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Community Institutions team up to create innovative experiential learning program | News

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Community Institutions team up to create innovative experiential learning program
News, Schools
Community Institutions team up to create innovative experiential learning program

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (April 22, 2014) – Exalt Education, a Little Rock non-profit organization, and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, launched on Tuesday an innovative learning program called the Learning Pass.

The Learning Pass initiative will turn the entire city into a classroom by providing middle school students with hands-on, daily, experiential, learning opportunities throughout the community. Four students from the Clinton School of Public Service have established partnerships with more than 15 community institutions to make this unique program possible.

The students gathered information from LRPA parents, students and staff members to develop partnerships with central Arkansas organizations that would be beneficial to students. Partnering organizations include: the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Dunbar Community Garden Project, First Tee of Central Arkansas, Hillary Rodham Clinton Children's Library and Learning Center, Junior Achievement of Arkansas, The Launch Pad, Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, Old State House Museum, Painting with a Twist of West Little Rock, Museum of Discovery, William J. Clinton Presidential Center, and Witt Stephens Jr. Central Arkansas Nature Center. The launch was held at the Hillary Rodham Clinton Public Library and Learning Center, where leaders from the Clinton School, Exalt Education and LRPA thanked their distinguished community partners and celebrated the launch of the program.

After the launch, participants from the fifteen partner institutions celebrated their learning collaborative over dinner at Salut Bistro.

Ben Lindquist, CEO of Exalt Education said, "This initiative represents a ground breaking way to motivate our youth and expand their vision of opportunities in the community by exposing them to deep experiential learning at a network of partner institutions."

"Instead of just studying in the classroom, our students will go out into the community to experience first-hand our community's educational resources," he said. "For example, instead of reading about business or music, they'll spend time on-site at Junior Achievement, the Center for Arkansas History and Culture, or the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra for firsthand accounts."

Accomplished master's level students developed this initiative as part of the Clinton School of Public Service two-year degree program. These four students bring distinguished backgrounds including graduating from Stanford University, studies abroad, AmeriCorp service, and the founding of a company to assist students with science projects that improve communities.

Launch Pad Director Joel Gordon said the Learning Pass is a response to the lack of real-world learning opportunities students have in school. By providing students with places to go and resources to use to create and complete projects, they can see how what they learn matters.

"We've stopped encouraging students to literally make something of their learning experience," Gordon said. "Our society and our educators no longer encourage students to engage in projects and experiences that prepare them to create, to be creative or, quite simply, to work in real-world jobs."


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