District 123’s Community Partnership programs has been shared by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) as a model for other school districts within the state through the “Illinois Sparks” initiative. District 123 is one of only 22 other school districts to be featured within the initiative.
ISBE has worked to identify, produce and share case studies from school districts like District 123 that highlight effective practices and programs making a significant impact within the lives of students. The “Illinois Sparks” initiative works to engage schools statewide in an effort to spread fresh ideas in a peer to peer network focused on inter-district learning. The district was featured for its strategic approach to service learning and community partnering.
Student service learning in District 123 is deeply integrated in curriculum and learning design. Students participate in in-school and extracurricular activities in the park district, community garden, and tree nursery, as well as many other partner sites and programs, the case study reads. Seventy-five percent of students in the district are involved in at least one club embedded in the community.
The case study also includes a series of reflective questions and action steps for other school districts wishing to replicate the program