The focus on collaborative project-based learning in the San Diego County Office
of Education's Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) continued to
produce meaningful exhibitions of learning from students throughout the fall
At 37ECB, a school in San Diego, a recent student exhibition
included reflections based on the students’ volunteer work over two days at
Father Joe’s Villages. The theme for the semester was empathy, and teachers
felt that volunteer work would help students develop empathy for others.
“When I volunteered at Father Joe's Villages, I had an eye-opening
experience,” one student wrote in a reflection. “I felt empathy with those
people, especially when I saw a mother and her children. My mother has gone
above and beyond to care for me, and I saw this strong mother was doing the
same. I could feel her struggles and her drive to care for her children.”
At San Diego SOAR Academy's Girls Rehabilitation Facility in
Kearny Mesa, students presented “Project: Vitality” in which they identified
and planned what they want their future to look like. Using an action-planning
model, students visualized their desired future, identified objectives,
developed a plan to address local and global issues, and described how they
would implement their vision through action and service learning. The girls
explored topics such as energy, life, spirit, and strength to help visualize
their ideal future. They used Adobe Spark to produce public service
announcement videos on fitness, prescription drug abuse, homelessness and
poverty prevention, food waste, and healthy relationships.
Serious construction skills were on display at San Diego SOAR
Academy's East Mesa site, where teacher Alex Long’s woodworking students in the
career technical education (CTE) program proudly showed their Adirondack
chairs. Long’s CTE course started with basic carpentry, power tool use, and
work-readiness skills. The students then worked in small groups and with Long’s
help to build an Adirondack chair. After completing the group project, each
student picked a different Adirondack chair from a group of plans that Long
provided. The students then worked independently, with each building his own
In San Marcos at North County Technology and Science Blended
Academy, students worked with artists from the nonprofit Playwrights Project to craft brief two- or three-scene plays, which then were
performed by professional actors at an exhibition for parents and community
Students at Innovations Academy of Empowerment in Vista recently presented
their projects on personal identity, quadratics in faces, and water quality.
At San Diego SOAR Academy's Kearny Mesa site, students collaborated this semester on an oil pastel art project.
"It was interesting to see the students discover that together they can create beautiful art," teacher Ellen De La Cruz said. "This concept extends to the idea that together they can support one another during their time in Juvenile Hall."
JCCS principals say the exhibitions are powerful examples of
student learning, and teachers are already looking ahead to exhibition
schedules for the spring semester.
JCCS provides a fully accredited educational program for
school-age youth who are either wards of the court or have been referred by
social services, probation, or one of the 42 school districts in San Diego
County. Services are provided to incarcerated youth, pregnant minors, foster
youth, expelled teens, chronically truant youth, students in drug treatment
centers and group homes for neglected or abused children, and youth
JCCS serves nearly 5,000 students per year at more than 24 sites
across the county.