Community Service

Rationale

In addition to a strong academic program, we want to instill in our students a connection to the community around them.  Community Service is an opportunity for students to analyze a need, evaluate how they can make a positive contribution, and then create a way to affect change.

As our students mature through the grade levels, they move from memorization to understanding and finally to applying their learning. The community service program must grow with them to provide age appropriate opportunities to make a difference in the world around them.

Hillcrest Commitment to Community Service

Guiding Principles

  • Connect with our school community.
  • Connect with our greater Oakland schools community.
  • Connect with our greater Oakland community.
  • Honor community service work done by students with their families & community groups.

Philosophy

You don’t have to be powerful to make a huge impact on your community.  Community Service TEACHES and MODELS for our children what it means to be part of a community.  Our community is Oakland.

Expectation

All Hillcrest students – from kindergarten through 8th grade – can contribute their time and effort to better their community.

Paradigm Shift

In the past, children collected money or things to contribute to organizations to which they had little connection or follow-up.  The child’s focus was on competing to see who could collect the most.  We believe there is more power in DOING.  If we gave more of ourselves: time, effort, talent, we create an opportunity to connect and interact with those we are helping.

Hillcrest Community Service by Grade Level

Grade Level Project Curriculum
Kindergarten Piedmont Gardens Senior Center Learn songs to sing to sing to seniors at a senior center.
Sending student art, letters and writing to seniors. Build empathy and awareness of different generations.  There are also lessons on the importance of caring and giving to others (Life Skills).  Art and writing for a purpose.
First Book Drive – for libraries and schools with few books Students build an understanding that many children are less fortunate than them and that they can help them.  The lessons will reinforce an on-going curriculum focus on the importance of learning to read and reading often. Students make posters that encourage book donation. Students count and sort books according to genre.
Second Food Drive for Alameda Food Bank A representative from the Alameda Food Bank gives lessons on the need for food in our community, as well as, health lessons on the different types of food the body needs.  Students make posters to encourage families to donate non-perishable food.  Students count and record the amount of food donated by food group.
Third Henry J. Robinson Multi-Service Center Making lunches for families living in shelters.  Develop empathy and awareness of families in crisis in Oakland and how to help and make a difference.  Lessons in art (decorate bags), letter writing, hygiene (washing hands), healthy food, and nutrition.
Fourth TBD
Fifth Temescal Invasive Plant Removal/
Davis St. Recycling Ctr
Living Systems (FOSS):  Learn about native vs. non-native plants and the effects of non-native plants in the ecosystem.  Help restore a local park to its native state.  Participate in Hillcrest Green Team activities:  learn about food waste and recyclables, and where trash goes when we throw things away.
Middle School* School Service and Individual Community Service Projects Continuing the learning begun in the lower grades—empathy for others and care for the environment–the middle school service program focuses on our unique opportunity as a K-8 school to give back to our school community thru school service.  Middle school students can make an impact on their school through their role-modeling and leadership of the younger students, fundraising efforts, and care for the school site.  Students who already participate in service programs with their family, or other charitable organization, may get credit for these hours as an alternative. For more details go to the Middle School Community Service section.
Hillcrest Helps Out Families Reaching Out to Other Oakland Schools Our school community service coordinator looks for opportunities several times per year, for Hillcrest parents and students to work together to make a difference at other Oakland Schools.  We try to select projects that encourage parents and children from the school we are helping to join us in making a difference.
Sister Schools:  We are “Sister Schools” with Lockwood, Santa Fe, Sankofa, and Piedmont Avenue.  Over the years, we have also provided support to Allendale, Think College Now, Lincoln, Reach Academy, Lakeview, Madison Middle, Lazear, Maxwell Park, Place at Prescott, Hoover, West Oakland Middle School and Emerson.


Middle School Community Service

The Middle School Community Service program is a continuation and extension of the activities in which they have participated since Kindergarten.

