Teachers! Would you like to try Service Learning in your classroom, after school program, or club?

NCR would love to help and provide the logistical, financial, and curriculum support. Feel free to contact our Director of Civic Engagement Programs and long time OPS teacher, Kent Day at 402.990.8489 or kent.day@nereform.org.

TeachersDSC_0980We can connect you with partners and resources, and we can help you align your project with state academic standards. Below you can find a brief description of service learning followed by some of NCR’s successful projects.

Service learning is a teaching strategy that integrates service to the community with classroom curriculum. Students participate in authentic service, their voice is present, they reflect throughout, and they collaborate to complete a meaningful project. It enriches and brings your curriculum to life. Service learning is an effective program not in just civics or government classes, but also geography and STEM fields.

Students with their teachers and community partners, can perform several types of service.

• Direct service-students interact personally with the people benefitting from the service
(students record the life stories of elderly people and compile a book)
• Indirect service-students work to support people or an issue that is remote
(students study water in biology, then fundraise to dig a well in Mali)
• Advocacy-students promote action on an issue
(students study domestic animals and have a “spay your pet” drive)
• Awareness-students work to raise community awareness of an issue
(students test groundwater and have a campaign on the dangers of pesticides)

While the strategyIMG_2473 is remarkably flexible, service learning works best when the projects follow these steps.

The Steps and Components of Service Learning
• Students have a voice in determining a project focus
• Community partners are located and enlisted
• Students collaborate to create a plan
• The teacher will find or create links to classroom curriculum
• Students will reflect throughout the project in a variety of ways
• The plan is implemented
• Results are assessed and celebrated

Find more resources at NYLC http://nylc.org/service-learning/

Here are some examples of successful NCR Service Projects.

Refugee Support – this was a school-wide program to gain empathy for refugees in the community, then to provide a wide variety of materials to support them.

Community Gardens – gardens in two schools that not only have provided an outdoor lab for real world biology, but also have provided the community a source of healthy food and positive activities. Lincoln Arts High School and Malone Center partnered to put in gardens at the center. Underserved students in the Malone summer program then had a garden to plant and tend throughout the summer, and a harvest for their families in the fall.

Lending Libraries – a NCR after school program built small libraries and mounted them on poles and installed them around the community. They stocked them with donated books for neighbors to use and exchange.

Support to Humane Society – several student groups have made toys, treats, and leashes for dogs and cats at the Humane Society.

Support to an Animal Shelter – students did a drive for supplies, raised awareness among their classmates, then delivered the supplies to a local animal shelter that cared for old and disabled animals.

No Child Without A Birthday Treat – students learned about foster care, then provided cakes to several foster children in their school for their birthdays.

Children’s Hospital – students learned about childhood illnesses, then decorated placemats for sick children’s hospital meal trays and delivered them to the hospital. They had a tour of the facilities.

Graffiti Removal – students studied public safety, listened to police guests, then went out into the community and removed graffiti from nearby buildings.

Immigration Support – students raised awareness about difficulties among families where a parent had been deported.

Neighborhood Birds – with NE Game and Parks, students built bird feeders and installed them in order to create a community interest in urban wildlife.

Capitol Experience – students raised awareness about the NE legislative process and on several specific issues (distracted driving, youth voter registration).

Environmental Sciences – students participated in a community effort to raise awareness about urban ecosystems at the LaVista BioBliIMG_2457tz. Students performed citizen science experiments and collected data for a national project.

What’s In Your Watershed? – students studied water pollution and water quality, went into the field to collect samples and perform tests, then provided the data to a national Mississippi River watershed study.

Support Troops Overseas – students learned about the military and the current state of our military in the world, heard from several soldiers, then assembled packages to send to deployed soldiers.

Pennies for Pasta – students learned about childhood leukemia, general health and wellness, then had a penny drive to donate to the Leukemia Foundation

QLI – Brain and spinal cord rehabilitation – students brought “do it yourself” projects to site and made projects with residents. Residents were thinking ahead to Christmas so students paired up with a resident and helped them paint ceramic mugs to use as gifts. Then each of the girls had a paper bag of Halloween candy they decorated last week to give out.