If you believe that sometimes things are "meant to be," you will enjoy this story. If you don't believe that sometimes things are meant to be, keep reading anyway. You might waver towards believing...just a little.
While attending a CADA conference, two of my brilliant colleagues had the spark of an idea.
CADA is about student leadership, but it is more that just the kids on ASB or Student Council; it is about how all students can be leaders in various facets to positively impact their schools' cultures. My colleagues thought expanding leadership opportunities for our student body too would make sense. They looked at all the different programs talked about and thought our school would benefit most from Link Crew, PLUS and Service Learning in addition to the existing ASB class. The two of them met to craft a pitch and proposal for our principal who gave it a green light. They then approached potential teachers, started crafting budgets, and began working on school board documents.
At this time, I was--away from teaching--completing a full time Masters Degree program for Social Entrepreneurship. I chose this program because I wanted something that had a little broader range than straightforward educational topics--but not so far out of the realm of public good that it could not be applied to education. When I settled on the Social Entrepreneurship and Change program, I could not quite articulate "Why?" other than I knew it simply felt right. I had a background in nonprofit and felt like I always had a heart for service, volunteerism, and mission-based causes.
As we learned about the facets of social entrepreneurship: mission, vision, service, purpose, leadership, etc., I kept thinking, "this is important information for high school students!" I would wonder to myself about how I could teach this information to kids? I would make up assignments for them in my head and felt kids would create incredible ideas from these resources. I was confident that exposure to this information would encourage them to change our world for the better.
When it came time in my graduate program to pitch a social enterprise, I asked permission to instead craft a class for high school students based on the principles and teachings of the program. I researched service and civic-based programs and learned the positive affects these types of programs have on students. I also realized colleges are looking at perspective students' leadership and campus engagement in addition to their grades and extra curricular activities. I wrote up a version of the class and tuned it in as my project. No soon was my project turned in that I got a call from my school.
At the time, neither of us knew what the other was up to. I knew that Peninsula was a great school and that kids learned great things there, and Peninsula knew I was in school for a social good type of degree. They said,"what do you think about teaching a Service Learning Leadership course?" and I responded,"let me email over my first draft."
From there we worked to get the class UC approved and the inaugural class happened during the 2013-2014 school year. While the course is still developing, due to the way its inception is came about, I know that it is meant to be a part of the Peninsula HS Leadership Department and overall school culture. It is an honor and privilege to teach this class and journey along with its students.