Day of Service at Sustainability Academy

Sustainability Academy First Annual Day of Service held on April 22, 2010 has been featured on the Center for Ecoliteracy's website.  The goal of the day was to: engage students in community improvement projects that are developmentally appropriate and connected to the curriculum; provide an opportunity for the entire school community to come together in service to the greater Burlington community; build school community by inviting families and community partners to work alongside students and staff; and to model service-learning as a strategy of education for sustainability during the first pilot year of the Sustainability Academy. The idea for the day was conceived by a diverse group of parents, teachers, and community partners who came together to read and discuss Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability.

On April 22, 2010, in conjunction with Earth Day and the Global Day of Service, all Sustainability Academy students and staff engaged in service projects. Students and staff worked alongside family members, community partners, and volunteers to improve the quality of life in our community. From the classroom to the schoolyard, and the neighborhood to the watershed, students lent their hands and hearts to making a difference!

This first day of many, models the strategy of Service-Learning, engages students in hands-on community learning, improves community relations and partnerships, and teaches students that they can be stewards and leaders in their classroom, school, neighborhood, and watershed.

Projects were connected to curriculum, with the Kindergarten culminating their Community Helpers unit by being community helpers themselves; developmentally appropriate by starting in the classroom in Kindergarten and expanding to the watershed in fourth and fifth grade; completed in conjunction with community partners; and based on a school or community need.

Students started the day by reflecting on the work and activities ahead. They explored their goals, assumptions and hopes for the day. After the projects were completed students reflected again by exploring the impact they made and how their assumptions were correct or misinformed. A grand Celebration culminated the day with African Drumming and Dance performed by Africa Diamano and the students of the Sustainability Academy. WHAT A DAY!

We are learning a great deal about developmentally appropriate community-based learning and service-learning. We intentionally designed the day to have students engaged in service projects that grew from the classroom in Kindergarten to the watershed in Fifth grade. As a school we are working on connecting service-learning and the community with the curriculum in a way that builds from year to year. Each time we pilot a project, unit, event, or activity we reflect on what worked and how we can work to make it better the next time around. During this transition time for the school, we are trying to define both teacher voice and ownership as well as student voice and ownership, and how the needs and ideas of both teachers and students can compliment and support the other

Go to the Center for Ecoliteracy's website

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