The mission of the St. Paul’s Service Learning Program is to form students into life-long agents of compassion through meaningful service, honest reflection, and sound instruction.
The Service Learning Program builds upon the history of excellence in our community service program. As a school, we are working towards more fully integrating service with classroom instruction. Throughout the school, various English, science, Theory of Knowledge, and history classes have incorporated some aspect of service directly into the curriculum through readings, assignments, discussions, and even service field trips. We believe that such a holistic approach is a worthy ideal.
Over their four years in the Upper School, each student must complete at least 60 hours of approved service, including at least one approved project per year. Students are encouraged to serve communities in need, and to form meaningful connections with those they serve by committing to a single organization. The goal is to serve others meaningfully.
Upper School students will use x2Vol, our online service management system, to log and track their service hours. They may sign up for service opportunities through x2Vol, and must record their completed hours in the system, along with a short reflection about the experience.
Many Upper School students volunteer with Bridges, a program founded in 1993 at at St. Paul’s School with the goal of making summer into a time of growth, rather than a time of regression, for motivated, but underserved East Baltimore students. As of 2014, Bridges works with 160 Baltimore City youth ages 9-18 through its site at St. Paul's and each year engages 130+ volunteers, 100+ funders, 42 program partners, and 7 feeder elementary schools.
SERVICE LEARNING COUNCIL
The Upper School program is administered by the Service Learning Council. Members of the Council, three per grade, are elected by their peers. The Council was established in 2011 in honor and memory of Philippe F. Simard ’08 and the gifts of service, leadership, and scholarship that he embodied. Though he was diagnosed with brain cancer during his junior year, Phil never let his illness incapacitate his spirit. He continued to go out of his way to help others, and continued to thrive academically. Phil’s legacy lives on at St. Paul’s as a man of hope, a servant to others, and a leader among peers.
The Middle School Service-Learning program gives boys the opportunity for leadership, for them to developing and applying problem-solving skills to real-world situations, and to work in the community at large to help others in need, working with organizations that include:
- McCormick Elementary School First Graders (a Title I school in Baltimore County)
- Baltimore Sprouts (a sustainable agriculture program in Baltimore City)
- SP Community Garden
- Springwell (a senior citizen community)
Students meet with representatives of the organizations, then develop and carry out a plan of action. Last year, one service-learning advisory built two raised, self-irrigating garden beds. One bed was donated to My Brother’s Keeper (a faith-based organization that works to help Baltimore children and adults), the other was installed as a community garden adjacent to Chapin Hall. While the building work was going on, a second advisory group researched appropriate plantings, started seeds indoors first, and transferred the seedlings to the beds.
Students in Kindergarten through fourth participate in service and outreach projects to strengthen their contact with the community and the world. Throughout the year, students donate and deliver lunches for the hungry to Manna House. Student council members deliver student-made crafts to the residents of Brightwood. The children participate in an outreach project for a school in Botswana by creating games and providing books for the classroom, as well as collecting personal items for teachers.
In addition to all-school projects, grade levels/groups sponsor outreach activities such as pre-first grade's post-Halloween candy collection for Manna House, and second and third grades’ preparation of a Lenten Meal for Paul’s Place.
The Lower School views each service project as a logical outgrowth of the words of the school’s prayer: “Keep me ready to help others at some cost to myself. Send me chances to do some good every day.”