The Des Moines Register published an article today about the Community Based Learning Program run by the State Historical Museum of Iowa. This collaboration between Museum staff and two exceptional Des Moines Public Schools teachers (Josalynn Agnew of Monroe Elementary School and Michele Mead of Scavo Alternative High School) won an AASLH Leadership in History Award earlier this year.

From AASLH’s Award Winner Profile:

High school students enrolled in Michele Mead’s nine-week social sciences course meet at the Museum from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. rather than attending class at the Scavo building. For this course, they set aside traditional textbooks and learning environments and rely on the resources of the Museum, including exhibits, object collections and archival materials from Research Center. Students engage in history, civics, economics, and literacy lessons while earning credits necessary for graduation. The high school students prepared for Monroe’s Museum School by becoming “experts” on Museum exhibition content and then served as mentors and teachers for the younger students.

This unique mentoring program relies on peer teaching and leadership-development opportunities between Title I elementary students and alternative high school students who are experiencing success in a non-traditional school environment. In doing so, they are serving two at-risk student populations and making connections that make a difference in their community. Read the whole profile.

From the Register article:

The class is one of only two nationwide that has an active classroom at a state historical building.

The other is an advanced placement course at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.

Scavo is the alternative high school for the Des Moines district. This class is for students whose path to graduation has been somewhat less linear than their peers.

“The kids who take this class go back to Scavo more serious about finishing school,” Mead said. “It’s a very special opportunity.”

Read the whole article.