Whether you are an education veteran or new to the field, our new list of links—300+ strong—to social media, organizations, movements, resources, and topics vital to youth and schools deserves a look. It's not the final word, to be sure, but it's a go-to resource for those who care deeply about adolescent education and public schools in the U.S. All of the entities listed here are nonprofit, nonpartisan,and national in scop—and they come with a track record. If there's a WKCD bias, it's this: a steadfast belief in public education as the balance wheel of democracy.
Online digests, newsletters, blogs, Web 2.0
National membership associations
Global education and action
Policy, research, and advocacy
Equity, justice, and diversity
School networks and new designs
Service learning and civic engagement
Youth development and advocacy
Global education and action
For many of our feature stories, we also create a special resource collection. Click below for collections focusing on:
"First in the Family": College access and success
Making writing essential to teen lives
Summer academic and travel programs for high school students
Youth organizing for school reform
Youth voting and politics
Online digests, newsletters, listservs, blogs, Web 2.0
We are often asked where WKCD turns most often for online information, news, analysis, new ideas, Web 2.0 tips. Here’s our current list of favorites, ranging from mainline sources to vocal critiques.
Digests, newsletters, listservs
Designed specifically for K-12 professionals, ASCD’s SmartBrief provides a daily digest of the “top” K-12 news stories. ASCD’s editors handpick key articles from hundreds of publications, do a brief summary of each and provide links back to the original sources.
Education for Liberation Network
The Education for Liberation Network is a national coalition of teachers, community activists, researchers, youth and parents who believe a good education should teach people—particularly low-income youth and youth of color—how to understand and challenge the injustices their communities face. The network provides a space for members to share knowledge and work together to create tools for liberatory education.
EdWeek (EdWeek Update)
Founded in 1981, Education Week has arguably become the single “must read” news source for K-12 leaders and policy experts. Once just a print publication, in 1996 it launched edweek.org, a hybrid print-online news organization that provides distinctive staff-written original reporting while also aggregating high-quality content from other sources and offering Web 2.0, multimedia, and other features. “EdWeek Update” offers daily news and insight from the K-12 education field.
Edutopia, the multi-media arm of the George Lucas Educational Foundation, aims to spread the word about ideal, interactive learning environments and to enable others to adapt these successes locally. Edutopia.org contains a deep archive of continually updated best practices, from classroom tips to recommendations for district wide change. The site includes a rich collection of videos. In its “Schools That Work” series, Edutopia looks at how principals and teachers, parents and students, and schools and districts collaborate to produce better schools.
The National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest) works to end the misuses and flaws of standardized testing and to ensure that evaluation of students, teachers and schools is fair, open, valid and educationally beneficial. The newsletter, FairTest Examiner, offers a regular digest of the latest research, articles, and testimony on NCLB, high stakes tests, and emerging trends in national and state education policy.
PEN Weekly Newsblast
The PEN Weekly NewsBlast, published by Public Education Network, is a free electronic newsletter featuring resources and information about public school reform, school finance, and related issues. The Public Education Network (PEN) is a national association of 79 local education funds working to improve public school quality in low-income communities throughout the nation.
SparkAction is an online journalism and advocacy center that aims to: (1) connect adults and young people to compelling stories, accurate information, and tools to take action on children’s issues, from volunteering to advocacy; (2) elevate the voices and perspectives of young people themselves; and (3) break down silos in the broad child and youth field and strengthen connections among organizations and agencies to create a stronger, unified voice for children and youth.
MiddleWeb Smart Brief
MiddleWeb SmartBrief includes resources, articles and reports about: "teaching in the middle," tweens and young teens, classroom innovations, connected-learning and technology, and middle school leadership.
The Daily Riff
The founders are social entrepreneurs, parents and citizens, former NYC media executives, and forward-thinking educators. The Daily Riff presents “different perspectives, not so much to persuade, but to hopefully make us all think differently and take a new look at education…It’s time to tear down the edu-crat ivory tower.”
Education Week Blogs—More than 15 news blogs on a range of topics, plus opinion blogs, including:
“Bridging Differences”: Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier on what matters most in education.
“Curriculum Matters”: Education Week reporters on issues at the core of classroom learning.
“Living in Dialogue”: Teaching veteran Anthony Cody hosts a dialogue on teaching for change and deep learning.
Constructing Modern Knowledge (“Learning Adventures for Creative Educators”)
#Edchat (“Teacher Reboot Camp: Challenging Ourselves to Engage Our Students”)
EduWonk (“Education News. Analysis. Commentary.”)
Quick and the Ed (“Smart, fresh perspectives on the latest education policy and research from Education Sector”)
The Answer Sheet (“A school survivor guide for parents (and everyone else), from the Washington Post”)
Linking and Thinking of Education by Joanne Jacobs
Mike Klonsky’s Small Talk Blog
Dan Pink (“What a High School Algebra Teacher Can Teach Us About Innovation”)
Mike Rose Books
Taking Notes: Thoughts on Education from John Merrow
Best Web 2.0 Applications for Education in 2012
For several years, Larry Ferlazzo, a high school teacher in California, has blogged about the best websites and Web 2.0 applications for K-12 teachers. His lists are a great starting place for learning how to bring all of the riches of the Internet into the classroom.
