Summer Programs Offer Service Learning

by Ashley English, PHS Counselor

The Academy for Integrated Studies and Community Engagement (“AISCE”) is a service learning summer program for students entering 9th-12th grades.  AISCE (pronounced “ACE”) integrates community service with small-group seminars that emphasize discussion, exploration and reflection.  

AISCE students work in a variety of settings around the East Bay with disadvantaged and special-needs youth. AISCE students learn to engage children with sports, reading, art, gardening and other fun activities.  The courses are supervised by Piedmont Unified teachers, who facilitate seminar discussions that complement the service projects.  The teachers develop creative, engaging, hands-on curriculum that promotes empathy, problem solving, and critical thinking skills.  

AISCE courses typically meet three days per week for two or three weeks, and students receive up to 40 hours of community service per course.  

For summer 2016, there are two AISCE courses — Farm to Table Journey and Political Leadership Challenge.  

In Farm to Table Journey, students begin a journey from their own dinner table to local Bay Area farms and into the PHS kitchen to create farm-to-table meals. Over the two-week course, students will explore farming, seasonality, economics and agriculture politics that inspire sourcing great food locally. They will visit local farmers such as: Alexis Koeford at Soul Food Farms in Vacaville, and Farmer Al at Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood to source ingredients. At the end of each week, participants will prepare for their own farm-to-table meal and share with local people in need.  The cost, (including all field trips) is $600, and students receive 30 hours of service.  This course is offered June 13 – 24.   

In Political Leadership Challenge, students work together over three weeks to identify and address a local problem.  Students participate in a local campaign, gaining understanding of how campaigns are run, how to affect change, and the role of local and national officials.  The cost is $600, and students receive 40 hours of service.  This course is offered June 27 – July 9, and again from July 11-23.    

For more information about the AISCE program, see:

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