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 Patriot Academy Alternative School website
The Patriot Academy Alternative School participated in the Schools of Success Showcase in Nashville, Tennessee, May 4-7, 2011. View their presentation (PDF, 1.3MB).
The Patriot Academy Alternative School (PAAS) was established to serve students who, for a multitude of reasons, are best served in a small setting. It is a flexible school designed around the needs of the students who are in grades 9-12. The mission of the Academy is to develop a service-learning, project-based curriculum that initially will be used in the alternative education program. Incorporating service-learning that encourages high self-esteem, builds social skills and helps with motivation is a necessity.
The scope of the service-learning, project-based strategy at Patriot Academy includes projects such as Building Bridges to PAAS Success, in which students identified a need for a bridge to access the exercise track located behind their school building. They studied various types of bridges, utilized computer-aided design, built model bridges, developed a proposal to build a bridge and then worked with a contractor to build the bridge. Direct benefactors of the bridges project were the Madison Senior Center; Discovery Middle School and PAAS; individuals involved in Madison Parks and Recreation activities; and people within the community who elect to use the bridge to access the exercise track. Students were given class time to work together, solve problems, develop reflection skills and offer solutions. Students learned how to work effectively in small groups and solve real world problems.
Professional development for the Patriot Academy team will build leadership skills in order to disseminate information about their service-learning, project-based teaching strategies throughout the district. Once service-learning projects are developed and tested, they are forwarded to other teachers within the system who are ready to implement service-learning projects into their curriculum. To ensure successful implementation across the school district, the staff at PAAS will conduct in-service training at the beginning of each semester.
Patriot Academy is assisting the district to be more supportive of quality service-learning by creating and building relationships with their community. They are creating partnerships with organizations and businesses that help students have positive role models, volunteer and internship opportunities, and to have positive work experiences. In addition to their project with Madison Parks and Recreation, other partners include the Madison Senior Center, North Alabama Master Gardeners Association and RC Hobbies.
Expected results, as a result of implementing a service-learning curriculum at Patriot Academy, include: increased student academic success; decreased dropout rate; improved relationships between the community and school system; and increased numbers of students who become productive members of the community following graduation.