Upper School Service Learning & Community Engagement

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**

“60 ON; 20 OFF to start; 2 projects to finish.”

  • 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


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 S-L 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 S-L 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


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:


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)