Schools within the Context of Community at South View Elementary – Spring 2015

Photo credit: Pastor Andy Phipps

Schools within the Context of Community is an immersive learning adventure integrating social studies, science, and language arts, with a practicum experience.

This immersive semester takes place on the south side of Muncie, within the community surrounding South View Elementary School. South View serves students coming from a community in which families have been dramatically impacted by the closing of the factories. Ninety-one percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch and their families deal with the daily impact of living in poverty in America. In order to become impactful teachers, responsive to the needs of all their students, pre-service teachers need opportunities to develop relationships of respect and understanding within the community in which they teach. Ball State students in this immersive learning journey will participate in carefully planned events in the community, along with poverty awareness events, in order to learn more about what life for students and their families might be like when living near or below the poverty line in America. While learning about the impact of poverty in the lives of those with whom they interact, students will identify a specific community need in which they will develop a plan to address in collaboration with community members.

During this immersive experience, the Ball State students will learn about children and their families by participating in community events, such as planning a Family Night that will focus on science integrated with literacy. As part of the literacy night, participating students get to choose a book to read and take home. This year we will be reading and sending science trade books appropriate to students’ reading levels home.

The students will also be working with Ross Community Center, Inc. to provide after school literacy instruction for struggling readers using iPads.

Because of the partnership established between South View, Ross Center, and Ball State, the BSU students will have the chance to develop leadership skills as they focus on high quality education for all.

February 13, 2015 – The Schools within the Context of Community students, their professor, and graduate student attended a day-long field trip visiting agencies that serve the Muncie community. The day began with a stop at the YWCA of Muncie and an inspirational tour of the East Charles St. facility given by Niki Fitzgerald, Residential Director.

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Students and Faculty next stopped at the Boys & Girls Club to learn more about the programs offered to the city’s youth. Executive Director, Micah Maxwell, inspired the immersive learning students to speak up and be prepared to present about their own program.

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Bob Ball introduced the students to Inside Out and the many services it provides to help feed the city’s hungry. The students were eager to learn about the organization’s food pantry, community kitchen and after-school food program.

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The next stop took the class to Bridges Community Services where Executive Director, Susie Kemp, gave a brief history of the organization and the Muncie population that it serves. The students were able to visit one of the housing facilities owned and operated by Bridges for a first-hand look at homelessness.


The day’s tour ended at the historic Shaffer Chapel museum where the Schools within the Context of Community students were able to learn more about the city’s African American heritage. Eva Zygmunt, Associate Professor in the Department of Elementary Education, shared the history of the museum and the documents that it houses.

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Thank you to all those who participated in this event. The students were very excited to learn first-hand from the organizations that provide food, housing, and education to our Muncie community.

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