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EGUSD’s Commitment to Service Learning Honored

Students can join community service projects while learning key academic concepts in the Elk Grove Unified School District.

The combined curriculum – called service learning – is gaining praise and recognition.  The District’s service learning program will be honored Dec. 1 with a Golden Bell Award at the annual California School Boards Association awards luncheon. 

Last spring, the Elk Grove Unified School District’s Board of Education adopted a board policy to strengthen service learning. The program was instituted in 2003, assisted by a CalService grant.  The first schools to participate were Calvine High School and Arthur C. Butler Elementary. 

Photo: Two Calvine High School students work on restoring wetlands in the Stone Lakes Wildlife Refuge.

Photo: Two Calvine High School students work on restoring wetlands in the Stone Lakes Wildlife Refuge.

At Calvine High School, students test the water in their local creek and maintain a research database.  They participate in habitat restoration at the regional national wildlife refuge, returning areas to their pre-European contact land configurations. Student volunteers help first graders learn to read and create historical videos to document the history of their local areas. After each learning component, students reflect in written work, blogs and other projects.  Projects have included comparisons of the economics of land use decisions, student contributions to local and regional communities, and the importance of citizen participation.

Photo: Two Calvine High School students take a break from planting a tree at the Stone Lakes Wildlife Refuge.

Photo: Two Calvine High School students take a break from planting a tree at the Stone Lakes Wildlife Refuge.

“These standard-based projects enhance participation and learning, and result in greater academic success, along with heightened satisfaction in school attendance and participation in community based projects,” said Calvine teacher and service learning coordinator Tony Lederer.

Photo: A Butler student smiles as she works on her service learning project.

Photo: A Butler student smiles as she works on her service learning project.

Butler Elementary now has about 25 classes involved with service learning.  At Butler, third graders are working on a “Salmon in the Classroom” project. Fifth and sixth grade classes are making buddy books and activity books for children staying at Sutter Memorial Hospital.  A fourth grade class is working with a small group of sixth grade students to grow browse for the Sacramento Zoo. Another class is working with Lennar Homes to develop the vernal pools behind the camps. The second grade is leading several classes in the Seed-to-Seedling program.  Sixth grade students are running “Coats for Kids” and a “Cards for Soldiers” campaign.  The school has an environmental club to help set up environmental service projects.  

These are just two examples of the service learning programs at EGUSD schools. Each year, the service learning program expands throughout the district. An estimated 9,000 students were involved with service learning projects during the past school year. Additionally, approximately 118 students earned the Presidential Award for Service through their service learning projects.  The following schools participated in the district’s service learning program during the 2006-2007 school year:

Arnold Adreani Elementary School                           Arthur C. Butler Elementary School
Foulks Ranch Elementary School                               Roy Herburger Elementary School
Arlene Hein Elementary School                                 Herman Leimbach Elementary School
Barbara Comstock Morse Elementary School            David Reese Elementary School
Stone Lake Elementary School                                   Mary Tsukamoto Elementary School
Harriet Eddy Middle School                                      Edward Harris, Jr. Middle School
James Rutter Middle School                                       Elk Grove High School 
Franklin High School                                                  Laguna Creek High School
Monterey Trail High School                                       Pleasant Grove High School
Sheldon High School                                                  Calvine High School

Elk Grove Unified has partnered with many community organizations to provide volunteer opportunities for students in service learning programs. These community partners fund 62 percent of the program.  They include:

California Waterfowl Association
Cosumnes River Preserve
Elk Grove Historical Society  
Florin Resource Conservation District
Laguna Creek Watershed Council                         
Sacramento River Cats Baseball Organization          
Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

For more information on Elk Grove Unified’s service learning program, please visit: www.egusd.net/calserve. The website has information about community partners, features individual projects, provides access to forms for teachers and provides information on service learning to the community.


Spotlight Archives
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Sept. 18, 2007 - Options abound on new College and Career website
Oct. 3, 2007 - EGUSD elementary schools participate in Walk to School Day
Oct. 15, 2007 - Markofer Elementary offers “Donuts for Dads/Muffins for Moms"
Oct. 23, 2007 - Time of Remembrance Project and Website
Nov. 13, 2007 - Veterans Day celebrated at Elk Grove Unified
Nov. 15, 2007 - Winners announced for No Excuses – Go to School Rhyme and Poster Contests

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