LEADER SCHOOLS RECOGNITION PROGRAM
Florida Learn & Serve annually recognizes elementary, middle, and high schools from across Florida for high-quality service-learning. Winners receive state-level recognition and are eligible to apply for supplemental funds from the Florida Department of Education’s Florida Learn & Serve program for three years. In addition, Leader Schools receive the honor of being "active winners" for three years. As active winners, they serve as models of excellence, while encouraging and assisting others in making service to the community an important application of curricula and other school activities. Leader Schools develop and disseminate resources, give presentations and trainings, help others with replication efforts, and are ambassadors for service learning.
A Florida Service-Learning Leader School must demonstrate service-learning that enhances student learning, addresses community needs, is integrated into the life and mission of the school, and is designed to meet both student and community needs. There are many ways to incorporate service effectively into a school’s curricula and culture. This initiative recognizes schools that have done so in exemplary ways. Through recognition, publicity, and peer assistance activities of recognized schools, this initiative seeks to encourage and increase service-learning opportunities for Florida students.
In 2008-09, the Florida Service-Learning Leader Schools recognized nine schools (see list and links to their applications and web sites below) for exemplary integration of student service into the curriculum and the life of their schools. Applications are now available for 2009-10. The application files contain information on how to apply, application forms, what winners will receive, eligibility and submission requirements (applications are submitted electronically), and other pertinent information:
2009 Leader School Winners:
Chautauqua Service-Learning Charter School, Bay County
Endeavour Elementary School, Brevard County
Matanzas High School, Flagler County
South Lake High School, Lake County
Timber Creek High School, Orange County
Neptune Middle School, Osceola County
Seven Springs Middle School, Pasco County
Lakeland High School, Polk County
Young Men’s Academy for Academic and Civic Development
at MacArthur South, Dade County
Honorable Mention: Southport Elementary School, Bay County
National Service-Learning Leader Schools
From the period of 1999 to 2003, outstanding middle schools and high schools across the United States applied for and were selected for Presidential recognition through the National Service-Learning Leader Schools program. Sponsored by the Corporation for National Service, the program recognized schools for improving teaching and learning and for strengthening communities through high quality, broad-based service-learning. Approximately 200 schools were selected, including 13 from Florida, which are listed and detailed below. The National Service-Learning Leader Schools program is discontinued.
Click on any of the links below to learn more about Florida's National Service-Learning Leader Schools.
Bay High School, Panama City (2000)
Coral Shores High School, Tavernier (2000)
Douglas Anderson School of the Arts (2001)
Lakeland High School, Lakeland (2001)
Mainland High School, Daytona Beach (1999)
Neptune Middle School, Kissimmee (2000)
PK Yonge, Gainesville (2001)
Rutherford High School, Panama City (1999)
South Lake High School, Groveland (1999)
Space Coast Middle School, Cocoa (2001)
Taylor County High School, Perry (2000)
Wakulla Middle School, Crawfordville (2000)
Wilkinson Junior High School, Middleburg (2002)
2002 Florida Winner
Set in an isolated, rural area, Wilkinson Junior High School in Middleburg, Florida, is the center of its community. The school launched its service-learning program in 1995 and has become so certain of the program's positive impact that staff have written the concept into the school's mission statement. Wilkinson is dedicated to providing community involvement so that students can become confident, self-directed, lifelong learners.
Wilkinson's service-learning program gives teachers and students opportunities to enrich the educational experience by using multiple instructional approaches that strengthen learning for students with a broad variety of cognitive capabilities. The projects students undertake offer authentic, complex, multi-layered tasks that tap a wide array of human abilities and require more than just textbook learning.
"We are delighted that our students have been recognized with the National Service-Learning Leader School award," said Karen Smith, Science Department Chairperson. "Most people don't realize that 12- and 13-year olds can really make a significant difference in their communities. People around our school have seen that proven first-hand."
Taking advantage of its rural setting, Wilkinson Junior High has developed a number of environmental service-learning projects to teach students that it is their personal responsibility to take care of natural resources. For example, students work with community partner, the St. John's River Water Management District, to maintain and develop a 900-acre nature preserve for public use. Recently, students built an eagle observation site at the preserve so visitors can view an active nest from a safe distance and learn about eagle needs and habits. Three of the six active eagle nests in our county are located in the nature preserve. Of course, students are also learning that eagles cannot be preserved without preserving precious land and water resources.
Students also partner with the local DuPont Florida Plant in an Adopt-A-Wetland project. DuPont engages students in the restoration of a previously mined parcel of land. The young adults continuously monitor water and soil quality, and are also reforesting two wetlands. The hands-on nature of the project brings students' class work to life in ways that help protect the community's fragile environment.
Wilkinson Junior High's service-learning projects are vital components of school-wide strategies that have raised academic achievement, improved school climate and increased the regard its neighbors have for the school. Service-learning has made a broad and lasting impact on the school, its students and the community it serves.
2001 Florida Winners
1,200 students are involved in organized service-learning projects in various courses. A youth service-learning council disburses mini-grants to a variety of projects focusing on the environment, children, and the elderly. Other projects deal with civic development, career and college preparation, and lifetime academic achievement.
Intensive Reading and English I students tutor K-3 students in reading skills. 25 at-risk 9th-graders take part in a service-learning leadership skill-building class which focuses on designing and implementing service-learning projects to benefit the school and community. Finally, a youth council disburses funds to students groups to expand the number of service-learning projects.
2000 Florida Winners
350 students publish a booklet on two-year degree programs, lead study sessions for state tests and college entrance exams, and help rising 8th graders transition to high school.
Students test water in the Everglades, create artifical reefs, build marine display tanks for the school, and form a youth council that awards minigrants to teachers for student service learning.
Students facilitate the school's Teen Court and form a youth council in which students develop, disseminate, review, award, and monitor minigrants for student service-learning projects.
Science and math students monitor the nearby Econfina River and its watershed, test the well-water of local residents, participate in the restoration of the Fenholloway River, and teach elementary and middle schoolers how to conduct water monitoring.
Students provide home repair for indigent community memebrs, tutor, help create parks for the local community, and form a youth council that awards minigrants to teachers for dozens of student service-learning projects.
1999 Florida Winners
Over 800 students from virtually every discipline apply their instructional skills through research, restoration, and educational activities to help other students and the community learn about the Spruce Creek Tract, a wildnerness area near Daytona Beach. Weekly site visits (including transportation, fund-raising, and substitutes) are arranged through the Leadership classes.
Dropout prevention students help teachers across all curriculums to design and implement 17 different projects in the school and community, including tutoring, oral histories, and painting historical murals on town buildings.
Students in technology classes teach other students, teachers, and community members on how to use computers and scanners, access the Internet, edit video tapes, and create and maintain web sites. They also staff a technology hotline and produce a TV series highlighting outstanding teachers.