Service Learning at Westgate started out as a high school only endeavor. However, we saw the value of it for every student and since the 19-20 school year we have included all grades in service learning.
Advocacy classes (homeroom) choose a topic for the year to focus on. Examples from years past include animal sanctuaries, wild animal habitats, effects of pollution, COVID safety, wildfires, and even systemic racism. With their topic chosen the students become an expert on it doing research, conducting interviews, writing personal narratives, and doing surveys of people within the school and the community. As they become experts they can identify needs within this topic. The class can ask questions such as, how can we educate the public on this topic? What can we do to raise awareness, raise funds, or acquire resources?
Students will eventually be able to identify the service project that will be helpful, useful, and pertinent to their particular topic. Possible projects include: PowerPoint presentations, art shows, videos, ABC books (ex: ABC’s of Wild Animal Habitats), presenting to our Board, physical projects such as goat care or garden boxes.
Projects wrap up mid-April so that they can be presented to the rest of the school and our community on Earth Day. The exhibition of their projects is one of the most crucial parts as it is the moment the community can see the hard work that has been done and can partake in the education and awareness of each of these important topics.
Each part of the service learning process allows students to:
- have agency of a community issue
- work collaboratively with their peers
- problem solve
- communicate with others including people in the greater community
- gather and manage information and resources
- apply skills and talents that may not be used in other disciplines
Here at Westgate we see excitement, joy, and passion come out during service learning. Students and teachers are making positive change in our community and beyond.