More information about this region's service-learning programs can be found by contacting the following local educational agencies:
Kern County Superintendent of Schools
1300 17th Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
Coodinator: Michael Figeroa
Santa Barbara County
Santa Barbara County Office of Education
The Santa Barbara County Service-Learning Initiative includes 14 districts, 40 Title I schools, and a county office and represents more than 29,000 students. The initiative identifies teacher advocates for service-learning activities; provides professional development to support teachers; links service-learning units to the state academic content standards; and promotes policy that supports teachers who use service-learning to help students to meet California’s academic content standards.
Teachers who are involved in special education, alternative education programs, and traditional classrooms are active in this initiative. Three case studies that represent each grade span are chosen. Staff development opportunities include sharing effective methods and the challenges of integrating service-learning in various academic content areas. The service-learning experience includes community assessment; students’ representation; civic responsibility; and time to assess the experience before, during, and after a project. An evaluation process permits the development of service-learning goals and the review of a project’s outcome through case studies.
Community partners participate in the initiative as partners in service-learning activities, members of the advisory committee, supporters of classroom teachers, and monetary supporters for service-learning institutionalization. Representative community partners include the Cottage Hospital, the Dunes Center, the Veneco Corporation, and the United Way Foundation.
The long-term working relationship of all partners and a clear organizational structure are the strengths of the service-learning initiative. The Santa Barbara County Board of Trustees and the superintendent avidly support the program. Communication flows freely through countywide curriculum council members, each school’s service-learning site advocates, and the service-learning steering and advisory committees. Program decisions include input from site administrators, teachers, students, parents, and community partners.
The Santa Barbara County Office of Education’s (SBCOE) priority is to develop a service-learning professional development program and build a cadre of service-learning site advocates. The initiative introduces innovative technology and online capabilities to share service-learning activities, provide feedback, and highlight successes. The use of this technology demonstrates how service-learning benefits all students, in particular those who are disadvantaged. Funding from the California Department of Education’s CalServe Initiative assists teachers who have developed and implemented innovative service-learning projects that address community needs. The district’s service-learning coordinators and the region eight lead oversee the development of the countywide, service-learning Web site, which has been designed to inform administrators, school staff, teachers, students, parents, and community members about service-learning.
Santa Barbara County Office of Education
4400 Cathedral Oaks Road
P.O. Box 6307 (mailing)
Santa Barbara, CA 93110-1042
Coordinator: Art Fisher
Phone: 805-964-4711, ext. 4100
San Luis Obispo County
Paso Robles Joint Unified School District
Paso Robles Joint Unified School District (PRJUSD) is located in northern San Luis Obispo County, serves roughly 6,900 students in kindergarten through twelfth grades, and has 11 ethnically diverse school sites. There are currently 367 teachers, 23 district and school site administrators, and 7 board members who serve the students in Paso Robles, as well as 2 private faith-based schools within the district’s boundaries.
The PRJUSD Strategic Plan affirms that "the success of our democracy depends on PRJUSD students being literate and productive members of society" and that "PRJUSD is a primary setting for instilling the value of citizenship." Moreover, according to current board policy, "the Board encourages staff to collaborate with local public and nonprofit agencies in order to develop service-learning activities that meet educational objectives and also fit in with the current community efforts to meet human, education, environmental and public safety needs."
The PRJUSD CalServe Service-Learning (CSL) has been in existence for five years, and currently has approved hundreds of grant-funded service-learning projects throughout its existence in every school site. Students from PRJUSD have presented at youth panels and workshops for the California Service-Learning Institute and Region 8 institutes. Several district and school programs and initiatives have been transformed by implementing the service-learning methodology. These include the Math, Engineering, Science, Achievement (MESA) program; Greenworks Program at Liberty High School, Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID), Leadership and Peer Counseling, Bearcat Community Alliance for Sustainability Earth, Future Teachers, Special Education, and others. The 76 current partnerships include Paso Robles City Personnel and many service club organizations. Some of our ongoing partnerships include: The Paso Robles Wastewater Department of Public Works, Twin Cities Community Hospital, Lions Club, Creston Village, Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, People’s Kitchen, San Luis Obispo Genealogical Society, Loaves and Fishes, California State Parks, American Cancer Society, Special Olympics, Senior Nutrition Program, El Camino Homeless Organization, and middle school after school programs run by the San Luis Obispo Young Mens Christian Association, and Boys and Girls Club.
Currently, Paso Robles is engaging teachers in developing service-learning curriculum that will be implemented in kindergarten through second grades, third through fifth grades, sixth through eighth grades, and ninth through twelfth grades with the goal that every student in the district will have at least one service-learning experience per grade span. Teachers and school administration at each school site receive training in service-learning on a yearly basis through staff meeting time. PRJUSD CSL utilizes site advocates as well as an advisory committee to help disseminate information and shape the service-learning program. The Advisory Committee and the Site Advocates will continue to forge community partnerships that lead to sustainability through the use of in-kind materials, staff, and training.
Students of different ethnicities, ages, and genders serve together. Socially, economically, and physically disadvantaged students serve and are served through this program.
The PRJUSD CSL publicizes service-learning efforts to encourage their adoption throughout the community, and hosts an annual awards ceremony to honor service-learning participation. In 2009-2010, over 200 teachers implemented service-learning with over 4,000 students. They anticipate over 150 students will earn the prestigious President’s Volunteer Service Award at an achievement forum in June. PRJUSD CSL continues to improve service-learning efforts through assessment and evaluation of the program.