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TASIS - The American School In England TASIS - The American School In England
Carolyn Norris, Coordinator of Community Service at TASIS England

WHY IS SERVICE LEADERSHIP IMPORTANT?

“Education is service, and I believe we are put on this earth to make some contribution, to try to leave it a little better place than we found it.”  These wise words from our School’s founder, Mrs. Mary Crist Fleming, have been at the very heart of a TASIS education since 1956, and they continue to guide us through the TASIS England mission today.  Our focus on service leadership as one of the outcomes of a TASIS England education emboldens our students to flourish as principled, open-minded, and compassionate members of a global community.  At TASIS England, our community’s commitment to service leadership is seen in the many dynamic and meaningful service endeavors that our students engage in from Lower School through to Middle School, Upper School, and beyond.

Lower School service leadership focuses on connection and collaboration. Students seek to sustain positive relationships that make our school and community safer, healthier, and more inclusive. All students are encouraged to look for opportunities to be principled and to show empathy and compassion. Additionally, all Fourth Graders are a part of the Student Council. This group gives feedback on the operations of the Lower School. Each trimester, new students can apply to lead the Student Council. Language Ambassadors from Second to Fourth Grade support new students, run assemblies, and celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of those in our community.

Middle School students participate in a Community Service Program (CSP) and earn House points based on the time they devote to service. Each Middle School House also sponsors a charity throughout the year, in addition to supporting the local Runnymede Foodbank. Students also have opportunities to engage with the School's mission statement to reflect on what it means to be a 'compassionate member of a global community.'

Service leadership is implemented in the Upper School academic program through a requirement for all students to participate in the Community Service Program (CSP) or, for IB Diploma candidates, the Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) Program. From their learning and experiences inside and outside of the classroom, Upper School students create meaningful and engaging service projects.  Volunteering for more than 15,000 hours of community service each year, students make a difference at school, in the local community, and worldwide.  

Already this fall, service initiatives have included a partnership with the Runnymede Foodbank on the Stuff a Stocking Project, with students, faculty, staff, and parents working together to fill holiday stockings for local children in need.  The Peru Club recently organized the Walk for a Cause to support a school and an orphanage in Peru, and students and teachers gathered on a Saturday morning for a churchyard clean-up at the historic church next door to our school.  

In mid-October, Grade Nine students and advisors will participate in a Morning of Service on campus and in Thorpe Village, and student leaders are currently organizing a Senior-Freshman Buddy program so that older students may mentor Grade Nine students as they begin their Upper School journey.  Our students’ service leadership also takes them all around the world, as highlighted in two recent Spotlights on Service that featured our students’ volunteerism at a dog shelter and an archaeological site in the Republic of Georgia and with a Non-Governmental organization that serves youth in Colombia.

Through participation in Upper School clubs, students also find that they can make a difference to the many charities with whom they partner.  Clubs such as Aiding Afghan Refugees, Allies for Animals, and Romanian Children’s Relief allow students to address issues of local and global importance.

With service leadership at the heart of a TASIS England education, students are emboldened to make connections between what they learn in class and how they can play their part in making a difference in the world.
 

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