What is Community Service?
Community Service is a service that benefits the community but is not connected to curriculum mandates. It is generally a "gift of the heart", an activity that goes beyond civility and beyond cooperation. School supply collections, sandwich making and get well cards for children's hospitals are a few examples. Community Service is such an important ingredient in the development of well-rounded, caring, socially responsible young people.
What is Service - Learning?
Service - learning takes community service to the next level. It is a powerful learning strategy which is directly tied to standards-based education. It intensifies learning and retention because of its real-life application and the students' direct connection to those in need.
Service - Learning at El Rodeo
The El Rodeo PTA is a leader in the Beverly Hills Unified School District for their exceptional commitment to service learning projects for El Rodeo students and families. At El Rodeo, the notion of service learning has become a deep part of the traditions that make our school the exceptional educational experience that it has maintained for generations of Beverly Hills students. Giving back is a significant part of our collective consciousness when projects and activities are considered and implemented.
Each grade level has a service learning project that they annually focus on along with service learning that is incorporated into school projects and special events. For example, 8th graders on the student committee for the Writers' Workshop incorporated a student summer reading 'Book Swap' for students with surplus books donated to a non-profit literacy group founded by former El Rodeo alumni students. The PTA beautification committee incorporated a 'Extra Harvest' fresh fruit/vegetable collection from residents who had a surplus of fruits and vegetables from plants on their property that was given to the Westside Food Bank. Bathing suits are collected for the children served by PATH, Thanksgiving Turkeys are collected for distribution at the Westside Food Bank, gently used school supplies are collected by elementary students at the end of the year and donated to family shelters. Extra lunches are collected curbsite each month for the Westside Food Bank and 1,000 peanut butter sandwiches and lunches are made on Christmas Eve day for the food bank.
Kindergarten donates 100 coins for the Hundredth Day event to a community partner like the Westside Children's Center. 1st graders collect socks for Operation School Bell, 2nd grade fundraises for the 'Hearts for Harry' research foundation, 3rd grade fundraises for UNICEF, 4th grade collects thousands of gently used books for inter-city school libraries and deliver them through BookEnds, 5th through Middle School collects Pennies for Patients for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 6th grade adopts endangered species, participates in the annual Coastal Beach Cleanup, and studies nutrition as they donate canned food for the Westside Food Bank. Middle School student council visits senior living centers during the holidays and fundraises to purchase toys for students at the children's hospital. Middle school students give back to their school in a variety of ways to earn points towards attendance at the grade level outdoor education trip.
We are all very proud of the work we do for our communities and will continue to focus on continuing this important tradition at El Rodeo School. Many, many thanks to the countless parents, teachers and students who donate their time and resources towards the successful organization of these events.