Community-based education starts off with a bang!February 01, 2012I began my job on Halloween day with the mission of "connecting community resources to junior high and high schools to improve critical thinking skills." Last year's Vision Team left us with a clear message - the community can support what is going on in the schools through volunteering their time to make a difference. Education is important to Canby! The Canby Educational Foundation provided funding for my part-time position, in order to help coordinate partnerships between the community and the schools.
We held a design conference, where members of the community, teachers, administrators, and parents got to together to discuss how they could work together to help schools do what they do best - educate students. Starting with a broad focus, we were able to narrow down ways that the community could work with the schools in a meaningful way. Then, a core team created a framework for the pilot program, which will be improved each year.
Since that framework has been developed, an outpouring of community support for Canby Schools is helping our new volunteer-led education program get off to a great start!
I have been welcomed by more than a dozen community organizations that are willing to help schools. I am blown away by how willing the Canby community is to work with students to create meaningful learning experiences.
To improve critical thinking, we have to target our work. Critical thinking is really ‘thinking about thinking. It involves analysis, application, self-reflection, and communication, and teachers are already working on these skills with their students day-to-day in the classroom.
Organizations are offering their time to provide a variety of activities to enhance the work that is going on in Canby classrooms, such as discussions or forums on topics like immigration or the economy, workshops on budgeting, writing business plans, or creative writing, and hands-on activities in nearly every subject.
Local organizations that have expertise in nearly every area of study in middle school and high school have offered their skills to provide hands-on projects. In the "files" section, you will find a list of current project ideas and their sponsoring organizations. If your business or group has a project available that you would like to see on the list, please let me know.
In addition to helping teachers in the classroom and the community at large, the program will also include highlight events that will require student planning and reflection. For example, the school district and Canby Educational Foundation are currently planning a career fair for the fall in conjunction with CHS' school to career and Future Focus programs. An expansion of the art show at the high school is also an event possibility.
There are also many other volunteer opportunities, ranging from classroom help to event support and after school tutoring. There is a place for everyone in this program.
Schools need all the help they can get, and we can find a place for anyone to help, regardless of their time commitment and skill level. This program is for anyone who cares about Canby students!
If you are interested in being involved in the new volunteer program, give me a call at 503-266-0008 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Laura Sattler of Canby Arts Association, Annie Tran of Canby's Main Street program, Pam Casciato of Wallflowers, JillMarie Wiles of Canby Livability Coalition, Renate Mengelberg with the City of Canby, CHS student Tiffany Douglas, and art teacher Jennifer Dorsey discuss the beautification of downtown Canby through art.
Dora Gourley teaches Ackerman students card-making and Zen Tangles in their art elective.