Classroom 2.0. is a dynamic social network for teachers and “techies” interested in Web 2.0 and social media in education. You can sign up to participate in discussions, receive event notifications, and to find and connect with colleagues. The network seeks, especially, to create a supportive comfortable place to start being part of the digital dialog.
The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), an independent, non-profit research institute established in 2002, is a pioneer in knowledge sharing and educational innovations. ISKME helps K-20 educators and the organizations that support them expand their capacity to collect and share information, apply it to well-defined problems, and create human-centered, knowledge-driven environments focused on learning and success.
TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Under the moniker “ideas worth spreading,” talks were released online. They rapidly attracted a global audience in the millions. Indeed, the reaction was so enthusiastic that the entire TED website has been reengineered around TEDTalks, with the goal of giving everyone on-demand access to the world’s most inspiring voices.
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Founded in 1916, the American Federation of Teachers represents 1.5 million members in more than 3,000 local affiliates nationwide. It seeks to "improve the lives its members and their families; to give voice to their legitimate professional, economic and social aspirations; to strengthen the institutions in which they work; to bring together all members to assist and support one another; and to promote democracy, human rights and freedom in our union, in our nation and throughout the world."
Association for Middle School Education (AMLE)
With more than 30,000 members representing principals, teachers, central office personnel, professors, college students, parents, community leaders, and educational consultants across the United States, Canada, and 46 other countries, AMLE welcomes and provides support to anyone interested in the health and education of young adolescents. In addition, AMLE has a network of 58 affiliate organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia. Founded in 1973, AMLE is the only national education association dedicated exclusively to those in the middle grades.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD)
ASCD is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that represents 175,000 educators from more than 135 countries. Members span the entire profession of educators—superintendents, supervisors, principals, teachers, professors of education, and school board members. ASCD offers broad, multiple perspectives—across all education professions—in reporting key policies and practices. ASCD was formed in 1943.
Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSO)
The Council of Chief State School Officers is a nationwide, nonprofit organization composed of public officials who lead the departments responsible for elementary and secondary education in the states, the U.S. extra-state jurisdictions, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Dependents Schools. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.
Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS)
The Council of the Great City Schools brings together approximately 70 of the largest urban public school systems in the country in a coalition dedicated to the improvement of education in the inner cities. By keeping Congress, the media and the public informed about the problems facing urban schools and the critical need to ensure that today's students receive an education based on high standards and expectations,CGCS helps to set the course for" the survival of our cities, the productivity of our citizens, and the future of our nation."
The Education Commission of the States (ECS)
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is an interstate compact created in 1965 to improve public education by facilitating the exchange of information, ideas and experiences among state policymakers and education leaders. The ECS online service offers information about what's going on throughout the country on a host of current hot issues in education, such as school-to-work policies and programs, various efforts to improve student achievement, school governance, charter schools, school finance and a number of topics related to the cost and quality of higher education.
In 1969, a small band of a new breed of educator—the staff developer—met in Minneapolis, MN and planted the seeds for the National School Development Council (newly re-named Learning Forward), the nation's largest education association devoted to the professional development of teachers. Since then, the organization has grown in many ways, including the number of members, diversity of products and services, and a purpose tied directly to student achievement. The field has also matured. Yet the mission remains the same: ensuring that every educator engages in effective professional learning every day so every student achieves.
National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
In existence since 1916, NASSP is the preeminent organization of and national voice for over 30,000 middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and aspiring school leaders from across the U.S. and more than 45 countries around the world. NASSP recognizes that there is no single model of effective school reform practice. Its Breaking Ranks Framework emphasizes flexibility and adaptability to different school contexts to create a customized solution unique to each school to improve student achievement from wherever they are.
National Education Association (NEA)
Founded in 1857, the National Education Assocation is the nation's largest professional employee organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.
Public Education Network (PEN)
Public Education Network (PEN) is a national association of local education funds (LEFs) and individuals working to advance public school reform in low-income and minority communities across the country. Local education funds were established in 1983 with funding from the Ford Foundation; they are nonprofit organizations that work with, but are independent of, their local school systems. Over 12 million school children (24 percent of the nation's total) in 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico benefit from the efforts of these local education funds. PEN has expanded its work internationally to include members in Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa and Tanzania.
Rural School and Community Trust
Nearly one-fourth (23 percent) of all U.S. students attend a rural school. In recent years, rural enrollment growth has outpaced growth in all other school locales. The Rural School and Community Trust is a national nonprofit dedicated to improving rural life by strengthening relationships between schools and communities and engaging students in community- and place-based education in 33 states. The website features information and project descriptions of partner schools and communities, along with extensive material and reports on rural education. For almost 20 years, The Rural Trust's Public Policy Program and its annual Why Rural Matters have raised the visibility of issues critical to rural education among local and national policy makers.
