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To create a model linking Title I and service learning, researchers conducted: (1) focus groups with service learning and Title I practitioners to determine their understanding of practices promoting authentic learning for disadvantaged students; (2) a literature review on effective education for disadvantaged children and a study of relationships between service learning and academic performance; (3) a design of the Title I service learning program model; and (4) implementation of the model. A final study phase will determine its impact on student learning. Linking Title I and service learning allows disadvantaged children to increase academic knowledge and skills, connect learning theory and practice, learn how to learn, and develop caring, responsible attitudes. Authentic learning and a service learning philosophy help children see connections between curriculum and their own lives and may boost student achievement. This study's six participating urban, rural, and suburban schools had varying poverty levels. Common program components included motivating learning environments, an accelerated reading program, peer tutoring, and professional development. Preliminary findings suggest that the schools had varying success. A critical mass of teachers at each site carried the initiative forward, committing to quality teaching and learning for all students. Findings suggest that grounding Title I programs within service learning philosophy provides greater opportunities for students to achieve states' high performance and content standards. (SM)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Constructivism (Learning), Disadvantaged Youth, Educational Innovation, Elementary School Students, Elementary Secondary Education, High Risk Students, Low Income Groups, Peer Teaching, Poverty, Secondary School Students, Self Esteem, Service Learning, Student Attitudes, Student Motivation

Autor: Kraft, Nancy P.; Billig, Shelley H.


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