Greenwood’s Service Learning program was featured recently in a Maclean’s magazine advertorial on CAIS schools. Such recognition is well-deserved, as this program is one of the cornerstones of our emphasis on character and provides a great opportunity for our students to build emotional intelligence and greater understanding of communities outside of Greenwood.
To ensure this program continues to evolve to meet the needs of our students, we have dedicated full-time leadership to it. Since her return from maternity leave in August, Rachael Brownell-Swain has been working diligently to update the orientation program for students new to Greenwood, as well as developing new service opportunities for students. She is supported in this work by our four apprentice teachers, all of whom are recent graduates of Ontario teacher education programs.
Since service learning is mandatory for our Grade 7 and 8 students, we feel it is important that students gain some understanding of the Regent Park community, as it will help them work effectively with their students partners on literacy initiatives at Nelson Mandela P.S. or Lord Dufferin P.S. To accomplish this goal, students have used some Wednesday morning time to work with their advisers on learning about the history of the Regent Park neighbourhood, as well as how they can support the host school’s literacy goals.
Though the program is not mandatory for our Grade 9 to 12 students, at this point, we have over half of our high school students enrolled in programs that begin on October 25. Some of these students will be working in Regent Park schools in support of the host school’s numeracy and peer mentoring initiatives. Other students are engaging in our long-standing programs with Hockey HEROS, Claremont and making crafts for patients in the Camp Ooch program at Sick Kids. Other students have signed up for some new programs, such as working on art projects with local seniors, helping out in a clothing bank, or volunteering with the David Suzuki Foundation. This latter initiative was created last spring as part of our Grade 10 Civics program. Integrating service learning within the classroom is one of the areas Rachael and her team are trying to build on throughout this year.
If your child is in high school and has not signed up for a program, please encourage them to do so. Our advisers will also follow up with students who have yet to participate in the program and do their best to get students involved.
Ultimately, we want all of our students to recognize that by volunteering, they can make a positive impact on the lives of other people. Building this understanding in an authentic context is one way our students can learn to be global citizens and people of good character.