Ruby ’15 and Ayva ’15 during their multi-month service project as 8th graders.  They received the Make a Difference Award from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 2014.

A core value at Berkshire Country Day School is Citizenship: We guide all members of our diverse school community to become ethical, engaged, and informed global citizens

I’m excited to share that Associate Head of School Leigh Doherty is leading an intentional process this year to deepen our commitment to this value by establishing a school-wide goal to broaden Service Learning initiatives at every grade level.  Service, a tradition at BCD for so many years, and Service Learning will be a central topic of our in-service day on October 2nd.

Service Learning at BCD is based on the belief that all great service is rooted in one’s capacity to care deeply about an issue. Our approach to Service Learning encourages students, working with the adults in the community as mentors, facilitators, and partners of their ideas, to identify issues they are concerned about and to research ways by which they can act and make a difference

 The following chart shows how “Service Learning” is considered different than “community service”:

Our model for engaging students and our community in Service Learning follows a cyclical, process-based approach:

Inquire: Students are facilitated in processes that enable them to bring issues and concerns forward. 

Identify: Then, the group(s) identify an issue and develop strategies for learning more about it and what can be done to make a short or long-term, positive contribution.

Investigate: Students study the issue and develop strategies for working with others within and around the school community with the goal of developing a partnership with these individuals and/or organizations.  Together, they plan the service work, how to communicate what they will be doing, and gather the necessary resources required for accomplishing their plans.

Action: The service is performed in an on-going manner.

Reflect: Students discuss and/or document the processes and work completed to date.  In addition to documenting the work, they are guided to express their feelings and how they are benefiting from their involvement in the service. The students collectively evaluate their work and plan for the future.