Citizens For A Better Norwood 2

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Xavier's proposal for Allison Elementary



To create an Intergenerational School modeled after The Intergenerational School of Cleveland and based on the work of Catherine and Peter Whitehouse.

The Intergenerational School will honor the dignity, charism and individuality of all children, adults and elders by building on the unique strengths of individuals throughout their life cycle. The Intergenerational School will encourage members of surrounding communities to participate in an educational model which inspires people of all ages to enjoy life long learning experiences that result in an integrated, value based and responsible society. This renowned educational model incorporates these concepts of life long learning, respect, dignity and human value while successfully operating under the educational mandates of the Ohio State Department of Education.

The Allison School:
Allison School is a traditional elementary school under the administration of the Norwood City Schools. It is proposed that Allison Elementary School be converted to a Laboratory Model Intergenerational' School developed with acollaborative effort between Xavier University and Norwood City Schools. The school will be created using the following conceptual and factual framework:

• The Intergenerational School will be a non-graded school which provides opportunities for adults and elders to participate in a child's educational process from an early age. The Mentor's (adults and elders) will be able to participate in teaching phonics, reading, and other educational basics thus freeing the classroom teacher to have more individualized interaction with students as well as more opportunities for creative instruction.
• The Intergenerational model is similar in comparison to the Montessori Method of teaching which allows for students to progress at their own pace while exploring a variety of learning methods.
• The Intergenerational School uses a holistic approach when designing curriculum. All aspects of a child are taken into consideration including, their existing knowledge, talents, culture, interests and experiences.
• The Intergenerational school employs a "meaning-based" approach to teaching. The emphasis is first on developing a broad conceptual understanding. The tasks the student undertakes are real and authentic. An approximation to the final task is both accepted and celebrated as steps toward eventual competency.
• The Intergenerational School uses a"constructivist" approach. Each learner actively constructs his or her own understanding of a task or concept. Rote learning is de-emphasized and the student is given the opportunity to delve into the topics of study. The emphasis is on the process of learning and on the application of that process to specific areas of study.
• The Intergenerational School also uses many principles from the "Nurtured Heart Approach," developed by Howard Glasser and Jennifer Easley. In this approach, children's negative behaviors are deemphasized thereby decreasing their frequency while the child is redirected and positive behavior is reinforced.
• Older adults are in a unique position to be able to enrich the lives of children. Over the course of an adult's lifetime a sense of self is nurtured as a result of one's life experiences. Wisdom, intuitiveness, values and coping skills become more finely tuned in adulthood and can be shared with the students. In turn, a child can share their unique perceptions, innocence and positive energy with the adult Mentor. Ultimately, this shared experience increases mutual and self respect, human value, personal integrity, and sense of responsibility leading to more productive relationships in the broader community.
• Beginning in the 2010-2011 school year, students entering grades 3-6 will participate in the traditional school curriculum currently offered. Students entering K-2 and possibly pre-school will participate in the Laboratory Intergenerational School. Each progressive year will add the next grade in the Intergenerational School and phase out a grade of the traditional school. By the school year 2014, Allison school will be fully converted to the intergenerational model.
• Allison Intergenerational School will collaborate with various community organizations as well as nursing homes to generate support and identify interested older adults. Adults with dementia and related conditions will also be included as research indicates that these individuals have retained learning capabilities as well as intact remote memory capabilities. School participation could result in a slower loss of cognitive abilities. Students would benefit from the unique experiences of these adult Mentors as well as develop a sense of acceptance of all people. Other possible collaborative organizations includ: Partners for Livable Communities, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and the Metlife Foundation.
• The intergenerational curriculum would be developed by representatives of the Norwood Board of
Education, Xavier University Department of Education, classroom teachers as well as experts in the field of Gerontology.
• Experts such as Cathy and Peter Whitehouse and Danny George, who are pioneers in the field of intergenerational education, will be brought in as consultants to assist in curriculum development as well as teacher education. This can be funded through grants from organizations such as the Mayerson Foundation, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Cincinnati Bell, Fifth Third bank and Carl Lindner. Capital funds and grants can also be accessed to fund needed building renovations.
• Students from Xavier University's School of Social Science, Health and Education would conduct a segment of their field experience at the Allison School. Intergenerational Education would be a part of the curriculum and field experience of students in the Departments of Education, Nursing, Social Work, Counseling, Psychology, Occupational Therapy and Health Care Administration.
• The Intergenerational model would produce increased scores on the Ohio Achievement Tests as evidenced by current data from the Ohio Department of Education website. For the 2007-2008 school year, Allison school achieved a rating of "continuous improvement" with 6 out of 12 indicators met and a performance index of 87.3. In comparison, The Intergenerational School of Cleveland achieved a rating of "effective" with 8 out of 10 state indicators met and a performance index of 97.5. The Allison School and Xavier University could receive state and national recognition for implementation of this innovative model. The Intergenerational school of Cleveland has received the following awards and recognition:

o Named 1 of 7 of the nation's most effective and innovative charter schools by the U.S. Department of
o 5 consecutive years of being rated "excellent" or "effective" by the State of Ohio.
o Named an "Ohio School of Promise"
o One of 3 schools in Ohio to receive a competitive grant to
disseminate their model to other public schools.
o Named one of 13 Cleveland schools "Making a Difference."
o The first school in Ohio accepted as a member of "Schools That
Can", a national organization that selects and vets high
performing urban schools fro membership.
o Received the national "Mind Alert" award from the American
Society on Aging for it's life-long learning program.

The Allison Intergenerational School has the potential to provide a number of university level educational program possibilities. Some of these include:

v A Department of Nursing certified training program for Nursing Assistants.

v A Department of Social Work Associate of. Science degree

in Social Service Technology.
v A Department of Occupational Therapy C.O.T.A. Associate
degree program.
v Department of Education Gerontology courses as well as
student teaching and student observation opportunities.

The Allison Intergenerational School has tremendous potential benefit to the community at large with programs being taught by community members, students and Mentors as well as other professionals. Many of these programs could be offered as summer programs and in collaboration with organizations currently providing summer programming for school age children such as the local Y.M.C.A. Some of these programs may include:

*A "Learning in Retirement" program for senior community members in the neighborhoods of Hyde Park, Oakley, Mt. Lookout, Evanston and Avondale.
*Computer Technology
*Local History
*Literature, Art and Music
*Nutrition and Health
*Pet Therapy
*Social Security
*Caring for an Older Relative.
*Yoga and Meditation
*Writing Your Memoirs
*Ballroom Dancing, Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop

An Intergenerational Theatre Program could be created and implemented using the current auditorium in the Allison School. Some components of this would include:

Cooperative participation by students, Mentors and staff from the

Intergenerational School.
o Participation by Norwood High School's Theatre Group.
o Involvement with Xavier University's department of Theatre, Music and
Fine Arts.
o Collaboration with the Children's Theatre of Cincinnati.

In conclusion, it is anticipated that the Allison Intergenerational School would be under the administration of the Norwood City School District and Board of Education. Xavier University would collaborate with the Norwood City Schools in the development of curriculum and standards for measuring success while adhering to state regulations. Xavier University students from the School of Social Sciences, Health and Education would participate in school activities as they relate to the student's required field placement component. This is a core element of the Laboratory Model concept.

If accepted, the program would commence, as previously described, with the 2010-2011 school year. It is essential for representatives from the Norwood City Schools and Xavier University to begin deliberations now to further advance this concept and ensure timely implementation. Grant applications must also be submitted. Parent representatives and community members of the Norwood District would also need to have an opportunity to participate in discussions, planning and information gathering.