What is CSL?

Community Service Learning - What is Community Service Learning? 

Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.

NPS Spotlight - An Interview with the Superintendent of Needham Schools.

Dr. Gutekanst interviews members the Community Service Learning Committee.

 csl

District Goal Two: Develop social, emotional, wellness, and citizenship skills

To ensure students develop the knowledge and skills that empower healthy, resilient, and culturally proficient global citizens who commit to act with integrity, respect, and compassion.

Objective #3: Students engage in age appropriate service activities that enable them to contribute to or act on local or global social needs and that provide them opportunities to develop social, civil, and academic skills through reflection and analysis of their efforts.

CSL, through the K-12 Curriculum

Pre-K through grade 2:

An introduction to Community Service Learning. Children at this early-childhood level are just differentiating, learning, and questioning: • What is a community? • What is my school community vs. my home community? • Who are the members in my community? • How do they help my community work? • What do they have and what do they need? • How can we help?What am I interested in doing? These CSL projects are guided by child interest but need to have more adult facilitation in order to succeed. The key for meaningful work is hands-on, purposeful experiences and activities.  Parents in these grade levels are more involved in these projects and teachers need to think about meaningful ways to include parents and other staff member while still making sure the project is child-centered and driven.

These CSL projects are guided by child interest but need to have more adult facilitation in order to succeed. The key for meaningful work is hands-on, purposeful experiences and activities.  Parents in these grade levels are more involved in these projects and teachers need to think about meaningful ways to include parents and other staff member while still making sure the project is child-centered and driven.

A model CSL project could involve the following steps:

• Brainstorm:  What does our community need?  (ex. More coats)
• What are some ways we could help?   (students brainstorm) • Choose 1 idea and collaboratively make  plan. ( ex. create fliers, pass them out to each classroom, make a video announcement, and collect the coats on a certain day) • What jobs do we need?   (ex. Not just a clothing drive, but learning where the clothing we collect goes and why we are collecting it).   • Follow the plan. • Reflect and Celebrate Grades 3-5:

At the upper-elementary level, students continue their familiarity with Community Service Learning in a hands-on way. Students take on a more active role in the projects they are participating in. Such roles could be:
speaking at an all-school meeting or over the PA system (loud-speaker) sharing information about the project during the Morning Meeting News & Announcements advertising the project through written announcements and posters meeting with representatives of organizations being supported focusing on learning about those groups that will benefit from the event through ELA reflect upon the Service Learning project in a variety of ways

A model CSL project could involve the following steps:

• Discuss where there is a need in our larger community. • Brainstorm projects. • Make sure the project addresses a community need. • Apply academic content to practical tasks so students learn by doing. • Students take ownership of the project. • Meaningfully reflect upon the experience. • Keep the community engaged throughout and share the experience with others. CSL at Grades 6-8

In line with the High Rock motto “Be Yourself, Become a Community” students in grade 6 participate in activities that introduce them to community outreach programs and key issues within the town. Our goal is that students begin to learn about the community around them at a deeper level and how they can have a positive impact within the community. We encourage students to organize their own service projects and understand how they are helping the community.  However, at this age, projects are not typically completed by individual students. Rather, they are guided and shaped as a cluster.

In Grades 7 & 8, students begin to develop their own service learning project.  They may apply content from their classroom experiences, but several of the key goals are framed around their ability to understand multiple perspectives within a community, identify a need that they can help address, and to collaborate with others in their community.

In 7th grade the students participate within a cluster based project, or they may decide to begin a 2-year (10 hour) individual project. The goal is to make this year an extension of some of the experiences learned in elementary schools and High Rock. Project examples include working with the Needham Community Council, projects to help beautify Pollard Middle School, and collaborating with elementary schools where 7th grade students share storybooks from Science class with 2nd graders.  

Ultimately we would like our seventh and eighth graders to experience community service while also bringing in the component of learning as well. Along with participating in a project with an organization, students will have opportunities to learn about these organizations which extend beyond the timeframe of the service. This has been accomplished through meeting with members of the organization, student reflection, an end of year assembly, and connecting with other clusters to learn about their different experiences and perspectives.

CSL at Grades 9-12

At the high school level, students have the opportunity to dive into a community service learning experience of their choice. 9th-12th graders are required to complete 60 hours of community service through one or more organizations, and have autonomy over how and where they would like to dedicate their time. Students may complete their CSL requirement through volunteer work, an unpaid internship, or a combination of both. This experience is designed for students to learn about themselves and about the community they are serving. The emphasis on reflection allows students to leave Needham High School with an understanding about their role in society and how they can have an influence in the community around them.

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