Policy, research, and advocacy
The field of educatiaon policy, research, and advocacy has become crowded these days. Here we list non- or bipartisan organizations that are far reaching and have years of experience in bringing data to bear on effective policies to improve our nation's schools.
Achieve is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that helps states raise academic standards, improve assessments, and strengthen accountability. Since 2009, it has been a key partner in the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Achieve also serves as Project Management Partner for the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), 24-state consortium working together to develop next-generation K-12 assessments in English and math.
Alliance for Excellent Education
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a a national policy, research and advocacy organization acting on behalf of millions of at-risk, low-performing secondary school students. It promotes high school transformation so that every student graduates prepared for postsecondary education and success in life.
American Educational Research Association (AERA)
The American Educational Research Association (AERA), founded in 1916, is concerned with improving the educational process by encouraging scholarly inquiry related to education and evaluation and by promoting the dissemination and practical application of research results. AERA members are faculty, researchers, graduate students, and other distinguished professionals with rich and diverse expertise in education research. They work in a range of settings from universities and other academic institutions to research institutes, federal and state agencies, school systems, testing companies, and nonprofit organizations. Over 25,000 education researchers belong to AERA; its 2012 annual meeting drew over 15,000 participants.
American Youth Policy Forum
AYPF’s mission is to broaden and strengthen the youth policymaking process by bridging policy, practice, and research. AYPF does this by identifying the most pertinent high-quality information on youth issues available and providing a forum for prominent leaders in government, programming, and research, as well as the youth themselves, to share their viewpoints and expertise about the policies and practices that improve outcomes for all youth.
Center for the Social Organization of Schools
CSOS is an educational research and development center at Johns Hopkins University. Researchers at CSOS study how changes in the social organization of schools can make them more effective for all students in promoting academic achievement, development of potential, and eventual career success.
Center on Education Policy
The Center on Education Policy is a national, independent advocate for public education and for more effective public schools. The Center produces publications, convenes meetings, makes presentations, and, upon request, provides expert advice. The Center works jointly with many other education, business, state, and civic organizations.
Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago
CCSR is a public research organization, based at the University of Chicago, focused on Chicago school reform efforts—but with national resonance. Since 1990, CCSR's reports have stood out for their building capacity for school reform by identifying what matters for student success and school improvement, creating critical indicators to chart progress, and conducting theory-driven evaluation to identify how programs and policies are working.
The Education Trust works for the high academic achievement of all students and for the permanent closure of the achievement gap through advocacy backed up by policy, research and analysis, and direct assistance to school districts. Ed Trust believes that all children will learn at high levels when they are taught to high levels. Its advocacy work current focuses on: college affordability, accountability in K-12 education, supporting educators and promoting quality instruction, fiscal equity and comparability, hiogh standards and high quality assessments, public information and reporting.
Institute for Educational Leadership
Since 1964, the Institute for Educational Leadership (IEL) has built partnerships across institutional boundaries, helping individuals and institutions tackle leadership challenges and leverage resources to inprove child and youth outcomes. IEL's work focuses on multiple factors: institutional factors, such as effective organizational stewardship and strong professional development; in-school factors, such as principal leadership, teacher quality and rigorous, engaging curricula; and non-school factors, such as family circumstances and community context.
Jobs for the Future
Jobs for the Future aligns education with today's high-demand careers. With its partners, JFF develops policy solutions and new pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for struggling and low-income populations in America. In more than 200 communities across 43 states, JFF improves the pathways leading from high school to college to family-sustaining careers.
For more than a decade, KnowledgeWorks has been deeply involved in developing and implementing approaches to high school education that prepare students for tomorrow’s challenges, teaching them to create, adapt and solve problems. It focuses especially on cultivating the ocnditions under which change can flourish and survive. It works in 26 states nationwide.
MDRC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educaiton and social policy research organization dedicated to learning what works to improve programs and policies that affect the poor. It designs and studies new approaches to the problems confronting public education; low-income children, families, and communities; and low-wage workers and people witn serious barriers to employment.
National Center on Teaching Quality
Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council on Teacher Quality was founded in 2000 to provide an alternative national voice to existing teacher organizations and to build the case for a comprehensive reform agenda that would challenge the current structure and regulation of the profession.It advocates for reforms in a broad range of teacher policies at the federal, state and local levels in order to increase the number of effective teachers.
School Redesign Network at Stanford University
SRN’s mission is to help create, support and sustain equitable schools that are intellectually rigorous, high performing and provide all students with the opportunity to acquire the skills needed for college and to meet the workforce demands of the 21st century. SRN serves as a research-driven resource for schools, districts, charter developers and other support providers attempting to transform instructional, administrative, and organizational systems and cultures.
WestEd, a research, development, and service agency, works with education and other communities to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults. (The roots of WestEd go back to 1966, when Congress funded regional laboratories across the country to find practical ways to improve the education of our nation's children. Charged with "bridging the gap between research and practice," a number of the original 20 Regional Educational Laboratories grew beyond their initial charge and developed into successful organizations. Two in particular—the Southwest Regional Educational Laboratory and the Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development—evolved beyond their laboratory roots, eventually merging in 1995 to form WestEd.)
