Because each PA project develops uniquely, no precise methodology is prescribed. Each group, however, does tend to follow a general process that is divided below into six basic steps. These six stages of Public Achievement are loosely modeled after the Parnes creative problem solving process. Keep in mind that reflection and assessment should occur at all stages of the process. For your convenience, we have developed a Student and Teacher Activities Grid that outlines activities to use during each stage.
The Six Stages include:
- Exploration and Discovery
- Issue Development
- Problem Research
- Designing a Project
- Implementing the Action Plan
- Reflection, Communication, and Celebration
1. Exploration and Discovery:
Introduce students to PA, discuss interests, community, power, and responsibility. It is important for students to develop an understanding of what public work entails; their responsibilities to the community; how many different communities each person belongs to; and how different communities have different needs. Students will need to identify needs, issues, and problems facing their various communities.
- Introduce and discuss Core Concepts
- Introduce PA process and Six Stages
- Identify curricular objectives, goals, and purposes
- Generate evaluation criteria
- Create list of common rules and procedure
2. Issue Development:
Gather more specific information regarding the needs of various communities. This can include surveys, power maps and other resources.
- Brainstorm interests and concerns
- Analyze what participants already know about issues
- Consider issues from different perspectives by exploring communities
- Research Issues
- Develop Issue Proposal
- Hold an Issues Convention
- Once they have a specific issue, the team(s) should come up with a name
3. Problem Research:
- Identify and develop a list of the issue’s key problems
- Choose a problem to address
- Explore the facts of the problem – background history and stakeholders
- Identify, Power Map, and interview stakeholders
4. Designing a Project:
Develop a plan of action and create a project to meet the selected need(s). Identify learning objectives and make academic connections.
- Brainstorm possible solutions to the problem
- Identify promising solutions
- Identify the specific focus of the action
- Sort and select ideas
- Develop, research, and support tentative solutions
- Select most promising solution
- Develop project proposal and action plan.
5. Implementing the Action Plan:
Perform the planned activity.
- Gather necessary resources and participants
- Develop criteria for use in evaluation
- Select criteria that are appropriate to the needs of the problem owners and the focus of the problem
- Implement Action Plan
- Review results of action
6. Reflect, Communicate, and Celebrate:
What was the impact of the action? Were the target goals met? What was produced? Who benefited? Disseminate what you have learned by informing others in the school and community. In addition to reflection and assessment (which is woven throughout the experience), review includes the final celebration, as well as presentation of the materials/information generated throughout the project.
- Conduct final reflection, debriefing, and assessment
- Consider all audiences who were impacted by the project
- Brainstorm the possible concerns and priorities of these audiences
- Develop a plan of presentation
- Present to target audience
- Reward participants with a final celebration