Academics
Spiritual Life

Service Learning

Community Service

The goals of St. Andrew's community service program are to encourage students' concern and responsibility for their own community, and help students mature personally through a better understanding of the world's people. The requirement of 20 hours of service each year, 9th through 11th grades, and 60 hours in the final two weeks of the senior year, is intended to foster a commitment to continued service.

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  • Community Service Requirements & Documents

    To fulfill the Community Service requirement, a student must:
    1. Submit a completed and signed Community Service Contract to the Upper School Chaplain (List of Approved Agencies). This contract must be in and approved before any work begins; 
    2. Complete the required number of hours of service and complete the Community Service Time and Evaluation Sheet, which must be signed by the on-site supervisor; and 
    3. Reflect on the community service experience in either written or oral form. 

    Options for completing the reflection element of the project include:
    a) writing a two-page, typed, reflective paper for a 20-hour segment;
    b) writing a three-page, typed, reflective paper for a 40-hour segment completed at one site;
    c) giving a 3-5 minute oral report at Morning Meeting (to be reviewed by the Upper School Chaplain and scheduled with the Head of the Upper School)*; or
    d) giving an 8-10 minute Chapel homily which connects your service experience to your life of faith and our life as a community (must be scheduled with and reviewed by the Upper School Chaplain in advance)*.

    *For either option c) or d), please complete and have the Upper School Chaplain sign the Community Service Oral Report Completion Form. As you prepare your Oral Report or Chapel homily, you may find the questions on the Oral Presentation Outline helpful. 

    We recommend that students keep a reflective journal documenting meetings, site visits, conversations on site, and impressions of the experience. This journal can then be used as the basis of the reflective paper or oral presentation. 

    Please consult the List of Approved Agencies (above) which comply with the goals of our program and is to be used to help students choose a community service site. If a student chooses to work at an agency that is not on that list, s/he must speak directly with the Upper School Chaplain for approval.
  • Service Learning Across the Curriculum

    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.
  • 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 Trip

    Chicago Service Trip: Students travel to inner city Chicago for a week to participate in a variety of projects serving needy children and families.

Service Learning by Division

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  • Lower School

    “Service learning is an integral part of our entire curriculum—it’s a component of our experiential learning and diversity work, and is directly connected to our religion classes and weekly chapel.”
    Jordan Love, Head of the Lower School
    In the Lower School, service learning begins with our youngest students. In chapel, two-year-olds will hear stories about personal values and good works. The Golden Rule is discussed as early as Preschool, when teachers talk with young children about helping others.

    “With very young children, the stories have to be personalized and relate to their own experience,” Love said. “When we talk about good works, they need to hear of someone they know who has performed them.”

    “As a very inclusive, diverse school, we have many cultures and faith traditions, but all have some sort of golden rule, the idea that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers,” said Reverend Sally Slater, who serves as Chaplain of the Lower and Intermediate schools.

    Kindergarten students learn about themselves and their immediate communities in widening circles, starting with “All About Me,” “My Family,” and “My School.” The first grade Social Studies theme, “Our Community,” widens the circle of exploration and understanding, with trips to community institutions such as a museum, grocery store, or recycling center. Second grade students continue their examination of citizenship by studying local and state government and the history of Washington, D.C. They visit the National Mall and choose a monument to study in collaboration with a St. Andrew’s 7th grader taking civics, which energizes both. Second graders ultimately present their collaborative projects at a Lower School assembly. Throughout this curriculum, questions about basic human rights and the responsibilities of citizenship are raised and discussed.
  • Intermediate School

    “Here students grow as invested, self-motivated learners.”
    Judy Kee, Head of the Intermediate School
    Service learning activities in the Intermediate School division reflect the growth of students as invested, self-motivated learners. Students are expected to take increased responsibility for implementing service projects. Each grade holds a bake sale to benefit Samaritan Ministry of Greater Washington (SMGW), creating the posters, bringing in the baked goods, advertising, and manning the “registers.”

