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Community Service

Service Learning at the Middle School

Date Posted:  Thursday, February 18, 2021

 

After finding our feet during the first semester of the 2020-2021 school year, the Middle School is now taking on Service Learning projects for the second semester and we couldn’t be more excited! 

What is Service Learning and why is it important? 
Service learning is a way of teaching and learning that benefits not only the students but the surrounding community as well. Through different hands-on projects students skills such as goal setting, problem-solving, communication, civic engagement and organization, along with the other skills it takes to be a good leader both in their school and community. It is a powerful approach to teaching that provides students with authentic community-engaged learning experiences. 

What are the learning goals and outcomes for Service Learning projects? 

  • Awareness of Community -  Increase students' knowledge of community issues, needs, strengths, problems and resources
  • Commitment to Service -  Improve students' attitudes toward service & remove barriers to future service
  • Self-Awareness - Improve students' awareness of individual strengths and improve self-esteem, sense of personal worth, competence and confidence in one's ability to make a difference
  • Communication - Develop students' oral and/or written communication skills/learn to collaborate and negotiate to resolve conflict
  • Critical Thinking - Improve students' ability to think, apply information to problem solving, and analyze information data and concepts

What Service Learning projects have we done so far? 
To kick off the service learning projects this year, in January students were asked to create Valentine's Day cards for Meals on Wheels. Meals on Wheels is a program that delivers meals to individuals at home who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals. Here in Alameda county, 2,400 Seniors receive meals. Students made close to 100 cards full of encouragement and creativity! Without a doubt, these cards will brighten up the days of our community members on Valentines Day! 

For the month of February, students have been asked to create hand-made toys for local animal shelters.The city of Berkery has over 700 stray animals waiting to be adopted or fostered. By making toys, we hope to bring these furry little friends some joy as they wait to find their forever homes. Toys can be made from everyday household items such as t-shirts, cardboard boxes, and plastic containers. Students were given different tutorial videos and websites to help guide them through the process of making toys. All toys should be dropped off at the Middle School to Ms. Greer by Monday, March 1st. If students cannot make it to EB, they can contact Ms. Greer for pick-up. 

Looking forward - what service projects do we hope to complete? 
As the school year continues we hope to launch three more service learning projects in March, April, and May. Some ideas we are pondering include: blankets for local homeless shelters, a positivity campaign for health care workers, care packages for veterans, schools supplies drive for migrant children, and socially distanced beach cleanups. If you have any ideas or would like to help take part in our upcoming service learning projects please contact Ms. Greer!

 

 

Tags:  community service Middle School valentine's day

On a Path to a Greener Future

Date Posted:  Monday, October 14, 2019

Under the aegis of the Lower School Head, Ecole Bilingue is inaugurating a program to make the school greener. The initiative relies on the Eco-Schools model, that was developed 25 years ago in various European countries and that involves not just the facilities’ team in schools, but the entire community. 

At the beginning of the year, all elementary grade students attended a special assembly on the impact of factory farming on the environment presented by Monica Chen, the National Program Director at Factory Farming Awareness Coalition. Following Monica's presentation, many students felt compelled to do more to foster a sustainable school. Those students volunteered or were chosen to be “eco-delegués” of their class, and they meet regularly to discuss and plan actions to improve the school’s environmental footprint.

Monica Chen talks to students about how factory farming impacts the environment, our health, farm workers, people of color, and animals.
 

In early October, some parents, teachers, Monica Chen and one eco-délégué per class, met for the first Eco-Council of the Lower School. The group decided to tackle two goals: the school’s waste and its biodiversity.

First Step: the Environmental Review

It was decided that the first step is to conduct an environmental review of the problem (see all steps in the graphic at the end of this article). When it comes to waste, the goal is to assess how much waste is produced by the school, and reduce it over time. The students started by weighing each class’ trash for one week to gather data. They also mapped out where trash is found in the yard to address the litter outside. Regarding biodiversity, students were tasked to assess the wildlife population on campus (birds, insects, flowers, trees and plants), with the intent of improving it in the future.

Students weigh in their class trash at the end of the day to assess how much trash is produced by the school. 
 

During the next meeting in November, participants will come up with an environmental review plan to reduce waste and increase biodiversity in the school. The Eco-Council will also connect with the Middle School’s Green Council composed of 6th, 7th and 8th grade students.

Eco-School projects encourage young people to engage with their environment by allowing them the opportunity to actively protect it. It is an ideal way for schools to embark on a meaningful path towards improving the environment in both the school and the local community, while at the same time having a life-long positive impact on the lives of young people, their families, school staff and local authorities.

Through this program, young people experience a sense of achievement in being able to have a say in the environmental management policies of their school, ultimately steering them towards certification and the prestige which comes with being awarded a Green Flag from the National Wildlife Federation.

Students Show Up for the Climate

Date Posted:  Monday, September 30, 2019

Friday, September 27th was observed as International Climate Strike Day around the world. 

At the middle school, the student body, led by the Social Responsibility Action Corps, made the decision to march during the lunch period in the middle of the day. This required a sacrifice for those students who participated of giving up their cherished lunch recess, but it was an intentional decision made by SRAC to symbolize the sacrifices that may be required of all of us in order to reverse the damage that has been done to the environment. 

In addition to the march, students had other opportunities to educate themselves this week about this important issue.

  • Science teacher Mr. Speckman covered aspects of climate science this week 
  • The English and Hist-Geo teachers showed films during lunch related to climate change and did climate-themed activities in class
  • All middle schoolers were asked to bring lunches on the 27th that contained only compostable waste. 
  • Students made signs to accompany the march during office hours on the week of the strike.

All in all, it was a wonderful opportunity for our middle school students to stand up for a cause they believe in, and one that impacts all of us.

Helping Others and Learning in the Process

Date Posted:  Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Every year, EB Middle School students visit and volunteer at the Alameda Food Bank as part of our annual effort to support the county’s nonprofit. The Food Bank through food and dollar donations feeds over 300,000 people a year.

It was founded to help Alameda residents in need by providing nourishing food in a compassionate and respectful manner with the support of dedicated volunteers and local partners.

Class by class, each student spent an afternoon tying up mesh bags and filling them with fruit. The students look forward to this annual trip because their work is appreciated and allows them a chance to give back to the local community by in a supporting a well organized non-profit.

After a few hours of work, the volunteer director shared Cesar Chavez's words of wisdom with our students, “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”  

Seventh grade students were able to make links between the spirit and inspiration of the Food Bank with our English class discussions of both Obama and Frederick Douglass speeches that promoted a similar philosophy. As always, I am impressed with how service learning has an amazing capacity to make learning visible and alive as we open our hearts and show up for our community.  

 

Learning from Helping Others at Glide Memorial

Date Posted:  Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Eighth graders made their annual trip to Glide in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco this past January. In addition to spiritual ministry, Glide offers social services to its community. Mme. Bishop and Mme. Filato accompanied 8B while Ms. Hedlund and M. Labadie traveled with 8E.

Students took a walking tour of the Tenderloin led by a member of the community. They learned about the neighborhood’s history, its status as the only neighborhood protecting SRO’s (single room occupancy), and the myriad of services from medical care to mobile shower units to senior and family housing that local agencies provide. After the tour, students help serve meals to guests at Glide. On each of our trips, students helped serve more than 800 meals as well as prepare food for future meals.


EB families are encouraged to volunteer with the community organizations our students have visited, Alameda County Community Food Bank and Glide. More information can be found on the organization's website.

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