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This study explored the successes and informative challenges of a partnership forged between an elementary school, a university, and a nonprofit educational agency. The purpose of the partnership was to research the implementation of a yearlong critical service-learning framework in third and fifth grades. Teachers were engaged in a series of professional development sessions and workshops to learn how to enact My VOICE, a pedagogical approach that leverages student voices to develop a community-based service project that addresses a student-identified social issue. Using qualitative approaches, we systematically gathered teachers’ perspectives and recorded the apparent strengths and weaknesses of the partnership. We posit suggestions for strengthening the partnership and highlight the benefits of critical pedagogies that can be impactful for all children.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • Partnership Focused on Critical Service-Learning

  • Journal title
    • Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship

  • Volume
    • 13

  • Issue
    • 2

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • License
  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      We thank Liz Farley-Ripple, director of Partnerships in Public Education; Chrystalla Mouza, director of the School of Education; Rosalie Rolón-Dow, associate director of the Center for the Study of Diversity; and Christine Gorowara, interim director at the Delaware Center for Teacher Education (all at the University of Delaware) for their financial and professional support of this project. We send gratitude to Need in Deed, especially to Kyra Atterbury and Pam Prell. We also appreciate Dr. Kathleen Riley of West Chester University as a critical thought partner. She helped inform our literature review and our figure development. Most importantly, we thank the teachers, students, and school-based administrators who made this project possible. Due to promises of confidentiality, we cannot name these brilliant individuals, but we heartily extend our love and thanksgiving to our partners at “Emily Elementary School.”