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Service Learning

Service Learning at OES inspires students to explore their individual and collective power for good, connect to the world around them, create ways to help others, and commit to lifelong service. We aspire to a program that fills the heart and changes lives. OES Service Learning Mission Statement

School-Wide Service Learning

As an Episcopal School, service is integral to the mission and vision of OES. We seek to regularly demonstrate the power of individual and community engagement and action to improve our world. Our service learning program seeks to foster an environment of mutual collaboration, cultural competency and meaningful impact. PreK-12 projects, curricular-based endeavors, local and global initiatives and sustainable community partnerships allow OES to carry out this commitment.

Service learning at OES inspires responsibility, develops leadership and encourages compassion, while broadening and deepening local, national and global connections. Active and age-appropriate participation in thoughtfully organized projects, followed by intentional time for conversation and reflection, create a rich atmosphere of true service and true learning.

The OES All School Service Learning Committee, chaired by the Head Chaplain, is comprised of divisional service learning coordinators and other service stakeholders in the OES community. This committee maintains oversight of the entire program, and ensures all service learning endeavors are in keeping with the nationally recognized NYLC Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice.


Service Learning takes place at all levels of the Lower School, starting even with our youngest students. Recognizing that students are on a path to discovering their place within ever-widening spheres—first self, then classroom, school, city, country and beyond—the Lower School Service Learning program seeks to offer meaningful connections for students along this continuum of discovery.

Many projects take place within the context of classroom learning, guided by class passions and curriculum foci. For example:

  • 4th and 5th grade students make connections to young Spanish-speakers at the Woodburn Family Learning Center as part of their own Spanish language learning
  • 2nd graders interview and visit organizations doing heroic work in our city as part of their investigation of heroes and their Power for Good
  • Kindergarteners learn about the wetlands on our campus, then create projects to help care for the plants and animals there.

Lower School students take a deep-dive into community-wide service in December through Giving Chapel, an annual event in which the Lower School participates alongside several service organizations doing good in our community.

For further information, please contact Kristen Haferbecker, LS Service-Learning Coordinator.


Service Learning in the middle school provides opportunities for students to explore a wide variety of service agencies with a goal toward finding where their passions lie.

Grade-Level Service – Aligned with Curriculum:
  • 6th grade – weekly visits to a head start program where seven languages and cultures are represented. Aligns with 6th grade humanities study of cultures and countries.
  • 7th grade – Weekly visits to the Multnomah Village Meals on Wheels/ Loaves and Fishes to serve lunch to seniors. Aligns with one of our essential competencies "I connect" and encourages students to "recognize and respect perspectives beyond their own."
  • 8th grade – weekly visits to Blanchet House to serve lunch to homeless citizens. Aligns with history and contemporary issues curriculum of global hunger, how to think globally and act locally.
  • Each 8th grade student plans and participates in two Service Action Plans per year. They must write a proposal, possibly a grant application, and carry out their plan.
Service Learning Days
  • Students sign up for an agency in one of the following categories:
    • Hunger/homelessness
    • Environment/sustainability
    • Children
    • Elderly
    • Animals
  • Students are in cross-grade groups (6, 7, 8)
  • Faculty and parents work alongside students for three hours, three times per year.
All-School Events:

MS students join those from other divisions (Lower and Upper Schools) for school-wide efforts:

  • Mt. Hood Climb Service Day


The Upper School Service-Learning program embraces the values expressed in the OES Service Learning Mission Statement: "Service Learning at OES inspires students to explore their individual and collective power for good, connect to the world around them, create ways to help others, and commit to lifelong service. We aspire to a program that fills the heart and changes lives."

All Upper School students must complete a Service-Learning requirement to graduate. Service must be unpaid, and it must support a nonprofit organization and/or those who are truly in need.

Service-Learning is an element of many academic classes, Activities, and school trips; there are several annual Service Days set aside for different grade levels; and the entire Upper School participates in Mount Hood Climb Service Day each May. The Service-Learning Action Committee (SLAC), made up of US students, organizes Upper School service projects and reviews Service Learning policies.

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