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African American History

Students study the history, culture, and struggles of African Americans, then interview 8-10 elders from the community, creating oral histories and portraits for each of them.

Aldo Leopold Education Project

In this class, students work on the Aldo Leopold Education Project, in cooperation with the Aldo Leopold Center. The purposes of the project are to: 1) instill in students, through direct experience, an appreciation and respect of the natural world so that they may develop a positive relationship with the land, 2) advance students’ scientific understanding of the land community’s natural processes so that they may make informed decision about conservation/land issues, 3) advance students’ creative thinking skills through the hands-on/minds-on activities found in the guide, and 4) introduce students to literary works of writers in the conservation community to create an interest for further exploration and demonstrate the melding of science and literature.

In addition to studying Leopold’s land ethic, students create a community garden to grow fresh produce for hundreds of residents of local homeless shelters. Later this same group will apply Leopold’s philosophy as they travel to the Grand Tetons.

Ancient Technology

In this course, students learn some ancient techniques that early humans developed in their technological evolution. From cord making to fire starting, shelter construction to Woodlands Indians gardening techniques, students will be expected to apply this knowledge and these skills to their own experiences on the Isles Royale class trip, where they experience communal living and document their experiences through the design of a web page. In addition, these students plant a garden that they maintain over the summer, with all produce grown being donated to the Battered Women’s Shelter.

Barrios Dilemma

Students in this class work with the University of Wisconsin to study issues related to Central and South America and then prepare social studies lessons for 40 Sherman Middle School students. Working with the North Side Neighborhood Center, they also act as mentors and teachers at a Peace Event for 200 Elementary and Middle School students.

Be A Friend

Students collaborate with Big Brothers/Big Sisters to plan and implement several major social events to “befriend” 30 EEN students and “Little Brothers and Sisters” from Sherman Middle School.

Campaign Headquarters

Students explore a variety of political structures from democracy to totalitarianism. This service learning course provides students with the skills of knowledge to participate in, or create their own political campaign. Activities include guest speakers from a variety of political campaigns and organizations. In addition, students hold a mock campaign and participate in voter registration canvassing.

Eyes on the Prize

Students study the Civil Rights Movement through videos and discussions with staff from MMSD’s Equity and Diversity Department. They then create a dramatic presentation about the Movement for other classes and represent Shabazz at the University of Wisconsin’s “Andrew Goodman Memorial” presentation.

From Woody Guthrie to Andy Warhol

This course analyzes history as a function of cultural expression. Students search for meaning, identity, and historical insight by examining auditory, visual, and literary art. Students must be prepared to participate in class discussions as well as produce and present their own cultural expressions.


Students interested in an independent service-learning credit team with the principal to organize “All School Meetings,” “Days Away,” and prospective student visits.

Mirrors of Discrimination

This class explores the issues of racism, sexism, and homophobia. The students design anti-discrimination lessons for approximately 100 students at Hawthorne Elementary School and write nearly 100 anti-discrimination advocacy letters to local, state, or national officials or institutions.

Mississippi Connection

Students study the history, culture, and geography of the Mississippi Delta. Networking with numerous educators, civic leaders, and organizations from the Delta, they spend 10 days living with families, collecting oral histories, and doing service projects which are identified by local residents and officials. Afterwards, they prepare an educational slide show about what they have learned during this “cultural immersion” for 500 MMSD students across the district. This slide show eventually becomes the content of a cable television show.

Political Participation

Students study the process of “Democracy in Action.” They then become involved in local issues of interest to them and work with local advocacy groups. In addition, they plan and host the “Annual Shabazz Service-Learning Open House” which involves networking with hundreds of educators, elected officials, and community residents.

Poverty in America

Students study the root causes of poverty, hunger, and homelessness, then spend several hours a week doing child care, cleaning, stocking food pantries, and sorting clothes at the Atwood Community Center, the Salvation Army, Community Action Coalition, and Port St. Vincent for hundreds of recipients of those services.

Presidential Politics

Students focus on the upcoming presidential election, keeping abreast of the realities and the rhetoric as offered by the news, both from the left and from the right. Students will also organize to run voter registration days at the four larger high schools to inform and ensure that those students within the district who can vote, will be given every opportunity to do so.

Rock the Vote

Students study the Civil Rights movement and the Women’s Suffrage movement. They then work 8-10 hours in the political campaign of their choice. Afterward they create a political forum in order to inform the Shabazz student body about the candidates and the major issues in the 2000 campaign.

Sin Fronteras (“without boundaries”)

One hundred forty students from Shabazz and 75 students from the Latino Youth Alternative High School exchanged visits and shared cultural events as part of this class. One day was spent together in Chicago for “Cinco de Mayo,” and another day was spent at Shabazz.

Social and Political Activism

The United States is a society that has evolved through social and political activism. Some of the most significant periods of social change that have taken place in American society are periods built on a foundation of important achievements made by everyday people and influenced by courageous leaders. Students in this class analyze the modern day Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam anti-war movement in order to better understand this turbulent period of social and political activism and change. Students will develop presentations, which are given to middle school students.

30th Anniversary Celebration (Part II)

Students work with alumni, news media, and the Madison community to publicize, plan, and organize this major event of the year. These students also promote and fund-raise for our newly formed Service-Learning Endowment Fund. In addition, they are responsible for integrating our Annual Service-Learning Open House into this celebration which is attended by hundreds of students, staff, parents, alumni, and community members.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Students explore the skills for building healthy loving relationships in collaboration with a professor from Madison Area Technical College. Afterward class participants develop two lesson plans for 20 Sherman Middle School students concerning positive decision making with attraction and dating issues.