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Eighth Grade Middle Years Programme Community Project Gaining Steam

students working at tablesForty-four eighth graders have signed up for a new Somers Middle School program that aims to turn their passions into action while serving a need in their community.

The Community Project, a component of the International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme, kicked off last month. Students are in the beginning stages of planning a community service project they will run throughout the year. Individually or in groups, students will investigate needs in a community and address those needs through service learning.

“This is all about setting a goal that helps the community,” said World Language Teacher Jenna Iazzetti who is the MYP Community Project Advisor.

students working at tablesIazzetti said there are 25 projects underway. Students are planning different projects by investigating needs within the community and reaching out to various organizations. Proposals will be finalized before Thanksgiving break and students will spend approximately 15 hours of work outside of school or during WIN periods to carry out the project by May.

One aspect of this project that Iazzetti said she hopes will take off is the aspect of community involvement. Students are working with a Somers Middle School teacher or faculty member as a mentor to guide their work, but she hopes to see community members also become involved.

“IB encourages getting as many people involved in the community project as possible. We welcome people connected to local service organizations to be resources for students.” She added that local residents who want to offer their expertise in a certain area are encouraged to reach out to her at

students working at tables. papers on table with writingDuring recent WIN periods, students spent time investigating project ideas and resources. Some of the many preliminary ideas included combatting food insecurity, financial accessibility of music education, addressing food waste at SMS, creating new clubs, working with pet rescue organizations, park clean ups, toiletry drives for women and girls in shelters, and more.

The program is being offered to eighth graders as a choice pilot program this year before it becomes mandatory. Students are working individually or in groups of up to three. They will present their projects in May at a showcase. Iazzetti said eighth graders can also use their hours from the Community Project for their membership requirements in the National Junior Honor Society.

2 students working, writingThe MYP is a five-year program that spans sixth through tenth grade and will seamlessly take students into the IB Diploma Programme implemented at Somers High School in 2018. Students will hone skills in many areas including inquiry, knowledge, risk taking, communication, and critical thinking.  SMS is working towards becoming an International Baccalaureate’s Middle Years Programme Authorized School by late 2022. 

(Nov. 8, 2022)