The Central Valley Transportation Challenge provides underserved minority students, who are primarily from rural areas, with high quality transportation-related educational experiences so that they learn about transportation-related topics and opportunities in transportation careers. The CVTC is a project-based learning program that brings university faculty and students to K–12 classrooms in rural areas. The project operated with three main objectives: (1) support K–12 teachers’ understanding and implementation of the CVTC programs; (2) connect K–12 students with university faculty and students, and transportation professionals through the CVTC program; and (3) develop an online hub with transportation-related lesson plans and sequences. The results of this study are reported as five case studies and a description of the online hub. The case studies illustrate how different pedagogical approaches and uses of technology were implemented and how the project connections between the schools, community members and professionals from transportation-related fields were developed. In addition, to support the sustainability of transportation-related learning across subsequent years, the research team created an online transportation resource repository. This hub was populated with lessons and units developed by pedagogical and content experts. The lessons cover the grades K–12 and range from brief lessons to very engaging and holistic two-week-long lesson sequences. The CVTC has proven to be a highly flexible and adaptive model due to the use of technology and the teachers’ experience and pedagogical expertise. The timing of the program during the COVID-19 pandemic also provided the students that were learning from home with an engaging learning experience and some relief for teachers who were already dealing with a lot of adjustments. In that sense, the program reached traditionally underserved students, but did so in a critical time where these students faced even more obstacles.
CHRISTIAN WANDELER, PHD
Dr. Christian Wandeler is an associate professor in research methods and statistics at California State University, Fresno. He has a Ph.D. in personality and positive psychology from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. His research interests are in the development of hope and learning achievement, project-based learning, and self-managing teams. He is currently researching the use of agile learning methods and design thinking in action civics projects.
STEVEN HART, PHD
Dr. Steven Hart is a full-time professor. He served as the principal investigator for a subgrantee award from the Learn and Serve “Civic Minor in Urban/Metropolitan Education” grant and is a co-principal investigator for the California State University Chancellor’s Office “Preparing a New Generation of Educators for California” grant. Dr. Hart is an expert in service-learning and served as the service-learning fellow at Fresno State. He engaged in participatory research with youth exploring literacy practices in service-learning contexts developing afterschool programs with community centers, and implementing service-learning pedagogy with classroom teachers. Dr. Hart also led the management of a substantial grant from the California Public Charter Schools Grant Program as a board member of Kepler Neighborhood Charter School.