    “We want students to see a direct connection between the service learning work they do, and how it helps others,” Slater said. Intermediate School students learn about Christ Roi, our partner school in Haiti, from Upper School student ambassadors who speak to the third through fifth graders and share their stories and photos. When students hold a dress down day to raise funds for our partner school in Haiti, the Intermediate School students have an understanding of who they are helping support. When a representative from SMGW comes to give a chapel talk about hunger and homelessness, students present a check from their bake sales, “connecting food with food,” according to Slater.

    Each December students participate in a service learning project to help the Stepping Stones Shelter, a nonprofit organization which provides support to families with children who are homeless. “Stepping Stones” representatives come and explain how what they were doing would sustain a family for a week. In May, Intermediate School students create “comfort cases” for children in foster care.
  • Middle School

    “Middle School is an ideal time in human development to encourage civic engagement. At ages 11-14 they are very concerned with fairness and aware of what they have versus what other people have; we try to put that into the larger perspective of what most people have and don’t have. They are starting to realize how really big and different the world is, and are receptive to the message.”
    Rodney Glasgow, Head of Middle School and St. Andrew’s Chief Diversity Officer
    The most concrete example of service learning in the Middle School is the Positive Leadership Initiative, which has been part of the eighth grade advisory program at St. Andrew’s for several years. Students take a two-day trip to the Youth Service Opportunities Project in Washington, D.C., and stay at a church that also operates a soup kitchen. They hear from a speaker who recounts his or her life experiences that led to homelessness as well as their recovery from it. Then students make, serve, and eat a meal with the homeless.

    “It’s a terrific way to take down the barrier between the haves and have-nots,” Glasgow said. “Students come back full of stories about the great people they met.”
    Students serve at food pantries and the homes of the elderly. After being out in the field, each advisory group picks an organization or cause they want to learn about and support.  

    “The point is not fundraising, but education,” Glasgow said. “They research the organization as well as work to support it.”
  • Upper School

    “We consider service an important enough part of our mission to make it a part of our curriculum."
    Ginger Cobb,  Head of Upper School
    While service has always been a crucial graduation requirement at St. Andrew’s, it’s only been the past decade that it has been part of the curriculum. This ground-breaking shift led to the establishment of a required class for all ninth graders.

    “Ten years ago we (were the first to establish the) Service Learning class as a regular course offering in the 9th grade; every ninth grader takes it,” Cobb said. In this multi-faceted course students learn more about diversity and our common humanity, and travel off-campus almost every week to work with Samaritan Ministries of Greater Washington and other organizations such as DC Central Kitchen. Reflections and discussions help students hone their interests and passions for serving.

    Upper School also marks the start of the formal requirement of 20 hours of community service for students in grades 9 through 11, and 60 hours in the final two weeks of senior year. As part of fulfilling the requirement, students must reflect on their experience in either written or oral form.

    Community Art & Service, a visual arts elective, engages with a local direct service organization on a collaborative art project. The history elective Race Matters engages in a mutual learning partnership with Rockville High School and hosts the Bokamoso youth from South Africa. Upper School is also the time when students may participate in service trips to Haiti, South Africa, Honduras, and Chicago.
    With growing maturity and awareness of the greater world, many Upper School students take the initiative to pursue their own service projects. Noa West ’15 formed an organization called “The World is Our Canvas”  in which she painted large-scale murals in “places where there are none,” including a homeless shelter. Dominic Doyle ’17 co-founded a skater-inspired clothing company and annually donates thousands of dollars to charity. Stephanie Quintero ’16 and her brother Chris ’14 founded a nonprofit, “Chicos and Kids,” to help refugee children in Maryland and children in Guatemala and Colombia. Quintero has been recognized by several organizations for her philanthropic work.

    In their final two weeks of school, despite no longer having any academic commitments, seniors challenge themselves through the Senior Community Service project. The project, which originated with the founding of the school in 1978, is the perfect way for the seniors to end their time at St. Andrews, according to Gregg Ponitch, math teacher and senior service coordinator.  

    “Our students have so much to give, and we hope that we, as a school, and their families, have helped build in them good character and the desire to do service with respect and pride,” Ponitch said.

- from St. Andrew’s Philosophy Statement

“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.”

Service Learning News

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St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private, coeducational college preparatory day school for students in preschool (Age 2) through grade 12, located in Potomac, MD.