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 Greendale Middle School website
Greendale Middle School is located in the Village of Greendale in the southwest suburban area of metropolitan Milwaukee. With a long tradition of service-learning, the Greendale School District was selected for the Opening Schoolhouse Doors program and is currently a member of a Southeastern Wisconsin Service-Learning Consortium. The district uses service-learning as a pedagogy or strategy to focus on student achievement and develop a sense of responsibility in all students.
Since 2008, the school has provided service-learning experiences through the character education program known as PRIDE (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Diligence and Empathy). PRIDE has been integrated into many aspects of the school and defines the school culture. The goal for the 2009-10 school year was to involve the entire school community and to incorporate student voice into the decisions about how the program has implemented at Greendale Middle School. Teachers incorporate PRIDE into their curriculum. For example, a service-learning project to help the people of Haiti began during an 8th-grade social studies discussion of Empathy.
Service-learning is strongly supported by the district administration. In the late 1990's the Greendale superintendent used service-learning as a way to show the district how the staff could work with students to build connections with the community and how they can contribute to student learning and address community issues. In addition, hiring criteria for new teachers includes an interest in developing a sense of responsibility in students. Professional development opportunities are provided to help teachers develop and implement service-learning experiences in their classrooms. Networking opportunities also exist through the Southeastern Wisconsin Service-Learning Consortium.
The value of positive relationships with community partners is well understood at Greendale Middle School. Building Community, which involved 6th-grade students discussing Respect, led to the identification of a need to strengthen their relationships with Village business owners, and included students conducting interviews and inviting members of the community to the school to talk to students about their businesses and role in the community. Together they discussed ways to build mutual respect and how they can make a difference in the community. These students have now formed a partnership with the business owners and are working with them to find ways they can give back to the community.
Greendale Middle School looks forward to continuing to develop additional service-learning experiences through their character education program PRIDE while helping to establish a framework to identify strategies and sharing of best practices to build meaningful service-learning experiences. Through working with the Schools of Success Network, teachers will deepen their knowledge of service-learning and have the opportunity to collaborate with other schools to receive support and share best practices.