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Darian joined Jillian (fellow SID and UM School of Education student) as interns with the James and Grace Lee Boggs School during the spring 2015 semester. Named after the late and long-time Detroit community activists, the Boggs School is a newer publicly chartered K-8 school located on Detroit's near east-side. Their mission is to engage students in place-based, community-oriented educational experiences. During his time with the Boggs School, Darian had several roles, including: co-organizing a school and community-wide 100th birthday celebration for Grace Boggs, collaborating with students in the classroom, and researching strategies for insuring environmental protections for the schools's urban garden in the wake of neighborhood blight removal efforts. Darian hopes to continue working with Boggs School in the future through SID's Continuing Engagement Program.  

Read Darian's post on the SID Community Blog remembering Grace Lee Boggs

View Darian's Internship Work Plan

The mission of the James & Grace Lee Boggs Education Center (Boggs School) is to “nurture creative, critical thinkers who contribute to the well-being of their communities,” according to the organization’s website.  The School works to create a beloved Detroit community through Place-Based Education—a model that guides learning through participation in surrounding communities and connection to environment and place.  With the work the School does, future solutionaries of Detroit are being grown.

         The Boggs School looks to showcase student learning with the community on the last day of class each year. This event takes the form of a parade that makes its way through the neighborhood surrounding the School. The parade is aimed at not solely celebrating student achievements, but also toward strengthening community partnerships and cementing the Boggs School’s place in Detroit. Additionally, this year the School is holding an event as a part of Grace Lee Boggs’ 100th birthday celebration. This event, occurring June 24th, must be planned to incorporate student knowledge and perspectives, as well as the School’s overarching mission and it’s rich connection to Grace Lee Boggs.    

          Furthermore, the School is looking to further its Place-Based Education within the building.  Part of my task will be to work on a project to meet this end that can be completed in the given timeframe

          Lastly, the School is facing the looming fact that the City will demolish two buildings directly behind the property in the springtime.  This poses environmental problems that will directly impact the health of students and the school grounds.  I will work within my power to research & implement pragmatic solutions to these environmental/health hazards.


1.     To plan & carry out the Boggs School 2nd annual end of the school year parade in a manner which creatively celebrates Boggs’ students and their learning, Grace Lee Boggs’ 100th birthday, the School community, and underscores the connection between Detroiters and the School.

a.     Advertise the event to community members via several hundred handout flyers, public posting, and online invitations. 

b.     Work on displaying creative expressions of student learning by meeting or communicating with classes and clubs so that every student can uniquely celebrate themselves.

c.      Form a route for the parade.

d.     Host several community arts groups and performers to be apart of this parade.

2.     To plan & carry out Grace Lee Boggs’ birthday celebration at the Boggs’ School that effectively incorporates community members and sponsors into a celebratory, intellectually stimulating environment that is accessible to all age groups.

a.     Record student responses to the prompt “What does freedom mean to you?” and compile those into a video to be sown at the event.

                                               i.     Hold a discussion on this topic with attendees of the event, and have a way for them to display their knowledge.

b.     Work with art classes and after school clubs to encourage student’s creative celebration of the life & works of Grace Lee Boggs.

c.      Advertise to the School & Detroit communities to have high and diverse attendance and participation.

d.     Plan the event closely with the Boggs Center birthday celebration team.

3.     To further the practice of Place-Based Education by organizing the selection, printing and donation of large, laminated maps of Detroit or the Great Lakes Region, while learning how these can be incorporated into interdisciplinary learning. 

a.     Select 4 maps with administration that would best fit the Place-Based Education framework and the mission of the School.

b.     Determine the appropriate dimensions of these maps.

c.      Locate local printers to donate large, laminated prints of these maps to the School.

d.     Post the maps and work with teaching faculty to incorporate these maps into student learning through (formal or informal) meetings.

4.     To protect the environment of the Boggs School and the health of its students and staff from hazards emitted by neighboring home demolition while working with faculty to work these protective measures into student learning.

a.     Research environmental & health harms that result from city home demolitions, pinpointing the key concerns applicable to the School.

b.     Determine the simplest, most effective ways to protect the School and its community from these hazards.

c.      Work with Mr. Dennis, gardening club and school administration to incorporate this project into the Place-Based and environmental education of the students once protection effort begins, and (if possible) after the demolitions.

Resources Available:

·      Community partners who have historically been involved with the Boggs School or the Boggs Center, and a host of other which are connected to the school through personal and family ties.

·      A host of art supplies to create pieces for display at the two celebratory events.

·      Teachers and administrators with deep working knowledge of the School, community and practices to meet goals of the events, Place-Based Education, and environmental protection.

·      The creativity of numerous students channeled in classes and after-school clubs.

·      Limited school funds to provide for event supplies and environmental protection measures.

Anticipated Constraints & Challenges:

·      A relatively short amount of working time to meet all of my expected goals.

·      The limited funds of a non-profit charter school.

·      The limited time of teachers and administrators to plan events and other projects with interns.

·      The immediate emphasis on event planning, which may detract from personal projects.

·      The long-term nature of the environmental hazards posed by home demolition, which will make evaluation of that project challenging.

Evaluation & Assessment:

·      Marking the extent to which goals were completed based on a 5-point continuum by supervisor(s), a co-intern, and myself.

·      Gathering student and teacher/administrator responses to the parade and birthday events.

·      Recording attendance of both events.

·      Communicating with teachers and students to gage the effectiveness of the maps in student Place-Based Education.

·      Determining if environmental protection efforts were implemented in student learning, and if School grounds were guarded from deleterious chemical hazards.