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EL Education Announces Better World Day Featuring Projects That Contribute to A Better World

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    April Hattori

EL Education, a leading K-12 nonprofit, announced an initiative spotlighting the power of students who are changing the world. Contributing to a better world is the norm at more than 150 EL Education public schools across the country, where academics are joined to character and service. This new initiative documents examples of these types of projects to be used as models for all schools. These model projects and hundreds more will be shared across the country on Friday, May 4th, 2018: the first national EL Education Better World Day.

Created in celebration of EL Education’s 25 years of transforming classrooms across the country, the Better World Project showcases student projects that are making positive change in their communities and the world.  Eight projects from EL Education schools are part of the initiative’s first round. The second round of projects will be announced in December.

“Now more than ever, doing work that matters is important for students, their communities, and the nation. The Better World Project joins character and scholarship, spotlighting the work of students who are taking ownership of their learning and building bridges of understanding across differences,” said Scott Hartl, President and CEO, EL Education.

Below are the eight first round Better World Projects, chosen by a panel of students, teachers and school leaders:


Project Playground

Expeditionary Learning Academy at Moylan School, Hartford, CT

Second grade students will engage in a project to create a safe and accessible playground for the school community where they can play with their peers who have multiple disabilities. Working together with children of all different abilities, they will consult with experts to create a plan for a truly inclusive play space.


Escondido Super Stewards: Protecting and Serving Our Local Watershed 

Conway Elementary School, Escondido, CA

Fourth grade students will explore the human impact on the fragile watershed in their community while finding solutions to the problems of this ecosystem. With the assistance of scientists, professionals, and community members, they will learn what it takes to become an E.P.I.C. (Excellence, Perseverance, Integrity and Compassion) super steward.


Connecting with the Refugee Story: State History Through the Lens of Changing Communities and Human Rights 

Downtown Denver Expeditionary School, Denver, CO

Fourth grade students will celebrate the courage and mission of young adult refugees in their city, interviewing them and capturing their stories to share with the community.  They will celebrate and bring awareness to the rich culture of student refugees through a film screening of their collaborative process and a book that explores both their interviews and original illustrations of the experience.


Common Ground

Lodestar Community Charter School

Oakland, CA

Sixth grade students will be journalists and printmakers as they lift up the voices of Muslim and Arab members of their community, focusing on the common roots of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and experiences of Islamophobia. Ultimately, students will create written, spoken, and artistic work that promotes religious tolerance in their community.


Community Faces - Humanizing the Immigrant Label

Interdistrict School for Arts And Communication

New London, CT

Sixth grade students with the help of multiple community partnerships and educators will tell the human story of immigration with a local lens through a professional quality published booklet that will be shared with the the entire Southeastern Connecticut community. They hope to help  break stereotypes associated with the label “immigrant” in the United States today.


Waste Less, Nourish More

Expeditionary Alternative Learning Middle School (REALMS)

Bend, OR

Sixth grade students will establish a robust school garden and school-wide composting system to achieve science, health & math standards, while building their commitment to environmental stewardship. They will create a model to present to the school board that could be replicated at other district schools.


The Senate Expedition: Lifting Justice Through Mathematics 

Open World Learning Community

St. Paul, MN

Eighth grade algebra students will put their mathematics to use to try to help the world. They will be prepare data-rich reports on community and state issues that can inform legislators of pressing needs and potential solutions. They will meet with State Representatives and Senators to lobby for positive change on this issues, using their mathematical analyses as evidence for their arguments.


The Future of Energy: Senior Energy Documentary Film Project

Four Rivers Charter Public School

Greenfield, MA

High school seniors will study the range of energy sources used locally; will interview stakeholders on all sides of energy debates; and will explore a local issue of energy controversy, such as a proposed new pipeline coming through the district. They will create a professional quality, feature length documentary on these issues and their advocacy for sustainable energy that will be screened for the public in a downtown movie theater to begin a public dialogue on the topic.

These projects and hundreds more will be featured during EL Education Better World Day and on Models of Excellence: Center For Student Work modelsofexcellence.eleducation.org, EL Education’s free, open source online collection of high quality student work designed to provoke conversation, spark innovation, and help create a vision of what is possible in American classrooms.