One of the most intense, and least understood of our efforts at ISK relates to what we do when not with students. Our Teachers and Assistants, as learning professionals, work tirelessly when not with students to both reflect on how learning is going and to work on how the teaching and learning process can continue to improve. We are always working on our school and on our craft. Sometimes the work is on student data and progress. Sometimes it is on specific elements of teaching methodology. Often it is on moving forward one of our programs and ensuring that we are all on the same page with what we are trying to achieve.
Our last in-service afternoon, focused on our ISK’s Purpose Statements, and our commitment to developing a “Culture of Service.” The staff worked together on forming the first draft of what will become our Philosophy of Service. Motivated in part by the work that has been going on in our CAS and Service Learning Programs, and in part by our work on Accreditation, and brought into focus by the efforts we are making ats a community on the Szlachetna Paczka fundraising efforts, we felt it would be important to reflect on why we do community service, and why service is important as a part of realizing our school’s purpose.
So, beginning from the foundation of ISK’s Purpose Statements (Mission, Vision, Philosophy and Transfer Goals), our teaching staff created a Philosophy of Service to help us maintain focus and to direct our efforts. This work will be followed up in two more sessions to determine in more concrete detail what that all means, and how at every grade level we can continue to develop a culture of service and empower our students to take responsibility for their community as global citizens. The philosophy is below.
But, before you read it, ‘Tis the season of giving, and I want to thank everyone for their generosity in giving the Szlachetna Paczka fundraising, as well as for your generosity throughout the first semester with your time, effort, and support. We are stronger and better because of everything you do.
I wish everyone a very restful, fulfilling, and caring holiday.
Philosophy of service (draft)–
“At ISK we believe that our school mission should be lived outwardly as well as inwardly. Intellectual and personal development manifests itself not just in individual growth, but also in the way that we give to the community of which we are a part. Service forms the backbone of our community, and we look for evidence of commitment to service from all students, parents and educators who are a part of it. Being empowered together means we inspire and support each other, and we work together to ensure that the spirit of service remains vital to our community.
There is a connection between knowledge and action, and ISK learners are expected to apply their critical thinking, research, communication and social skills in both structured and spontaneous ways to serve the community. Concern for others is a quality promoted throughout the school, and we celebrate the caring ways in which learners at all levels contribute. Service acts can be big or small, short or long-term, rooted in the curriculum or occurring outside the classroom. Service is a habit, whereby growth sometimes means acting out of one’s comfort zone, but always guided by the ethical principle that making a positive contribution is better than doing nothing at all.
The valuable range of diversity at ISK allows us to reflect more productively on the variety of needs and ways to meet them, which may differ from one community to the next. But all members of ISK are united in their understanding that empathy, respect, and a genuine desire to make the world a better place are concepts common to us all, and that being a world citizen means continuing to contribute to one’s community for life.”