Pacific Ridge School Integrates Community Service Into Academic Curriculum to Strengthen Communities Locally and Abroad

San Diego, CA, May 27, 2010 --( Service learning classes and activities in schools integrate meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities for the common good. Service learning at Pacific Ridge begins in Middle School with the introduction to six different community organizations that address a local need. Through a structured program, all students participate in service activities, take time for self-reflection, and share projects with the school community. The Middle School service learning program sets the foundation for students to transition into Upper School with an idea of the community or cause they would like to spend more time and energy serving.

Middle School projects and specific activities include:

A Head Start into the Culture of American Education, in partnership with the MAAC Project

Mentor young children in reading, language arts, math, and social and motor skills development

Practice Spanish language skills

Create language-learning tools to assist the students at Head Start in English language development

Animals: Our Friend and Helpers, in partnership with Helen Woodward Animal Center

Examine animal science

Organize food drive for pets

Donate food to homebound seniors
Make pet toys, accessories and blankets for local animal shelters

Garden Entrepreneurs, in partnership with the Arc of San Diego

Help Arc of San Diego clients develop an understanding of where food comes from and how to leverage surplus harvests as a source of income
Help in developing, planting, maintaining and harvesting the garden

eRecyclers: From Purchase to Recovery, in partnership with eWorld Recyclers

Tour a technology dismantling plant
Dismantle and examine household technology items
Learn about water conservation strategy of native plants
Plant and care for a native plant garden

Nature is Our Mother, in partnership with Center for Natural Lands Management

Work in several plant restoration projects in Carlsbad and Oceanside
Plant seeds, water plants, propagate native plants, and remove invasive plants from local trails

Sustainability at Work

Visit companies that have adopted energy saving, waste recycling, and water conservation strategies
Participate in construction of solar ovens and Altoid battery chargers for cell phones

In the second stage of the service learning program, Upper School students choose a service group to which they commit time and energy for an entire academic year. These groups are student initiated and managed, from crafting the mission statement and goals, to forming the community partnerships and funding. Students meet weekly for service activities both on and off the school campus.

Upper school projects and specific activities include:

Animal Allies, in partnership with Green Oaks Ranch

Clean the nature center
Raise money to build an aviary
Develop peer presentations and petitions on animal rights violations
Mail letters of concern to the Ambassador of China’s Wildlife Association

Coastal Clean-Up and Pacific Ridge School Campus Stewardship, in partnership with California Coastal Commission

Adopt Moonlight Beach in Encinitas
Collect and recycle plastic bottles and aluminum cans on campus and keep the Pacific Ridge community environmentally conscious

Friends Assisting Special Needs Teenagers (FAST), in partnership with The Country School

Develop relationships with special needs students
Launch origami club, lead sewing projects, make greeting cards, organize an Easter Egg hunt
Organize fundraisers to fund projects

The Modern Prometheus, in partnership with eWorld Recyclers, Nile Sisters, Harvest 4 Humanity, and Military Outreach Ministry

Help host the eWorld Recycling event in Carlsbad
Focus on making the “Surya” less costly and better performing
Hold a working electronics drive at school

NKT Connections, in partnership with Raksha Nepal, Golok Sengcham Drukmo Home for Girls, and the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy

Work with local community college design class to make posters for the Tibetan orphanage
Contact volunteers in Kenya, Tibet and Nepal and initiate a pen-pal program with the women in Nepal and girls at the Soccer Academy

Wise with Water, in partnership with Seychelle

Raise money to purchase water filtering drinking bottles and negotiate with the Red Cross to teach Haitians how to use the bottles

In the final stage of the service learning program, students may pursue service in the classroom through the “Serve to Learn” class that delves deeper into the approaches and efficacy of non-profits and government organizations. Though no longer an obligatory part of the academic day, students are given the opportunity to apply their passions toward a self-initiated pursuit via a service group, internship, and/or a study project. Such pursuits are supported by and all students are encouraged to share experiences with the larger school community. For more information about service learning at Pacific Ridge School, visit

About Pacific Ridge School:
Opened in the fall of 2007, Pacific Ridge School is a non‐profit, independent middle and high school located in the North County, San Diego. With the distinctive mission of building a community that fosters academic excellence, ethical responsibility and global engagement, Pacific Ridge offers a first-rate educational experience to prepare students for college and a purposeful life. For more information, visit Pacific Ridge School does not discriminate on the basis of religion, gender, sexual orientation, race, creed, or national origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, and other administered programs.

Pacific Ridge School
Caroline Callaway
(760) 918-0792