National Center for Learning and Citizenship at ECS
700 Broadway, Suite 810
Denver, CO 80203-3442
Associate Policy Analyst
Asst. Editor/Administrative Asst.
Visit the Malcolm Shabazz City High School website
Malcolm Shabazz City High School participated in the Schools of Success Showcase in Nashville, Tennessee, May 4-7, 2011. View their presentation (PDF, 1.5MB).
Malcolm Shabazz City High School is a democratically run high school, an intentional educational community based on the fundamental philosophy that education has the power to affect positive change and strengthen connections between student, family and community. Service-learning permeates the Shabazz culture. After a required orientation course, which includes an introduction to service-learning, students participate in service-learning opportunities in many of their academic and elective classes. As students spend more time at Shabazz, they enroll in classes that address a broadening range of issues using more complex approaches.
For example, Community, Leadership, Action and Solutions in School (C.L.A.S.S.) works to develop strong, committed student voices at Shabazz in areas of personal leadership, school government, community building, group dynamics, conflict resolution and problem solving. C.L.A.S.S. lays the groundwork for critical analysis of community issues coupled with relevant service. Classes like this allow students to "test the waters" of service-learning by participating on familiar territory (their school) and in ways that are familiar to them (student governance) in a process that is heavily supported by the teacher. This leads to a desire on the students' part for increasing responsibility for self-directed learning through service. By the time students are involved in the entire service-learning process, they are identifying the problem or issue, conducting research to verify the concern and learn about contextual issues, contacting partners and planning service-based experiential learning opportunities.
At an annual service-learning workshop for all staff, service-learning offerings are reviewed, amended and added based on student interest and world events. Leadership potential is maximized through presentations about service-learning by the principal, staff and students to groups throughout the district. Plans are underway for a Service-Learning Professional Development Institute which will be developed and taught by staff from Malcolm Shabazz City High School. Staff currently offer service-learning program and staff development to faculty at two local postsecondary institutions.
Community partners include businesses, state and local government and civic organizations. Strategies used by Malcolm Shabazz City High School for successful community-school partnerships include: open and regular communication while developing and implementing service-learning activities; highly visible partner recognition from staff and students; a mutually beneficial relationship between Shabazz and the partner; and student leadership, since students are often the primary contact.
Shabazz will help the district be more supportive of quality service-learning by developing and teaching a Service-Learning Professional Development Institute for district staff. Participants will get a solid foundation in service-learning theories and implementation, resources to design and implement service-learning, including assessment rubrics and how to establish and maintain community partnerships.