learn / 2015

ECS Serves LA

ECS Serves LA

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Environmental Charter Schools

For LA2050, ECS proposes change the way both students and teachers learn in LA by leveraging the reach of its award-winning service learning model in the 2016-2017 school year. By connecting its diverse, altruistic young students with LA’s rich and dynamic community of nonprofit organizations, ECS will help: 1) its students scale their learning and become more college-ready and workforce-ready, and 2) local LA organizational partners scale their impact with volunteer contributions.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • South LA
  • South Bay

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Mobilize for systems change

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math
  • Academic Performance Index* scores
  • College matriculation rates
  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

To Change The Way Students Learn, ECS Will:

Create the “ECS Serves LA” program, which will:

*Place every ECS high school senior - 120 teens – in semester-long internships across LA. Inspired by the Phillip Brooks House at Harvard College, this service referral system will formally connect five-person peer groups of ECS students with local, hands-on opportunities to make a positive impact.
Conducted in subject areas related to their senior thesis, these internships will give youth the chance to contribute to LA’s civic infrastructure while deepening their understanding of social issues.

*Be comprised of 15-20 not-for-profit and community agencies. To form the network, ECS will formalize agreements with its existing partners such as Heal the Bay, the Surfrider Foundation, and various LA River organizations. ECS will also reach out to new groups.

*Serve as a reference model within the LA region: ECS Serves LA will help change the way other LA high schools approach service learning. By assembling a vast network of the “who’s who” of the LA social service sector, ECS will make the model replicable across disciplines, will be available to show other LA educators and activists how to implement this program at their schools.

To Change The Way Teachers Learn, ECS Will:

*Expand its Green Ambassadors Institute (GAI), a learning lab offering professional development for both teachers and organizations looking to implement hands-on sustainable education. By expanding, GAI, ECS will:

  • Share its five (5) Best Practices with twice as many teachers throughout the LA region. ECHS employs the following instructional strategies and best practices, which we believe are unique and successfully develop changemakers in both students and educators: Small Learning Communities, Interdisciplinary Curriculum & Authentic Assessment, Relevant and Engaging Instruction, Environmental & Experiential Learning and Collaboration with Partners.

*Expand the Number of Educators GAI Works With Through Increased Outreach and Marketing: ECS will reach out to new networks of teachers, will also create one (1) new GAI marketing video, and will create take-home impact tools to support teachers post-workshop (such as PDFs, resources, and guides)

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

ECS will evaluate its work according to the following metrics:

*How many students were placed in the 2016-2017 ECS Serves LA internship program (goal = 120 students) *How many organizations participated in the 2016-2017 ECS Serves LA internship program (goal = 15-20) *How many more teachers attended the 2016-2017 GAI professional development program (goal = 70 from at least 30 schools) *How many GAI workshops we were able to offer (goal = 4)

The evaluation will be overseen by ECS’ Director of Curriculum & Instruction Amy Frame and Service Learning Coordinator Sammy Lyon. Frame and Lyon will be supported by a new Outreach Associate that ECS will hire for this LA2050 project. This Associate will help expand ECS’ reach by connecting it to more organizations and educators in the LA area. At the end of the academic year, the Associate will follow-up and gather impact data for Frame and Lyon’s tracking purposes.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Community outreach