The Baccalaureate School for Global Education’s
Creativity, Activity and Service Program
At the heart of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is Creativity, Activity and Service. CAS is a framework that promotes learning by having real experiences that have real consequences and then reflecting on these experiences over time. Students are given the opportunity to transform what they’ve learned in the classroom to a form of service. The CAS experience encourages students to “explore their interests and express their passions, personalities and perspectives” (CAS Guide, 8). The aim of CAS is to build self-esteem, self-confidence, autonomy, self-reliance, collaborative action skills, compassion for others and awareness of global issues through creative expression, physical activities and service projects. The Creativity, Activity and Service framework encourages participants to become open-minded, life-long learners with a desire to be active agents for progressive change in local, national and global communities.
Students who enter the BSGE Diploma Program are expected to engage in a minimum of three individual CAS experiences as well as complete at least one group project. At BSGE, IB Diploma candidates are expected to fulfill a minimum of 100 hours of Creativity, Activity and Service over their junior and senior years. IB Diploma candidates are expected to engage in CAS regularly (i.e. preferably weekly) for 18 consecutive months, finding a balance between creativity, activity and service.
Participants must maintain a digital portfolio for CAS reflection. The portfolio should contain evidence and reflection of individual CAS experiences as well as documentation of the planning, creation and implementation of your group project, representing all elements of Creativity, Activity and Service. All BSGE group CAS projects should be done over a period of at least 8 weeks, though many group projects may take a longer period of time. BSGE group CAS projects will employ the theme of human rights to ensure global connections are maintained (see CAS Project HR Framework and Universal Declaration of Human Rights). Group CAS projects can use a single strand of CAS or use two or all three strands. Group projects should have a minimum of two people with a suggested maximum of 10 students; however, if a project calls for more, students can make justifications for it in their respective project proposals. Both CAS experiences and group projects should have a supervisor; supervisors can be school faculty, community activists, artists, professionals, college undergraduates, retirees or anyone else that you find is appropriate to supervise your experiences and project(s). Students must use the CAS stages to effectively engage in experiences and projects.
5 CAS Stages:
- Investigation—identify interests, skills and talents as you consider what CAS experiences you want to engage in. What do you want to do? Why? For service experiences, what need do you want to address?
- Preparation—clarification of roles and responsibilities, identify time frame and resources, and, if necessary, acquire skills needed for CAS experience or group project. What is your plan of action? How are you going to do it?
- Action—implementing your idea or plan. In other words, get to it!
- Reflection—share what occurred, how you felt during the process of planning, during and after execution; generate ideas and raise questions. What worked well? What might I (we) have done differently? How have I (we) changed as a result of this experience or project?
- Demonstration—explicitly share what was learned, as well as how it was learned and accomplished. CAS portfolio! School-wide CAS group project presentations! Mass media!
Throughout the duration of the CAS Program, students should be engaging in reflection on their CAS experiences as well as group project while providing evidence of how these CAS experiences and group project(s) meet the 7 Learning Outcomes.
7 CAS Learning Outcomes:
- Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth
- Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process
- Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience
- Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experience
- Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively
- Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance
- Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions
Reflections can take many different forms such as journals, group discussions, blogs, video clips, a painting, a song, a poem or short story as well as a multi-media piece. Evidence can be a video clip of a musical rehearsal/performance or dance recital, uploaded slides of artwork from a museum program, photos from It’s My Park! Service Day, Thanksgiving with senior citizens at Sunnyside Community Services or walking with the BSGE Team during the annual AIDS Walk, posted Youtube clips of soccer matches, softball games or swim meets as well as scanned letters from volunteer service supervisors at a local hospital, food pantry or nursing home. Reflections and other evidence will constitute your digital CAS portfolio.
