In the Middle School, Civic Engagement and Service Learning experiences support the growth of students into thoughtful citizens and advocates for change. Middle School students build their understanding of community organizations and ways that they can be involved through dedicated Civic Engagement days. In the yearlong Advoc8 program, eighth grade students carefully engage in work focused on addressing social issues and developing advocacy skills. The following list includes examples of Civic Engagement opportunities in the Middle School.
Every eighth grade student at Park participates in the Advoc8 program, a multi-disciplinary project designed for students to use skills and knowledge developed during Middle School in order to take on roles as advocates for change. During Advoc8, students choose a topic about which they are passionate and, with faculty and peer collaboration, create an individual or group project, which culminates in the creation of authentic, innovative, solution-oriented advocacy. Recent projects have included students supporting immigrant youth in the federal DACA program, visiting legislators or testifying at hearings in Annapolis to support bills focused on addressing hunger and child abuse, and building a rain garden to address pollution concerns.
Advoc8 – Phase I: Observation
Through our school’s connections to local organizations, including ShareBaby, Civic Works Community Lot Team, Real Food Farm, the Bear School, and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, students contribute their time and energy while also learning about ways to address community needs. These experiences also serve as opportunities to prepare for the eighth grade advocacy project: Advoc8.
The Middle Grades Partnership (MGP) creates learning opportunities by bringing together independent and Baltimore City Public School students and teachers. The goal is for both communities to learn from each other through summer work, trips, and activities. Park’s partner school is Afya Public Charter School (www.afyabaltimore.org).