Guest Column Back to top.
Achievement gap? How about EMPOWERMENT GAP instead? As Jefferson County's superintendent of schools, Dr. Sheldon Berman puts it, "reframing the achievement gap as an empowerment gap provides a different perspective on the problem." In this Guest Column, Berman talks about the negative effects of poverty and racism, and describes the district's focus on building students' awareness of and confidence in their ability to effect meaningful change in their communities and their lives. Berman's argument is compelling and inspiring.
What States Are Doing Back to top.
"What's a burn barrel?" you ask. Students in the Kuskokwim River village of Tuluksak, ALASKA, are learning to weld while turning an old 3,000-gallon community fuel tank into the village's new incinerator, said teacher Darcy Dixon. And welding is not the only thing they're learning. The project has been integrated into the entire high school curriculum. This report on service-learning in Tuluksak was sent to us by Janet Underwood who did consulting work for the NCLC Schools of Success last spring. Read the full article from The Anchorage Daily News.
Good Reads Back to top.
Cathy Berger Kaye has teamed with Philippe Cousteau in authoring GOING BLUE: A Teen Guide to Saving Our Oceans and Waterways. As always with Kaye, this book takes you through all the stages of service-learning with lots of hands-on examples and projects responding to the world water crisis.
A new publication from the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families is a comprehensive guide to INVOLVING YOUTH in communities. Authentic Youth Civic Engagement: A Guide for Municipal Leaders makes the case for offering meaningful opportunities for youth engagement in their communities and then offers a practical and extensive framework to implementing participation by young people.
The National Conference on Citizenship has expanded its CIVIC HEALTH INDEX to 13 states and two cities. In announcing the new locations, David B. Smith noted, "By measuring their civic health, these locations are taking a critical step in educating and motivating citizens and institutions to develop policy, programs and initiatives that address pressing social problems." For more information, visit the NCoC Web site.
New Center Publications Back to top.
NCLC has updated the CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION DATABASE of state policies supporting citizenship education for K-12 students. From the database, you can generate profiles of the state policies for citizenship education in individual states and view 50-state reports on state policies for citizenship education. The reports cover state policies on High School Graduation Requirements - Citizenship Education; Civics or Citizenship Education Standards or Curriculum Frameworks; Citizenship Education - Inclusion in Assessment and Accountability Systems; and Civics, Citizenship or Social Studies Addressed in Other State Statutes or Administrative Code.
NCLC News Back to top.
Following an informal networking dinner on the evening of August 17, the EXECUTIVE BOARD of the National Center for Learning and Citizenship met on August 18. With four new Board members in attendance, everyone present shared what led them to their interest/passion for service-learning and citizenship education and the work of the Board. A short business session included updates by Roger Sampson, ECS president, and JoAnn Henderson, NCLC executive director. The business session was followed by a spirited and deeply thoughtful discussion around the NCLC strategic plan. The plan will be finalized at the Winter Board meeting, December 9-10, 2010. As the final act of business, the Board unanimously elected Steve Hefner as the new Chair, serving 2010-12.
In August, NCLC bid farewell to longtime staffer, JENNIFER PISCATELLI, who surrendered after eight years to an arduous daily commute. She is a tireless advocate for civic engagement and service-learning. We wish her well.
Meetings & Events Back to top.
The NCLC DISTRICT LEADERS NETWORK is preparing to meet October 15-16, 2010 in Detroit in conjunction with Youth Service America's Youth Service Institute. Members will visit Detroit Edison Public School Academy, one of the NCLC Learn and Serve Schools of Success, and will convene to examine effective strategies for enhancing the Network and the scope of their work.
The 22nd Annual NATIONAL SERVICE-LEARNING CONFERENCE will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, April 6-9, 2011. Register now for three days of general sessions, thought-leader series, service-learning projects and networking. The conference engages participants in the local, national and global issues that service-learning addresses. To register online, visit:
Names in the News Back to top.
STEPHEN W. HEFNER has been elected chair of the National Center for Learning and Citizenship Executive Board. Heffner recently retired as superintendent of the Richland Two School District in Columbia, South Carolina.
SUE WINDELS has accepted the position of Education Liaison to Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO). Windels is a member of the NCLC Executive Board and a former Education Committee Chair in the Colorado Senate.
KEVIN CARBO has been elected Chairman of the National School Boards Association's Caucus of Hispanic School Board Members. Carbo is a member of NCLC's District Leaders Network and serves as vice president of the Mesquite (Texas) Independent School District school board.
Other Useful Web sites Back to top.
CIVIC LIFE IN AMERICA is a new interactive and user-friendly Web site from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Featured is Civic Life in America: Key Findings on the Civic Health of the Nation, a new report from CNS and the National Conference on Citizenship, based on federal research that measures how often residents engage in a variety of civic activities, including service, social connectedness, participating in a group, connecting to information and current events, and political action. Other highlights of the Web site include an issue brief and resources to help strengthen civic life.
The ANNENBERG PUBLIC POLICY CENTER Web site is full of resources to help educators and schools teach youth about civic responsibility, democracy and the Constitution. Projects and initiatives include Justice Learning, Student Voices and FactCheck.org.
Gallup and America's Promise have released results of a poll of youths ages 10-18, intended to measure hope, engagement and wellbeing. For a copy of the full report and results from the Gallup STUDENT POLL national survey or previous polls, survey methodology, or to sign up and participate for free, visit their Web site.