This year, 5th and 6th graders at Science Leadership Academy Middle School in Philadelphia, PA and 6th, 7th, and 8th graders at Shelburne Community School are participating in a year-long collaboration. Though similar in educational philosophy, the two schools are demographically very different. Over the course of the year, students will engage in community building activities (letter writing, presentations of our neighborhoods, and shared problem solving) as we get to know one another. Separately, we’ll be working with our own schools to figure out what current events affect us and our communities. As students determine the key issues our communities face, they’ll choose one issue to become ‘expert’ in and put together a project with the intention of teaching others about the complexity of the issue and its impact. Students from the two schools will then have the opportunity to connect digitally. They will share their discoveries while exploring what defines both the unique and connecting characteristics of the two communities.
Educon will be an opportunity for a delegation from Shelburne Community School to come to Philadelphia, visit SLAMS, and meet students in person. Then, along with a small group from SLA-MS, they will help facilitate a conversation about their experience at the halfway mark of this project. With adults and students in the room, we’ll think about ways that schools - teachers and students - can collaborate with one another to learn and take projects further than we can on our own.
None of us is the lecturing type. There will some be small group breakouts based on interest and collaborative activities. This also includes elements of project-based and service-learning models.