The Police Athletic League (PAL) of West Palm Beach, a program to help prevent juvenile crime and violence by providing mentorship, civic/service, athletic, recreational, enrichment, and educational opportunities and resources to PAL Membership Chapters, took lessons learned from Prime Time’s training offering entitled Ignite the Spark Through Project Based Learning and implemented by working with youth in the program to host the PALS Fun House Event-Halloween Edition in October 2020.
Prime Time’s two-part training Ignite the Spark Through Project Based Learning introduces attendees to project-based learning and allows for exploration of the benefits and challenges of youth choosing their own projects.
“Project-based learning helps youth develop skills for living in a knowledge-based, highly technological society. The old-school model of passively learning facts and reciting them out of context is no longer sufficient to prepare them to survive in today’s world. Solving highly complex problems requires both fundamental skills (reading, writing, and math) and SEL skills (teamwork, problem solving, research gathering, time management, information synthesizing). With this combination, youth become directors and managers of their learning process, guided and mentored by a facilitator,” said Gwynette Williams (pictured right), Professional Development Trainer, Prime Time Palm Beach County.
PAL of West Palm Beach City Manager Shakilya Davis took lessons learned from the training such as the step-by-step process that lays out an activity timeline starting with the goal of the project, interval check points, youth roles, and the culmination/reflection, to delegate roles to the youth in her program. Event responsibilities included charter development, décor, food, costumes, props and makeup.
“I was able to utilize many lessons I obtained from the training by working with our teens and be better as a team to bring their vision of the PAL Fun House event to life. The lessons also taught me how to be more of an excellent counselor/ mentor to them. It’s not always about what we feel is right for them, sometimes its about gaining knowledge from them to see what works best for their needs,” said Shakilya Davis.
“Some key skills my friends and I needed to organize the PALS Fun House event were working together, using our time management skills wisely, role playing thoroughly to make sure everything was up to par. My favorite part about putting this event together was getting into character mode to scare our audience,” said Le’Teaziah, age 17.
PAL of West Palm Beach Fun House Event was a success! The community attended the three-hour event that included entertainment, music, dancing and snacks.
Insight from Prime Time’s Professional Development Trainer Gwynette Williams
What are the benefits of taking Ignite the Spark Through Project Based Learning two-part series?
Part one introduces practitioners to Project-based learning and the 3-phases. Part one really lays out the foundation, provides history/background, checks for understanding, and utilizes guided practice to gain knowledge.
The process between part one and part two give the practitioners time to use their critical thinking skills and apply their new knowledge by creating a PBL experience. Practitioners are given a PBL Classroom facilitator’s packet that walks them through a step-by-step process that lays out an activity timeline starting with the Goal of the project, interval check points, youth roles, and the culmination/reflection.
Part two is the high point for me because practitioners present their projects to the whole group, ask group questions, and receive peer-to-peer feedback. A great deal of energy is created within part two, ideas are shared, and rich discussions are shared.