Service is an integral part of our curriculum – so much so that it is a graduation requirement. We know that the incorporation of service learning into the academic curriculum is one of the most effective means of teaching students about the connection between what they learn in the classroom and the world around them.
Work Program, in accordance with Quaker values, affirms the goodness of service to others and the dignity of all work. It exposes students to a variety of working experiences, such as janitorial and kitchen jobs. Work Program was originally developed as a response to the labor shortages of World War II. In the decades since that time, the school community has found Work Program to be an important part of the educational process. By taking part in the daily working life of the school, students learn to respect what it means to be part of a community and understand what impact their behavior has on other members of the community. Work Program also provides leadership opportunities. The Work Program Heads – a team of Upper School students – train other students for their work jobs, run meals and captain work teams.
What Upper School students gain through participation in service is an understanding of the world around them, experience with human service institutions, tolerance and appreciation for lifestyles that differ from their own, interpersonal skills and the value of helping others.
To participate in service, Upper School students may select one of the following options: a service co-curricular (Service Network), a school sponsored trip, or an independent project.
Students enrolled in Service Network participate every day after school for one term. This includes visiting different local organizations that provide services to senior adults and children. And, during the Fall and Spring term, students work on the Westtown mini-farm.
At the end of every week, students and the Service Network faculty meet to reflect on the week’s experience, sharing stories and getting different perspectives from their friends experiences. Students are then required to respond to a written prompt that further enhances the learning process.
Students may participate in a Westtown sponsored service trip during spring break or as part of school-sponsored trips. These trips, organized and led by Westtown faculty, include local, national, and international experiences. Examples of past service trip locations include Ghana, Puerto Rico, and the Florida Keys.
A student may design an independent project fostering a passion or special interest and approved by the Service Committee. Independent projects can be completed at any time including vacations and Spring break.
Prior to beginning an independent project, students must first complete a proposal about their service idea. Once approved by the Service Committee, students may then partake in the actual service.