At Westridge, service learning is more than a staple of our curriculum—it is woven through the very DNA of our school.
Our 4-12 program emphasizes interconnection with others, asking students to consider how they can use their education and talents for the betterment of their community. Throughout their time at Westridge, girls engage in a service-learning program that teaches them how to become contributing citizens of the world.
In Lower School, service is integrated into our academic program through such projects as the year-long Think, Care, Act Project in 5th grade (a service learning project requiring students to find a problem in the community they care about and act to address it by volunteering with a local organization), and “Baking a Better World” in 6th grade (an interdisciplinary math project and fundraiser in partnership with Pasadena nonprofit Friends In Deed).
Service continues in Middle School through interdisciplinary, hands-on projects that expose students to a broad spectrum of social issues. Middle School students also have opportunities to take part in a variety of service clubs that volunteer at and raise funds for local charity organizations. One such club, the Middle School Water Warriors, has raised more than $85,000 for H20 for Life to build clean water infrastructure in countries around the world, and several founding members of the club even traveled to Kenya, Africa to see their work in action during their senior year.
Our Upper School program is designed to build on the foundation of service developed in Lower and Middle School, and guide students toward a life of true impact. From the four-year Community Action Project to service-themed clubs to monthly volunteer opportunities coordinated by our dedicated service learning faculty and a student committee, service is a core part of the Westridge experience.
In Upper School, service learning is not about students collecting service hours to meet a requirement; it’s a four-year process of community engagement that is both meaningful and personal. The Community Action Project (CAP) is the culmination of the Upper School service journey, and an opportunity for Westridge students to demonstrate how their individual interests and passions can set the stage for deep learning and service to others.
Students engage in dedicated days of service in 9th and 10th grade, organized by the school. They reflect on these experiences and consider their own interests, conducting independent, inquiry-based research into a social or environmental issue. In 11th grade, students propose a CAP of their own design, addressing a need that exists within our local, regional, national, or international community. Students connect with a local service mentor from an outside organization and work directly with their mentors throughout their junior and senior years completing field work for their project site.
The final project consists of a minimum of 40 combined hours of service, as well as a digital portfolio containing additional research and reflection.