Category Archives: ECSL Collaborations

documentarVOTE! A Virtual Gathering for Youth

A Powerful Event to Investigate Poverty

This speaker series, held this month in Venice on June 20th from 7-9pm, directly correlates to our spring panel on poverty. Coordinated by a few of our panelists, we highly recommend attending this special event to witness the power of story and first-hand experiences as a form of service learning investigation!


ECSL Dinner Workshop: Pathways to Understanding through Gardening and Food

Sustainability for our planet by reducing waste and growing resilient gardens. Sustainability for our communities by increasing empathy and embracing diversity. Join ECSL and Netiya for an innovative dinner workshop that bridges the concepts of food and social justice. Cook farm-to-table ethnic food and engage in conversation focusing on ways we can link concepts of bio-diversity and cultural diversity within our curriculum and school communities to create a more just society.


RSVP here

Stronger Together! Building and Sustaining a Collaborative Regional Service Learning Network

Thanks to all who joined us at the National Service Learning Conference for our workshop “Stronger Together! Building and Sustaining a Collaborative Regional Service Learning Network.” We are honored to have been a part of the 28th Annual Service Learning Conference, Dare to Dream #SLC17, at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim March 22-25th, 2017.

Below are some resources to help you start a service learning network in your region!

Prezi from National Service Learning Workshop – your ideas are recorded here

ECSL Member Questions 2016 – what are our members asking?

Feel free to reach out with any questions or follow-up!

This is How You Hack the Curriculum

On Saturday, April 16th ECSL joined with the Green Ambassadors Institute, a professional development program through Environmental Charter High School, to engage in a first-of-its-kind experiment: The Curriculum Hack. April 16 Small CardIt was based on the shared experience of many teachers that there is no one-size-fits-all curriculum. An educator is a kind of jigsaw puzzle expert. They are constantly fitting together the puzzle pieces (standards, time, current events, learning styles, youth interests) to create the big picture (a curriculum that best serves their students).

With so many factors to consider when deciding how to deliver content, teachers rarely use a published curriculum verbatim. They take out, add on, or adjust lesson plans to create something that fits the needs of the class. Teachers may do this in isolation or amongst their planning teams on campus. But at this spring’s BioDiversity Summit, Green Ambassadors gave educators access to a valuable resource in this process of tailoring curriculum- diverse perspectives.

IMG_6863In our increasingly interconnected world, there is a need to bring together all community stakeholders to create curriculum that helps students prepare for the challenges we face as a society. Everyone was invited to the table. Educators, students, community organizations, businesses and government leaders all lent their ideas and expertise. In real-time, this melting pot of perspectives helped shape curriculum for pressing essential questions we need to cover in our classrooms, like “How can we undo environmental injustices within our communities in order to keep people safe and healthy?”

At the start of the summit, ECSL led participants in a personal inventory activity that revealed each other’s interests, skills and talents through a guided interview process. Later, when it was time to hack the curriculum together, each member could reflect on their traits, background and experiences that would impact their group’s lesson planning process. Gingerbread Inventory

This year’s institute theme was BioDiversity, and the experience lived up to its name. The diverse skill sets present amongst each group member led to rich explorations of environmental justice themes for all grade levels.

Green Ambassadors has made available the lesson plans created in this collaborative curriculum development experience (where you can also access the Personal Inventory activity presented by ECSL).

We look forward to connecting with members and new participants alike at the ECSL Fall Meeting scheduled for September 27th at The Skirball Cultural Center from 3:15-5:30pm. Join us for another unique opportunity to network with a variety of stakeholders in the service learning community.

Special Opportunity to Share your Service Learning Work!

**Share your service learning program at the upcoming Environmental Justice Showcase and Curriculum Hack that ECSL is co-sponsoring with Environmental Charter High School.**


ECSL is making available a special opportunity. You are invited  to share a 10 minute talk with 5 min Q/A in a roundtable type conversational format. We are providing a personal ECSL mentor to help facilitate review and teacher preparation for this collaborative workshop along with a simple template to utilize.

The purpose is to discuss the process, more importantly than the result.  It will be an chance for you to examine various stages from where you might have felt stymied in your SL process, to taking positive outcomes to the next level.

