Union 61 Community Service Learning Coordinator - Linda Friedman
Tantasqua District Community Service Learning Coordinator - Deb McKinstry
Tantasqua Regional Junior High Representative - Melissa Cote
COMMUNITY SERVICE LEARNING PROGRAM OVERVIEW
The Tantasqua/Union 61 School District encourages the use of Community Service Learning as a valuable instructional strategy. In the words of Catherine Berger Kaye, “. . . service learning connects school-based curriculum with the inherent caring and concern young people have for their world…The results are memorable, lifelong lessons for students and foster a stronger society for us all.” Service-learning is a “flexible strategy or tool for educators to better teach students about themselves and the world, while meeting existing goals and objectives”. For students, service learning “engages their minds and hearts. Teachers find their students’ eagerness and curiosity invigorating.” According to Joe Follman, “Studies show…that…students participating in service learning show improvements in academic achievement, career preparation, feelings of self-efficacy, behavior, attendance, and civic engagement.”
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, service-learning:
- Promotes learning through active participation in service experiences
- Provides structured time for students to reflect by thinking, discussing, and/or writing about their service experience
- Provides an opportunity for students to use skills and knowledge in real-life situations
- Extends learning beyond the classroom and into the community
- Fosters a sense of caring for others
As outlined by Learn and Serve America, four key elements to community service-learning are:
- Service that meets a community need
- Explicit, authentic and guided learning
- Youth decision-making
- Analytic reflection
The four stages of service learning, based on Cathryn Berger Kaye’s work, are:
Students and teachers work with community members to develop a plan to meet a community need.
Students implement the idea through service, research, or advocacy in a personalized way that yields meaningful results.
Students consider the impact of the project on themselves, teachers, and community members.
Students share their experiences with others through a variety of modes and venues.