Integrate: Community-Based Education

Integrate supports classroom educators and nonprofit looking to enhance their students' education by bringing the expertise of community stakeholders (e.g. community-oriented young professionals, non-profit board members, and artists) in 6-8th grade classrooms to form and implement creative social justice-oriented project-based curriculum.

Target audience: 6-8 grade students and teachers who are interested in incorporating community members into the classroom


Mission: To support educators, non-profits, and community stakeholders in forming and implementing creative project-based curriculum



  1. Implement project-based curriculum

  2. Co-create community-centered curriculum using the expertise of community-oriented professionals, non-profit board members, and artists in 6-8th grade classrooms

  3. Produce culturally-relevant curriculum that connects to students' lives

6-week session (3 days per week for 90 minutes each day)

  • Totaling 27 hours of in-class teaching per school

  • 3 education professionals facilitating curriculum and workshops (professionals have graduate-level degrees in education and/or previous classroom experience)

  • Student-centered, innovative, culturally relevant curriculum

  • 3 Community speakers (maximum of 90 minutes of in-class time for each speaker in each school

  • Hands-on arts-based end-product

  • Workshop materials


Challenges Integrate addresses:

  • Teachers and young professionals have skills to offer each other but do not have a space to connect in order to create opportunities and collaborate. Many K-12 educators envision projects that involve surrounding community-based entities and professionals with expertise that they do not have. Because many educators do not teach in communities in which they reside, they are often unaware of the young professionals in the neighborhood and greater Columbus who can offer information and skills to support their projects.


  • When community stakeholders attempt to engage a school to offer their support, their first person of contact is often school administration (i.e. principal or Dean of Students). Often times administration is not aware of the ongoing projects of individual teachers. Therefore, the most beneficial method is for community stakeholders to approach specific educators. But that is difficult if they are not already involved in the school or have established relationships with specific educators. Columbus City Schools has an excellent program for organizations to support educators but there currently is a void for individuals (i.e. lawyers, doctors, activists, business men and women, artists, etc.) to be engaged in the classroom.

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