National Center for Learning and Citizenship at ECS
700 Broadway, Suite 810
Denver, CO 80203-3442
Associate Policy Analyst
Asst. Editor/Administrative Asst.
Visit the duPont Manual High School website
duPont Manual High School is an optional, comprehensive magnet high school that serves grades 9-12 and offers unique academic programs for qualified students with special interests, talents, and ambitions. Students come from all over the city and are extremely diverse in socioeconomic status, ethnicity and cultural background. With strong backing from the district superintendent, service-learning has been mandated for high school students in the district (Jefferson County Public Schools). In working to build sustainability for service-learning, they created a packet that included a letter to parents explaining their projects and asking for their support, pages for students detailing expectations and information on the difference between community service and service-learning.
During the recent 2009-10 school year, students created project proposals, were monitored for progress throughout the year, took part in a "Celebration Fair" to showcase their learning experiences and compiled individual portfolios documenting their time and effort, including weekly reflections and culminating with a reflective essay. The fair served as an assessment for the project and consisted of a project board display featuring the idea, the process, the implementation, the learning goals and the impact on the community.
Since sustainability depends on good relationships with community partners, they are being surveyed for impact of the service on their organizations, challenges encountered, and recommended solutions, suggestions for improvement and willingness to work with future students. School leaders who are spearheading the service-learning movement at duPont Manual are beginning to monitor and share with other schools data about community partnerships.
Future plans include pre-and post-tests for students over a four-year period to measure awareness of civic responsibility and assess the long-term impacts of service-learning. duPont Manual also plans to get the support of the school board and take the lead in encouraging other district schools to tie service-learning into their school improvement plans and curriculum standards. Another key strategy is implementing service-learning professional development for teachers. Utilizing the knowledge and experience of teachers who have incorporated service-learning into their classrooms, duPont Magnet High School plans to provide experts to other teachers who are interested in using service-learning as a way to engage students academically and civically.