As an all campus project GateWay Community College faculty, administrators, and professional support staffers teamed GWCC service-learning students to deliver the Junior Achievement curriculum to all K-8 students (24 classes) at our neighboring Crockett Elementary School.
This is a first for Arizona where a community college has provided a consultant for every classroom at an elementary school. This is an example of a true community partnership. In Fall 1999, outgoing President Randolph asked the college to identify a project that would involve our "GateWay Family" (our entire campus community). About that time, we received a call from the principal of our neighboring elementary school asking us to consider becoming community consultants to deliver the Junior Achievement curriculum to all classrooms at her school. Junior Achievement s mission of teaching children to value themselves, others, their education, and the American free enterprise system aligned perfectly with the the goals of our service-learning program. A representative from Junior Achievement met with our Service-learning Committee, an interdisciplinary group charged with overseeing service-learning activities on our campus and making related recommendations to the administration, to explain the program. The committee embraced the project and recommended to President Randolph that this would be our all-campus spring project.
In January, President Randolph was reassigned to the MCCD District office as Acting Vice-Chancellor for Quality and Employee Development. Acting President Gaudet made the suggestion that we form teams of GWCC personnel and service-learning students. The call went out from President Gaudet and volunteers from all divisions came forward. While all volunteers saw the project as a way to fill an unmet need for an inner-city school, faculty viewed it as an opportunity to partner with their students, students saw the project as a way to interact more informally with campus personnel and administrators had an opportunity to interact more with students. In less than two weeks, all 24 classes were assigned. President Gaudet volunteered to be consultant to an 8th grade class. (As an extension activity, he and the nursing faculty member who was the consultant to the other grade class, sponsored a Career Awareness visit to the campus for the 8th-grade students and their parents. Thirty-five participants spent three hours at the campus completing computer-based career assessments and touring the campus.)
A core team with faculty representation from each instructional division and the Director of Community Partnership Programs participated in a training workshop with the teachers from the elementary school and went through a Junior Achievement provided train-the-consultant workshop. Team members in turn provided training to campus volunteers. During the next three months, teams made 6-8 visits to their assigned classrooms to deliver the citizenship lessons. The evaluations have been overwhelmingly positive and about 75% of the consultants have asked to participate next year.
Our campus has decided to continue the project. Ideally, children who spend their K-8 years at Crockett Elementary will have nine years of citizenship and stay in school messages. We also see it as an opportunity to informally mentor our future civic leaders and our future GateWay students. We are certain that there will be additional related service-learning opportunities at the school.