Category Archives: Teacher Experience

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

Reflection Resource

This winter’s ECSL workshop featured international service learning expert, Cathryn Berger Kaye, who helped us rethink the ways we engage students in reflection. Here, participants explore reflection strategies throughout the stages of service learning: investigation, preparation, action and demonstration.  We share some of the work and responses here to help continue the dialogue about the importance of taking time for reflection and how we can consider a variety of ways to reflect- both large and small, quick or lengthy, and through a range of different learning modalities that reach all students. Take a moment to reflect on what strategies you see here that can be implemented within your classroom.

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Mickey Morgan Speaks at ECSL

Mickey Morgan works at Oakwood’s Secondary School and teaches History and Human Geography. Mickey, an educationalist focused on empowering students to become conscious global citizens,  fosters his students to bring about meaningful change. He spoke at ECSL’s fall meeting sharing inspirational stories of service. Below are links to the programs he discussed and his entire speech.


The Oakwood Chiapas Project (Mexico)

Students help establish and support women’s artisan cooperatives in Mexico.

Global Nomads (global)

Virtual exchange programs between students with an emphasis on social media to promote awareness and understanding.


Programs, services and job training for at-risk and gang involved youth.

Los Angeles Alliance for a New

Works to improve the conditions of poverty, health care and pollution in  challenged communities.

Proyecto Pastoral (East LA)

Promotes grassroots projects in education, leadership, and service in the community of Boyle Heights.

Los Angeles Community Action Network (Skid Row)

Helps people dealing with poverty develop a voice in their community and reduce community violence and bias.

Homeless Health Care Los Angeles — Needle Exchange (Skid Row)

Uses education, advocacy and direct services to improve the health of homeless people in L.A..

Skirball Meeting Notes Sept 2012 Healthy Lives/Choices

Focus areas include obesity prevention through nutrition and increased physical activity, conflict resolution, substance abuse prevention and emotional wellbeing.

See helpful links in RESOURCES tab.

MEETING NOTES (task to connect Healthy Lives/Choices with the other six topic areas)

ENVIRONMENT – Healthy food grown in school gardens can be shared with local senior centers or food banks.  Local and global environmental issues impact our health, e.g. water and air pollution.  Genetically modified food spreads internationally through imports and exports.  Using food (e.g. corn) to produce ethanol negatively impacts the ability to address world hunger.

ANIMALS – Just as we concern ourselves with quality nutrition for ourselves, we want the same for our pets.  Walking dogs provides good physical activity.  We want to preserve the health of our ocean life; overfishing and coral reef destruction can lead to a domino effect where extinction of food sources cause the demise of other species.

ELDERS – Are we ensuring quality of life for our seniors?  What are their nutrition and physical activity requirements? From a global perspective, how are we honoring and preserving indigenous knowledge and practices that can be valuable resources to help us solve current problems.

SPECIAL NEEDS – Relating to a diverse group of people falls into the category of healthy relationships.  Empathy and understanding are developed during service learning experiences.   Connecting with educational institutions, governmental agencies and non-profit organizations in other countries expands our knowledge base as well as ideas for age-appropriate programs.

SOCIAL CHANGE / SAFE COMMUNITIES – Research toxic waste; ensure people are not living near those areas.  Urban planning must include activities and parks for young people so that they have healthy choices for their free time.  Human development curriculum provides young people with the knowledge and decision making skills necessary to become productive members of their communities.  What can be done to ensure people have meaningful work — volunteering and internships as well as salaried positions?

HOMELESSNESS AND POVERTY – Ensure that populations at risk have the knowledge about and access to quality food, physical activity, and healthcare (physical and mental)  Students can do research about topics such as obesity, diabetes, and substance abuse in order to advocative for healthy life choices.  California’s farms depend on migrant farm workers, which is another population that may be at risk with respect to health and safety.


* Partner with a classroom in another country to study the same issue.  Watch the same documentary and discuss it.

* Partner with medical and pharmacy schools in creating programs for local communities.

* Partner with State and County offices of HHR (Health and Human Resources)

* Create appealing posters, banners, bulletin boards for cafeteria walls

Simple. Service. Sustainable.

Green Wish, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, committed to helping local green organizations fund projects for their communities, has developed a Call to Action for students to become engaged citizens.

EEK-O-HALLOWEEN, a youth driven, grassroots initiative, is one of the ways that Green Wish supports the important work of local environmental nonprofits carefully vetted by environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr., and the Green Wish board. Concentrating on the quality of our air, water, food, green spaces and education for sustainability that make up our city, EEK-O-HALLOWEEN is an opportunity for students to understand what is happening right around them, and then to extend that understanding beyond Halloween throughout the entire year.

By engaging with the community, youth actively take part in supporting local efforts while learning about environmental challenges in their backyard. Green Wish provides eco-friendly boxes; students write their “green wish” on their collection containers, and on Halloween, they collect donations from their neighborhood. Green Wish sends collected funds (ninety cents on the dollar), to local, green projects to help protect our planet and improve the California environment.

At no cost, Green Wish can connect you to local green organizations, giving you direct access to experts in the field, help you enrich your curriculum, offer speakers (including Ed Begley, Jr.!) on environmental topics, schedule field trips and presentations from eco-friendly organizations, and provide a unique springboard for service learning.

As a consultant who sees youth as community stakeholders, I work to empower and engage young people to create solutions in their communities. Working with a number of organizations, I’ve come to learn that Green Wish understands service learning and is committed to creating opportunities for young people to make an impact. A teacher for over a decade and the Sustainability Coordinator at the school I taught, I personally piloted this program and saw the impact in my classroom. My students excitedly embraced the concept and eagerly shared their green wishes with the school community. It was a natural connection to my science curriculum, with entry points extending to Math, Language Arts, Social Studies and Art. My personal passion led to contacting Green Wish founder Raphael Sbarge.

There is so much that needs to be done to care for the Earth. This is a way to transform a holiday known for candy and costumes to one that authentically engages young learners and helps support green organizations in your community.

Click here to see a short video about the program and here to read about EEK-O-HALLOWEEN in the media.

If you are interested, contact ECSL Advisor Kim Wynn at

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