Service Learning Across the Curriculum
“Because St. Andrew’s values the benefits of community, the school encourages students to lead lives of responsibility to each other and to the larger community.”
-- from St. Andrew’s Philosophy Statement
St. Andrew’s has always demonstrated a commitment to community service – from holiday projects and benefit drives to service trips around the world. Over the past two years the school has dedicated itself to bringing service into the curriculum. Service learning initiatives are now a part of most of our departments and found at every grade level. By integrating service learning into our curriculum, St. Andrew’s helps its students understand the ethical and practical dimensions of the inequities they encounter. Even more importantly, students better understand the humanity and dignity of those they help and will more deeply appreciate their own material blessings. St. Andrew’s teaches one of its founding values through service learning: that one’s life gains meaning when he or she accepts responsibility for contributing to others’ well-being.
Below is a scope and sequence of our core curriculum.
Within the 6th grade trimester religion course, as students explore their own and their family’s values, they will design a service project that meets a need in their own families – their first community.
Students in Geography evaluate, improve, and run the school recycling program as they learn to understand and appreciate the earth’s resources.
In this year-long course students will read, analyze and write about a number of genres of literature that explore the stories of children their age. As part of their large Family History Project, they will be given the challenge of making history by designing and implementing a service project for the school or local community.
Religion 8: New Testament
In conjunction with reading the text, students make real life connections to Jesus’ social ethic of reaching out to those in need. Students will build upon their fall overnight trip to Youth Services Opportunity Project in which they spend three days serving the needs of our region in downtown DC. During the trimester in which they take religion, students will travel multiple times to a local nursing home to offer companionship to the elderly.
Service Learning 9
In a multi-faceted course incorporating service activities and guest speakers, students learn more about diversity and our common humanity. Students will travel off-campus almost every week to work with Samaritan Ministries of Greater Washington and other affiliated organizations serving a variety of different communities in need. Reflections and discussions help students hone their interests and passions for serving.
Differences and commonalities are addressed as students learn more specifically about western and non-Western religious traditions and histories in this religion course. Local service projects and field trips will build cross-cultural awareness as students explore interfaith peace movements and global advocacy across apparent religious divides. In addition, during this year or during the summer, students are required to do at least 20 hours of service in an approved agency of their choosing.
History in the 20th Century World
As part of their American Century Oral History Project juniors engage in in-depth interviews with people who have been a part of history. By recording these stories students provide an original written account of people’s lives. This research and record are not only a service to their interviewers and their families but to our school and to the records of history. Once again, during the year or in the summer, students are required to perform 20 hours of service at an approved agency of their own choosing.
Many seniors tend to take leadership roles of campus organizations that offer service to others. At the close of the senior year, students perform 60 hours (two weeks) of service in an approved agency of their choosing. Upon return for Honors Day, Baccalaureate, and Commencement, students spend a morning reflecting on their whole view of service, their experience, and their hopes for serving in the future.
Race and Culture, a History elective
This class engages in a mutual learning partnership with the predominately African-American Archbishop Carroll High School in Southeast Washington. Students have the opportunity to take an optional trip to South Africa on spring break, in which they serve and learn about racial reconciliation, the ravages of poverty, and AIDS.
Service Learning in Other Parts of the Curriculum
In St. Andrew’s ever-expanding view of service, each year more teachers and departments seek to incorporate service learning. Other courses that may have a service learning component include:
Language: In some language classes, students use their language skills in direct or indirect service to the local community and the world.
Performing and Visual Arts: Students in certain courses take their artistic talents into the wider community, enlivening communities that may not have access to the arts.
Summer Service Trips
Honduras Exchange Program – The Language Department sponsors this trip as part of a school exchange program. Students are involved in many community and school volunteer projects during the trip.
Habitat for Humanity – Students travel to Avery County, North Carolina for a week to assist the chapter in building a home for a local family.
Chicago Service Trip – Students travel to inner city Chicago for a week to participate in a variety of projects serving needy children and families.