The grade 7 teaching team at Queen Victoria asked the students to address local needs and issues. Our guiding question was, "How can we make Parkdale a safe, caring, and welcoming community?". The students were asked to identify root causes of problems unique to Parkdale. They were required to create an action plan, conduct local and relevant research, speak to community leaders, and share their findings with the community in research essays, 3-D models, and multimedia pitches and presentations. The fundamental purposes of The Parkdale Project was to improve the Parkdale community, develop social advocacy, and empower students to make change.
The Parkdale Project involved a multi-faceted approach to community problem-solving, and the students' dedication, effort, and findings continue to give us reasons to celebrate:
- Identified areas of concern in the Parkdale neighbourhood
- Went on community walks and documented areas of concern
- Refined their ideas to categorize areas of community concerns
- Chose their research topics according to interest
- Identified and researched root causes of community concerns
- Collaborated in their groups to ameliorate root causes
- Developed thesis statements and wrote comprehensive essays which included empirical data
- Adapted their ideas when they found it necessary to "pivot"
- Created multimedia presentations in a variety of formats
- Created 3-D structures to illustrate their solutions
- Conducted self and peer evaluations
- Pitched their ideas to peers, teachers, other professionals, and community leaders
- Plan to further develop and share their ideas with local politicians in hopes of bringing their projects to fruition