Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quest High School Service-Learning Program

In the area of service-learning, I started with a question: What is Service Learning at Quest High School? "I had no idea when I started this experience how much real learning I would actually do...So much of the understanding of something is not found in book or classroom experience. It was only when I could actually experience the learning that it held true understanding and meaning for me." (Excerpt from a Quest student's reflection) Service-learning at Quest High School is learning outside the classroom walls while meeting a genuine community need. Although Quest operates on a much smaller scale in terms of a school, with merely a fraction of students compared to Humble High School or Kingwood High School, it operates at a much larger scale in terms of character development and community interaction. At Quest, our curriculum-supported service-learning model helps students to practice and master both affective and cognitive objectives from our curriculum.This model involves application of learning in a real world context. In addition, this model has the added benefit of actually addressing a community need, therefore giving the learning a deeper, more personal meaning to students.

At Quest every Wednesday, Quest students go out into the community to engage in service-learning. Sites range from elementary schools where students tutor and mentor children to a nature park where students perform historical reenactments for elementary children. Other sites include rest homes, women's shelters, and other non-profits. What our students do on Wednesdays is done in the context of our curriculum. Service-learning also exists within our courses. (See the Water Testing Project) The capstone service-learning experience would be within the Senior Exploratory, conducted in the second semester of the Senior Exploratory Foundations Class. (See Senior Service Plans) This Senior Exploratory takes service-learning to a much deeper level, where students are engaged in social action. They research a social issue and address this social issue by designing and implementing a project. Once completed, they evaluate their project for its effectiveness and sustainability. Service-learning really allows students to "live" our mission, "Quest High School will provide a personalized learning experience in partnership with the community to create life-long learners and productive members of society."-----

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