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Leverage community educators in learning

How do educator teams leverage community educators in learning? Read on for examples of real projects from Next Education Workforce schools that have invited community educators into learning spaces to connect with learners and deepen and personalize learning.

Who are community educators?

Community educators are youth-serving professionals and volunteers who provide capacity and insight in service of deepening and personalizing student learning. They enrich learning environments by forging authentic relationships, sharing expertise and expanding networks. In Next Education Workforce models, community educators connect as part of educator teams, where they leverage their knowledge and skills to complement the work of professional educators.

About this collection

These resources are designed to illustrate how schools and educator teams are leveraging community educators in learning. Additional resources are available to help educators and school leaders identify, connect with and incorporate community educators


Living Library

The Living Library brought more than 35 community educators — from stay-at-home parents to investment bankers — to connect with high school students struggling to see the importance of learning math. Westwood teacher, Elizabeth Ruiz, made an intentional effort to bring in multilingual community educators so that students could see themselves in these careers and start to envision their future prospects. Community educators did more than help show students that the content they are learning in school is relevant; they allowed students to see caring adults who value who the students are, their interests and their voice.

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Mock Trial

Before this unit on endangered species began, the community educator worked with the teaching team to help them plan the culminating experience and create the preparation materials. The lawyer returned to the classroom virtually to work with the students as they prepared for their mock trial and persuasive arguments. Activating the lawyer for unit planning support is a great example of community educators contributing to the distributed expertise of a team.

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How a community educator helped students at one school prepare for mock trial

As part of their preparation for a mock trial, students at the former SPARK School — now Innovation Academy — prepared interview questions for a community expert, lawyer Brandon Brown of the United States Attorney’s Office. Hear from MLFTC teacher candidate Zoe Glover about the value of having community educators like Mr. Brown share their expertise with students.