Modern Language Dept Immerses in Service-Learning

Members of the Hackley Modern Languages department devoted November 7 to Professional Development in Service-Learning to support efforts to expand the ways they integrate Service-Learning into their students' educational experience.
Teams within the department spent the morning in off-site visits or, where necessary, in conference calls with leaders of non-profit organizations from whom we can learn and potentially build Service-Learning partnerships.
  • Katherine Taylor, Tuo Liu and Michelle Crepeau met with former Hackley teacher and alumnus Roger Garrison to discuss the work of his Tree of Life Orphanage in Haiti.
  • Hui Wen and Roy Sheldon spoke with a representative from the Asia Society.
  • Diane Remenar, Angela Alonso, and Nuria Bueso met with Sister Susan at the Life Center in Sleepy Hollow.
  • Sara Budde and Margaret Randazzo spoke with Theresa Colyar from WestHab (an organization that serves people in low-income housing in Westchester and NYC).
  • Jessica Spates and Emily Washington spoke with Kristina Papa from Abbott House, program director of the TRC (Transitional Resource Center).
In each of these discussions, the Hackley teachers sought to hold the needs of each community partner sacrosanct by asking questions and listening well. Why was each organization formed?  What is their mission? Who do they serve and how has their audience changed over time? What needs and services do they provide?  What volunteer needs do they have? 

Following these sessions, to begin translating community needs in action, the team reconvened as a department to share their experiences, examine needs (present or predicted) for the different organizations with which they met, and identify any common needs, services or programs that might exist across the three different languages.

In the afternoon, the group worked to identify the possible intersections of community needs and the curriculums in each department. What skills practice, lexical groups, grammatical structures would be required to complete the service in the target language? This is a BIG question, but one that can bear a lot of fruit. With this new lens, teachers broke up into language teaching teams to examine the specific needs of the organization in the hopes of identifying specific insertion points. And finally, the team considered what they have learned, what questions persisted, and what, if they choose to  incorporate this into their curriculum, what Hackley can do to support that work.

The day was an inspiring next step toward the growth of the Hackley Service-Learning program.