Equity, justice, and diversity
All of the organizations listed above work hard to create equitable schools, along with the systems, supports, evidence, and leadership required to bring good schools to life, especially in low-income and minority communities. The organizations listed below have made education equality and social justice the organizing themes of their mission.
Advancement Project was created to develop community-based solutions based on the same high quality legal analysis and public education campaigns that produced the landmark civil rights victories of earlier eras. Its targets include: academic tracking of Black and Latino students into low-level classes; the failure to provide resources equitably; the failure to provide the academic supports and information necessary to prepare students for higher education; discriminatory discipline policies; and the pairing of the neediest students with inexperienced and ineffective teachers
Educators for Social Responsibility
Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR) helps teachers create safe, respectful, and productive learning environments and helps young people develop the social skills, emotional competencies, and qualities they need to succeed in school and beyond. The website posts free lesson plans and discussion guides about the war in Iraq and other conflicts, plus a monthly electronic newsletter and other helpful resources about conflict resolution.
Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves is a national educational and teacher training organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and anti-Semitism to promote a more humane and informed citizenry.
GLSEN: Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network
GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, is the leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe schools for all students. Established in 1990, GLSEN envisions a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. GLSEN seeks to develop school climates where difference is valued for the positive contribution it makes to creating a more vibrant and diverse community.
National Council of La Raza
The largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., NCLR works to improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans. NCLR provides support to Hispanic community-based organizations. It also conducts applied research, policy analysis, and advocacy, providing a Hispanic perspective on issues including assets/investments, civil rights/immigration, education, employment and economic status, and health.
National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME)
The National Association for Multicultural Education is a network of educators from preschool through higher education committed to cultural pluralism and multicultural education. The NAME website posts position papers, resolutions, and a calendar of events; it also hosts a listserv. Its extensive online resources link to articles, journals, publishers, film festivals, curriculum, grant opportunities, and more.
The Milwaukee-based Rethinking Schools is an education journal with a focus on equity, written by and for teachers, parents, and students. Balancing classroom practice with educational theory, the activist publication believes public education is central to the creation of a humane, caring, multi-racial democracy. The website posts excerpts from the current issue, an index of articles, archives, and order information for other books and publications. An extensive online resource section links to helpful education sites, with a special collection on school vouchers.
Teaching for Change
A Washington, DC based non-profit, Teaching for Change provides teachers and parents with tools to transform schools into socially equitable centers of learning. The website offers a calendar of events, an online catalogue of books, videos, and posters for the classroom, and resources on terrorism, the war on Iraq, and socially relevant curriculum and school reform. “Behind the Headlines” links to sites and stories with critical analysis about current events typically missing from the mainstream media.
A place for educators to find thought-provoking news, conversation and support for those who care about diversity, equal opportunity and respect for differences in schools. Its signature Mix it Up at Lunch Day asks students to move out of their comfort zones, cross social boundaries, and connect with someone new over lunch—the place in school where divisions are most clearly drawn.
TNTP is a national nonprofit committed to ending the injustice of educational inequality. Founded by teachers in 1997, TNTP works with schools, districts and states to provide excellent teachers to poor and minority students who need them most and advance policies and practices that ensure effective teaching in every classroom.
School networks and new designs
The networks listed below, which comprise both district and public charter schools, boast considerable track records and a national reach.
Big Picture Learning
Big Picture Learning includes over 80 schools in 14 states, modeled after The Met, a break-the-mold career and technical school started in Providence, RI in 1996. In Big Picture schools, students spend considerable time doing real work in the community under the tutelage of volunteer mentors and they are assessed on their performance, on exhibitions and demonstrations of achievement, on motivation, and on the habits of mind, hand, heart, and behavior that they display.
At 33 locations across the nation and abroad, Breakthrough Collaborative, founded in 1978, launches motivated middle-school students on the path to college and prepares older students for careers in education. Breakthrough is devoted to preparing high-achieving middle-school students, most of whom are of color and from low-income families, to enter and succeed in college-preparatory high school programs. It also recruits and trains outstanding high school and college students to become Breakthrough teachers and build an interest in careers as educators.
Coalition of Essential Schools
The CES Network, founded by Ted Sizer in 1984, includes hundreds of schools and more than two dozen Affiliate Centers. Diverse in size, population, and programmatic emphasis, Essential schools serve students from pre-kindergarten through high school in urban, suburban, and rural communities. CES practice is exemplified by small, personalized learning communities in which teachers and students know each other well in a climate of trust, decency and high expectations for all. Essential schools work to create academic success for every student by sharing decision-making with all those affected by the schools and deliberately and explicitly confronting all forms of inequity. Essential schools focus on helping all students use their minds well through standards-aligned interdisciplinary studies, community-based "real-world" learning and performance-based assessment.
