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.

Lower School Service Learning

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.

Middle School Service Learning

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

For more information, please contact Phillip Craig, All-School Service Learning Coordinator.

Upper School Service Learning

The Upper School Service-Learning & Community Engagement 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 & Community Engagement 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, 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.

For more information or to learn more about service opportunities at specific times of the year, please contact one of the Upper School Service Learning & Community Engagement Coordinators:

Service Learning Requirements for Graduation

60 On, 20 Off to Start — 2 Projects to Finish

  • Students should log all on and off campus service learning hours through their MobileServe account.
  • School service: 60 hours of service to the school ("ON-campus"), to be completed before May of the senior year.
  • Service explorations: 20 hours of service to the community outside the school ("OFF-campus") before 2nd semester of the next academic year (e.g., between the end of 8th grade and January of 10th grade). This should typically include a variety of different activities.
  • Service learning projects: Two substantial projects (to be completed OFF-campus) by the Friday before Memorial Day of the 12th grade year (these projects will usually be done in the later high school years, not in 9th grade).

Requirements for Students Entering After 9th Grade

School Service

60 hours of service to the school (“ON campus”), to be completed before graduation.

  • Entering 10th grade: 45 hours
  • Entering 11th grade: 30 hours
  • Entering 12th grade: 15 hours

Service Explorations

20 hours of service to the community outside the school (“OFF campus”) before the beginning of the next academic year (between the end of 8th grade and January of 10th grade). The 20 "exploratory" hours must be completed before proposing a Project.

  • Entering 10th grade: 10 hours (accepting hours done outside of school before entering OES)
  • Entering 11th or 12th grade: 5 hours (accepting hours done outside of school before entering OES)

Service Learning Projects

Two substantial service learning projects (recommendation: about 20 hours of service each), to be completed by the Friday before Memorial Day of the 12th grade year (it is expected that these projects will be done in the later high school years—20 "exploratory" OFF campus hours must be completed before proposing a Project).

  • Entering 10th grade: Two Projects
  • Entering 11th grade: Two Projects
  • Entering 12th grade: One Project

Service Ideas and Opportunities

Project Ideas

There are many ways to fulfill the Project requirement, but to get you started, here are a few examples.

Remember: All projects must be approved before they begin—please email Maria or Katie to schedule a meeting to approve your project.

Some OES Programs That Can Help to Fulfill the Service Learning Project Requirement

  • AASK (Tutoring or Day Camp)
  • Discovery in a nonprofit organization
  • French Culture & Communication (Language Department)
  • Greenhouse (Activity)
  • Hispanic Culture & Communication (Language Department)
  • InvenTeam (Activity)
  • Literary Journalism (English Department)
  • Modern Social Movements (History Department)
  • Oregon Girls Sports Leadership Summit (Athletics Department)
  • Religion and Social Justice (Religion Department)
  • Science Research Projects (Science Department)
  • Statistics (Math Department)
  • Winterim Service Programs

Some Programs Outside of OES That Can Fulfill the Service Learning Project Requirement

Other organizations and project ideas are approved on a case by case basis—please email Maria or Katie with questions about an idea you have.

About Service Learning Projects

What is a Service Learning Project?

The requirements for a Project are based on the standards for effective Service Learning established by the National Youth Leadership Council. Each individual student Project must:

  • Address an identified need in the local or global community.
  • Include research on how to serve that need and/or how that need is being served.
  • Involve the student in the process of planning and carrying out service.
  • Be of significant duration and intensity to amount to true service, true learning.
  • Engage the student in partnerships in the wider community.
  • Promote understanding and respect for cultural and other differences.
  • Include shared reflection about the effect of the service on the need and on the student.

For further guidance, see "About Reflection" below.

All Service Projects Must Be

  • Sponsored by a faculty or staff member through a school program (there are a variety of classes and activities that will fulfill the requirement), OR
  • Offered through a recognized outside program or agency, OR
  • Planned and executed by the student in collaboration with others.

In all cases, projects must be approved by the Service Learning Coordinators. To propose a project, schedule a meeting with your Service Learning Coordinator. See "Project Ideas" for samples of programs and activities that meet project requirements.

Upper School Service Learning Coordinators

About Reflection

Your Reflection is your thoughtful and considered response to the Project you did. It can be formal or informal, and it doesn't have to follow any standard model. It should come from the heart and it should tell your true story. Be clear and specific; don't fall back on abstractions.

Whatever form your Reflection takes, you should include:

  • A brief description of the Project: what need it addressed, whom you worked with, what agencies or organizations were involved, and what you did.
  • Your expectations going into it, and your thoughts about how they were—or were not—fulfilled.
  • Appreciation for those you worked with.
  • Specific stories about what you experienced. Give the details. "It changed me for the better" doesn't tell a story. This is a story: "For two months [after the tsunami] she did not know if her family was alive, cause she couldn't find them. At the end of her story, we were both crying … [I learned that] cleaning up after disasters takes years and years."
  • Consideration of what went well and what could have gone better, and why.
  • Discussion of the effect you think your work may have had on the population, cause, or situation you served.
  • And, most important, reflection on the effect the project had on you; how have you grown, or changed, or learned something, as a result.

Ways Students Might Fulfill the Reflection Requirement

  • Assigned paper for a class
  • Reflective paper/personal essay
  • Article for publication (OES or outside)
  • Presentation to a group (OES or outside)
  • Power point or slide show, available for teacher, student, or agency use
  • Video or audio production
  • Participation in panel or discussion group
  • Display and presentation for Service-Learning “Showcase” (November)