Community-Engagement Projects

Planning Parties

Planning parties are a once-a-month gathering with structures and protocols designed by teachers for teachers to plan, run through lessons, look at student work, and get in-time feedback or resources from trained peer coaches. Teachers leave with materials created, copied, organized and teachers are ready to start the week right! Planning parties were designed and refined by teachers in the Early Career Teacher Network to address the common challenge of Sunday curriculum planning blues. We believe that teachers collaborating across grade levels, schools and levels of expertise supports enriching teaching-learning experiences for students and teachers.


YMOC (Young Men Organizing for Change) is an interdisciplinary school-based mentorship program aimed at supporting Black, Indigenous, and young men of color along their journey in high school. YMOC focuses on the holistic development of students by recognizing the fullness of their humanity, empowering their agency, and fostering leadership development.

YMOC is grounded in youth-led participatory action research (YPAR), an innovative approach to positive youth and community development. The program positions young men of color as sense makers, values their expertise, and activates their sociopolitical power. Students and their mentors unravel, discuss, and research themes ranging from self-identity, racism and capitalism, culture, masculinity, and mental health.

A highlight and the cornerstone of YMOC programming is monthly Breaking Bread dinners, a formal and informal setting where youth and mentors gather to break bread and learn from one another through the sharing of experiences, perspectives, and ideas. The dinners hold a safe, intellectual, and physical space for intergenerational collaboration and critical conversation as it relates to the everyday lived experiences of people of color. It is during Breaking Bread that youth ideate, identify, and refine their research ideas as they receive support and guidance through positive, affirming connections with their mentors. The space is used intentionally to celebrate the joy of Black and Brown youth.

YMOC is committed to providing an inclusive environment for all, regardless of gender and gender identity, age, race, health status, national origin, documentation status, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and religion.

Contact Us

The Earl Center looks forwarding to building a network of university faculty and students as well as community and industry partners. Please contact us to learn more about how we’re working to collaboratively develop educational experiences animated by commitments to creativity, dignity and justice through research and community engagement efforts. We’re always happy to make new friends and explore new ideas!

1 + 10 =

Earl Center

For Learning and Innovation