Communities In Schools
Through training, technical assistance, and partnerships, Communities In Schools, Inc. supports a nationwide, independent network of 1,500 schools in 32 states and the District of Columbia devoted to helping young people stay in school, learn, and prepare for life. The website provides program descriptions, including How It Works, and links to network members, state and regional CIS offices, and national partner organizations.
Early College High School Initiative
Since 2002, the partner organizations of the Early College High School Initiative have started or redesigned 240+ schools serving more than 75,000 students in 28 states and the District of Columbia. The schools are designed so that low-income youth, first-generation college goers, English language learners, students of color, and other young people underrepresented in higher education can simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an Associate’s degree or up to two years of credit toward a Bachelor’s degree—tuition free.
Ed Visions began in 1994 with the launch of the Minnesota New Country School, an award-winning technology-based, rural, charter school owned and run by its teachers. It now includes 37 schools in 11 states.
Started in 1994 in partnership with Outward Bound, Expeditionary Learning has grown from small adventurous group of ten schools into a network the size of a substantial urban school district (140 urban, rural, and suburban schools). A comprehensive K-12 educational design, Expeditionary Learning combines rigorous academic content and real world projects—learning expeditions—with active teaching and community service. Faculty members receive intensive professional development in curriculum, teaching practices, and building a strong school culture.
Uncommon Schools is a nonprofit network of public charter schools in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts. It began in 1997 with the North Star Academy in Newark, New Jersey; in 2005 if formalized its mission as a charter school management organization with the goal of starting and managing schools that create transformative college prep opportunities for low-income children. It currently operates 28 schools, reachhing more than 5,300 students.
High Tech High
High Tech High began in 2000 as a single charter high school launched by a coalition of San Diego business leaders and educators. It has evolved into an integrated network of schools spanning grades K-12, housing a comprehensive teacher certification program and a new, innovative Graduate School of Education.
Internationals Network for Public Schools
For close to three decades, INPS has provided quality education for recently arrived immigrants by growing and sustaining a strong national network of innovative International High Schools, while sharing proven best practices and influencing policy for English language learners. Based in New York City, INPS recently opened three schools in California.
International Studies School Network
Since 2003, Asia Society has worked in partnership with school districts and charter authorities to create the ISSN. The network currently includes 34 schools in urban and rural communities across the United States. The ISSN responds to two intertwined imperatives facing American education: (1) overcoming the chronic problem of poor academic performance among low-income and minority students; and (2) preparing students for work and civic roles in a globalized environment, where success increasingly requires the ability to compete, connect, and cooperate on an international scale.
KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. There are currently 125 KIPP schools (37 elementary, 69 middle, and 18 high schoools) in 20 states and the District of Columbia serving more than 39,000 students.
Middle College National Consortium
The Middle College National Consortium has a long and successful history of opening dual enrollment schools. Since 1984 MCNC, and its predecessor organization, have opened 35 dual-enrollment schools on or near college campuses. (The Early College High School Initiative draws upon the design elements and experience of MCNC.)
National Academy Foundation
The National Academy Foundation (NAF) sustains a nation-wide network of career-themed Academies that are organized as small learning communities. As of the 2011-2012 school year, NAF academies operate in 162 school districts in 39 states,the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NAF supports a national network of 60,000 students in 469 academies.
New Tech Network
New Tech Network works nationwide with schools, districts and communities to develop innovative public high schools. The New Tech model provides an instructional approach centered on project-based learning, a culture that empowers students and teachers, and integrated technology in the classroom. . Founded in Napa, California, in 1996, New Tech is made up of 86 public high schools in 16 states. New Tech is a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks.
Service learning and civic engagement
Campus Compact is a national coalition of nearly 1,100 college and university presidents— representing some 5 million students—dedicated to promoting community service, civic engagement, and service-learning in higher education. The site provides information and resources on civic engagement, service learning, and activism in higher education.
Center for Action Civics
The Center for Action Civics is the professional development branch of Mikva Challenge and provides teachers, schools, and non-profit organizations with the tools and strategies needed to engage young people in high quality Action Civics programming and experiential learning opportunitie—either in a classroom, an after-school club, or as part of a community organization. Their website includes a growing database of free lesson plans and resources on a variety of civic education-related topics (including the 2012 election); descriptions of and information about how to order Mikva's complete Action Civics curricula; various examples of Action Civics projects undertaken by Mikva students and others; information about upcoming events and workshops; and details about how CFAC is working to promote and spread Action Civics work on a local and national scale.
CIRCLE (The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement) conducts research on civic education in schools, colleges, and community settings and on young Americans’ voting and political participation, service, activism, media use, and other forms of civic engagement. It is based at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service at Tufts University.
City Year is an education focused, nonprofit organization that unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service to keep students in school and on track to graduation. City Year’s work in schools is strengthened by its deep history in community service. Since 1988, City Year has been a leader in the national service movement, leading to the establishment of AmeriCorps, the passage of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, and the creation of Voices for National Service. City Year’s In School & On Track initiative is designed to bring City Year corps members to 50% of all of the students falling off track in City Year’s 24 U.S. locations, which will require expanding the number of corps members to 6,000 and engaging school districts, the private sector and the federal government through AmeriCorps as partners.
