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Community Engaged Learning

How will I contribute?

Through Community Engaged Learning (CEL), we create opportunities for our students to know themselves, build their skills, and understand the needs and assets of their community. Over time, they will be better equipped to contribute to their school, city and world intentionally and with impact.

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

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.

Cammy Dubie, Lower School CEL Coordinator

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 Nixon, Middle School CEL Coordinator

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.