The St. Paul, Minn.-based National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) is organizing a national coalition of leaders to think about education policy and the role of service learning in the education world.
Engaged Education Now has initial funding of about $250,000 from State Farm Insurance, and will include NYLC staff along with representatives from the following founding members: State Farm Insurance; the American Association of School Administrators; Hands on Network; college civic engagement coalition Campus Compact; and Common Cents, a national nonprofit best known for its annual “Penny Harvest.”
“The ideas are largely to improve academic achievement and school success in elementary and secondary schools and getting people together to do that with service learning as a strategy,” said NYLC program director Caryn Pernu, who is among the NYLC staff members working on the campaign. “We want to engage students, engage families, engage communities, and we’re trying to reach out to all the constituent groups.”
Presiding over Engaged Education Now is NYLC founder Jim Kielsmeier, who plans to retire soon as CEO of the organization but will remain on staff to handle this project.
Kielsmeier is currently traveling outside the country, but Pernu said the coalition is “an effort that he’s going to continue to be involved in, in a leadership role, past his retirement from NYLC.”
The inaugural meeting of the coalition is planned for Nov. 11 at Georgetown University. The specific top priorities they will advocate to change at the state and federal level are not yet known, Pernu said, but the policy agenda will be focused on improving academic achievement and school success through service work.
State Farm’s grant to NYLC will cover most of the project, but other potential funders are still being considered and some of the partner groups will kick in as well, said Pernu.
Other groups expected to participate in the coalition are the Search Institute, the National Service Learning Partnership, University of Minnesota (Kielsmeier is a professor there), George Washington University, Youth Service America and technology review website CNet.