Friday, July 14, 2017

Give Back to the Community that Supports Your Schools

Many years ago a community member urged our school council to incorporate greater service learning. The principal of our school, James Lee, heeded that call and thoughtfully integrated service learning into the fold of our school routines and programs. His terrific work resulted in countless service learning projects aimed at bettering our school, town, and greater community. As a result of this good work, I noted a decrease in behavioral issues and an increase in empathy, care and time spent in service to others.

Too often communities don't support schools. Funding is low and other supports nonexistent. This lack of support is reflected in troubling student behavior, less community strength, and the lost potential with regard to the futures of all community members. I think this happens, in part, because too many community members are distanced from schools and the positivity that students can bring to the community.

As my principal so positively did and still does, I recommend that all schools institute service learning programs that result in service to the communities that support those schools. I believe that if schools and students' positive efforts are more visible in a community then the community will better support the schools.

Ways that schools may positively impact their communities include the following:
  • Invitations to school events
  • Stories and videos of school events shared via local cable stations, newspapers, and the Internet
  • Regular service to community members by way of service work performances, and research that positively impacts the community
As I take a close look at my grade-level team's curriculum map in relation to the NBPTS, I want to think deeply about how and where we embed the opportunity for students to serve the community as I believe this is an important aspect of making learning relevant, meaningful and impactful for both students and the communities where they live.