Through Public Achievement students take action that:
- has value, purpose, and meaning both for themselves and a larger community.
- uses previously learned and newly acquired academic skills and knowledge.
- offers unique learning experiences.
- has real consequences.
- offers a safe environment to learn, to make mistakes, and to succeed.
- is legal and respectful.
Once the plan is formed, schedule and perform the activities. Always plan as many opportunities to address the need as possible. The more often students perform a particular action the stronger the learning impact. Be sure to record the project in action.
Review your plans for each session to keep on track with goals, reflect on progress and problems, and continue striving for solutions. General questions to consider during the action phase:
- Is the timeline realistic?
- Have unseen needs arisen? Involve students in finding solutions. (Such reflection can assist in modifying the project, as in the case of “Fish to Goats” see Appendix 1).
- How are students feeling about the process?
- How are community partners feeling about the process?
- How can you make explicit the connection between the project and learning?
Making Public Work Visible
Public work, by definition, should be visible; it is one of the things that make the work, public.
Why should public work be visible?
- It gets the word out and raise awareness about your issue and Public Achievement;
- It may bring you into contact with other people who have a stake in your issue, which;
- Enables you to build relationships and partnerships;
- It is a way to leave you mark, to have people see and remember what you have done;
- It ensures accountability;
- You get recognition from others for a job well done.
Suggestions for students to make projects more visible:
- Write a story in the school newsletter;
- Make a bulletin board;
- Put posters up;
- Get on the morning announcements;
- Talk to friends, teachers, principal, staff;
- Make a presentation to your school, other PA groups, the PTA, or teachers.
- Tell your parents what your are doing in PA;
- Ask them / find ways for them to help;
- Write a story in the school newsletter or school district newspaper;
- Make a presentation at a PTA or school board meeting;
In local community:
- Invite local media to cover your event;
- Write a press release;
- Write your own story and submit it to a local paper;
- Put flyers up in town;
- Talk to people in shopping malls, libraries, business places;
- Make presentations to local businesses, organizations, government offices;
- Ask different people who know things about your issue to make a presentation in your group;
- Get on public radio, public TV, and local cable.
In wider community:
- Use the Internet to tell the world about your project;
- Send a press release to national media;
- Write letters to Congress / President / leaders of foreign countries;
Reflection and Evaluation During the Action
Reflection can be written, oral, or large group dialogue. It can be a self-evaluation done by students or evaluation of the project by the group. Suggested questions for reflection:
- What kinds of things are we doing? How do our actions match our goals and objectives (both as a group and as individuals; refer to posted goals and objectives)?
- Do they match our expectations? If not, should we revise expectations? Or the project?
- Are leaders emerging? Who?
- What is the most difficult part? The most rewarding?
- Did we miss something in our planning? What?
- What kind of skills and/or knowledge do we need to make this project a success?
- What have we learned?
- Are there any other needs arising that might be a good second project?