Avenues: The World School emphasizes global awareness and the development of attitudes and skills to make a difference in the world. The community engagement program aims to strengthen future graduates’ commitment to a larger purpose, increase their awareness of real-world challenges and nurture passion in an area of personal interest.
What Engagement Looks Like
We encourage students to explore beyond their “bubbles,” whether socio-economic, cultural or linguistic. Deemphasizing charity, we encourage experiential learning and genuine community connections to further the Avenues mission.
Some of our youngest students may experience awareness of their community by walking across the street to meet students at another school. By first grade, they may begin developing a larger awareness of world issues through classroom read-a-thons connected to academic study of an area of concern.
By the time they reach the Upper Division, students are challenged to show personal initiative. Students participate in their community in some form every year, whether through curricular projects, division-wide community days, clubs, internships, curricular work with their classes and on-site volunteering or independently developed projects, including social innovation and design thinking approaches to solving local and global problems.
Beyond Community Service Hours
By the time they are in ninth grade, students engage and take initiative on their own. This is why we call our program “community engagement,” rather than focusing on just performing a service.
The school actively supports the development of independent enterprise and innovation, always in a larger culture of collaboration. It strongly encourages—but does not require—students to undertake service learning beyond the school’s formal curriculum.
Incorporating three local partnerships that underpin the school’s commitment to developing a compassionate citizenry, the community engagement program similarly encourages problem-solving and collaboration. A partnership model entails not just doing for, but rather doing with—working alongside local businesses in design thinking and social innovation, fostering leadership through internships and co-sponsoring conferences and curricular programs created together.
Our focus on partnerships with community organizations allows us to both give and receive. Our partners—the GO Project, the Hudson Guild and St. Clement’s Food Pantry—become participants in our children’s school community, and we become contributing members of the life of Community Board 4.
We also contribute to or collaborate with many local and city organizations, including:
The Role of the Avenues Parent Association
Traditions such as Operation Gratitude bring the entire community together around common service projects. School-wide drives give parents an opportunity to do community work with their children or volunteer to support the drives through the Avenues Parent Association (APA). Through the active collaboration of the APA community engagement coordinator, our aspiration is to coalesce around ongoing partnerships in which the school and its partners can learn from one another.
Innovation, collaboration, personal connections and problem-solving are at the core of the engagement approach.
Community Engagement in Each Division
Community is a major theme in the classroom work in these divisions. Depending on the grade and teacher, particular projects may be initiated by faculty. Families are encouraged to participate in Operation Gratitude, division-specific projects and book drives. Click here for more on the ELC community engagement and here for Lower Division community engagement.
Through classroom curriculum, advisories, clubs, hands-on community days and student council initiatives, community engagement is intentionally embedded in school experiences, including in Minimester. More on middle grades program community engagement is available here, while specifics about the fall 2015 community days are here.
Rather than setting specific community service hours, Avenues students are provided with models of and opportunities for service. Students are challenged to show personal initiative and create their own experiences, from independent volunteering with our partners to a range of internships. These often occur in conjunction with mastery projects, fifth term electives and a schedule that fosters project-based learning.
For more information about community engagement, contact Vanessa Rahman at avenuescommunityservice@
Our viewbook provides a comprehensive summary of an Avenues education.
October 11, 2018
Last spring, the entire 8th grade participated in an interdisciplinary project called the Big App: Here is New York. Through this project, each student created and published an app that highlighted communities in New York City.
October 5, 2018
Learning to ask and answer directional questions is viewed by some as the most important skill needed to survive abroad. If you lose your way, you need to understand someone when they give you an answer more complex than a finger pointing in a general direction. If applied in context, learning these skills can prove to be quite fun.
October 3, 2018
This fall, the 2nd graders in the Jellyfish and Manta Ray classes are building the classroom of their dreams.
September 28, 2018
This past spring, nine students, including a visitor from our new campus in São Paulo, Brazil, signed up to spend a month learning about game design. This course was part of Fifth Term, a period of four weeks during which upper grades students complete group and individual projects on subjects that spark their passion.
September 20, 2018
At Avenues, we have a tendency to think of high-intensity practice as belonging solely to the HIP Thinking program. However, shifting from HIP Thinking to Face Your Fears made it clear to me how essential the methods we’ve developed in the HIP program can be to helping students quickly develop competency in discipline-based skills as well.