Schools use service for learning

The school board OKs AmeriCorps workers to connect the district to the community.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 5:18 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 5, 2008

[Note: this story has been modified since its original posting.]

Five AmeriCorps members will work with teachers and students in Columbia Public Schools next year after the Columbia Board of Education unanimously voted to approve the submission of a grant to the Missouri Department of Education for further review Monday night.

The grant focuses on teachers and students becoming familiar with service learning, a method that applies classroom knowledge to the community. Students take things they learn in school and use them when volunteering in the community.

“Service learning is a term we often use to refer to the practical application side of what students learn,” said Cheryl Cozette, the district’s assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.

AmeriCorps members have four main goals in their work with the district, according to a statement prepared by the district.

They will work with 12 teachers to build service-learning skills, find the best ways to strengthen parental involvement, attain at least 100 school district volunteers and ensure Partners in Education activities are adequately supported.

The schools involved in the project are Fairview, Grant, Lee and Parkade elementary schools, Lange Middle School and Jefferson Junior High School, according to the statement.

The program begins in August and runs through June 30, 2006. The grant comes with two, one-year renewal options, based on its progress in the schools at that point.

AmeriCorps is a service program providing assistance not only in education, but also in public safety, health and the environment, according to its Web site.

The board also unanimously voted to submit Field Elementary School’s $74,955 comprehensive school reform grant to the Missouri Department of Education for further review. The grant will focus on improving school achievement with methods that extend beyond academics in the classroom and into real world application.

This technique, called the professional learning community model, will specifically work with literacy, language development and early-childhood education.

The meeting opened with the recognition of Russ Still, a retiring member of the board, and the oath of newly elected board member Darin Preis and incumbents David Ballenger and Don Ludwig.

J.C. Headley, president of the board, and Karla DeSpain, vice president, were also nominated and approved to keep their respective positions on the board.

Missourian reporter Kate Giovanini contributed to this report.

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