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DIY Public Achievement site

February 25, 2010

Earlier this month, Ellen Tveit interviewed future science teacher Zack Anderson. Zack put Public Achievement core concepts into practice when he worked with others to create a new site for Public Achievement.

Last spring, Zack Anderson was on a Public Achievement team as a student in the Urban Teacher Program at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). There is something about Public Achievement that he really believes in, Zack told me recently. “Individuals can’t change existing power structures, but a group can,” he said. He also appreciates that in Public Achievement “people are working together to get something done, and we can do it without a party line or a political line.”

If he’d followed his academic program, Zack would have been placed as a Public Achievement coach at FAIR School, an inter-district elementary school a few blocks from the MCTC campus in downtown Minneapolis.

But Zack wanted to coach Public Achievement at Southside Family Charter School, a K-8 school with a social justice emphasis where he was working as an educational assistant. Zack found another MCTC student who was interested in coaching at Southside and then arranged to take his course as credit-by-exam.

Zack used his connections inside the school to pitch Public Achievement to the teacher of a fifth and sixth grade class and her students. Eight students opted to participate, and they split into two groups which have been meeting weekly since last fall to work on homelessness and animal cruelty. Because Zack and Lindsey, the other MCTC student, are coaching outside of a formal class, they have been able to commit to working with their teams for the entire year, rather than just one semester. However, coaching on their own has meant less support and less guidance, Zack said.

The Southside students like the fact that Public Achievement is “grown-up time,” said Zack. “I push them to be more mature and to figure out how to get along,” he added, because “this is how it is in the public world.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 1, 2010 8:37 am

    We are so glad Zack took the initiative and had the courage to work outside the “box!” Our students have benefited so much from all Zack and Lindsey have brought to the Public Achievement process.

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