What is Service-Learning?
Service-Learning (S-L) is a method of teaching and a way of learning. Students develop academic knowledge and skills as they address real community needs and problems through service activities connected to their curriculum. Service-Learning projects address a wide variety of needs including education, the environment, public safety, and human needs such as poverty and hunger. Service-Learning is experiential and highly engaging. Students learn through the application of knowledge and skills in purposeful, meaningful and real work.
Service-Learning is a ‘value-added’ teaching method. In addition to being an effective strategy for teaching core subjects, teachers are also able to integrate learning objectives for social and emotional learning, 21st Century skills, civic education, career exploration, and workplace readiness.
Quality Service Learning
The North Adams S-L program adheres to national and state models for best practices of high-quality service-learning. Teachers develop and implement curriculum-based S-L units with learner outcomes that reflect the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. The North Adams program echoes the models for a quality put forth by national leaders in the field such as National Youth Leadership Council, the National Service-Learning Partnership, the Corporation for National and Community, Catherine Berger Kaye and Kids Consortium. Teachers are encouraged to lead students through a project process that includes investigation, preparation, and planning, action, reflection, and demonstration. Teachers are encouraged to incorporate the research-based, K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice released in 2008 by the National Youth Leadership. The standards address meaningful service, link to curriculum, reflection, diversity, youth voice and leadership, partnerships, progress monitoring, and duration and intensity.
The North Adams S-L Program provides a Service-Learning Coordinator to assist teachers with project development. In addition, a Service-Learning Advisory Board has been sustained since 1994 through which teacher representatives serve as liaisons and mentors to their colleagues. The program offers comprehensive services that include mentoring, technical assistance, professional development, transportation, and mini-grant opportunities.
For more information contact:
Community Outreach Coordinator
(413) 662-3240 ext. 2306