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Cascade Matters is the blog of Cascade Educational Consultants. Cascade has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. We are committed to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens. Learn more about us.

Cascade Educational Consultants is an educational consulting firm committed to high-quality equitable teaching, learning and serving environments for all students to succeed in school and in life. Click here to learn more about our services...




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Service-Learning Professional Development For Administrators

America’s Promise Alliance is tackling the national dropout dilemma by going directly to communities where the needs and opportunities are greatest. Building on momentum generated by the Dropout Prevention Initiative, America’s Promise is building new, scalable frameworks for intensive, collaborative action that changes lives of children at risk by bringing the following five promises into their lives: caring adults, safe places, a healthy start, an effective education system and opportunities to help others.

These efforts build on the legacy of founder, General Colin Powell, a leader in forging a strong and effective partnership alliance committed to seeing that children experience the fundamental resources they need to succeed.

Among its strategies to achieve their mission is Ready for the Real World. This strategy seeks to engage every middle-school student in service-learning and career exploration. By designing “real-world” experiences relevant to them, Ready for the Real World will, through exposing youth to service learning and career exploration, increase the motivation of 11-14-year-olds to achieve in their schools, communities and later, their environment.

With assistance from America's Promise Alliance and the State Farm Insurance Company Foundation, Cascade Educational Consultants provides service-learning professional development for middle school teachers and administrators in 12 America’s Promise Alliance Featured Communities.

My colleague Teri Dary provides excellent professional development to middle school teachers, using highly-interactive activities and film clips to assist participants to increase their knowledge and skills to effectively integrate quality service-learning.

One thing we have learned over the years advocating for service-learning is that teachers need administrative support to successfully integrate and sustain quality service-learning. Thus our professional development also engages school leaders in deliberations and decisions to encourage, support and reward quality service-learning.

We use the following sustainability framework to guide school leaders to sustain quality service-learning.

•Vision and Leadership: A diverse group of stakeholders have a shared vision and leadership opportunities
•Curriculum: The structures and frameworks to develop and revise curriculum
•Professional Development: Administrators, faculty, staff and others have regular opportunities to engage in training and to create a community of practice
•Partnerships and Community: School-Community partnerships benefit schools, students and community
•Continuous Improvement: Formalized opportunities for analyzing data for continuous improvement

Often times we focus our professional development on teachers without simultaneously increasing the knowledge and skills of school leaders. If we truly want to integrate and sustain quality service-learning we must provide quality professional development to those responsible for teaching (teachers) and those responsible for results (school leaders).

To learn more about America's Promise Alliance visit the following web site: http://www.americaspromise.org/ To learn more about the State Farm Insurance Companies commitment to service-learning visit the following web site: http://www.statefarmyab.com/sl.php

To view my presentation, please click here.

About the author: Terry Pickeral, president Cascade Educational Consultants has extensive experience in policy development, advocacy, education reform, youth leadership, teaching and learning strategies, education collaborations and civic development. His commitment is to ensuring schools create and sustain quality teaching and learning environments for all students to be successful in school and contribute to their communities as active principled citizens.

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