Community Engaged Learning
Park Tudor’s Community Engaged Learning (CEL) initiative develops student knowledge, skills and social responsibility by using the learning environments of the classroom, campus, and local and global communities. CEL strives to ignite students’ curiosity and inspire their contributions to community by creating rich learning experiences through deep partnerships with nonprofit organizations, government agencies and businesses.
CEL’s three approaches – service learning, community-based educational experiences, and community service – are crucial to a well-rounded education in the 21st century.
Service learning is learning with deep curricular ties and reflection that addresses an authentic community need or issue. Community-based educational experiences is learning in which students work in and for community partners, gain real world experience and contribute through research or use of skills and knowledge. Community service is learning that occurs outside the curriculum and is focused on serving an authentic community need or issue. Through any of these approaches, students can examine and serve to improve key issues like hunger, shelter, education, the environment, and health.
Community Engaged Learning at Park Tudor
Key Principles of Community Engaged Learning
Student Growth: We believe the development of character and a focus on foundational skills are essential elements of a great education. Moreover, we believe that exceptional educators make learning authentic by utilizing rigorous experiential and interdisciplinary approaches to help students make connections and apply their knowledge and skills in the broader community. Skills like collaboration, problem solving, creativity and flexibility prepare students to thrive as citizens in our complex world.
Multiple Lenses: As a school community committed to the inherent value of all people, we believe that part of a great education is multiplying the lenses through which students view their world. Well-designed and intentional community engagement helps build empathy and enrich students’ broader understanding of themselves and others. Empathy and a global perspective are essential for students’ leadership development, civic engagement and care for their world.
Mutual Benefit: We believe that partnerships between schools and community organizations must meet real needs and be based on mutual benefit. Through partnerships with local and international organizations, school communities can work with a diverse group of people to address key issues and challenges of our time. We recognize that these partnerships must be financially and organizationally sustainable and built over time.
The Common Good: We believe schools advance the common good by helping their students, faculty, staff, families and alumni make connections and contributions to their community and understand better the pressing needs of the world.
Meet the CEL Team
- Luana Nissan, JK-12 CEL Director
- Cammy Dubie, Lower School CEL Coordinator
- Erin Nixon, Middle School CEL Coordinator
- Joan Grinkmeyer, Upper School CEL Coordinator
- Jamey Everett, JK-12 Instructional Coach
Luana works with teachers, staff and students interested in creating learning experiences that engage students in real-world issues, build skills and understanding, and connect them with community partners. She serves as a liaison to new and existing partners. She helps connect CEL initiatives to PT2020 (Park Tudor's strategic plan) and to character and leadership development goals. For more than 20 years, Luana has served as staff or consultant in educational programs and organizations that offer research, training and resources for youth philanthropy education, civic engagement, service learning and community service. She believes in the power of individuals and groups as catalysts for good and improvement of society. With her three daughters and husband, she loves family dinners, cooking, movies, board games, hiking, and car trips exploring the U.S.
In addition to being the Science Coordinator and a teacher in the Lower School, Cammy also supports community service, service learning and leadership development in grades JK-5. Cammy has been teaching for 25 years in a variety of independent schools and has always felt strongly about the importance of finding meaningful ways for schools and students to connect to the greater community. Prior to coming to Park Tudor, she developed the Aspire Program, a private-public partnership between an all-girls independent school and local public schools in Cleveland. Aspire is an academic and leadership program for girls from under-resourced schools and supports their journey through middle and high school as well as helping prepare them for college. Cammy also served as Executive Director of Horizons at St. Richard's; there, she helped to rebuild this academic enrichment summer program for low-income students in Indianapolis.
Erin serves as the Middle School Counselor and also works with faculty, staff and students to help coordinate and implement community service and service learning initiatives in the Middle School. As the supervisor of the Middle School advisory program, Erin helps develop programming that is designed to foster character development. Erin is attentive to the social and emotional benefits of unique learning experiences and is able to link Community Engaged Learning opportunities to the curricular goals of the advisory program. She is the co-sponsor of the Middle School’s student leadership group and also coaches the cross country team. Erin enjoys spending her down time with her husband and two young sons.
As the Upper School's Counselor, CEL Coordinator and Student Council Co-sponsor, Joan Grinkmeyer’s roles include providing personal counseling for students, promoting community service opportunities and supporting leadership development. Service opportunities are posted on Park Tudor’s Naviance x2vol program and students' service hours are approved by Mrs. Grinkmeyer. “To whom much is given, much is expected” is one of the tenets held high in student government, so coordination of student-led service initiatives is a most treasured role for her. With almost 40 years of experience as a teacher and counselor, Mrs. Grinkmeyer’s vision is of a great school with vibrant service and leadership activities available to all. Peyton, the school dog, is her office associate who likes to run with the family horse, Rockstar, ridden by Joan, in their spare time.
As an instructional coach, Jamey takes a highly personalized approach when designing learning experiences with teachers. Her goal is to understand the teacher's instructional aspirations and frustrations, then support the teacher in exploring new learning objectives that are specifically tailored to her or his needs. Her passion for problem-based, real-world learning has grown out of 14 years in education, as a fifth grade teacher, an academic technology specialist, and an advocate for design thinking in the classroom. For Jamey, school is a place where children of all ages learn to look at the world around them through new lenses; where they are empowered to ask “why” instead of “what.” In her free time, Jamey loves running with the family dog, spending quality time as a family, reading historical fiction, and trying new restaurants.