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City as Our Campus is a community-based learning program that enables students and teachers to engage, utilize, and study the community.

City as Our Campus

Pittsburgh, United States
City as Our Campus is an extension of our core academic curriculum and augments it by providing real-world experiences. By working with diverse members of the community, students don’t just gain understanding of the community’s most pressing issues, they work to solve them. City as Our Campus is driving Pittsburgh’s learning ecosystem and putting students and teachers at the center of it.
Introduction

City as Our Campus

“City as Our Campus functions as a regular reminder that we, as Winchester Thurston, are part of a living, breathing city. A city which is continually being created and recreated by the people who call it home. I couldn’t imagine a more powerful idea to introduce to students - this process of the creation of a more equitable, just, and inclusive city for all people who are making a home here. ”

WT Teacher

Winchester Thurston School is a prekindergarten to grade 12 independent school located in Pittsburgh, PA. City as Our Campus is a community-based learning initiative integrated in our core academic curriculum. Through these experiential learning experiences, Winchester Thurston engages community members as co-educators, utilizes community spaces as learning environments outside of the classroom, and encourages students to study and address various community issues. 

City as Our Campus is a faculty driven program, which allows them to implement community-based learning in personally meaningful ways for their classroom and students. It is one of the many teaching methods our faculty can utilize to engage their students. This embedded program model allows for every student, prekindergarten to grade 12, to participate in this initiative through various experiences that align with each individual teacher's curriculum and goals. 

Winchester Thurston School partnered with the Learning Research and Development Center at University of Pittsburgh to study City as Our Campus and its impact on student learning. Through this effort, we identified the following benefits achieved through participation in City as Our Campus:

  • Depth and purpose to the content was experienced by learning from those doing the work in the community and/or those experiencing what students are learning about. 
  • A higher level of mastery was achieved through the process of actively applying learning to authentic situations that embrace the ambiguity and complexity of the real-world. 
  • Teachers and students experienced greater engagement and enjoyment because they were able to pursue passions that were personally meaningful to them. 

We believe that City as Our Campus is an innovative approach to teaching and learning that helps our students have a higher level of mastery and a stronger set of skills that will prepare them to be active and engaged members of the community. 

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Innovation Overview
4 - 18
Age Group
-
Children/Users
1
Country
2004
Established
-
Organisation
231
Views
Focus areas
Tips for implementation
Connect with innovator
W
Media

See this innovation in action

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Steps

Inspired to implement this? Here's how...

01
Pursuing Purpose
The benefits of community-based learning are best achieved when the work clearly aligns with the mission and goals of the school and its teachers. Consider how community-based learning could align with your school's mission, philosophy, and curriculum.
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02
Experience It
Once a vision of your community-based learning initiative is realized, engage faculty and staff in experiential learning opportunities that highlight the impact of community-based learning.
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03
Finding Opportunity
Many teachers already utilize teaching methods that are similar or aligned with community-based learning. Collaborate with faculty to find opportunities in the curriculum that already exist.
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04
Identify Critical Components
Identify the necessary resources, structures, and elements that are required to implement a community-based learning program at your school.
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05
Build Networks
Community-based learning is built on partnerships with various community members and organizations.
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06
Get to Work!
Empower teachers to begin developing and implementing community-based learning experiences with their students.
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