Overview of Service Learning Program
At McAuliffe, we offer students real world knowledge, skills and experience by conducting service learning projects and working to improve their local and global communities. Taking action as the result of learning is an important part of being a principled and caring IB learner. Teachers at McAuliffe develop MYP units in order to engage students with content and contexts that will inspire action, which might include developing empathy, making small-scale changes to behavior, raising funds for a cause, or generating awareness campaigns. In addition to the service learning that is integrated into the curriculum, service learning takes place in the following ways:
- Weekly service learning trips to local organizations such as Metro Caring, nursing homes, and partnering with local elementary schools in their reading programs.
- A Spark Change campaign (formerly known as Penny Harvest) in which students identify, raise money for, and give grants to local charity organizations. This program is managed by Sherry Beardshear, Becky Swenson, and Katherine Howes plus our Spark Change Leadership Group.
- Our 8th Grade Community Project challenges 8th graders to work alone or in groups to identify a community need, work to address that need, and then present their project to parents, teachers, and students. Stay tuned for details about this year’s projects.
Service Learning Trips
Students have the opportunity to do one or more service learning projects during the school year. Projects include work at the Ronald McDonald House, Metro Caring, Dahlia Square and Montbello Manor senior centers, Urban Farm, and partnering with local elementary schools in their reading programs.
“This experience made me feel happy because it was fun to hang out with the kids and I enjoyed helping them. This experience included the ‘Thinker’ IB trait because we had to challenge ourselves to think about learning from a second grade perspective so we could teach it.” – Julia R.
Spark Change Leadership Group and Campaign
Every fall, McAuliffe students raise money through our Spark Change (formerly Penny Harvest) campaign to fund grants to address needs they care about and vote on in their classes. Once those needs are selected, students in our Spark Change Leadership Group identify local charity organizations that address those needs. Then students raise money for those organizations, with grants made in the spring during an assembly.
Also during the spring, McAuliffe students take part in a Service Learning Day in which they work for those local organizations. In March, 2020 McAuliffe students will once again work with local and global charities for a full day of service. Here is just one of many thank you letters we received from our charitable partners.
8th Grade Community Project
As an IB capstone project for our 8th graders, our 8th Grade Community Project challenges 8th graders to work alone or in groups to identify a community need, work to address that need, and then present their project to parents and teachers. Check out some of the projects here.
Some of last year’s projects included helping organize an elementary school food pantry, writing a book about fostering dogs, and raising money to donate to non-profit Heifer.