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Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) Program

All Brooklyn Friends School graduates complete Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) during 11th and 12th grade. CAS, which grew out of the International Baccalaureate program, aims to develop students as reflective thinkers who understand their own strengths and limitations, identify goals and devise strategies for personal growth. CAS students are willing to accept new challenges and new roles and are aware of themselves as a member of communities with responsibilities towards others and the environment. They are active participants in sustained, collaborative projects, and they are balanced – they enjoy and find significance in a range of experiences involving intellectual, physical, creative and emotional growth.

What is CAS?

  1. real purposeful activities, with significant outcomes

  2. personally challenging tasks that are achievable in scope

  3. thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting

  4. reflection on outcomes and personal learning

The emphasis is on learning by doing real tasks that have real consequences and then reflecting on these experiences over time.

CAS is student-directed, allowing students to determine what they are going to learn about themselves and others. Students are encouraged to work collaboratively to engage with issues of global importance and consider the ethical implications of their actions.

CAS experiences include a range of contributions to social justice and social change efforts that increase gender and racial equality, end discrimination of various kinds, and address stark income inequalities that characterize the U.S. and most of the world.

The three strands, which are often interwoven, are characterized as follows:

Creativity

This aspect of CAS is interpreted as imaginatively as possible to cover a wide range of arts and other experiences outside the curriculum. This could involve doing dance, theatre, music, or taking on a leadership role and designing a service project.

Activity

Activity may involve participation experiences requiring physical exertion that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. This aspect of CAS can include participation in individual and team sports, physical activities outside of the normal curriculum, and physical activity involved in carrying out creative and service projects.

Service

Service involves interaction, such as the building of links with individuals or groups in the community. The community may be the school, the local area, or it may exist on national and international levels. Students communicate and consult with the community or individual to determine needs prior to implementation. Service activities should not only involve doing things for others but also doing things with others and developing a real commitment with them. The relationship should therefore show respect for the rights, dignity and autonomy of everyone involved.

CAS Learning Outcomes

The most important aspect of the CAS program, other than the experiences themselves, are the learning outcomes. Students demonstrate that they have met these learning outcomes by presenting evidence through a digital portfolio of their learning and a visual presentation to their peers.

Students are able to see themselves as individuals with various skills and abilities, some more developed than others, and understand that they can make choices about how they wish to move forward.

A new challenge may be an unfamiliar activity, or an extension to an existing one.

Planning and initiation will often be in collaboration with others. It can be shown in activities that are part of larger projects, for example, ongoing school activities in the local community, as well as in small student-led activities.

Collaboration can be shown in many different activities, such as team sports, playing music in a band, or helping in the Brooklyn Friends School Family Center or Lower School classrooms.

At a minimum, this implies attending regularly and accepting a share of responsibility for dealing with problems that arise in the course of experiences.

Students may be involved in international projects but there are many global issues that can be acted upon locally or nationally. Global issues may include hunger, homelessness, environmental justice, criminal justice reform, racism and other forms of oppression.

Ethical decisions arise in almost any CAS activity (for example, on the sports field, in musical composition, in relationships with others involved in service experiences). Evidence of thinking about ethical issues can be shown in various ways, including reflective journal entries and conversations with advisors.

As with new challenges, new skills may be shown in experiences that students have not previously undertaken, or in increased expertise in an established area.