Constitutional Rights Foundation
Constitutional Rights Foundation (CRF) is a non-partisan, non-profit organization dedicated to educating America’s young people about the importance of civic participation in a democratic society. It provides technical assistance and training to teachers, coordinates civic participation projects in schools and communities, organizes student conferences and competitions, and develops publications in the areas of law and government and civic participation. Several CRF programs support action and leadership by high school students in Los Angeles, its home base.
Council on Michigan Foundations: Learning to Give
How do we engage children in civic life? How do we harness youthful idealism and combat growing cynicism? How do we teach caring about others, particularly those less fortunate? What is missing from our courses in government, history, economics, sociology, psychology, and philosophy that results in young adults without understanding or passion for the noble ideas of their society? With these questions as starting points, Learning to Give has evolved into a comprehensive K-12 program for transmitting the philanthropic tradition to the next generation.
Do Something is a nationwide network of young people taking action to change their own communities and the world around them. Do Something programs sponsor a membership network, the Kindness & Justice Challenge, a Community Connections Campaign, and the Brick Awards. Its website offers program descriptions and wide-ranging opportunities for expressing student voice—from contests, polls, and discussions groups to the posting of young people’s stories, essays, poetry, and artwork.
Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing
Established in 2000, the Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO) is a collective of national, regional, and local foundations and youth organizing practitioners dedicated to advancing youth organizing as a strategy for youth development and social change. In addition to program descriptions and information, the website’s downloadable resources include a request-for-proposal, and a newsletter. The list of grantees provides links to grassroots youth organizing groups all over the country.
National Service-Learning Clearinghouse
The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse (NSLC) supports the service-learning community in higher education, kindergarten through grade twelve, community-based organizations, tribal programs, and all others interested in strengthening schools and communities using service-learning. NSLC offers the following: Website with information and resources to support service-learning programs, practitioners, and researchers Email discussion lists for K-12, community-based, tribes and territories, and higher education service-learning Library collection available to grantees and subgrantees of the Corporation for National and Community Service Staff who assist with materials, reference and referrals, information, and technical assistance
Launched in 2009 by two St. Louis teens, this website provides an up-to-date directory of volunteer opportunities for teens and tweens, along wite resources and suggestions for project funding. Youth volunteers provide the content and energy. "When my dad was deployed," the site's founder Simone Bernstein writes, "my siblings and I were touched by the generosity of the St. Louis community, neighbors and even strangers offered to help our family. I wanted to give back, too. I actively searched for organizations that would allow me to volunteer."
In California alone, there are nearly a hundred youth commissions and councils om the state's cities and counties, contributing their actions, ideas and services to improve their communities. Nationwide, there are thousands. This website, maintained by the Califronai Institute for Local Government, provides a range of resources, briefing papers, and reports to support this local yuyouth civic activity across the country.
Youth on Board
Since 1994, Youth on Board (YOB), a program in the Education Department of YouthBuild USA, has forged partnerships between youth and adults to create positive communities in which young people are valued, engaged, and heard. Youth on Board works with youth organizers to provide programming, play an active role in local, regional, and national policy debates related to youth voice in decision making, and provides training and consultation.In 2002, YOB began working to bring student voice and engagement to the forefront of the educational movement on a national level. On a local level, YOB has formed unique partnerships with both the Boston Public School (BPS) district and independent youth advocates throughout the city.
Youth Service America
Founded in 1986, YSA supports a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership, and achievement. It does this through: Public Mobilization Campaigns such as Global Youth Service Day, Semester of Service, Service Vote and engaging public officials; Funding and Recognition through grants and awards geared toward youth, educators, service-learning coordinators, and program partners. Resources and Training includes the GYSD Planning Tool Kit, the Service-Learning Curriculum Guide, the National Service Briefing, the Youth Service Institute, webinars, and individual support.YSA coordinates Global Youth Service Day and Semester of Service, distributes over $1 million in grants annually, and provides resources and trainings.
A nonprofit based in Arlington, Virginia, Youth Venture is working to build a mass movement of young people with the vision and energy to make positive change to benefit their communities. Youth Venture also builds partnerships with other local, regional, and national youth-serving organizations to support young people in creating and launching their own enterprises. The website features articles and newsletters, descriptions of successful ventures, and links to other youth empowerment organizations, resources, and contacts for technical assistance. A “members only” section offers chat rooms, listservs, and opportunities for Venturers to share ideas, questions, and common concerns.
Youth development and advocacy
The nation's leading voice for afterschool, the Afterschool Alliance is the only organization dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of afterschool programs and advocating for more afterschool investments. The Afterschool Alliance works with the Administration, the U.S. Congress, governors, mayors and advocates across the country. Today the Afterschool Alliance boasts more than 25,000 afterschool program partners and its publications reach more than 65,000 interested individuals every month.
