Community service has a powerful impact on students but how do we design a program that ensures our students are unlocking their potential?
This topic is even more relevant as 31 states have added a community service component into their Every Student Succeeds Act plans.
Here are my five tips for school leaders as they think through their community service programs and how they can enhance these opportunities.
1. Communicate Goals
What is the collective impact you want your school community to have? Communicate these goals to your students and staff early and throughout the school year so they see themselves as part of the solution. The frequent communication – perhaps a quarterly update at staff meetings or all-school assemblies – will help drive energy.
2. Eliminate the Paperwork
Too often, I have seen our educators get bogged down in spreadsheets and stacks of paper as they collect and verify service hours. Find a platform that removes this paper-based process so educators can focus on what really matters: students.
3. Evaluate How Your Students Track
Our students live in a digital world and are always on the go. Asking them to track their hours on paper is inconvenient and cumbersome. Find a solution that provides students with a mobile-friendly solution to effortlessly log their participation.
4. Gather Insights
What kinds of key insights do you currently have about the kinds of community service opportunities your students value? It’s important to know what matters to your students and staff so you can maximize these opportunities going forward.
I can’t stress the importance of celebrating your school’s community service milestones and achievements. This should go beyond an announcement – gather your data and pitch it to the news media, compile it in a report for your Board of Education and email other key community partners with this information. Find a solution that lets you create customizable reports to target all of these important stakeholders.
I am excited to share more information about the power of community service. I built Transeo to help school districts across the country accomplish these five things so we can empower and celebrate community service.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more.
Together, we can empower community service programs and help students and build resilient communities.
About the Author
David R Schuler, PhD, Transeo CEO and President
Dr. David R. Schuler, a national education leader and superintendent of High School District 214 in the northwest suburbs of Chicago, is passionate about the importance of community service learning and preparing all students to be college, career and life ready.
Dr. Schuler launched Redefining Ready!, a national initiative around post-secondary readiness, during his time as 2015-16 president of AASA, The School Superintendents Association. In 2018, Dr. Schuler was named the Illinois Superintendent of the Year and that same year he was named the AASA National Superintendent of the Year.
Dr. Schuler earned his bachelor’s degree from Carroll University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Wisconsin.
Transeo was founded by educators and for educators because we believe community service programs not only increases future chances of success, it fosters active citizenship, empowers individuals and builds resilient communities.
Our entire team believes in a future where students are defined by determination, resilience, and hard-work. We also believe that future starts with giving students tools like Transeo Serve Community Service Tracking App. A community service tracking app helps them find track and manage their community service to help them unlock their potential, help others and transform their community. Let’s work together to make this a reality.