Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the questions that have come my way regarding the Service Learning course. If I can offer an overall statement of encouragement, it would be this: JUST START. It won't be perfect in the first year, the second year, or the 100th year; but, this class is fun to teach and it is a way to leave this world a little better than we found it. Please go be the change we all NEED to see in the world.
How many kids are in the class, and how many course sections do you teach?
About 25 but the course would work with less or more. Currently I have one course section and am considering creating a second "advanced" course for kids who wish to continue with the curriculum. Update: As of June 2016 a second level of the course, Service Learning Leadership 2, has been UC/CSU approved. We will pilot the class during the 2016-2017 school year. SLL 1 and 2 students will be in the same class and the class will run with about 35 students in it.
How do you recruit students?
Use any “marketing” channels your school employs. Put information in your daily bulletins, email updates, principals’ letters and make posters and flyers to post around campus. Our school also has “Lunch and Learns” where teachers can give overviews of their class to interested students during our lunchtime. I have also given mini-presentations in willing colleagues classrooms as well as to clubs that make sense such as Model United Nations. Lastly, I have given lengthier presentations to our PTSA and our local chamber of commerce. Word of mouth has been key to students finding out about the course.
How are students chosen for the class?
There is a short application that students submit. The application includes a teacher recommendation form. I choose participants based on this submission. Please email me for a copy of the application and then update for your own program needs.
What is the Leadership Department?
Something we think is awesome! Please click HERE for a full overview.
How did this course start?
As a labor of love! As well as in a "meant to be" sort of way. Please click HERE to read the course history.
How much money does it take to start this course?
I was lucky enough to receive some funding from my school for instructional materials. However, there is no magical start-up funds amount. It would be very possible to start the course without a class set of books. Please see the resource page for more information.
Do SLL classes need to fundraise?
Most likely yes. Most of our fundraisers go to pay for project supplies that students need for both class and individual projects. I think it is important for students to fundraise and be held accountable with a budget; however, funding needs will be dictated by your school culture. Please see our fundraising page for more ideas.
How do you decide on service projects?
I originally started with just implementing my own ideas but as the course grows, the class is definitely affected by students’ own ideas. In addition, as parents and community members start to hear about and understand the course, they have offered many and varied ideas on amazingly worthwhile nonprofits to work with. After two years of teaching the course, there is no shortage of projects in which to get involved.
What does UC Approval mean?
This means colleges recognize the course as an academic elective and give students admissions credit under their “G” elective requirements. Please click HERE for more information.
How do I get started with teaching the course?
Set a meeting with one or more of your administrators. Review with them why you think this course would be well received by your school community. From there loop in your ASB director, any Department Chairpersons and parent groups that make sense for your school culture. Review your district's course adoption policies and then proceed with that protocol. Once everything is approved, start to let your student body know about the opportunity to take the course!
My administrators are on board, and I am fired up! After we adopt the course, recruit students and decide on materials to buy...WHERE DO I START?
Examine your school’s culture…what needs to be done? Is there more to do on your campus or off? Are students at your school already involved in volunteer work…where/how can you and they go deeper? Are there current projects that need an infusion of inspiration and manpower or do you need start some of your own? There are no right and wrong answers on how to get this course started! The course exists to serve the unique circumstances of individual schools, students and communities. I encourage you to be willing to try and fail and learn and be vulnerable all along the way. There is also a timeline on the resources page as a potential blue print and/or to spark some of your own ideas.