America's Promise Alliance
With more than 400 national partners and their local affiliates, America's Promise Alliance is uniquely positioned to mobilize Americans to act. Its work focuses on the Five Promises: Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, Effective Education, and Opportunities to Help Others. In 2010 America's Promise launched the Grad Nation campaign, making the high school dropout crisis a top priority. Each year, America's Promise and the ING Foundation celebrate 100 deserving communities who effectively provide their youth with the Five Promises and work to increase graduation rates.
Children Now is one of the nation's leading, nonpartisan, multi-issue research, policy development, and advocacy organization dedicated to promoting children's health and education in California and creating national media policies that support child development. Current priorities include these childhood issues: health coverage, oral health, the obesity epidemic, health homes, integrated services, early learning and development, K-12 education, afterschool programs, media's impact, media and health, media and education.
Forum for Youth Investment
The Forum for Youth Investment is a nonprofit, nonpartisan "action tank" dedicated to helping communities and the nation make sure all young people are Ready by 21®: ready for college, work and life. Informed by research and practice, the Forum forges innovative ideas, strategies and partners to strengthen solutions for young people and those who care about them.
The Future of Children
The Future of Children is a collaboration of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution. The mission of the Future of Children is to translate the best social science research about children and youth into information that is useful to policymakers, practitioners, grant-makers, advocates, the media, and students of public policy.The project publishes two journals and policy briefs each year; topics range widely—from income policy to family issues to education and health – with children’s policy as the unifying element.
The Innovation Center
The Innovation Center works with organizations to foster innovation in several aspects of youth and community development: youth governance, involvement, and civic activism; evaluation, research, and learning exchange; organizational development; and technology for community building. In each focus area, the website identifies available products (handbooks, toolkits, brochures, videos), posts downloadable documents, and provides links to similar organizations.
The well-being of children and youth is a central Urban Institute research topic. The Institute studies child care, the child welfare system, juvenile justice, child poverty, and children's health and education. Its annual Kids Share’ reports estimate how children fare in the competition over federal and state dollars. Urban Institute researchers also track indicators of child well-being, examine the role of place and neighborhoods in child development, and evaluate programs aiming to improve the education and employment prospects of disadvantaged youth.
For over 50 years, Search Institute has advanced the well-being of children and adolescents through research, communications, networking, and training. At the heart of the Institute’s work is “40 Developmental Assets,” a research-based framework of the positive experiences, relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities necessary for young people to develop into healthy, caring, and responsible individuals. The Institute’s website offers discussion groups, polls, surveys, tools, and training opportunities. Also available for download are the Institute’s Mentoring Tools. The site also posts a full catalogue of guides, videos, pamphlets, and other resources and products available for online sale.
In YouthBuild programs, low-income young people ages 16 to 24 work full-time for 6 to 24 months toward their GEDs or high school diplomas while learning job skills by building affordable housing in their communities. Emphasis is placed on leadership development, community service, and the creation of a positive mini-community of adults and youth committed to each other’s success. Students may earn AmeriCorps education awards through their homebuilding and other community service. At exit, they are placed in college, jobs, or both. Today, there are 273 YouthBuild programs in 46 states, Washington, DC., and the Virgin Islands engaging approximately 10,000 young adults per year.
Published ten times per year, Youth Today is an independent, national newspaper for child and youth service professionals covering such issues as youth development, juvenile justice, violence and gang prevention, adolescent health, teen pregnancy, sex, and parenting. The website posts the full text of the current issue, plus an archive of previous articles. It also provides a news digest of media stories on children and youth, links to available grant opportunities, and a calendar of conferences, workshops, and other events.
Global education and action
The Asia Society has become a national leader in global learning. Its programs and initiatives include: The Partnership for Global Learning, a membership network that links educators and decision makers committede to international studies curriculu; Afterschool, an expanded learning toolkit; World Languages, a collection of reports and policy efforts on multilingualism; Learning with the World, a global cities education network; Resources, an extensive list of links, apps, tweets, reports; the International Studies Schools Network; and a series of Chinese Language Initiatives.
The Choices Program
The Choices Program has been sponsoring student forums on international public policy issues for more than ten years. These forums—on the floor of state capitols—usually engage students from multiple schools and involve preparation within the social studies classroom prior to the forum.
Global Classrooms: Model U.N.
While Model U.N. has been part of extra-curricular activities at colleges and high schools for more than two generations, the program is still seen as something that goes on outside the everyday curriculum. As such, the United Nations Association is broadening the scope of Model U.N. through programs like Global Classrooms, which integrates Model U.N. curriculum units into classroom instruction.
A New York-based nonprofit, Global Kids (GK) helps prepare urban youth as global citizens and community leaders, offering professional development for teachers, in-class academic workshops, and training for youth in leadership development, global awareness, conflict resolution, school change, diversity, and civic participation.
