More information about this region's service-learning programs can be found by contacting the following local educational agencies:
Irvine Unified School District
5051 Barranca Parkway
Irvine, CA 92605
Coordinator: Abby Edmunds
San Diego County
Julian Charter School
The Julian Charter School (JCS), a public kindergarten through grade twelve school sponsored by the Julian Union School District (JUSD) in San Diego County, was incorporated in July 2000 and serves more than 1,700 students. As a tri-county charter school, the JCS draws students from San Diego, Orange, and Riverside Counties. The school’s focus is workforce and college preparation through an innovative, thematic academic curriculum. In this community of learners, there is collaboration among educators, business and nonprofit organizations, and individuals outside the school system to enable all JCS students to acquire a culture of caring and respect and to connect to school, family, and the community.
The school employs more than 100 credentialed teachers, who work with parents and students to design an individual instruction plan that fits each student’s learning style and educational goals and prepares students to enter the workforce or attend college. Parents have a choice of home schooling, independent study, or academy classes, in which students attend classes on site two or three days per week. In each geographic area, local specialists offer classes on subjects that range from art to agriculture and that have been integrated with service-learning activities.
The vision for the school’s service-learning project, ACT I, II, and III, is to expand service-learning training for all stakeholders; provide service-learning experiences and opportunities for all students at all three grade spans; and increase service-learning partnerships and networking. The school’s board has established a service-learning policy that will be reviewed and revised annually to address the essential components of high-quality service-learning projects.
The JCS values service-learning as a meaningful strategy to connect academic content, the community, and student service to those in need. The school believes that service-learning adds relevance to students’ educational experiences by providing hands-on learning and real-world opportunities to solve problems and implement solutions. Service-learning activities include training seeing-eye dogs, volunteering in hospitals, assisting with Amnesty International projects, and fostering pets for the Humane Society. The school also provides such mentor service-learning activities as reading to elementary students, teaching board games to younger students, delivering newspapers to the homeless and elderly, playing music at convalescent homes, assisting at the public library, and working with kindergartners on speech patterns under a speech therapist’s supervision. Additional service-learning activities that benefit the needy include collecting and filling backpacks for victims of Hurricane Katrina, beautifying local sites through “Art in Service,” and providing turkey dinners for the homeless on Thanksgiving Day.
Key partners to ACT I of the JCS service-learning policy include the 150 members of the Business Roundtable for Education, Volunteer San Diego, Workforce Partnership, Neighborhood House, and the school’s students, parents, administrators, and teachers. The advisory committee supports the ACT Lead Teacher and the JCS staff and is the project’s major decision-making group.