Teachers from 15 CPS high schools along with college mentors from universities across the country gathered for two days of professional development on June 1-2 in preparation for the 5th Summer of Service and Leadership (SOSL) program. Beginning with a day of community building and experiential problem-solving experiences at Irons Oaks Outdoor Adventure Center, teachers and college mentors enjoyed a day of activities designed to build teamwork, communication, and problem-solving skills.
Originally funded through a federal grant in 2008, the Summer of Service and Leadership has grown each year to serve rising 9th graders as they prepare for high school. Summer of Service and Leadership encourages students to learn about and be active in their communities, to develop leadership skills, to examine pressing social issues, to become oriented to their new school, and to begin to think about college opportunities.
Excellent CPS teachers and motivated college mentors work together to facilitate a dynamic curriculum where students are rarely in their seats working independently. Through a wide range of hands-on and experience-based learning opportunities, students work together to learn about, understand, and solve problems. During the summer of 2012 students will be asked to engage the issues of aging, food distribution, and the environment.
Through a first-time collaboration with the CPS Office of STEM, students will also have an opportunity to learn and apply science and math skills to environmental problems. During the fourth week of the program, students will visit local colleges in order to begin the process of college preparation.
Reports from teachers over the years indicate that SOSL students are most likely to continue to serve, lead, and participate more actively in the life of the school than other students in the building. Indeed, several groups have continued to work together over the course of the school year and have emerged as real school leaders.
Summer of Service and Leadership is coming to a high school near you beginning on Monday, June 25 and continues through Friday, July 20 with a culminating event at the UIC Forum.