Communities of Learning for Urban Environments and Science

A Website for CLUES Families



Communities of Learning for Urban Environments and Science (CLUES) is a 5-year program that focuses on teaching science to families in communities of the Philadelphia-Camden region. It is a collaboration between the New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences, The Franklin Institute Science Museum, the Philadelphia Zoo, the Academy of Natural Sciences, and ten Community Based Organizations (CBOs). The CBOs, our diverse community partners, include the African Episcopal Church of St. Thomas, LEAP Academy Charter School, the Indochinese American Council, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Norris Square Neighborhood Project, Folk Arts Cultural Treasures (FACTS) Charter School, Imani Education Circle Charter School, Falomi Club/Camp Fire USA, Youth Service, Inc., and Puerto Rican Unity for Progress, Inc. This project builds upon the previous work of Philadelphia-Camden Informal Science Education Collaborative (PISEC) and its Community Ambassadors for Science Exploration (CASE) program.

The goals of the CLUES project include:

  1. creating a new model for community-led science learning and environmental action for families;
  2. developing a training program to build educational leadership within the CBOs;
  3. empowering CBO-based educators to direct the focus and content of science programming; and
  4. supporting ongoing collaboration among families, community-based education leaders, and museums.

To achieve these goals, museum professionals train qualified community members with the necessary skills to run science workshops and plan events through an intensive Apprentice program. The Apprentices, in turn, train part-time CBO-based Presenters to become workshop leaders. Apprentices and Presenters are involved in family programming, including workshops and family events at the museums, local outdoor activities and community workshops, and take home activities.


In Their Own Voices

"In Their Own Voices" tells the story of fully engaged individuals who had participated in PISEC programs over the years and seeks to understand what made them become so involved. We found that they are not linked by a demographic category like mother's education or science background. Rather, they are creative, intelligent, resourceful people who saw what this program could do for their families. They are very different from one another, and that is where the idea for the "In Their Own Voices" book was born.

Museum Community Partnerships

"Museum/Community Partnerships: Lessons Learned from the Bridges Conference" presents the results of 2008 conference that explored how museums and other learning institutions and community organizations (CBOs) can work together towards a shared vision of engaging underserved families in enrichment activities. The BRIDGES conference brought together museum and community pairs from 25 partnerships to explore best practices for developing and sustaining these innovative programs. The conference provided opportunities for participants to meet others engaged in similar efforts, to share triumphs and tragedies, and to build an ongoing community of practice.

Institute of Museum and Library ServicesThis project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.

National Science FoundationThis material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0840230. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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