Are you “Making the Grade” with the Four C’s of Involvement?

How well do you involve business, community, and higher education members in learning experiences with your students? Are these members an integral part of your culture and curriculum? Take this quick quiz to see is you “make the grade”:

  1. Yes or No:
    Do you involve students in either a physical or a virtual tour of a workplace or institution that aligns with a topic of study?
  2. Yes or No:
    Is it part of your practice to job shadow or interview people in your content area for a deeper understanding of the tools and processes used to communicate, share information, solve problems, produce & create, and make decisions?
  3. Yes or No:
    When launching a PBL experience, have you invited business, community, and higher education members to participate?
  4. Yes or No:
    Have you asked members of the public to serve as judges on a panel or to evaluate student/team products?
  5. Yes or No:
    Do you provide time and opportunity for students to contact and communicate with the public as part of their inquiry?
  6. Yes or No:
    Are members of the public involved in developing success skills and creating a product for public presentation?
  7. Yes or No:
    Has a community agency or business challenged your students to solve an industry-specific or community-based problem and then used their proposal as a solution to the problem?
  8. Yes or No:
    Do you have relationship with one or more public members who might co-design a PBL experience?

If you answered Yes to all of these questions, then you are the Ultimate Community Collaborator! Kudos to you!

If you answered Yes to five or fewer questions, then you have a strong connection with community and might consider the next level of involvement with the public.

If you answered Yes to four or fewer questions, then you might consider using the visual below to plan for involvement—summer is a great time to establish connections and relationships.

You can use the visual in two ways:

PBLNY Logo art Business, Community, and Higher Education Continuum of Involvement
Contribution Communication Consultation Collaboration
  • offer scholarships and grants
  • share or donate supplies and resources
  • provide job shadow opportunities
  • offer student internships during the school year or in the summer
  • provide teacher externships during the summer
  • invite a student or a teacher to attend a trade conference or audit a college course
  • invite students to physically or virtually tour the facility or work site
  • join an advisory council
  • help students with college and career planning
  • participate in an entry event to kick-off a project
  • serve as judge on a panel or evaluate a public product
  • visit classes on a campus or virtually as a guest speaker
  • host an exhibition or presentation event
  • generate articulation agreements and develop dual-enrollment opportunities
  • display projects on site
  • provide data, business reports, and website information
  • participate in face-to-face or digital interviews
  • discuss with teacher/students industry tools and processes
  • train teachers and students in industry standards and business functions
  • assist students during the project with skills and knowledge
  • assist teachers with project management
  • provide feedback to students for improvement as they work on a project
  • evaluate project design and provide feedback to teacher(s) for improvement
  • evaluate integrated curriculum for inclusion of industry-based skills and knowledge or post-secondary expectations
  • challenge students to solve an industry-specific or community-based problem
  • co-plan projects with teachers and students
  • design an integrated course to reflect industry-based and/or college expectations
  • develop evaluation criteria for a project
  • mentor at-risk students/tutor struggling students
  • work with school district to develop a college preparation course
  • use team products or proposal for improvement or solving a problem
  • demonstrate industry use of specific tools and processes with students
  1. As a classroom teacher, use the visual to involve the public in ways that are a natural fit with your curriculum, PBL experiences, and classroom culture
  2. As district and building administrators, use the visual to communicate the continuum of involvement

The first option is the easiest one to implement in amplifying public involvement, the second option will take time to plan for communication and shared understanding of how to use the Four C’s of the continuum in involving the public. A word about “public”: the members of the public also include parents and family members of students. They own and work in local businesses, community agencies, and higher education institutions. Therefore, when involving the public, you are also involving family in learning experiences, which can lead to a collaborative community culture.

You can “make the grade” using the Four C’s of the Involvement Continuum.

Denise Pawlewicz

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