8th Grade Community Service

One of Westside’s four core values is developing a Caring Community where students become caring members of a global community. One of the ways in which we do this is by providing opportunities for Westside students to engage with our surrounding communities. With this in mind, the middle school has been partnering with local organization and incorporating service-learning into its curriculum and has added an hour of service-learning to our 8th grade students’ weekly schedule.
 
Students took surveys to indicate what areas they were interested in and then our Middle School Head reached out to local organizations who worked in the areas of our student’s interest to see who might be willing to engage in long-term service-learning projects with us. After connecting with different organizations, students were able to choose between the following organizations and places: Neighborhood House, West Seattle Food Bank and the West Seattle Helpline, Daystar Retirement Village, and in Westside’s Preschool & Pre-Kindergarten classrooms.

For students, the impact of engaging in service-learning and community service has been shown to increase understanding of identity, develop communication and teamwork skills, facilitate cultural and racial understanding, and increase social responsibility and long-term commitment to service. These community service opportunities not only further connections in the local community, but also give students an understanding of the needs immediate West Seattle community.

In addition to the 8th grade service-learning projects, 7th graders participated in similar weekly community service during Trimester 2 and we are in the process of developing service-learning opportunities for 5th & 6th grade for next year.

8th graders volunteering with the West Seattle Food Bank and West Seattle Helpline have been engaged in learning about the needs of people in our community. Because of this, they have organized a clothing drive that will benefit youth in our community in need of back-to-school clothing. Bins for the donation of new or gently used clothing will be in the Westside School lobby, as well as at Illusions Hair Design and West Seattle Runners throughout the month of May.