The P-16 Initiative pairs undergraduate students at UNO and K-12 students in area school districts with organizations in the community. The initiative was recently awarded the Excellence in Community Partner Engagement Award by the Engagement Scholarship Consortium (ESC).
"The P-16 Initiative provides students an opportunity to connect their classroom to their community, thinking critically to create solutions," said OPS' Barry Thomas, who has long been involved in the partnership. "The work also inspires students to think about their future by connecting them with college students and professors on the UNO campus."
More than 20,000 UNO students and 16,000 K-12 students have applied academic concepts and experienced civic engagement firsthand through the P-16 Initiative since 2010. Students have taken part in more than 600 projects ranging from meal preparation at area senior centers to working alongside nonprofits to develop a regional aquaponics program to efficiently and sustainably increase crop production.
“Every student is provided an opportunity to learn the way that they learn best,” said LaTrina Parker, P-16 Initiative coordinator at UNO. “It’s very experiential. It takes them outside of the classroom. It gives them an opportunity to apply what they’ve been learning in the classroom to their experience within the community.”
The P-16 Initiative also aims to reduce absences among K-12 students and raise retention rates among UNO students, boost civic engagement and civic literacy, connect academic lessons to real-world applications, and develop life and career skills.
The award is one of the ESC’s Awards for Excellence in Engaged Scholarship. Representatives from UNO’s Service Learning Academy and OPS accepted the award at the 20th Annual Conference of the ESC in Denver.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.