September 9, 2020

The current social outrage at institutionalized racism has been fueled both by the disparities apparent in the impact of COVID-19 and its economic ramifications, and by reprehensible acts of abuse of power on the part of certain law enforcement agents, such as the killing of George Floyd. We have the opportunity—and the responsibility—to channel that indignation into urgent and useful action, rather than divisive or destructive behavior.

The SolutionsForChange project will be implemented at Cypress Run Education Center (CREC) in Pompano Beach, FL with 250 middle and high school students, their teachers and other staff during the 2020-21 school year. CREC serves a special population of students who, through committing a serious offense, would otherwise be suspended or expelled from school.

In the project, CREC Students will prepare and participate in virtual interviews with six accomplished people regarding bias, social injustice, and racial equality, then create plans for change they can present via service learning projects, including essays and oral/digital presentations.

This pilot (1st year) project at CREC will serve as a model to disseminate as a larger project throughout Broward County Schools in subsequent years. To accomplish this, a CANVAS course management system that supports online learning and teaching will be utilized for other schools to incorporate the project’s recorded interviews, ancillary activities, methods and materials. The course will also incorporate social-emotional learning and trauma-informed teaching practices.

Participating CREC students will be encouraged to consider civic and community engagement activities, including presenting their plans for change to city commissioners as well as annual school district conferences and events such as Broward Schools’ Innovative Teacher Idea Expo.

Learning for Success (LFS), with 40 years’ experience connecting community resources with schools will manage the project. Additional LFS Volunteers and CREC teachers will support the project by helping students develop and implement their plans, and delivering the LFS lesson “Open Minds”/Overcoming Bias and Stereotype”.

For more information or if you would like to get involved, email John Casbarro at .