Leading up to midterm elections, eighth-grade students at School of Our Lady completed a Social Studies assignment and shared their findings about homelessness in Santa Ana with two city council candidates.
“I was raised in Santa Ana and this is our city,” said Jennifer Avila, social studies and junior high English teacher. She explained the project in more detail.
Students covered the civic standards within social studies and English standards through this assignment. They learned about and distinguished between the powers and responsibilities of citizens, political parties, interest groups, and the media. By studying the case of homelessness in their community, students drew on multiple disciplinary lenses to analyze homelessness, its causes, challenges, and opportunities faced by those trying to address the problem.
Students worked in teams, researched statistics, city plans, budgets, and what individuals can do to help the homeless in Santa Ana. They wrote business letters to individuals and corporations about the issue.
Avila invited city council candidates to speak with students on how they will address homelessness, should they be elected. Roman Reyna and David Peñaloza, city council candidates for Wards Four and Two respectively, came to the school. City council candidates listened to the students’ findings and suggestions – from creating a ballot measure to creating a dome for the homeless made out of recyclable materials.
School of Our Lady serves families in Santa Ana and other nearby communities. The community creates a safe, faith-filled, Catholic environment in which students are able to hear and live the Gospel message. One of the Student Learning Expectations at School of Our Lady is that students are “responsible citizens of the local and world communities.” Students acknowledge that they can make a difference, support and participate in local and national affairs, develop understanding, compassion, and respect for all people and their individual differences, recognize dangers and opportunities in the modern world, and appreciate the struggles and sacrifices parents make for their children.