We had a wonderful time at our CivicTREK Showcase May 24, 2023 event at George Washington Middle School (GWMS). The showcase is always an amazing event with teachers, parents, students, and school leaders sharing, learning, and reflecting about service learning in Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS). Students and teachers demonstrated how their CivicTREK experiences connect students’ lives and communities with the curriculum they learn in school. Students showed how they developed the “five C’s” of critical and creative thinking skills, communication, collaboration and citizenship while working for a change in their community.
“In keeping with our 2025 Strategic Plan: Equity for All, our goal is to have students work together to solve problems and know they can bring positive change to their communities. We are here today to recognize our students who have demonstrated what it means to be an actively engaged citizen,” Interim Superintendent Dr. Melanie Kay-Wyatt said in addressing the showcase gathering.
The CivicTREK cohort connects teachers connect across schools and grade levels which expands their sense of the ACPS community, which was evidenced in the celebratory feel of the showcase event. “Teachers share an experience with other teachers who share their commitment to student-centered learning and civic action/social justice. Throughout the year, they are able to share with each other and learn from each other’s experiences,” ACPS Instructional Specialist for Social Studies Sarah Whelan explained.
Families, staff and community members who turned out for the event learned more about the impact of the CivicTREK projects during a gallery walk. Many of the 2022-2023 projects were highlighted at the showcase including:
- Grade three students at Mount Vernon Community School wrote a bilingual guide to local parks as part of an interdisciplinary unit with science and language arts. Students visited area parks and observed, described and analyzed ecological aspects of the parks that aligned with the third grade science curriculum.
- Grade six Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students at Patrick Henry K-8 School took their love for AVID and created a student-led digital presentation, as the students taught community building games, organization strategies and how AVID has shaped them as middle school students.
- Grade seven social studies students at GWMS reached out through letter writing to Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), which works to ensure no immigrant child or refugee faces immigration court alone. This project aligns with a seventh grade U.S. history unit on immigration in the U.S.
CivicTREK provides a meaningful context for students because they explore how their learning is connected to real-world issues and how people can act to bring about change.
“Congratulations to all of our CivicTREK students and teachers for doing your part to help change the world,” Dr. Kay-Wyatt said. Check out more projects here.