Friday, January 28, 2011

To Serve: Service Learning in the Middle School

In an e-letter from September, I discussed three opportunities for leadership and service stressed in the middle school. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce a fourth: our service learning program.

First, Karen Niegelsky agreed to take on the role of Service Learning Coordinator for the middle school. She will work with the advisory teams to support and shape creative service activities, integrate service learning into the curriculum, develop and/or maintain relationships with outside non-profit entities, publicize the various activities within school as well as any family opportunities that may arise, and manage the many possible opportunities to create meaningful relationships.

Second, we have implemented the objectives of the service learning committee to expand students’ world views, foster a “culture of service”, establish long-term partnerships in the community, and create and implement an intentional process for preparation before and reflection after service projects of all types .

Third, in pursuit of our objectives, we have established a theme for each grade level. The 6th Grade, Think Globally, Act Locally, stresses local projects with a global emphasis. The 7th Grade, Think Globally, Act Globally, focuses on a MDG-based slate of projects. The 8th Grade, Think Globally, Act Personally, features an emphasis on leadership.

Fourth, in our 7th and 8th grades we have carved out a block of time within the week to focus on leadership and service with our closely linked Venture Out programs. During this time students will be focused on the preparation, work, and reflection cycle that is crucial to meaningful service and leadership training.

In the middle school we continue to live out our motto: To Learn, To Love, To Serve: To Live.

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