At St. Mary’s School, we think the whole point of education is to develop a base for well-considered action. We lead students to see themselves as an essential element in the world’s process of improvement. And our students don’t wait until they’re older to show everyone how it’s done. Here, our capacity for compassion and critical thinking applies to our lives beyond the boundaries of the school community. We work together on individual, short-term goals—such as preparing for high school—as well as on more forward-thinking endeavors of entrepreneurialism, philanthropy and leadership. Every day, in countless ways, we prepare for what comes next. Through our Service Learning program, students work to address issues affecting local and global communities. By Middle School, St. Mary’s School students step forward to develop all aspects of these service learning projects, from inception to completion. Our Leadership Program further teaches that leadership is a characteristic anyone can display. This program culminates with an annual award to the grade 8 student who best exemplifies the values of the St. Mary’s School community
St. Mary’s Service Learning programs foster the development of an intrinsic mindset in each student to connect and engage with communities, locally or globally. As students identify and work to address a diverse array of issues affecting people and the planet, they grow socially and spiritually, while developing strong leadership skills. The processes learned through service-learning programs help to boost academic achievement by applying knowledge of content and curriculum. Additionally, students cultivate a commitment to civic involvement and develop personal and social skills needed for the global work environment.
Early Education and Lower School teachers provide the initial introduction for students’ connectivity and related responsibility to causes in need of support. Teachers present relevant learning activities by connecting curriculum with projects to add greater meaning and provide measurable outcomes. Through role modeling from teachers and other leaders, students discover concrete examples of the processes involved in creating, planning, promoting and executing a project or service.
The MYP Community Project is the final component of the IB Middle Years Programme for every student in Grade Eight. The aims of the MYP Community Project are to encourage and enable students to take action and address a specific need within the community by demonstrating the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to complete a project over an extended period of time, communicate effectively in a variety of situations, demonstrate responsible action through, or as a result of, learning.
Students benefit from opportunities to use practical skills associated with higher order thinking skills while developing character traits and leadership abilities. It often has the added effect of linking students’ academic and career goals as they make a deeper connection to communities. The immediate result of the program is enhanced interest and ownership, while the long-term effect is an increased level of citizenship, appreciation for the needs of others, as well as self-worth and character building.
Each year we are so proud that our students embrace this opportunity to create a meaningful representation of their complete education as they positively affect social causes.