Community, Action, Service Programme (CAS)
What are CAS Projects?
Community, Action, Service (CAS) Projects are student initiated, organized and run experiences that must incorporate two of three aspects: creativity, action or service. These three aspects are key to ensuring that IST Diploma Programme students acquire and develop skills that lead to excellence.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW IST STUDENTS BENEFIT FROM CAS PROJECTS
IST Diploma Programme students have pursued projects that helped them get involved with giving back to the local community. Read more about student-led CAS projects by downloading our CAS eBook.
What the CAS Programme can teach Diploma Programme students
The CAS Programme teaches students at IST irreplaceable skills that will help them succeed in anything they set their minds to.
Angelica, an IST Diploma Programme student, attested to the fundamental value of the CAS programme.
“I have learned the importance of teamwork and collaboration in working towards a goal. The support of my school and my knitting team has been a very gratifying experience for me,” Angelica said. As mentioned above, CAS stands for Creativity, Activity and Service.
“Creativity might be the High School Play, designing something in the DT lab, creating a club of some sort. Activity can range from playing on one of the school teams, to yoga, to personal fitness and Service is anything where they are giving their time, effort, expertise, etc. and receiving learning in return,” said Deanna Milne, CAS Coordinator at IST.
According to Milne, students must take part in a balance of the C, A and S over the course of the DP Programme. In addition to this, they must also complete at least one CAS Project, such as the Knitted Knockers initiative.
Throughout the course of the programme, students must reflect on the following Learner Outcomes:
- Skill growth
- Initiative and planning
How the CAS Programme is completed alongside the IB Programme
The CAS Programme is incredibly important to student balance. The International Baccalaureate Programme is incredibly rigorous, requiring consistent reflection and self-evaluation. Now, the IB awards a completely separate certificate of completion for CAS.
“Students consider what they did, why it matters to them and others and what they’ve learned as they move forward,” Milne said. “It helps them to use the experiences they take part in outside of classes and look inwards to discover who they are as a person, and who they want to be.”
The projects the students initiate even capture the attention of the local community surrounding IST. This allowed students to engage with more than just their fellow students and faculty.
“Since the start of [Knitted Knockers], I have also received support from the wider community with many donating knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn for our project to continue.”
According to Angelica, the volunteers involved with Knitted Knockers are rapidly increasing, and she is working with members of the community to teach others how to make the prostheses.
As evident above, through the CAS Programme, IST has helped expand their students’ skill sets beyond academics; it helps open their students’ eyes to the community around them and allows them to easily see where they can help.
Students are supported with leadership training opportunities as well as hands-on skills development in areas such as time, resource and event management.
IST goes one step further with the community outreach initiatives by running a Take Action Tuesday (TAT). This initiative is where the school sets aside time every Tuesday and allows students the time to pursue their service activity.
10 common characteristics of Community Service Projects at IST
Community Service Projects initiated by students, teachers and the school will strive to conform to 10 characteristics.
- They will offer shared benefits and experiences for the IST student and other community members involved
- They will be planned to ensure mutual respect can develop between both participants.
- They will be meaningful to both parties and this quality will be sustained over time.
- Students will be prepared for the project to ensure they are aware of its personal and cultural significance as well as its relevance in the broader context.
- Projects will be planned so that they offer progressive experiences for students and make increasingly complex demands upon them as they pass through school.
- Ownership of projects will become increasingly devolved to students and they will be given increasing opportunities to exercise and develop leadership.
- Projects will arise naturally from the curriculum and the curriculum framework at IST will provide structured opportunities for community involvement.
- Projects will be planned so that opportunities exist for students to develop the key attitudes of appreciation, creativity, independence, commitment, curiosity, integrity, confidence, empathy, respect, cooperation and enthusiasm; many of the skills necessary for a successful future.
- Taken collectively, projects will establish an empowering and developmental relationship between IST and the community with which it interacts.
- The whole Community Service Programme at IST will be planned so that it becomes integral to the life of the school and involves large numbers of students and staff.
Knitted Knockers: a CAS programme project that brought change to the community
Angelica put considerable thought into which project to pursue seriously and once she volunteered in the hospital and experienced working with Dr. Scanlan to produce the cancer booklet, she knew she had found what she wanted to be a part of.
According to Angelica, Knitted Knockers is a foundation where volunteer knitters get together and knit breast prostheses to donate, free of charge, to mastectomy patients. The prostheses are soft, comfortable and when placed in a regular bra, they take the shape and feel of a real breast. They are made of cotton yarn and are therefore inexpensive and perfect for all climates, even for hot and humid Dar es Salaam.
“I discovered [Knitted Knockers] existed in other African countries, but not in Tanzania,” Angelica said. “I wrote a concept note requesting permission from the organisation, and then set up the project at my school.”
When asked the importance of such an inspiring initiative, Angelica answered without a beat.
“It is very difficult for breast cancer mastectomy patients to access breast prostheses following treatment,” Angelica said. “Any prostheses sent in from abroad are made of silicon, which is unsuitable for the hot climate and also too expensive for many to afford.”
Making products that are both affordable and comfortable is something Angelica is proud of.
“This project is important to me because these prostheses are able to provide women with confidence and higher self-esteem, following such a difficult experience in their lives.”