is an "initiative" of the Center for Democracy
at Augsburg College
. It involves young people working in teams on a public work project of their choice. An adult
coach, typically a teacher or university student trained in the process and concepts of Public Achievement, guides team members through the following stages: exploration
and discovery; issue selection and development; problem research; designing a project; implementing the action plan
and making the work visible
; and celebrating. Throughout the process, the coach holds team members accountable
, and creates space for reflection and opportunities for each team member to practice and refine their civic skills. The coach makes overt connections between the group’s work and civic and political concepts. Ideally, an experienced PA site coordinator provides mentoring
and assists PA coaches in reflecting on their own learning
Public Achievement was designed to give young people the opportunity to be producers and creators of their schools and their communities, not simply customers or clients. The goals of Public Achievement in its pilot
project stage were to test whether young people could learn to influence problems in their schools and neighborhoods in a serious way, to define this work in political terms, and to integrate civic education, including a rich
vocabulary of civic concepts such as “citizen teacher,” into institutions that work with young people.
Through communication with Public Achievement participants, the Center for Democracy and Citizenship identifies best practices and incorporates them into PA training and materials. The CDC produces training guides and instructional DVDs and maintains a Public Achievement web site with a variety of materials to support PA teams, coaches, and site coordinators.