Global Schoolhouse offers extensive online resources and information on collaborative learning. The website hosts a projects registry, an online database of hundreds of examples of effective collaborative learning projects, plus the specialized programs CyberFair, GeoGame, FieldTrips, and Newsday. Communications tools include online conferencing for connecting distant teachers and classrooms, mailing lists, discussion boards, and electronic newsletters. The professional development area posts links to resources and organizations.
Global Youth Action Network
Global Youth Action Network is a youth-led organization that unites the efforts of young people working to improve our world. The Network connects many thousands of organizations in over 190 countries and a growing membership is now helping to shape the future direction of GYAN. Its current work focuses on Global Youth Service Day, Youth and the Millenium Development Goals, and Youth in Global Governance.
Global Youth Connect
Global Youth Connect supports youth who are working to protect human rights around the world. After a global conference in Rwanda in 1997, a group of young international leaders bonded together to build an organization whose goal would be to prevent such atrocities from occurring in the first place. Thr website contains an explanation of GYC programs, as well as contact information for project coordinators around the world.
Idealist.org serves as a clearinghouse for information, job openings, volunteer opportunities, internships, events, and resources posted by nonprofits in 153 countries. A special Kids and Teen section offers information, resources, and extensive links regarding volunteer opportunities, starting and funding projects, and forums for discussing personal issues.
iEARN, the International Education and Resource Network, iEARN is made up of over 30,000 schools and youth organizations in more than 130 countries. iEARN empowers teachers and young people to work together online using the Internet and other new communications technologies. Over 2,000,000 students each day are engaged in collaborative project work worldwide. Though much of the website is dedicated to iEARN participants, non-members have access to a wealth of project ideas—in language and creative arts, social studies, and math/science/the environment, among others. The site displays extensive collections of students’ work, including anthologies of essays and poetry, websites, art exhibits, and reports to government officials.
International Youth Foundation
A global network operating in 70 countries, the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and its 175 youth-serving partner organizations identify effective programs for children and young people, advocate for improved policymaking, and work to increase philanthropy for youth. Members include Thailand’s national coordinating body for children and youth, a youth leadership organization in Nigeria, Peru’s leading advocacy group to end drug abuse and a corporate foundation in India. The IYF website includes links to all its programs, which can be browsed either by country/region or by area of focus.
Peace Child International
An international nonprofit based in the U.K., Peace Child International empowers young people to inform themselves and take action to change the world. It has grown since its founding in 1982 to include 1,000 youth groups in over 150 countries, with consultative status at the United Nations. Its signature program, Be the Change!, helps young people worldwide plan, propose, and complete projects in areas like environmental conservation, sustainable development, human rights, education, and health. Since 1999 Peace Child has organized the World Youth Congress series on youth and development.
Several years ago, the Peace Corps launched a web-based initiative to give educators and students the tools and resources to plan, develop, create, perform, and evaluate a service-learning project. Online features include project ideas, lesson plans, guides to standards, links to other service-learning sites, and stories and tips from returned Peace Corps volunteers.
Primary Source promotes history and humanities education by connecting educators to people and cultures throughout the world. In partnership with teachers, scholars, and the broader community, Primary Source provides learning opportunities and curriculum resources for K-12 educators. By introducing global content, Primary Source shapes the way teachers and students learn, so that their knowledge is deeper and their thinking is flexible and open to inquiry.
Schools Online helps students access the Internet for learning and cross-cultural dialogue. Through its network of Internet Learning Centers (ILCs) established in 17 countries, Schools Online runs online programs that put students in close contact with their peers abroad. Schools Online also runs in-person exchange programs that strengthen these bonds by allowing students and teachers to travel abroad on cultural exchange programs. In 2003, Schools Online merged with Relief International (RI), a non-profit, non-sectarian agency that provides emergency relief, rehabilitation, and development interventions throughout the world.
TakingITGlobal is a global online community, a network of tens of thousands of young leaders in over 200 countries, creating positive change in their communities and around the world. Membership is free and allows visitors to interact with various members of the community, to contribute ideas and experiences, and get inspired.
UNICEF: Voices of Youth
Started in 1995, Voices of Youth has worked to make sure young people from all countries learn more, say more, and do more about the world they live in. The website offers discussion boards, interactive stories, and guidance for how to take action that allow youth to partner across the globe on issues related to human rights, poverty and hunger, education, health, the environment, HIV and AIDS, and violence, war, and conflit.
YouthActionNet® invests in the power and promise of young social entrepreneurs around the globe. Launched in 2001 by the International Youth Foundation, it provides skill-building, advocacy, and networking opportunities through its year-long Global Institue, various National Institutes, and Virtual Institutes. "In the face of urgent global challenges—poverty, climate change, HIV/AIDS, hunger, homelessness—young people are exercising their leadership potential like never before," the website notes. "Their energy and idealism propel them to take risks, to look beyond obstacles, and to develop innovative solutions. Youth leaders thrive in collaborative learning environments that emphasize the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to maximize their contributions."
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“There’s a radical—and wonderful—new idea here… that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world.”
– Deborah Meier, educator