Service Learning & Leadership
Among Almaden Country School’s founding principles is the emphasis we place on citizenship, as reflected in our school-wide Character and Competence program, our annual Patriotic Assembly, and our co-curricular service learning activities.
Across all grade levels, ACS students engage in service to their classroom communities, their school community, the local community and beyond, an essential practice that we believe is integral to their formative development as learners, friends, citizens, and leaders.
Each year, opportunities emerge for ACS students to mobilize in support of various charitable efforts, such as helping to provide disaster relief, supporting American troops overseas with needed supplies, or otherwise assisting local community members in need. Additionally, our students participate in school-wide service programs throughout the academic year.
Collectively, the young people of Almaden Country School contribute more than 500 hours of service to their community every year. This serves as strong testimony to the high priority we place on service at ACS.
Examples of service-related activities in our Elementary grades:
- The Birthday Book Squad (BBS) hosts an annual school-wide book drive, coordinated by the school’s librarian. Since the event began in 2007, BBS students have collected more than 6,000 books and redistributed them locally and globally to those in need.
- Starmites is an after-school performance troupe that extends our Elementary-grade musical theater program. Participants rehearse the show for several weeks, after which they stage performances at local venues including nursing and retirement homes, hospitals, and other care facilities.
- Over 500 pounds of Halloween candy has been collected and donated by the 4th and 5th grade classes in each of the past three years. Last year, the candy was “sold” to a local dentist, with all proceeds donated to Project Night-Night in San Francisco.
In Middle School, the concept of community service takes on new depth and meaning, as each grade level works as a class to investigate, plan, conduct, and reflect upon various service projects. Our students serve as the leaders of these initiatives, with teachers acting as resources for support when required. Working together in an area of need that matters most to them, students contribute to their local and regional communities while learning valuable lessons in civics and leadership along the way.
In addition to the school-wide service program in our Middle School, students are offered the opportunity to select Service Learning and Leadership elective courses including Community Service, Issues and Choices, Yearbook, and Social Justice. Students must complete at least one elective class in this area as a requirement for graduation.
As students engage in the ACS service learning program, they not only participate in a wide variety of both organized and informal service projects, but they are also invited to reflect thoughtfully on their experiences as service-providers. Key to this reflection is the idea that, along with our privileges as Americans, Californians, and residents of the beautiful Almaden Valley, comes a responsibility to give back to the community at large. Through service learning and thoughtful reflection, we develop and sustain a culture of generosity among our students.