So often we forget about the power music possesses in our society, yet it is found in all we do. From faith to movies to family gatherings, music is a central participant in our lives. Music is a universal language and hip-hop provides culture kids can relate to. When we identify with hip-hop we say: “I am Hip-hop,” which is no different than saying “I am Mexican” or “I am Native American.” It is their identity. Giving them the platform to access culture and identity gives students an ownership on their own development.

The education field has paid considerable attention to community impact models that provide an intensive wraparound approach. These systems are highly coordinated networks that bring together providers from the education, health and community spaces to offer integrated support. They seek to overcome interagency conflict and competition by heavily investing in establishing agreements about goals, approaches and memoranda of understanding about respective contributions and coordination of support. The result is a sturdy partnership agreement, but one that requires tremendous coordination and investment by all participating parties, making them difficult to sustain and replicate. They also ultimately provide limited choice in the approach and combinations of care and opportunities families can access. What might a more organic — and potentially more agile — structure to coordinate community assets look like? Three such initiatives — Remake Learning, CommunityShare, and ReSchool Colorado — describe how these networks allow communities and families to leverage regional assets through dynamic and agile systems, what they have learned about building such systems, and what questions these relatively young and evolving initiatives are still wrestling with.

Haile Thomas is not your typical Gen Z teenager. The 18-year-old activist, health coach, vegan chef, and public speaker became the CEO of her nonprofit organization, Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth (HAPPY), when she was just 12 years old, inspired by witnessing her father fight off Type 2 diabetes with healthy eating and exercise. Since then, HAPPY has reached more than 15,000 children through programs in elementary and middle schools from New York City to Dubai.

Art and science may seem like polar opposites. One involves the creative flow of ideas, and the other cold, hard data – or so some people believe. In fact, the two have much in common. Both require a lot of creativity. People also use both to understand the world around them. Now, a study finds, art also can help students remember better what they learned in science class.

Eighth-grader Liam Bayne has always liked math and science – that is one reason his family sent him to the Alternative School for Math and Science (ASMS). But he was surprised and excited when his sixth-grade science class started each new topic with experimentation, not lecture or textbook learning. This style of learning can feel foreign to many ASMS students at first, whether they come from a private or public elementary school, but with time and support they often come to see its value. Kids talk with one another, and ASMS kids know this is not how a lot of friends at other area middle schools are learning. “We’re learning similar things in science except they have the facts memorized, but they don’t really know them,” said Carolyn Heckle, an ASMS eighth-grader. “Here if you have something in your brain, it’s because you did something that made it a memory.”

Despite making up a critical share of the economy, middle-skills jobs – those that require more education or training than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree – are only now slowly beginning to gain the attention of those focused on the K-12 education pipeline meant to prepare American children to meet the country’s labor needs. Advocates say, students must be exposed to these less-considered but greatly needed careers — and they must be taught that earning a four-year degree is not the only path to success.

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