• Douglas Anderson Community Learning Exchanges

    Melanie HammerDear DA students and parents/guardians,

    Along with our partners, Drs. Chris Janson and Rudy Jamison from the UNF Center for Urban Education and Policy, I am excited to announce that we are launching a series of dialogs to help DASOTA students and family members deepen our understanding of ourselves and how – together – we can continue to build a culture and community strong enough to help everyone in our school family feel seen, heard, included, and respected. 

    These events are called Community Learning Exchanges (CLE). We are in the process of hosting a focusing session with staff members and some of our student leaders. We hope that every student and at least one parent or guardian from each of our families will be able to participate in one of these unique sessions for enriching growth and learning through crossing boundaries, leading to inclusivity in addressing school concerns.

    COVID protocols limit participation to no more than 40 in each session. We have scheduled the initial two sessions as follows and will add more dates as needed.

    • Wednesday, May 5 – online via Zoom, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    • Wednesday, May 12 – Southside Baptist Church, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

    Click here to register for one of these sessions. 

    See below for a rich description of the CLE experience. I trust you will join me in both enthusiasm for these sessions and hope for their impact on our school community.  Please register asap, so that we can prepare for your participation. 


    Melanie Hammer Signature


    Melanie Hammer

    The Community Learning Exchange

    Our Community Learning Exchange process focuses on the rich assets and gifts of all involved in order to leverage collective strengths toward sustainable solutions for the challenges we identify together. In doing so, we will learn more about ourselves, each other, and existing resources in our school and community; as well as establish new relationships and deepen existing ones.

    A Community Learning Exchange (CLE) springs from the powerful idea that the people closest to the issues are best situated to discover answers to local concerns. CLEs provide an opportunity for people in communities to come together in deep learning. Together, we openly examine our strengths and challenges, freely exchange successful approaches and strategies, and become familiar with tools that can drive local organizational and community change. CLEs break the isolation people working on organizational and community change often experience. They provide time and space for the deep conversations and learning that are less possible in the busyness of our daily schedules – particularly as public school educators. Participants experience safety and trust where they can open up and deepen their relationships with others.

    Our CLE process and approach grows from local CLEs and the work of a broader, national initiative in which various communities across the country have hosted CLEs focusing on topics ranging from Building and Supporting Moral Courage; Youth-Adult Partnerships; Understanding and Marshalling Collective Assets to Strengthen Community Literacy; to Rehabilitating Relationships with Public Education from Sources of Historical Trauma to Sources of Hope. Our local work originally grew from a national CLE initiative which was originally supported through grant support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and has been documented, described, and analyzed in Reframing Community Partnerships in Education: Uniting the Power of Place with the Wisdom of People (https://www.routledge.com/Reframing-Community-Partnerships-in-Education-Uniting-the-Power-of-Place/Guajardo-Guajardo-Janson-Militello/p/book/9781138840775)

    If you would like to learn more about this process in advance of any one of the CLEs, please feel free to reach out to either Drs. Janson or Jamison through the contact information below:

    Chris Janson at (904) 238-3571 or c.janson@unf.edu

    Rudy Jamison at (904) 386-8926 or rudy.jamison@unf.edu

    Directors, UNF Center for Urban Education and Policy