Quarrier Corner: Opportunities abound for Dells students
September 12. 2013 12:08PM
Students have many academic and vocational opportunities at Dell Rapids High School. There are, of course, the required mathematics, English, science, and social studies classes. In addition, students are able to specialize with agricultural courses such as wildlife and fisheries or industrial technology courses like drafting or cabinetry. If those subjects don’t interest students, they have the option of creating videos and websites or perhaps even studying media and film productions or profound tragedies in American History. The options students have are both many and varied.
There is value in having choices; choices allow students to be unique, to explore new interests, and to build mastery in areas of study they are passionate about. We are always attempting to offer students meaningful and timely course choices. During the 2013-2014 school year, we are adding an additional course option. Students at Dell Rapids High School now have the opportunity to participate in a Service Learning course. In this particular course, students are assigned to a district staff member, oftentimes a teacher, and they work with that person throughout the semester. The process of working with a staff member begins with both individual and collaborative goal setting. Throughout the course, students will reflect on those established goals and work to achieve them.
Although we are all familiar with both the terms service and learning, it may be helpful to better define the goals of our service learning course. “Service learning is a flexible method of teaching and learning that applies academic and real-world skills to create meaningful youth-led experiences with community partnerships. The goal of service learning is to empower youth to become engaged in their personal, social, and working lives.”
During the first semester, approximately thirty students are participating in this service learning course. They are partnered with teachers at the elementary school, the middle school, and the high school. Students are helping elementary students practice reading skills, making sure books in the library are ready for checkout, and facilitating correct and safe power-tool use in the high school shop. Some tasks students participate in may not seem as important as others, yet in every task, students are learning an important lesson. Regardless of the size of the task, they are helping someone to be more effective, more organized, more prepared, or more successful. They can take pride in the services they perform. As someone once advised, “Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes, those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts.” In the midst of the information and skills our students are learning at Dell Rapids High School, perhaps one of the most valuable lessons they will take with them is to serve others. Through that service, they will be able to positively affect the world around them.