…an award for 7th and 8th grade students who contribute significantly to the improvement of their school
or the greater community through service learning…
All Mesa 7th and 8th grade students may choose to earn the Mesa Public Schools Silver Service Award for Excellence in Service Learning. Students who earn this Award will receive:
* A certificate with a “Silver Seal”
* A notation of the Award on their permanent record
The Silver Service Award will be awarded to students for their completion of 50 hours of unpaid service during their 7th and 8th grade years of junior high. Those hours include preparation, action, and reflection. Students may earn hours from the first day after 6th grade promotion through 8th grade.
Students may earn hours from a combination of curriculum-based and extracurricular service. The two options are described below.
Option A: School-Based Service Learning
Option A occurs when a teacher uses service learning as an instructional strategy. Through a particular class, students are involved in service to the community that has a direct correlation to and reinforces the course goals and objectives. Service may take place during class, or beyond the school day. Some examples are:
- Project Citizen students research a local issue and take action to solve the problem.
- English students write and illustrate original short stories to donate.
- Teens and Teaching students create and lead lessons for elementary students.
- Performing arts students sing, dance, march, and play at a senior center or in a city-wide parade.
- American History students interview senior citizens and publish oral histories.
- Science students develop a xeriscape garden on campus.
- Students in a school club manage the school recycling program
- Students in NJHS or a service club conduct a school-wide drive.
- Students help with the school’s yearbook, newspaper, or video journalism.
Option B: Extracurricular Service-Learning
Option B occurs when students are involved in service activities that are not part of an academic class. The activities may be organized by a community organization, or one or more students with an original idea. Examples are:
- A student tutors or translates for peers.
- Students clean up yards or make cookies for the elders of their church community.
- A student volunteers at a food bank with his/her family.
- A student volunteers as a camp counselor during the summer.
- A student serves as an assistant coach, timekeeper, or manager for youth sports.
NOTE: "Student Aide” does not receive service hours unless it is done before or after school hours.
OPTION B ACTIVITIES HAVE TO BE PRE-APPROVED BY THE SERVICE- LEARNING COACH BEFORE HOURS MAY COUNT TOWARD THE HONOR.
TRACKING AND PAPERWORK: “The Rules”
A Service Learning Coach at each junior high will track student progress. Students may check with their Service Learning Coach about the service learning entries and hours that appear on their individual student records and transcripts. The Mesa Service Learning Advisory Board will assist the Coaches. If necessary, appeals may be taken to the Advisory Board.
OPTION A: Teachers are responsible for submitting the names, project titles, and number of Option A service hours for their students at the end of each semester. Those hours are then entered on the students’ records. The Service Learning Coach maintains a file of the Option A projects and hours submitted by the teachers.
OPTION B: Students are responsible for completing the proper paperwork for Option B service activities: an application and timecard for each service site and a summative reflection presentation on all of the year’s service. The application and reflection instructions are available from the Service Learning Coach or the website, but the timecard is only available from the Coach once the proposed activities have been approved.
First, the student submits one application for each service site that outlines the planned activities. Students may submit as many applications as necessary.
Second, the student maintains one timecard for each service site with dates and times of the service hours. The cards are due May 1. Before the cards are turned in, the service hours on the card should be totaled and the adult supervisor should write a short evaluation of the student in the space provided and sign the card.
Third, the student presents a reflection project in May to a small audience that demonstrates what the student learned from the year’s service experiences. Students will be notified of their school’s reflection date and should not miss this important event. If students do not complete a reflection project, their hours will not be recorded on their transcript.
- Option B activities MUST be approved by the Service Learning Coach BEFORE the student begins receiving credit for the service hours.
- After students turn in their timecards in May of 7th grade, they may want to immediately apply for a new timecard if they are continuing their service activities for the rest of the school year, through the summer, or into 8th grade.
- Once a new cycle has begun, students may not record hours from the previous year.
- Upon completion of eighth grade, students may apply for the high school level Honor for Excellence in Service Learning, and they may earn hours during the summer between 8th and 9th grade toward the Honor.
- Junior high hours do not count toward the "Honor for Excellence" senior high award.
Service learning activities will not be approved which:
- Relate to a for-profit business
- Are done as part of religious education or a religious worship service
- Benefit the student’s relatives
- Are “babysitting for free”