ECS National Center for Learning and Citizenship
700 Broadway, Suite 810
Denver, CO 80203-3442
Project Leader and Acting Director
Assistant Editor/Administrative Asst.
Assistant Policy Analyst
Visit the Raymond Elementary School Web site
Read an article about the school: "Raymond students plant school vegetable garden."
Raymond Elementary School is unique in that it is a single school district. Raymond Township is a rural community not far from Milwaukee. Raymond School's service-learning program strategy is policy-driven and includes ongoing assessment of needs through school-developed surveys of students, parents and staff. The strategic planning process for the district included sequencing of service-learning practices and policy, beginning with determining needs, setting policy and establishing practices. Raymond School has a service-learning advisory board made up of teachers, students, parents and community members who provide leadership in service-learning practices and programs. This board wrote the service-learning mission statement which the school board adopted in 2006.
Students from Raymond have participated in the Environmental Survival Challenge, a three-week summer program that encompassed urban environment, local waterway survivability, and recreational activities and needs. An annual summer school enrichment program has led to another opportunity for service-learning. For example, Raymond staff and students created an outdoor classroom/environmental area. Students learned about the environment and determined the best ways to create a classroom that would benefit the entire school. They built benches, planted and marked flowers and other plants, created stepping stones, and built bird feeders and houses.
Raymond School leadership cultivates new and emerging leaders by investing in their growth and professional development. Teachers and staff are encouraged to attend professional development programs, workshops and conferences on service-learning methodology. Raymond is a member of the Southeastern Wisconsin Service-learning Consortium which uses the cohort professional development model to train teachers and provides resources to help them incorporate service-learning in their classrooms. Staff members also have attended the State Superintendent's PK-16 Service-Learning Institutes and the National Youth Leadership Conference.
One of Raymond School's most successful partnerships is with its own Raymond PTO. The School and the PTO work together to create an environment for and provide funding for service-learning projects. Another community partner, Runzheimer International, approached the school and asked how they could help support the service-learning efforts. In addition, 7th- and 8th-grade students have worked with Epstein-Uhen, an architectural firm, in a master planning process to address the needs of the school district and community in the coming years.
Raymond is moving from an instructional practice project-based model to a curriculum-based model incorporated into the school culture. They are working to move teacher practice from textbook focus to a constructivist approach that incorporates essential understandings, differentiation and assessment for learning. Teaching teams are given half-day planning times each semester to plan specifically for service-learning and curriculum mapping.