60 Hour Individual Service Requirement
Every year approximately 120 ninth through eleventh grade students fulfill their 60 hour individualized, off-campus service internship. Volunteer service may be performed during free periods of the school day, after school, on weekends, during school year vacations, or during the summer.
The class of 2004 was the first graduating class that fulfilled the 60 hour requirement. Prior to this class, students were required to do 30 hours of community service to complete their Upper School community service requirement. Approximately 50% of Upper School students do more than the 60 hour requirement and most of those students do well over 60 hours (80 hours or more).
Ninth Grade Group Community Service Projects
Each Ninth Grader must complete 3 one time community service projects. These after school projects usually consist of 10 – 12 ninth graders and the Community Service Director working with the clients of a nonprofit agency for 2-3 hours. The following service projects will occur during this school year:
KIDPOWERDC AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
KidpowerDC is a nonprofit agency that brings teachers, tutors and educational programs into DC Public Schools. Every Tuesday afternoon, several Sidwell ninth graders remain at school to tutor students from Barnard and Harriet Tubman Elementary Schools. Each freshman pairs with an upper class SFS tutor to work with two students on their homework and a healthy eating curriculum designed by KidpowerDC.
ROSEMOUNT CENTER AT SIDWELL FRIENDS
The Upper School will host 20 3-4 year old children from the Rosemount Center. We engage the children in a variety of activities including reading, storytelling, dance, arts and crafts, and soccer.
On Wednesday afternoons, we visit Adams Morgan. Students supervise and play with a group of two to five year old children at this bilingual (English and Spanish) daycare center that primarily serves families that are recent immigrants to our country.
FOOD BANK AT GARRISON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
As a participant in this SFS/Martha’s Table partnership, you will travel to Garrison Elementary School to organize and distribute food to the students and families of this DC public school. Take part in this important project that addresses the serious problem of hunger and lack of healthy food in our local community.
MCKENNA’S WAGON AT MARTHA’S TABLE
We will be serving dinner to homeless and low income people in downtown Washington DC. Our group will be riding on two of the “McKenna’s Wagons” vans that drive around the city each night to serve people dinner on the streets of Washington DC.
ARTS FOR THE AGING
We spend the afternoon at Brighton Gardens, which is an assisted living facility located off Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase Maryland. Students work alongside artists from Arts for the Aging (A4A), a DC nonprofit agency that brings performing artists into senior centers. We will be participating in an interactive therapeutic program with the A4A artists. We will also help transport the residents to and from their rooms before and after activities.
REGENCY HOUSE FOOD DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM
You will be packing and distributing healthy food bags to residents of this low income residential facility on Connecticut Avenue, NW. If you are interested in working with food and interacting directly with members of our community, this project is for you.
Service learning as part of the curriculum also occurs at the Upper School. Over the past few years, Melanie Fields’ Biology class teaches a group of students from Barnard and Harriet Tubman Elementary School every Tuesday afternoon. They teach the 4th and 5th graders a science curriculum called “BioEyes” that focuses on fish biology and anatomy. In past years they have been involved in fish and tree restoration projects as part of their curriculum. Students in her 21st Century Biology class have visited local middle schools during Brain Awareness Month spending a day teaching local students about the brain and neuroscience. Paula Wang’s Environmental Science class measures river and creek pollution levels and reports them to local government authorities.
Darby Thompson’s Robotics Club teaches robotics and computer science to middle school students from Cesar Chavez Public Charter School every Tuesday afternoon. Anna Tsouhlarakis and her visual arts students worked with the Memory Project last year. Students were sent photographs of children in an orphanage in Eastern Europe. They painted and mailed them their portraits drawn from the photographs so they would be able to have a memento from their childhood.
David Connell teaches a seminar entitled “Peacemakers of the Twentieth Century.” This course examines several individuals and movements that were dedicated to nonviolent social action during the twentieth century. The study includes Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa of Calcutta and The Dalai Lama, among others. More specifically, the course focuses on the philosophy of nonviolent social action that these people followed, the challenges they faced, and their work and accomplishments. Students also study interpersonal conflict resolution, nonviolent communication and techniques that students can use to cultivate internal awareness and peace. Students gain an understanding of how they deal with conflict in their lives, and they learn techniques which can help them cultivate internal awareness and peace.
Every school year during the month of May, the entire senior class works 30 hours per week for four weeks on a senior project. All senior projects must be approved by the Faculty’s Senior Projects Committee. Students are engaged in a wide variety of projects, but many students choose to work on projects that are social justice and service related.
Work program is a program in which each Upper School student is assigned one period (45 minutes) per week in service to the Middle School, Upper School or Zartman House. This is an important Upper School program because of the credo “charity begins at home.” How can we ask our students to clean up a park across town or tutor a child overseas, if we fail to ask them to take responsibility for their own community here at Sidwell? Work program is an important part of our efforts to teach our students to reach out to others in their community. When our students are asked to contribute to their community on a regular basis, they begin to feel a sense of connection, and feel that they have a role to play in its success.
Each year, Upper School tenth through twelfth grade students are available to perform approximately 6800 hours of service to the school community. Students are not always utilized during the entire scheduled period. This large amount of labor that our students provide is a major reason that the school functions as smoothly as it does. Students engage in a number of tasks through their work program assignments – helping a science teacher set up a lab, tutoring other students in math, shelving books in the library, assisting the Business Office Manager. Below please find a listing of some of the work program opportunities that were available to our students last year:
Name of Work Program
Computer Room Help
Freshmen Studies T.A.
Chem Lab Assistant
Summer Work Program
Independent work program (seniors only)
Middle School Diversity assistant
Science Dept. Assistance
Physics Lab Help
M.S. Science Help
M.S. Science Help
Community Service Day
In 1997, the Upper School initiated the annual Community Spirit Day. On the third Friday in October, the entire Upper School leaves campus in their advisory groups to perform a day of community service. 550 volunteers perform approximately 1500 hours of volunteer service at over 30 service sites.
Ninth Grade Orientation Community Service Projects
In August 2003, the Upper School had the first annual Ninth Grade Orientation Service Projects. This event consists of the entire ninth grade class participating in off campus service projects during the afternoon of their first day of orientation at the Upper School. Students and faculty divide into their seven Ninth Grade Studies classes to work at 7 service sites. Each year 130 volunteers perform 260 hours of volunteer service.
Senior Class Community Service Project
On the first Monday in June, the entire senior class leaves campus to do a morning of service. 120 students perform 360 hours of service at three service sites.