Community Schools Academy Curriculum toolkit is intended to serve as a resource for youth development professionals, youth-serving organizations and educational institutions aiming to develop civic engagement and tolerance in young people. The included materials were developed for the Youth Civic Engagement and Dialogue (YCED) Program, which brought together Roma and non-Roma youth (ages 14-18) in Romania and Moldova to lead local development projects in their schools and communities. YCED was a program of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor of the U.S. Department of State and implemented by IREX in partnership with Romani CRISS, an NGO that works to defend and promote the rights of Roma throughout Romania.
How to Use the Community Schools Academy Toolkit
IREX and Romani CRISS facilitated two Community Schools Academy (CSA) workshops in the summers of 2011 and 2012 to prepare attendees to lead civic engagement and dialogue activities in their schools and communities. The participants were 24 adult mentors and 24 youth ages 14-18. Youth and adult mentors were separated for some sessions to facilitate their engagement with the material. The facilitation team consisted of Romanian, Moldovan and American youth development professionals employed by IREX and Romani CRISS. The content was delivered in Romanian and in English with interpretation. A Training of Trainers (TOT) was conducted prior to the CSA to review the workshop logistics and curriculum and to ensure that staff were prepared to facilitate.
This toolkit includes sample workshop learning objectives and a sample agenda for a five-day workshop. The curriculum and accompanying handouts are divided into sections by day. Facilitators are encouraged to adapt the objectives and agenda to meet the learning needs of their specific group. The
actual length of time required for each activity will vary based on the level of youth development, civic engagement and project management experience in the group and the need for interpretation and additional explanation.
Community Schools Academy Learning Objectives
- By the end of the 5-day CSA, participants will be able to:
- Develop a sense of identity as YCED participants, members of a multi-ethnic team, and community leaders.
- Build and lead project teams of mixed youth (Roma/non-Roma; male/female).
- Engage and motivate other youth.
- Establish effective youth-adult partnerships.
- Work together harmoniously and manage conflict.
- Engage school directors, local government officials, local businesses and other potential supporters.
- Civic Engagement and Project Management
- Discuss their responsibility to their communities and especially to disadvantaged youth.
- Conduct a youth-focused community needs assessment.
- Write a grant proposal with a clear goal and objectives that address program requirements.
- Identify major elements and best practices for management of a small youth project, including budgeting and reporting.
- Diversity and Conflict Management:
- Recognize and discuss cultural differences and intercultural issues;
- Recognize and discuss differences in needs, schedules, and priorities for girls and boys.