IB Diploma candidates are encouraged to identify and participate in experiences that satisfy more than one CAS element. All experiences that occur outside of school premises must have a letter of documentation from your respective supervisor, verifying your participation in specific CAS experiences. In all aspects of CAS, goals must be set and students are required to reflect on their progress throughout the process. In order to meet the Creativity, Activity and Service criterion, all CAS experiences and group projects must be approved by Peter Wilson through submission of proposals and follow-up meetings. Additionally, IB Diploma candidates should meet regularly with Peter before and while engaging in CAS experiences and group projects for check-ins, portfolio review, reflection and guidance.
Students who engage in the CAS Program will:
- Increase self-awareness
- Learn about learning
- Explore new and unfamiliar challenges
- Employ different learning styles
- Develop their ability to communicate and collaborate with others
- Experience and recognize personal development
- Develop attributes of the IB learner profile
IB Definition: Exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance.
This element of CAS covers a wide range of arts and other experiences outside the normal curriculum, which includes creative thinking in the design. Experiences include doing dance, music, art, digital design and production, creative writing and prose as well as theater. Students are encouraged to participate in experiences with groups and in new roles wherever possible, although individual commitment to learning and practicing an art form is allowed.
IB Definition: Physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle.
This element of CAS can include participation in individual and team sports, physical activities and expeditions outside the normal curriculum. It also includes physical activity involved in carrying out creative and service projects. These pursuits will require physical exertion such as camping trips, intramural volleyball or erecting and tending a community garden. Students are encouraged to participate in experiences with groups and teams as well as undertaking new, challenging roles. Individual commitment to these physical activities is also acceptable.
IB Definition: Collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need.
Recognized as perhaps the most transforming element of CAS, service projects and experiences allow students to build direct links with individuals and groups throughout local and global communities. This interaction helps to nurture and shape a global citizen who recognizes and respects the human rights of all people. Students do not simply provide service for others but are doing projects with others, developing a sincere commitment with them in the process. This relationship should demonstrate respect for the dignity and self-respect of others. Experiences and group projects should identify, research and address community needs; for example, facilitating a clothing drive for families living without homes in NYC, teaching English to ELL/ESL students from immigrant households at a community center or working on an international awareness and fundraising campaign to ban landmines. Both creativity and activity elements are heightened by incorporating the service aspect of these experiences. There are four types of service action as defined by IB within the CAS Program—
- Direct Service: Student interaction that involves people, the environment or animals.
- Indirect Service: Although students do not see the recipients of indirect service, they have verified their actions will benefit the community or environment.
- Advocacy: Students speak on behalf of a cause or concern to promote action on an issue of public interest.
- Research: Students collect information through varied sources, analyze data and report on a topic of importance to influence policy or practice.
CAS GROUP PROJECT HUMAN RIGHTS FRAMEWORK
Human Rights: Rights that you are born regardless of race, ethnicity, class, gender, nationality, age, sexual orientation or religion; these rights cannot be taken away.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR): A landmark document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 which outlines individual rights and freedoms for all. Although it is non-binding, the UDHR has acquired universal acceptability and has served as the foundation for human rights legislation around the world.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child: The most widely ratified human rights treaty in the world, which legally binds signatory nations to protect children’s rights. The United States, South Sudan and Somalia are the only three countries that have not signed the Convention.
Questions to consider with your group–
Identify the issue or community need. Give your personal assessment or opinions on the specific problem. What facts or ideas support your point of view?
Who cares? Why does it matter? What difference does it make?
What are the global consequences of this issue? What are the connections to human rights?
What specific articles of the Universal Declaration for Human Rights are being threatened and/or violated?
Who is responsible for these circumstances?
What facts or ideas support your point of view? What political, economic and social conditions contribute to these violations?
What international and national communities are affected by this issue? How are these communities affected?
Will future generations be affected by this problem? How?
What else is possible? How might someone else view this situation? Whose voice is left out?
What can be done:
- with other people/organizations?
- by governments/policy makers?
What actions are governments, policy makers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) presently doing to address this human rights issue?
What actions are you taking to actively help improve this situation?