Newsletter page 5
|JDPPE website in the near future. A publication entitled, “Vital
Results: Linking Students and Community in Vermont Schools through Service-Learning,”
highlighting the “best practices” found across the eight schools will be
released later this winter and will be available upon request. This
case study data will also be the subject of several scholarly articles.
Research project director Chris Koliba presented a paper entitled “Service-Learning,
Social Capital and School Culture,” at the inaugural National Service-Learning
Research Conference at UC Berkeley in November.
Study on the Impacts of Problem-Solving Through Literature Curriculum on Student Moral and Academic Development
One of the most promising examples of community-oriented curriculum identified in the case study research mentioned above is the Problem-Solving Through Literature (PSTL) curriculum offered at Barretown Middle and Elementary School. Embedded in the middle school’s language arts program, students opt to enroll in the PSTL class. Two teachers, Beverly Scofield and Revell Allen, have collaborated to create an integrated curriculum for students in grades 5 through 8. By introducing such concepts as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and Kolberg’s Theory of Moral Development, students are invited to create service-learning projects in collaboration with community partners. The novels read by the students are linked to many aspects of community life, providing a rich learning opportunity for them to discover meaningful links between fiction and real life. JDPPE researcher Carolyn Shapiro spent last year interviewing students in the PSTL class and will be busy coding the data this year, while PSTL teachers have written up a history of the PSTL curriculum. Deeper collaborations between these teachers and JDPPE researchers are envisioned.
Case Study Documentation of School Change Efforts
The case study research of 1999-2000 has led to an interest on the part of schools to utilize our case study data to inform school change practices. During the 2000-2001 academic year, case study data was collected at Twinfield Union School, a K-12 school in Plainfield/Marshfield, Vermont. Researchers Jean
|Lathrop and Chris Koliba interviewed much of the school staff and a
cross section of students and community members.
Questions pertaining to the community’s perceptions of the school and its students, observations about leadership transitions and a new shared governance model, as well as the overall direction of school change efforts were documented. This data will be used to inform all stakeholders in the school, building up an “inquiry as intervention” model devised by JDPPE. This year, a similar case study will be conducted at People’s Academy, in Morrisville, Vermont. By focusing on the high school attempts to institute a “multi-pathways” approach to education, JDPPE researchers Sara Rabin and Chris Koliba are looking to document the school change process and provide useful feedback to school leaders and community partners. People’s Academy has been designated as a demonstration site by Vermont’s High School Task Force. Both Twinfield and People’s Academy are participating in the VISTA/Harmony project and instituting a “critical friends group” offered through the National School Reform Faculty and originally devised by Faith Dunn.
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