CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) – one aspect of the International Baccalaureate curriculum
The CAS program emphasizes experiential learning in the creative arts, physical activity, and community service. Students learn by becoming involved in tasks that have real consequences and reflecting on these experiences over time. The goal of the program is to consistently involve students in their communities in order to encourage lifelong learning and active citizenship.
In order to graduate from Desert Academy, students must complete 3 CAS credits (.5 in both ninth and tenth grade, 1 in eleventh grade and 1 in twelfth grade.) In addition, middle school students must complete 45 hours per year in order to be promoted to high school.
CAS is about:
Becoming a reflective thinker, understanding your own strengths and limitations, identifying goals and devising strategies for personal growth. It requires a willingness to accept new challenges and new roles. It fosters an awareness of self as a member of various communities, with responsibilities to others and to the environment. Students become active participants in sustained, collaborative projects and learn the art of balance – enjoying and finding significance in a range of activities involving intellectual, physical, creative and emotional experiences.
What is CAS?
Creativity, action, service (CAS) is at the heart of the Diploma Program and, by extension, at the heart of Desert Academy’s mission and educational philosophy. It is one of the three essential elements in every IB Diploma Program student’s experience and is a required element of the school curriculum for all students in 11th and 12th grades. It involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout their final two years of school. CAS enables the student to enhance his or her personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning. At the same time, it provides an important counterbalance to the academic pressures of the rest of our academic programs. A good CAS experience should be both challenging and enjoyable, a personal journey of self-discovery. Each individual has a different starting point, and consequently, different goals and needs, but every student’s CAS activities should include experiences that are profound and life-changing.
The three strands of CAS, which are often interwoven with particular activities, are characterized as follows:
- Creativity: arts, and other experiences that involve creative thinking.
- Action: physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle, complementing and balancing academic work.
- Service: an unpaid and voluntary exchange that has a learning benefit for the student. The rights, dignity and autonomy of all those involved are respected.
CAS activities should involve:
- Real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes
- Personal challenge—tasks must “broaden” the student’s perspective while remaining achievable in scope
- Thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting, and discussion
- Reflection on outcomes and personal learning
All proposed CAS activities need to meet these criteria. CAS activities should continue on a regular basis for as long as possible throughout the final two years of schooling, and at least for a minimum of 18 months.
- Students must complete a minimum of 150 hours of meaningful activities throughout the two-year CAS program (11th and 12th grades). Emphasis is on quality and sustained engagement/interaction as opposed to simply accumulating hours.
- Collaborative action is required, and students must plan and complete at least two Collaborative Projects during Year One of the CAS program (11th grade).
- Students must plan and complete at least one Integrated Project in Year Two of the program (12th grade) and formally present this project at the end of the CAS program.