Here are some examples! Every year, the 8th grade takes part in a service intensive. They reflect on what they think constitutes service, go out in the community for three days to work on behalf of others and reflect on their experience in service journals. Over the years, Four Rivers 8th graders have cooked hundreds of community meals, made holiday pies for distribution at the local food pantry, and worked in the local Head Start programs to support teachers and children.
A group of cooks pose with some of their creations. By the time they were done, they had made enough food to serve dinner to 160 people!
Every year, the 9th grade does an expedition focused on immigration. A significant part of the work they do involves researching issues that affect immigrants, interviewing people who have recently arrived in the United States, and developing presentations that advocate action to be taken on the behalf of immigrants. The students go to the statehouse in Boston to lobby lawmakers. This year, the 9th grade lobbied the Town of Greenfield to become a designated safe community for immigrants and refugees, sending delegates from the grade to speak at Town Meeting. Other students worked together to create a documentary in which they chronicled what they had learned and experienced through their immigration expedition and then submitted to the local community access TV station to be aired.
students at the Statehouse, presenting to lawmakers
In 10th grade, students take part in an expedition called Do Something! They choose an issue about which they feel passionate, research and write about it in their English class and design a workshop in order to teach others what they learn. The whole school attends the 10th grade workshops each year. Their next step is to do a media campaign to further spread awareness about their issues, and last, they design and create the planner we hand out at the start of each school year. In the planner, students design pages that support the school's character virtues and include facts about the issues they studied. Below are sample pages from the planner.
The planner cover, designed by students
The intro! (written in the third person, but by the kids)
two-page spread about Autism Awareness