Guiding Principles:

  • Connect with our school community.
  • Connect with our greater Oakland schools community.
  • Connect with our greater Oakland community.
  • Honor community service work done by students with their families and community groups.

Philosophy and Expectations

You don’t have to be powerful to make a huge impact on your community.  Community Service TEACHES and MODELS for our children what it means to be part of a community.  Our community is Oakland. All Hillcrest students can contribute their time and effort to better their community.

In the past, children collected money or things to contribute to organizations to which they had little connection or follow-up.  The child’s focus was on competing to see who could collect the most.  We believe there is more power in DOING.  When we give more of ourselves in the form of time, effort and talent, we create an opportunity to connect and interact with those we are helping.

Every Middle School student will have the opportunity to connect and feel ownership of their school through their service to the younger students, and the Hillcrest community as a whole. Ongoing projects have been established at each grade level as defined below. Other projects are funded with volunteer time and effort as they arise.

Parent Support

As detailed in Volunteer section of this handbook, the Community Service coordinator works with established service opportunities and helps students find interesting and fulfilling service activities.   If you have an idea for service activities feel free to get in contact with the coordinator.

Service Activities at Hillcrest

Listed below are examples of possible service activities at Hillcrest. Activities are focused in three areas:

  • Helping younger students (e.g. tutors/reading buddies, PTA babysitters),
  • Making the school a better place for all (e.g. safety patrol, green team), and
  • Raising money for the middle school (e.g. Pizza Friday and the Pumpkin Patch).

Expected Grade-Level Service Activities

Grade Level Activities
6th & 7th Grade Spring carnival/walk-a-thonPizza FridayPumpkin Patch
8th Grade Fall Annual BenefitPumpkin Patch

 

Service Opportunities for All MS Grades

Activity Description
First Grade Reading Buddies Read with a 1st grade student for 30 minutes a day on Tuesdays, Thursdays and/or Fridays after school under the supervision of a first grade teacher.
Tutors Tutor a 2nd – 5th grade student after school for 30 – 60 minutes on topics assigned by the student’s teacher, in that teacher’s classroom.
Teacher’s Assistants Assist teachers with projects, usually before or after school.
Fundraising Volunteers Assist with middle school fundraisers (Pizza Friday, Pumpkin Patch, etc.) to raise money that defrays the cost of the annual middle school overnight trip.
Green Ambassadors Help younger students organize lunch waste into food waste, recycling, and trash so that they will deposit waste into appropriate bins. Opportunities exist every day at lunch.
Office Assistants Answer phones, take messages and log student absences in the school front office before school starts.
Library Assistants Help monitor the library, check out books, and shelve books before school, after school and/or during lunch recess.
PTA Babysitters Babysit for PTA Board Members/PTA Meetings once a month from 6:00 – 7:00 pm.   Volunteer shifts are listed on MS Community Service Bulletin Board.
Safety Patrol Assist 4th & 5th grade safety patrol members with car door opening before school. Safety Patrol training class required.
School Garden Projects Assist with the school gardening projects to beautify our school grounds, as directed by Hillcrest Gardening Committee.

 

Service Activities in Hillcrest at Large

Our school community service coordinator looks for opportunities several times per year as part of our “Hillcrest Helps Out: Families Reaching Out to Other Oakland Schools” program.   The goal is for Hillcrest parents and students to work together to make a difference at other Oakland Schools. The program tries to select projects that encourage parents and children from the school we are helping to join us in making a difference.

Hillcrest is currently “Sister Schools” with Lockwood, Santa Fe, Sankofa, and Piedmont Avenue. Over the years, we have also provided support to Allendale, Think College Now, Lincoln, Reach Academy, Lakeview, Madison Middle, Lazear, Maxwell Park, Place at Prescott, Hoover, West Oakland Middle School and Emerson.

We encourage MS students and their families to participate in “Hillcrest Helps Out” as much as possible.