Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.
-- Margaret Mead
LEARN & SERVE San Diego, the district's service learning program, is a partnership between the San Diego Unified School District and Excel Youth Zone (The New Home of Youth Service California), with support from the University of San Diego Office of Community Service Learning. This program promotes student volunteerism in the community and integrates that experience into the classroom curriculum (i.e., language arts students acting as cross-age tutors, technology students developing websites for non-profit agencies, U.S. History students serving as pollworkers).
What is service learning?
Service learning is a teaching strategy that integrates service in the community with classroom curriculum. Reflection is a required component of the service experience. This helps students see communities as "places of learning." Students learn beyond the classroom and grow through active participation in thoughtfully organized activities and experiences that:
- Meet real community needs, including the needs of the school;
- Develop academic, leadership and employment skills;
- Are integrated/infused into the total curriculum;
- Are not isolated service activities; but rather, provide structured time for a person to reflect upon the actual service activity;
- Foster the development of lifelong commitment to service for the community and the ability to work effectively as a team member; and
- Are based on the PARC (Preparation, Action, Reflection, Celebration) model.
Research shows that infusion of these integrated teaching strategies improves critical thinking, communication and planning skills, while enhancing the targeted curricular framework.
How does service learning differ from community service?
Traditional community service does not integrate service within the classroom curriculum; activities are usually one-time isolated experiences. Service learning activities are generally ongoing projects whereby students identify a community need and are empowered to take a leadership role in all phases of the project. Student reflections are encouraged throughout the entire service project through essays, class discussions, art projects, plays, videotaping, etc. These activities integrate service within the classroom curriculum. Students who participate in service learning projects/activities are also eligible to receive service learning recognition on their report cards.
ActivitiesScienceStudents study earthquakes and assemble
earthquake preparedness kits. They distribute
the kits and teach local residents how to develop
earthquake preparedness plans.Language ArtsStudents provide cross-age bilingual tutoring
and translation services.Social StudiesStudents study the responsibilities and rights
of citizens and organize a "Get Out and Vote"
campaign or volunteer as student poll workers.
Students incorporate geometric principles in designing wheelchair
ramps for community access.
Students make seasonal decorations for senior centers, nursing homes,
High school students design and maintain web sites for local non-profit organizations.
Contact the Community Relations Department at (619) 725-5597 to request any of the following services or materials:
- Service learning updates and volunteer opportunities.
- Information on funding resources for service projects, on-going volunteer opportunities for students and leadership curriculum for school service clubs or individual classrooms/teachers.
- Classroom presentations/workshops on youth service, service learning and youth leadership.
- One-to-one/group service learning training, service project development and consultation and technical assistance for teachers.
LEARN & SERVE San Diego
Community Relations Department
Eugene Brucker Education Center
4100 Normal Street, Room 2121
San Diego, CA 92103-2682
(619) 725-5597 - Phone
(619) 725-5599 - Fax