Sister Schools

BACKGROUND

Why Sister Schools - From Sonja Williams, LAUSD teacher of 18 years, and Co-founder and Executive Director of WYLD. My experience with Books, Bridges, and Broadened Horizons

In 2012 I was teaching math and science in South Los Angeles and was contacted by a teacher from a private school called Delphi, looking for a group of kids her kids could ‘help’ via a bookdrive.  Recognizing a well-intentioned, but common misconception about the leadership potential of South L.A. youth, I offered to have my students work together with the Delphi School students on a common project, in this case, a book drive. We teachers worked together remotely to pair up the students on school email, according to leadership style, personality,  and interest. The students introduced themselves over email and then set about coming up with a campaign for raising books for the book drive that would go to Carver Middle School. Together the students came up with slogan ideas, posters, and then both sets of students raised books from their respective communities, communicating with each other regularly via email. At the end of the drive, Carver students boarded a bus to head to the partner school for a day of celebration, food and book collecting. We arrived at the school, and the kids finally met each other face to face with great excitement. They celebrated the occasion with a welcoming ceremony, introduced themselves and their book drive experiences, ate lunch together and then played cooperative games on the field for the rest of the day, celebrating new friendships. When it was time to go all the kids helped pack the boxes, and boxes of books into the bus, and said goodbye. When Carver kids got on the bus and waved out the windows, the Delphi kids jumped on the bus and would not let us leave. More hugs, more joy, more celebration, more FUN.  It was the very best day of teaching I and the other organizing teachers had ever experienced and was incredibly unexpected and eye opening for everyone.

 

PROGRAM OUTLINE

Time Frame: 1 school year

Number of Students: Two Classes (or clubs) 15 each, for a total of 30.

 

STAGE ONE - Introductions

  1. Teachers from each school are identified.

  2. Teachers via phone, pair up students or triads, via email or appropriate social media outlets according to like-gender (as they identify), interests, leadership style.

  3. Students introduce themselves via school email.

  4. Students brainstorm on service projects they can undertake for the environment, or anywhere in the city.

  5. Service projects are agreed upon by the larger group, either virtually, in person, or both.

 

STAGE TWO - Work, Connect, and Play

  1. Students start working on the project via email on campaigns, project outlines, and implementations.

  1. Identify Community and environmental needs

  2. Identify Resources  to address needs

  3. Commit to and plan a particular project

  1. Students meet first at the project site, a trail, beach for clean up, etc. and have a day of service, but also a day of getting to know each other.

Team Building and Trust Building occur throughout the service project as well as joint outdoor initiatives designed to build group cohesion.

  1. Service Project Days will number 2-3 days together over the course of the school year.

 

STAGE THREE -  Celebrate!

  1. Culmination of the project. Celebration day.

  2. Final or initiating camping, or backpacking trip.



WYLD’s ROLE

WYLD will provide continual support to both teachers and students with every stage of the program: Planning;  transportation; Service Learning Project scope and lessons; hiking; End-of-year celebrations; Metrics; Next steps and future projects; Gear and locations.

 

  • commented 2017-09-27 10:05:15 -0700
    I teach 6th Grade at Luther Burbank Middle School in Highland Park, LA.

    I would love to have my students participate in a sister school program through WYLD.

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