Service Learning

Trinity's Service Learning Program is an inquiry-based and student-led process that fosters compassion, social responsibility, empathy, connections, leadership, and meaningful action. 
Trinity's Service Learning Program is an inquiry-based and student-led process that fosters compassion, social responsibility, empathy, connections, leadership, and meaningful action. This enables our students to become culturally aware of issues that face our local, regional, and global communities. Which, in turn, nurtures empathy, instills courage, and encourages responsibility to take thoughtful action to improve the lives of others through a deeper human connection.

Service Learning is woven into our core curriculum and is at the heart of three of our school's Belief Statements:

We value a culture of self-awareness, empathy, and connection. Trinity Students take responsibility, practice kindness, and seek opportunities to help others.

We believe that a strong sense of self leads to self-advocacy and advocacy for others. Trinity students share their voices and talents to boldly meet the challenges they and others face.

We embrace a spirit of encouraging successes and outcomes by collaborating and honoring the contributions of everyone. Trinity students share ideas, listen and strive to find solutions for the common good.

The Service Learning Program at Trinity School offers opportunities for hands-on engagement for our students and families to help people and our environment. The learning process cultivates compassion and action by challenging students to choose projects of interest, research to learn more, collaborate to create presentations to share with the community, and take action to help solve problems.

Trinity's Service Learning Program: 

Cultivates empathy and understanding of others' situations

Builds an understanding that students can make a difference now and in the future, which develops hope for being part of positive change in the world

Scaffolds from student initiative and choice, based upon their ideas/passions and the ability to express a unique student voice

Focuses on a process of learning through research, reflections, and actions

Develops an overall understanding of major issues in our community and world

Fosters a sense of learning from others and respecting all people, not just identifying as "helpers."

Deepens understanding by exploring root causes, complexity, and different ways to be of service

Encourages gratitude for tangible and intangible possessions

Establishes a lifelong value of regularly helping and serving others

It lives at the heart of our Episcopal identity in the central moral directive to love your neighbor as yourself

Students lead and engage the school with grade-level projects. Each academic year, we collaborate with many of our partner organizations, such as; Ecumenical Hunger Project for food drives, Achungo School in Kenya for letter exchanges and donations, LifeMoves shelter network, who helps families experiencing homelessness, and several others who we connect with when grade-level projects are chosen.

At Trinity, we do not believe service learning should be done through one-off service projects completed in one day. Our Service Learning Program is intentional and focuses on a deeper process of inquiry, discovery, and empathy-building as students explore others’ life situations and feelings. Monthly projects are driven by students in Kindergarten through Grade 5. Students develop a service project from conception to implementation and communicate these ideas to the entire student body, bringing the community together to fulfill the scope and sequence.

We support the student’s understanding and ability to identify causes that they might be able to support through issues they are learning about in class, through field trips, and through our use of guest speakers who visit campus and share their experiences. Our first guest speaker of the academic year was Lynelle Bilsey of LifeMoves, a local organization dedicated to finding solutions for homelessness in Silicon Valley. This visit prompted our Grade 5 students to take action. They worked to create a simulation that allowed students in grades K-5 to deepen their understanding of how families facing scarcity feel, the difficult and multiple choices they need to make, and how their monthly food donations can help people in times of distress. It was a powerful simulation. Below you can see some of the student's thoughts after their participation:

“I learned that it is very difficult to live with such little money… we are very lucky to have enough money, and we should have more empathy and compassion for all the people who don’t have enough money to get all their wants and sometimes even needs… You shouldn’t worry about petty little things.” - G4 Student.

“I did not know being poor was this hard. You have to make really hard decisions.” - G3 Student.

Throughout their time at Trinity, students become humbled through the multitude of hands-on experiences they have had - from the homelessness simulation to garbage clean-ups at local parks to making lunches for students who otherwise would not have lunch; these acts of service have proven to be insightful. This motivating force has developed a new and/or deeper understanding of societal issues and inequities, underlying problems, systemic causes, and deep personal connections to the rewards of giving back to the community, making an impact, and, yes, making a difference.

All Trinity graduates are keenly aware of our communities' global and local needs and feel a sense of agency, ability, and responsibility to take action. This is showcased in our Heart of Trinity awards, which are a keystone of our Grade 5 Trinity Program. Grade 5 students choose several award categories, research organizations, write letters to organizations, donate money, and present their findings school-wide.

We strive to nurture students who think deeply, care, and are empathetic. We know a student who cares will take action. That's what we're after at Trinity.

Colette McWilliams 
Director of Elementary Campus

Service Learning Calendar