Community Outreach is an integral part of the Calvert School experience. The Sixth Grade is currently participating in a yearlong community outreach program that focuses on thoughtful research and collaborative brainstorming, attempting to solve real challenges for real people. This program is based on “design thinking,” a researched-based model from the Stanford Design School. For the second year, we have partnered with Blakehurst Retirement Community in Towson and hope to build a long-term, meaningful relationship with them.
This partnership includes two main elements. The first element is Relationship Building. Each advisory visits Blakehurst during the winter and participates in an activity with residents. The activities include investigating the daily needs of residents, technology training, playing historical jeopardy, and making Valentine cards for veterans, which some students did on a recent visit.
The second element involves Problem Solving. In the fall, the entire grade was split into small groups that have been working on a design thinking project that will benefit the residents of Blakehurst. Through discussion with residents and employees at Blakehurst, students are learning from “experts” in the field and problem solving to create a solution to various issues that will make the residents’ lives better or easier in some way. Solutions to these challenges will be presented to Blakehurst residents in May.
At right are pictures from the most recent visit, where students made Valentines’ Day Cards for Veterans with the residents.