Visit the Waterford High School Web site
Waterford High School participated in the Schools of Success Showcase in Nashville, Tennessee, May 4-7, 2011. View their presentation (PDF, 150K).
Waterford High School is located in Waterford, Connecticut, a suburban town in the southeastern corner of the state on the Interstate 95 corridor, north of the Long Island Sound. The Waterford Learning Through Service program was established in 1992, when the Waterford Board of Education adopted a policy to create an 80-hour community service graduation requirement. Since that time, Waterford has been part of numerous national service-learning initiatives, including as a Service-Learning Leader School, a demonstration site for F.E.L.L.O.W.S. and for Opening Schoolhouse Doors.
Waterford defines Learning Through Service as a teaching and learning approach that integrates community service with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities. Teachers are not required to use service-learning as a teaching strategy, but instead are provided with resources to integrate service-learning into their curriculum. In Freshman Seminar, all of the student body participates in at least one classroom-based service-learning project. The Student Advisory Board created a "Tools to Teach the Hands that Reach" toolkit for teachers.
A full-time Learning Through Service Coordinator is available for training workshops and to assist with project planning. Waterford has several professional days incorporated in its school calendar which allows time for the Learning Through Service Coordinator and teachers to conduct workshops. Waterford has facilitated many conference workshops, attended regional planning and promotion meetings, and played a vital role in the planning and implementation of the New England Service-Learning Conference.
The development of a Learning Through Service Advisory Board, consisting of community members, teachers, students and parents, and coordinated by the Learning Through Service Coordinator, has been a catalyst for the continued success of Waterford's program. Meetings with the local Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and Senior Community Center, where community members talk about their success in having students partner with them, encourages new community members to open their doors to students. Networking with parents and community members at all school functions also has been an invaluable asset to the Waterford program.
Waterford currently has a data collection system which tracks students' service. They are looking forward to taking data collection to the next level so connections can be made to high school completion rates and to student academic success. Plans are currently underway to develop an on-site, interdisciplinary greenhouse project. By partnering with area businesses, parents and the school's neighboring senior center, students will have the opportunity to learn new skills, connect with Waterford's agrarian past, and provide flowers, herbs and vegetables to the community.