Service learning can best be defined as an educational method where participants learn and develop through active participation in service that meets curricular, character, and community needs. Meaningful service learning is an integral part of the educational process that not only extends the schools curriculum goals and takes it outside the walls of the school but also teaches students civic responsibility and prepares them to be productive members of a global society. Through this participation in service learning students will additionally improve character traits, develop skills needed in future endeavors, and increase academic achievement. Service learning is a win/win for all involved. Instructors, students, schools, and the community all benefit when meaningful service learning projects are developed and carried out by stakeholders. Each school should aim to engage itself and stay connected with its community. As an administrator one must actively work to advance not only the students and the school but also the community.
As an instructor at Lindbergh High School - Academy I regularly incorporate service learning projects into my classes to enhance students curriculum knowledge, to help them apply this knowledge in a meaningful way, and to promote relationships with the community. As an administrator I hope to encourage instructors and the school to collaborate with students to design and implement service learning projects that enhance curriculum and develop students. Below you will find an example of a service learning project that my health classes participate in annually around Thanksgiving time. The letter below is what went out to parents explaining the project and its goals. The letter is followed by an article in the local newspaper with a brief explanation of the project. This project is an example of a meaningful service learning project that meets the needs of staff, students, school, and community.
Dear Parents and or Guardians,
As the holiday season grows near many schools and families will take part in canned food drives, toy drives, or coat drives to benefit those in need. These drives serve a great cause and purpose within the community but often overlook valuable teaching moments for students, staff, parents, and the community at large. Your child has been given the unique opportunity to participate in a collaborative service learning project with students in Coach Erwin’s Lindbergh High School-Academy health classes as well as eight Truman Elementary classes. Your child will be engaged in activities that not only teach responsibility but also teach them to be contributing citizens within our Lindbergh community. Both elementary and high school students will have the opportunity to use their Health curriculum knowledge and apply it in a meaningful way to promote a positive relationship with a charity within the Lindbergh community. This collaborative project allows for the utilization of knowledge to better serve the Lindbergh community.
On Friday November 13th your child took part in a Health lesson presented by Lindbergh High School-Academy health students. The lesson taught students about the importance of physical activity, nutrition, and the USDA’s “MyPyramid Plan.” Students discovered what a healthy meal consists of based on the guidelines within the “MyPyramid Plan.” As part of this lesson, students have been asked as a class to create one day worth of meals based on the “MyPyramid Plan” which will be given to Angels Arms. Angels Arms is a foster home in the Lindbergh district that keeps brothers and sisters together within the home until a forever home is found. The home currently consists of nine family members.
Your child has already developed a days worth of meals and two snacks based on the “MyPyramid Plan” within his/her class. What we are now asking of students in the high school and elementary classes is to donate a small portion of the meals that have been developed. Your child has chosen to contribute ______________________________________________________
We would appreciate if you were able to make this small contribution so that we can meet our class goal of providing one day worth of nutritious meals and snacks. Our goal is to have all food collected by November 20th so that it may be delivered before Thanksgiving. If you could have your child bring in the above item(s) before this date it would be greatly appreciated. In all Truman and Lindbergh High School-Academy students will be donating over two weeks worth of nutritious meals to Angels Arms. Knowing that your child has mastered health curriculum as well as helped those within our community is what truly makes service learning wonderful. We appreciate your help and participation in this collaborative project.
Sean Erwin, Pam Staetter, Becky Joy, Teresa Keutzer, Sarah Valter, Christine Bushman, Angie Moehlmann, Karen Beckman
Students use health lesson to help feed others
December 16, 2009 - Lindbergh High School Academy health students recently used a teaching opportunity at Truman Elementary School to help youngsters in need during the holiday season, according to a district news release. The students developed activities for Truman related to the MyPyramid nutrition plan and taught eight classes at the school. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPyramid Plan stresses the importance of physical activity and nutrition.
Following the lesson, each elementary school group developed one day's worth of meals based on the MyPyramid Plan, and the high schoolers delivered those meals to Angels' Arms. Angels' Arms is a foster home in the Lindbergh district that keeps brothers and sisters together within the home until a forever home is found. The home currently is comprised of nine family members.
"Together, our Lindbergh students developed close to three weeks' worth of nutritious meals for children living at Angels' Arms," Lindbergh High School Academy teacher Sean Erwin stated in the news release. "This activity gave our elementary and high school students an opportunity to use their health curriculum knowledge and apply it in a meaningful way to help others in our community.