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PBL in the Real World

Session 2
Nina Bilynsky-Ristics, Sheena Starling — Director of Real World Learning, Real World Learning Associate

El Centro de Estudiantes High School is a small learning community that recently relocated to the Frankford neighborhood of Philadelphia. Our mission it to re-engage youth in education through Project-Based Learning and Real World Learning experiences. El Centro uses relationship-building, resiliency, and the Advisory model as the foundation for youth development.

Learning at el Centro is centered around student interests. Through a combination of exploration, exposure, and real-world experiences, students develop a Legacy Project that empowers them to leave a mark on the community. Students practice professionalism and non-cognitive skills at the beginning of their enrollment, and eventually procure internships with mentors who share their passions.

Alongside el Centro staff members, these mentors guide students through the project process and help them to develop authentic project work that resonates in the real world. The goal of these efforts is for students to reclaim their educational journeys and realize their efficacy as agents of change.

Conversational Practice

The session will start with several el Centro students giving a shark-tank style pitch about their respective project work. This will lead to a panel discussion where students and el Centro staff answer questions about and share insights into their experience of project development. Finally, all of the participants will break into small groups to discuss specific aspects of project design and development.

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