Every school year, each grade level completes a minimum of three community service initiatives: one that serves the school community, another that serves the local or national community, and a third that serves the global community.
In support of this goal, we set aside two afternoons each year as “Service Days” where the whole school works on a community service project. Each year we also designate a whole school community service focus, that we work towards with a collective effort. This work counts as one of the three service initiatives all students complete each year.
The current kindergarten through eighth grade global initiative supports the work of Heifer International, an organization that finds sustainable solutions to the problems of world hunger, poverty, and environmental degradation. Students learn about these issues while raising support for Heifer’s work through the Read-to-Feed initiative in the spring, selling school calendars, and hosting special events throughout the year.
Benjamin Franklin Classical Charter Public School and our Parent Enrichment Council (PEC) hold three community service days yearly in which the entire school community is invited to do a service project together. For more information on these opportunities, please see the Parent Enrichment Council page.
Community Service Overview:
Community service is a key aspect to the environment and one of our pillars. The community service pillar involves the parents as primary educators, classical education and character education pillars in several ways.
Many of our parents are involved with the service activities that we do at school, and we also encourage parents to engage in community service with their families outside of school.
Whenever possible our community service and service learning activities are connected to our curriculum and provide an extension of what students are learning in the classroom. As students plan and engage in community service and service learning activities, the virtues of good character are reinforced, practiced, and reflected upon.
One of our goals is that when students graduate, they will understand the importance and the rewards of serving others and making our world a better place. These experiences develop authentic self-esteem in students that will benefit them throughout their lifetimes.
We foster awareness of our school, local and global communities through various community service and service learning initiatives.
By building good character and self-esteem in students, involving families, and making connections to the curriculum, these initiatives will help develop responsible, respectful, confident, and caring citizens.
Whole School Community Service Focus:
Each year an we select an organization or focus to partner with as we believe it is important for students to experience the impact that can be made when a entire community works towards a common goal. Individual classrooms or grade levels design unique activities to build understanding and awareness about the school wide focus, as well as develop and participate in related community service activities.
For the past several years, Heifer International has been our whole school community service focus. We have had speakers visit our school, delivered instruction to all grade levels, held a variety of fundraisers, and visited the Heifer farm in Massachusetts. We typically hold a end of the year whole school assembly to bring closure to our yearlong efforts.
Beginning with the 2011 school-year, two school wide service afternoons have been scheduled. These are days that are set aside on our school calendar for students, classes, and grade levels to focus on one of their community service or service learning activities. During these afternoons the whole school will perform community service.
Community Service Benchmarks:
I. Students will participate in school, local, and global community service activities during each academic year.
II. Students will be able to articulate the importance of their community service activities and how each project benefits the school, local, or global community.
III. Students will understand that their actions have an impact on the people and the environment in their school, in their community, and throughout the world.
IV. Students will participate in class discussions and write/draw about their community service activities.
V. Students will gain experience doing different kinds of community service projects. These may include collections (clothing, food, prom-dresses, school supplies, money through Read-to-Feed or Hat/Jean Day), relational projects (book buddies, senior center, nursing homes, Meals- on-Wheels), service projects (raking grounds, clean-up days, recycling), and business-based activities (quilt company, school store, scarf company, cookie dough company).
VI. Students will acquire the skills necessary to spread awareness of various social, economic, and environmental issues in the world today through community service and service learning projects.
VII. Students will research, discuss, and choose potential community service or service learning projects.
VIII. Students will spend time reflecting upon and writing about how each project affects them and the community it serves.
IX. Students will independently research and make contact with organizations, agencies, and community leaders to educate themselves on how their service might benefit others.
X. Students will articulate the issues surrounding specific social, economic, and environmental problems/needs in our school, local, or global communities through written work and oral presentations.
XI. Students will reflect, write about and share what they have learned about themselves and others through each community service or service learning project.
XII. All students will complete a Capstone Project by the end of eighth grade as part of their graduation requirements.