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Using Community Based Partnerships to Foster Authentic Learning Experiences

Robert Gulya, Yohenni Evangelista, Angela Aponte, Maeve Montalvo — South Bronx Community Charter High School and The Museum of the City of New York

The 2020 School Year was rough for all schools across America, but particularly for schools serving working class Black/Latinx populations like our own due to students' lack of internet resources, home space, and family responsibility support. While we did our best to engage students, we did see a large number of student disengagement when remote. That is why during the summer of 2021, as schools were opening back up to in-person learning, we spent a lot of time brainstorming how we could reignite student engagement at the beginning of the year. Using design thinking processes, we eventually came up with the idea of using the first two months of the school year to engage in real-world project-based partnerships with NYC Cultural Institutions. We reached out to multiple institutions, but ultimately it was MCNY, The Bronx Zoo, the Schomburg Center, and the arts organization Thrive that agreed to develop a unique curriculum for our students.

The reason we reached out to MCNY in the first place was because one of our teachers had seen the Activist New York exhibit and thought that it was very aligned with our school mission of creating social justice leaders within our community. We were curious to see what working with a cultural institution could look like beyond a 1 day tour of an exhibit towards a more authentic engagement with the pieces and the history. The building of the curriculum was a true collaboration between the museum educators and our staff which resulted in answering the question, how can we get young people to express to their peers why this history still matters.

Conversational Practice

This session will be a panel discussion. In this panel, participants will hear from a variety of stakeholders— the Director of Education at the Museum of the City of New York, a humanities educator, and a 10th grade student— about their experience engaging in authentic project based learning.

Attendees will see the power of authentic project based learning experiences in the eyes of students, staff and community partners.

Attendees will understand how to form community-based partnerships that empower students.

Attendees will hear about how to create empowering learning experience for young people from multiple perspectives.

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