Board
“There are so many great nonprofits,” he says, “but this one [Need in Deed] hits home for me because I have kids. I want them to know the personal satisfaction that comes with helping those in need.”
“Growing a culture of service,” he continues, “means starting with children. Teaching children the importance of service through learning is a natural to me. It’s so easy to understand and support, since that’s what I try to instill in my own kids. For me, this is an essential part of a complete education.”
Bob is Head of Real Estate Equity for Capmark Finance Inc., a major international real estate finance, investment and services company, headquartered in Horsham, PA. Under the Capmark umbrella, Bob and his team launched a new business that has been successful in attracting investors, including endowments, foundations, insurance companies, pension funds and other capital sources. His main focus is convincing potential clients of worthwhile investments. As a member of the Board, he hopes to apply these same skills to Need in Deed.
“I’m excited to be part of helping develop the future success of Need in Deed, says Bob. “I really view this as a privilege.”
Meet Walter De Shields - Program Coordinator
His interest in this crystallized in 1998. At the time, Walter thought he wanted to become an attorney. That summer, while attending “Street Law Camp” in Washington, D.C., he met a teacher he particularly liked. Here was a guy who, though smart and clearly interested in the law, had decided not to become a lawyer. “How come?” Walter asked. “Because I like working with kids – I want to work with you guys,” was the reply. So Walter started the summer wanting to be a lawyer; he ended it knowing he, too, wanted to work with kids.
When not working for NID or coaching young athletes at his alma mater, William Penn High School, there’s a good chance Walter’s spending time with his girlfriend, Tameka Robinson. “She’s my hero. She didn’t know another soul here or have a job when she made the decision to move to Philadelphia from Memphis,” he says.
But knowing Walter, we think she had a pretty good reason to relocate.
My Voice / My Community
Student photos reflect community
The students from each class were then given an assignment to respond in writing about the photos using this prompt: What story or thought about your community comes to mind as you look at this photo?
A gallery of 15 photos was a featured attracted at RED, NID”s 20th anniversary gala. Our thanks to teachers Jenn Wong and Sheila General, and to Fuji Film and Penguin Photo, for their help in making the exhibit possible.
What I think about as I look at this picture is that there are people you don’t know who try to make your life easier. They are the men and women who drive you to different places on their buses. You are able to catch the bus to school or take it for trips. Buses keep kids safe and make sure they reach their destinations safely.
Photo: Sharrel Stokes, grade 7; Text: Darrell Fuller, grade 7
I was waiting for my dad and my friend. Then my other friends came down the block. I was going to shoot a picture when they came zooming in front of me. Some of the houses are where some of the people live that treat me like family. The red and green houses are the houses of the people that treat me like family.
Photo and text by Kynan Chambers, grade 3