The start of a new school year or a mid year service update is such an exciting time but there is much work to be done. This is the time to correctly align student and administrator service expectations. With limited time in assemblies and classroom time at a premium, it is important to be intentional. Here are five must cover topics.
Service Requirements – Clearly describe what is expected of students. Roll outs should Include quantitative metrics (total hours goals) as well as qualitative metrics (on-campus vs. in-community time). Need help? Learning to Give provides Four Types of Service Action to help with qualitative impact. This is also the time to show students where they can clearly see their progress towards these service requirements throughout the year.
Main Contact(s) – Where should students go with questions? Is your program centralized with a service-learning coordinator? Is your program decentralized with each teacher overseeing service for their students? It is important students and administrators know where to go.
Culture of Service – Why is service important to your campus? Recognize the answer is clear to us but students may not have previous exposure to service and will benefit from context. Is it part of your institution’s mission? Is it a mandated requirement for graduation? Is it a tradition that has been carried on for years? Here are ideas from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. The right context helps students understand service is bigger than themselves.
Impact Reporting – Hopefully you’re making it easy by using MobileServe! But, if you’re not, it is important students know how they will be recognized for their service. Is it pen and paper? Then students need to know where to find the new slips throughout the year. Tracking via a spreadsheet? Then students need to know which administrator they need to find and report their service. But seriously, if you are using pen and paper or a spreadsheet, we should talk!
Service Day(s) – Is your program hosting a day of service on campus or with a nonprofit? If your students are using a school email, have students mark their calendars with reminders! Better yet, have the school automatically add the day to student calendars. Here is how to automatically add an event in Gmail for Google schools or add an event in Office 365 for Microsoft schools.
Do you have key points you share when rolling out your annual service-learning program? We would love to hear from you! Please leave your ideas in the comment section below so others in the community can benefit as well. Here’s to a great year ahead!