Woodside Upper School embraces service learning to enrich and deepen students’ experiential education. Each 6th, 7th, and 8th grade student should participate in community service each year, and a minimum of 30 hours is required by graduation. This community service can be focused on our school and local community, as well as on neighboring communities and beyond.
Students have opportunities to earn hours by serving their own school in the form of teacher aides, recess and lunch peer leaders, assistant coaches for school sports teams, and various other leadership roles. In these capacities, the students will have the opportunity to cooperatively assist teachers, lead younger students, acquire administrative skills, and develop leadership skills, while at the same time learning about what it means to serve others. The goal of providing these opportunities is to help students gain confidence and satisfaction in serving others and to explore their interests and passions in leadership and service beyond Woodside School.
The Woodside Upper School Community Service program organizes projects to support students as they develop interest and awareness beyond the comforts of Woodside School. Students will be introduced to a variety of local organizations and programs that serve specific needs. The goal of the program is for students to engage in active volunteering rather than fundraising, with an emphasis on partnerships with underprivileged neighboring schools and non-profit organizations. Local service projects will be organized on the early release Wednesdays, with several school-sponsored opportunities each trimester.
Outside of the school-sponsored projects, Upper School students are encouraged to develop their own special interests in community service. Students may earn hours by working individually with their families, youth groups, or any other organization that performs community service.
Because the Community Service program at Woodside School is a “service-learning” based program, it is highly encouraged that students participate in two project-oriented service projects each year, investing approximately five hours in each project. The goal is for students to become passionate about and take ownership of particular volunteer opportunities for which they have developed an affinity.
Finally, it is important to note that students who demonstrate outstanding commitment to community service will be awarded the Community Service Award at the annual commencement honoring the graduating class. This award recognizes students who demonstrate outstanding performance in community service. The criteria include the number of hours and the different types of services performed. In addition, service to the community and school is recognized in the Trustees’ Award presented annually at graduation to one male and one female who is considered the most outstanding all-around students of the graduating class. These students must have made major contributions to the school and community in the following areas: service, leadership, school spirit, sportsmanship, cooperation, friendship, and academic achievement.