Community Service Learning at the Wheeler SchoolUpper School

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Community Service Learning at the Wheeler School
The Wheeler School Community Service Learning program is designed to cultivate a sense of civic responsibility and a life-long
commitment to community for students. Based on the premise that our students possess emerging idealism, compassion, flexibility
and growing developmental needs, Community Service Learning provides a forum to focus on and to develop these values. As a
result, Wheeler students reach out, take risks and engage in the world at large. Additionally the program strives to fit the needs of
the school’s diverse population. Our philosophy focuses on meaningful work in the community supported by education and
structured reflection. In each division students are asked to question and explore community needs and problems. They are then
challenged to work to address those needs as they build relationships with the wider community. Our geographic location in
Providence provides Wheeler with a plethora of opportunities for collaboration with community organizations. Our partnership with
agencies is mutually beneficial and allows our students to experience the richness of the diversity in the surrounding communities.
Lower School: The Lower School program is built on the
belief that individuals can make a difference. Through welldesigned projects students learn the basic values of fair play,
respect for opinions of others and the responsibilities of
citizenship. Most community service learning projects are
introduced and discussed during the weekly Community
Meetings. There are two volunteer representatives from
each 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade homeroom who serve on the
Student Council which provides some leadership for
organizing and promoting service projects among the rest of
the students. The Student Council representatives serve for
one of two terms and meet regularly to plan projects,
prepare materials, and determine days to serve lunch at
Amos House.
Some service projects include:
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Holiday candy and food collection for Amos House
Fun Days Fundraisers to support the Tomorrow
Fund, Ronald McDonald House and Amos House
“Pennies for Patients” for the Leukemia and
Lymphoma Society
Drives to support the RI Food Bank
Middle and Hamilton Schools: This program
connects Middle and Hamilton school students to the greater
community. Students work at local organizations for one
hour a week for one quarter of the year through CORE (other
CORE classes are Health, Technology, and Unity & Diversity).
Students develop creativity, respect and trust for others,
teamwork skills, and habit of good judgment. Sharing and
learning occurs with people of different ages, abilities
cultures, socio-economic levels and races.
6th Grade students spend a quarter working within the
Wheeler Community. This program enables our students to
establish a connection with the Nursery, Pre-K, and 3rd Grade
Hamilton students at Wheeler. 6th graders read to the
younger children, interact with them while playing games,
and help with class projects. Students gain initial experience
and develop the skills necessary to appreciate what
community service is all about. During the process it brings
our lower school children and middle school children closer
together, and ultimately makes the Wheeler community even
stronger!
7th graders visit the Meeting Street School and work together
as “buddies”. A bond develops between both schools as
these two very different populations grow in their
understanding of each other. Weekly activities vary, but can
include science experiments, art projects, music exploration
or even physical education. Conversations following the visits
allow our students the opportunity to appreciate the richness
of their experience and value their own abilities. The year
culminates with a day at the Wheeler farm.
The 8th Grade Community Service program incorporates
lessons from 8th Grade History where students learn about
the vital elements of public space that serve community
needs and engender civic participation. CORE in-class work
highlights local planning initiatives and grass-roots action.
From time to time, we meet with community organizers and
talk directly with residents. Most of the CORE schedule is
dedicated to hands-on work in local parks that are either new
or emerging from years of neglect. Students rake gravel to
cover walkways, paint fences, dig post holes for signage,
clean litter and debris and plant shrubs. The investment of
their sweat cultivates an ethic of stewardship and a
meaningful connection between their east side school and
neighborhoods on the west side of Providence.
The Community Service Club: Scheduled during weekly
activities time, students from all Middle School grades opt to
join this club and support a local organization through service
visits and fundraising and by developing awareness in the
Wheeler community about the issue and needs associated
with service. The club is currently supporting the Providence
Animal Rescue League (PARL).
Community Service Learning at the Wheeler School
Upper School: The Community Action Program (CAP) is a four year graduation requirement.
Furthering the service learning
goals of middle school, students are exposed to many areas of community service while developing teamwork, responsibility, trust,
leadership, and commitment. Structured reflection encourages students to realize the impact of their commitments to agencies,
their communities, and themselves at all grade levels.
9th grade community service is part of the Unity & Diversity and Health curricula. Students develop an understanding of the issues
and consequences of hunger and poverty in RI through discussions in class and by participating is a day of community service in the
fall and spring. Students are asked to make connections between learning and service while developing a broader understanding of
the community and having a role in establishing and cultivating partnerships with local organizations.
The 10th grade class (CAP 10) studies specific community issues in a weekly class meeting. All students rotate through three
different courses throughout the first semester to provide multiple perspectives on the needs within community. These classes
include: Basic Human Needs, Communities and Creativity, Education, Environment and Community Wellness, Healthcare in RI, and
Non-Profits and Social Change. As a culmination of this course instruction, students participate in a service trip during the 4th
quarter. Finally, students develop a proposal for an individual community service projects to take place the following year.
11th and 12th graders continue with the program philosophy of doing sustained and meaningful work in the community. Juniors
commit a minimum of 24 hours. Seniors are expected to complete a minimum of 18 hours of service. Seniors culminate their
experience with a final paper or portfolio and lead a discussion with the sophomore class about the varied commitments to service
work in the spring. In the course of each year, there is always important opportunity for reflection. Students are expected to
manage their own projects and are responsible and accountable for documenting their work in cooperation with the Community
Service Learning office.
Community Service Mentors: Goals for this group include advocating and promoting participation in community service by
spreading awareness of community service opportunities and acting as a resource for students who have questions or concerns
regarding their CAP projects. The Mentors also organize and run larger community service projects that are open to the entire
student body, such as food and clothing drives, fundraising events and workshops.
Some Non-Profit organizations supported by Wheeler students and faculty:
Amos House
AS220
Attleboro Animal Shelter
The Audubon Society
Boys and Girls Clubs
Brown Youth Hockey
Camp Ramsbottom
Camp St. Comm. Ministries
Camp Sunshine
Catholic Diocese of Prov.
City Arts
City Farm
Comm. Music Works
Crossroads
The Dandelion School
Dartmouth Youth AA
EB Coalition for Homeless
Edesia
Exeter Animal Shelter
Gordon School
Greenlock Thrptc. Riding Cntr
The Genesis Center
The George Wiley Center
The Groden Center
Farm Fresh Rhode Island
Federal Hill House
Habitat for Humanity
Hamilton House
International Institute
International Charter Sch.
Jewish Community Center
Johnnycake Center
Judy’s Kindness Kitchen
The Learning Community
Magaziner Farm
McAuley House
Meals on Wheels
Meeting Street School
Miriam Hospital
Mt. Hope Learning Center
Mt. St. Rita Health Center
New Urban Famers
Norman Bird Sanctuary
Oaklawn Animal Hospital
Our Lady of Mercy School
PARL
Paul Cuffee School
Project Goal
Rebound for Tomorrow
The Red Cross
Roger Williams Park Zoo
RI Arts Learning Network
RI Food Bank
RI Free Clinic
RI Hospital
RI Philharm/Music School
RISPCA
Save the Bay
Skate for Joy
SS Comm. Land Trust
Special Olympics
Steelyard
Summerbridge
Surf Rider Foundation
Trailside Daycare
Vartan Gregorian
VIPS
West End Comm. Center
The Women’s Cntr of NB
WRWC
Year Up
YMCA and YMCA Daycare
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