Institute News

Chicago Public Schools Invite IWitness to Service-Learning Community Partner Resource Fair

Chicago educators will learn about IWitness as an option for helping their students meet the city’s service-learning requirement at a special resource fair on Monday, Oct. 17.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) requires that all students complete three service-learning projects in order to graduate. Service-learning is a teaching strategy that connects classroom curriculum with service projects. Service-learning engages students in projects that serve the community while building social, civic, and academic skills.

The CPS Service-Learning Community Partner Resource Fair on Oct. 17 is an opportunity for CPS Service-Learning Coaches and teachers to network with community organizations and learn more about the service-learning supports they offer. Organizers offered USC Shoah Foundation the opportunity to share IWitness at the event as a possible avenue for students to complete service-learning projects.

The annual IWitness Video Challenge is one such project. The contest, open to all middle- and high school students in the U.S. and Canada, asks students to submit short videos to show how they were inspired by testimony to make positive choices and create value in their community. Previous entries have documented students’ projects to give sandwiches to the homeless, participate in a march for immigration reform, write kind notes to every student in their school, and more – all inspired by the testimonies of Holocaust survivors in IWitness.

Educators can also construct their own activities in IWitness with service-learning components, or draw on already-existing activities, to meet their needs.

Students can also engage with their communities through testimony on social media, using USC Shoah Foundation’s social media campaign #BeginsWithMe. Using this hashtag, students are encouraged to share what they personally can do to make their communities more tolerant and peaceful.

USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education Kori Street previously attended a kick-off meeting for accredited Service-Learning Community Partners on Sept. 21.

IWitness has already been introduced to Chicago teachers and students on several occasions, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of Chicago, a fifth-grade classroom at OA Thorpe Scholastic Academy, and teacher-training workshops led by former USC Shoah Foundation regional consultant and teacher Brandon Barr.