News Archive


Understanding Homelessness
Posted 05/08/2019 11:13PM

Fifth graders learn, then take action

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead 

The above quote is a favorite one at Carrollwood Day School, where students from the ECC through high school are committed to changing the world.  This week, we focus on another small group of fifth graders and their exhibition topic: Homelessness.

At the beginning of the school year, Brady M., student council president and a student in Mrs. Earle’s fifth grade class, helped to coordinate a school-wide drive for homeless veterans at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital.  Following the success of the drive, volunteers from the hospital came to the Lower School morning opening to share their heartfelt appreciation for the contributions and also to stress how this cause was a real need in our community. The children returned to Mrs. Earle’s class to debrief, where they reflected on how they were proud about being able to give back in a real way. Later, the students voted via Kahoot that homelessness would be their exhibition topic for this year. 

The students broke into small groups and focused on four main aspects of homelessness:  Impacts of Homelessness in a Community; Factors of Homelessness; Solutions to Homelessness; and the Daily Life of Those Who Are Homeless. All of these lines of inquiry were researched both locally and globally.  With Mrs. Theriault’s class, the students participated in the Skype conversation with Mrs. Ruby Payne, a nationally-recognized expert on poverty and education.  They also have two face-to-face presentations scheduled with local experts from the James A. Haley VA Hospital.

The students not only researched the topics related to homelessness, they took action as well, as their service benefitted a large variety of local agencies.  The impressive list of volunteering includes:

  • Field trip volunteering at Metropolitan Ministries
  • Coordinating a school wide fundraiser with Dough Nation, a Metropolitan Ministries Company that provides jobs through their culinary arts program and sells cookie dough flavors in their downtown location
  • Coordinating a cereal fundraiser that supports Trinity Cafe and Feeding America, which provides restaurant quality experience to anyone, no questions asked, free of charge every day
  • Serving at the Soup Kitchen Outreach through Grace Family Church
  • Partnering with other students for Red Nose Day on May 23, which will provide money to several non-profit organizations that support those in poverty or who are homeless
  • Proposing a CDS donation station that will help homeless veterans by providing them with fresh socks 
  • Funding and creating Blessing bags that allow all who visit Mrs. Earle’s classroom during exhibition to create a bag based on student purchases, which will be donated to either the Trinity Cafe or the Soup Kitchen after exhibition

All of these volunteer opportunities were fully researched and coordinated by the students, many of whom contacted the agencies directly through phone calls or emails. The students also partnered up with buddy classes in the elementary school, teaching their younger friends what they’ve learned and how to make a difference.

Mrs. Earle is proud of her fifth graders.  “It is an amazing privilege to view the world through the heart of a child. Then to see that vision turn into action is a sight to behold. They are so creative and compassionate, they inspire me daily.”   

Here’s a slideshow of Mrs. Earle’s fifth graders in action!           

Homeless Slideshow

To see how all of the fifth graders turn their research into action, plan on attending the PYP Exhibition at CDS on May 15!


At Carrollwood Day School, we believe our children can and will change our world.  This belief is what drives the Exhibition, the culmination of the IB Primary Years Programme.  Every year, each fifth grade class identifies issues of social importance on which they can educate the school community and take action.  And every year, our students, taking advantage of the knowledge gained through individual study and the tools provided by CDS, reach far beyond the scope of their classroom walls to enlighten themselves and their peers.

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