This meeting will provide time for interaction, exchange of ideas/needs, connections and will genuinely aid faculty with the five stages of service learning, fostering student voice and choice and developing meaningful community benefits.

WE HOPE YOU WILL CONSIDER JOINING THE OTHER FACULTY (from K-12 schools, private & public) who have agreed to tell their service learning stories….Faculty who shared at last year’s ECSL expo felt they actually learned more from the experience than the observers….so take advantage of this unique opportunity to partner with an ECSL mentor and enhance your service learning (no matter whatever stage you are currently practicing).

PLEASE REPLY to as soon as possible IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE an ECSL mentor and the presentation template.

INCLUDE: YOUR NAME, CLASS LEVEL/SUBJECT TAUGHT, TOPIC PRESENTING.  This “show and grow” will take place in the morning, although there are worthwhile activities and exchanges from 9-3pm. The topic you choose does not necessarily need to be environmentally based…. any Service Learning program in which your students are currently engaged has justice and curricular tie-ins.  Lastly, feel free to bring some of your students along to present with you and experience the day.

.….We are looking forward to hearing back from you soon and hope you choose to be a part of this exciting day!


April 16 Small Card


Tech Tools 101 Fall Session

tech-tools-101-logo       ECSL Advisor, Sammy Lyon, is conducting Tech Tools 101 at The California Science center this fall! Learn practical skills for using technology and social media to engage youth in service learning and community-based education. Get more information and register here. You can also check out this synopsis from a recent session of Tech Tools 101 to learn more about this dynamic workshop.

Tech Tools 101: Your Social Media Workout!

New Media and Education Consultant, Sammy Lyon, describes her course as, “practical skills (and a kick in the butt) to help you finally become social media and technology savvy.” Participants attending the workshop, which was hosted by Windward School on November 2nd, definitely got a workout to flex those technology muscles.


Here’s the exercise regimen:

The Tech: Web-based programs and Apps like Dropbox, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, WordPress, Pinterest, and Google Docs, as well as software such as iMovie, GarageBand or Audacity. Sammy Lyon helped develop each person’s social media presence. If you didn’t have a Twitter account before, you started a profile and tried your first Tweet. Never got around to downloading the Instagram app? There was support for that too.

The Tools: The workout wasn’t without “equipment” to help each participant build strength in technology. Sammy provided graphic organizers and handouts geared to guide each educator’s workshop experience- how to document their process and set goals with technology. Participants were offered hands-on practice with tools like audio recording devices for the iPhone.

The 101: Just as a workout is made up of a combination of exercises, the learning took place in many different forms. There was trial and error with different programs. Participants shared prior experience and knowledge with their new colleagues. Sammy posed thought-provoking questions that were discussed (and Tweeted!). She shared examples of how social media can be used authentically in the classroom to engage youth in social change. After, participants were given time to work on a project with a new technology tool of their choice, and each person shared their product. A few of the ventures: Pinterest boards for Irrigation Inspiration and Sustainable Dream Yards (check out TreePeople’s Pinterest page) ; a Podcast about the experiences of workshop participants; A WordPress blog to document the happenings in a K-1 classroom. And the learning doesn’t stop here. Participants were invited to keep in touch and share their continued work through the cohort’s Google Doc.


Sammy’s presence as the class instructor was more like a coach than a drill sergeant. Participants may have worked hard, but not to the point of exhaustion. Instead, at the end of the day, you sensed stronger and more energized educators- ready to stand alongside their students as they take on social media and technology together.

Want to give the workout a try? Campbell Hall will be hosting Sammy Lyon’s program on March 8th at Campbell Hall School, and there is also a video course available. Visit to find out more.

This workshop supports ECSL’s commitment to providing professional development and collegial exchange for service-learning practitioners who are dedicated to promoting civic responsibility in today’s youth. Check the “Upcoming Events” section on our web page to get details about other programs and events this school year.

Carlthorp Group Service Collaboration

The Carlthorp faculty and staff would like to do a group community service project together probably one Saturday morning. I just wondered if other schools have done something like this – we are looking for ideas… particularly something that might have a service learning component. Would greatly appreciate your suggestions. Please comment here or email.
Nikki Edwards

Community Outreach

Carlthorp School