08/23/2012
My Voice My Community
School's Out, But Learning Goes On

New and Veteran NID Teachers Experience Service-Learning

Need in Deed welcomed fifty teachers to our annual summer retreat, at which new recruits and veteran Teacher Network members gather together for the first time. Once again, the energy among these educators proved that, even in the middle of July, it’s possible to get excited about a new school year.

In September we’ll pick up where we left off at the retreat. This year NID will train and work with 106 teachers representing 2,800 3rd – 8th grade students from 39 schools across the city. Our Teacher Network continues to grow and attract applicants from traditional public, charter schools and faith-based schools from all over Philadelphia.

What does teacher training look like at NID? During the first day of the retreat, NID staff walked first year network members through the framework and several NID activities to help them start thinking about what makes a great service-learning experience for students. They also had the opportunity to break into small groups to brainstorm a project from start (community building, issue identification, research) to finish (curriculum connections, reflection, project completion, celebration).

On both days, participants were wowed by presentations from special guests. Day one featured community partner El Sawyer, operations director and film instructor at the Village of Arts and Humanities in North Philadelphia. He talked about the extraordinary work he does with young people around digital literacy and storytelling through film, and about overcoming significant obstacles to get where he is today. On day 2, NID Outstanding Teacher awardee Kelly Ford and two of her students spoke about the process that shaped their class project last year on animals and the environment.

Throughout the weekend, participants had ample opportunities to network, get to know each other, and share strategies for everything from building community in the classroom to making the most of community partner visits.

With the start of school just around the corner, the teachers left feeling connected to a strong network of educators, invigorated in their individual practices, and yes, excited about going back to school!