What is Service Learning?
Service learning is the integration of community service work with academic learning, both inside and outside the classroom. Westtown’s service programs are designed to expand interpersonal and intrapersonal learning and to build on skills students learn in the classroom. Westtown defines service as an activity that benefits others and that meets a need which the recipient of the service has identified.
Why does Westtown have a service requirement?
Friends believe there is that of God in every person, and service to others has long been a way for Friends to live out this belief. In order to fulfill its mission to “inspire and prepare its graduates to be stewards and leaders of a better world,” Westtown is committed to making service an integral part of a Westtown education.
What is the service requirement and what are the ways students can meet it?
In order to graduate, students are required to participate in an intensive service activity. Students may choose from one of the following options to fulfill their requirement:
- Participation in one term of the Service Network Co-Curricular
- Westtown sponsored service project during Spring Break, summer vacation, or Senior Projects
- An independent project of 40 hours
- Service Network Co-Curricular
Students enrolled in the Service Network Co-Curricular participate in service every day from 3:30 to 5:30 for one term. Students work as a team volunteering at different sites around the community. Students keep a journal and meet together weekly for a discussion group to debrief their experiences.
Westtown Sponsored Service Projects
These projects take place during spring break, summer vacation, or the senior project time and are organized and led by Westtown faculty members. Projects vary from year to year depending on student and faculty interest. Recent senior projects include trips to Ghana to work in our partner school and to New Orleans for Katrina relief. Recent summer projects include rebuilding houses in West Virginia, working on a sustainable farm in Mexico, and a week long environmental leadership workshop held on Westtown’s campus.
Students may design a service project that meets their own needs and interests. Individual projects must be approved by the Service Committee and should average 40 hours. The Service Network directors are available to talk with students about their ideas and provide initial support while students plan their project. More guidelines about independent projects are available from the Service Network Office.
When can students complete the service requirement?
Students may complete their service requirement anytime between the end of the ninth grade year and the beginning of the spring trimester of the twelfth grade year.
What is the process for completing the service requirement?
- Course Advising - During course advising each winter, students will discuss their service ideas with their advisor and indicate on their course selection form how and when they plan to fill their requirement.
- Project Proposal – Students must submit a project proposal form for approval by the Service Committee no later than the trimester before they wish to start their project. Proposal forms are available from the Service Network office and must be signed by both a student's advisor and parents. Proposal due dates for each trimester are published by the Service Network office.
- Evaluation – In order to receive credit for their project, students must submit an evaluation and reflection of their project. Evaluations and reflections are due the trimester following a student's project. Guidelines for the evaluation and reflection are available from the Service Network office.