From Kindergarten on, service learning figures into every grade at Carlthorp School.
Students participate in community service activities like book drives to refurbish another school’s library, beach clean-ups, furnishing an apartment for Upward Bound House, or Thanksgiving meal collections. In the 6th Grade service projects are student-driven, which means that members of the class break into small groups, choose to research and then to advocate for a cause that is meaningful to them.

As a result of the process students learn about the value of this kind of service, service that can speak to them individually. Teachers emphasize the importance of asking questions instead of making assumptions when it comes to meeting the needs of others. At this point students compile a needs assessment to gauge how they can best use their talents, passion, and energy to create an informed and successful project, one that will make a difference.

The research and exploration continues as students journey to Washington, D.C., where they meet with lawmakers, policy experts, NGOs, and journalists to learn more about their chosen causes and to investigate them as student journalists. The service learning experience culminates in the spring after students return from the D.C. trip, having learned even more about their chosen causes. All are motivated and eager to finalize their project ideas.

Examples of Policy Teams

List of 4 items.

  • Climate Change

    The students in this group learned about how climate change is impacting our environment, here in California and around the globe. They worked to raise awareness and promote the idea that every person has the power to reduce his or her carbon footprint to take action on this issue.
  • Endangered Species

    The pangolin is the world’s most trafficked animal, yet the majority of the world’s population has never heard of this adorable, scaled mammal. This group of students worked to raise awareness about the poaching of the pangolin and its use for (scientifically unsound) medicinal purposes.
  • Child Labor

    From the strawberry fields of California to the garment factories of Bangladesh, children around the world are often forced to work to help provide for their families. The students in this group advocated for increased labor inspections, corporate transparency pledges, and greater adherence to, and enforcement of, child labor prevention legislation and policies.
  • Gender Equality

    This group worked to understand the plight of students across America who encounter discrimination based on their gender identity. By spreading awareness about real people and their stories, the students’ ultimate advocacy goal was to encourage enforcement of the Safe Schools Improvement Act.