Service Learning is a priority at Shorecrest. The ability to take pressing community needs and combine it with curricular instruction leads to both effective learning outcomes and quality contributions to our communities. We believe that high quality service learning allows us to teach “the head” and “heart”. Both are important in developing compassionate citizens and developing social responsibility in our students.
Service Learning is defined by the National Youth Leadership Council as “an approach to teaching and learning in which students use academic knowledge and skills to address genuine community needs.”
Picking up trash on a river bank is service. Studying water samples under a microscope is learning. When science students collect and analyze water samples, document their results, and present findings to a local pollution control agency – that is service-learning.
Creating a high quality service learning project involved close consultation with community partners and our highly qualified teachers.
This involves three steps:
What is the central question or theme being explored in the unit, book, semester or year? Does the question lend itself for opportunities to serve in the community so that learning is enhanced?
Once the question is defined and determined to be a good service learning question, what are the communities and organizations that can help deepen the learning?
Finally, we tackle the logistics:
How will we serve and how often?
What will we be doing?
How do we ensure it is reciprocal and not one sided?
How will we reflect so that the learning is deep and long lasting?
What are opportunities for future work?
This work is often led by the Director of Service Learning, Diego Duran-Medina, in close consultation with community partners and Shorecrest faculty.
In summer 2017, Shorecrest launched the Center for Service Learning Leadership (CSLL)
in order to provide Shorecrest teachers with the latest practices in high-quality and effective service learning. The one week summer institute is also open to independent school educators from across the country and world. You can find out more about CSLL at Leadingservicelearning.org
Shorecrest is currently working on service learning partnerships with The Kind Mouse, Keeping Pinellas Beautiful and Youth Partners in Haiti. The goal is to have a program in every grade.