Hopewell ECS Service Learning Project

“Nurse’s Needs” Service Project Empowers Hopewell ECS Students
Posted on 01/30/2020
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Alexis Rhodenbaugh's first-graders pose with the 200+ items they collected for a recent drive benefiting their school clinic. While the inspiration for a recent service project was just steps outside of a Hopewell ECS first grade classroom, the lasting impact of their work reaches much further. 

“At the beginning of all of this, they had no idea what it meant to be a community, but by keeping our cause super local, they could actually see the impact they were making,” said Hopewell teacher Alexis Rhodenbaugh of her students, who took it upon themselves to fill a big need in their school community. That is socks, underwear, pants, disinfectant wipes, paper towels and other essentials that their school clinic - located just around the corner from their classroom - was running low on with still more than half of the year remaining. 

“It was so great to have their support in restocking our shelves with items that their classmates will benefit from,” said Hopewell’s nurse, Lisa Brady, who met with the students throughout the process to answer their questions and help direct their project.  

The class coined their project “Nurse’s Needs,” developing their own list of action items needed to pull it off and then assigning tasks to their classmates. The first-graders completed everything from the flyers to the morning announcements to the handmade donation bin that they placed outside of their classroom. In the end, their efforts yielded more than 200 donations for the clinic. 

“Helping people when they need something is nice. It made me feel happy,” said first-grader Olivia Ringenbach.  

Driven by the social studies learning standard to understand the components of a community, Rhodenbaugh dreamt up the project-based learning activity that started with a single question: How can we fill a need in our community? The experience put students in the driver’s seat, empowering them to direct their own learning. It’s just one more example of Lakota’s district-wide commitment to more personalized, or student-centered, learning. 

“I really didn’t think much was going to come of it, but it just goes to show what’s possible when you give students some control of their learning,” Rhodenbaugh said.