Community Service Learning
Service Learning Program
At Malibu High, we want to equip students for life beyond our doors by integrating a sense of citizen responsibility. The Service Learning Program introduces students to meaningful and engaging civic and social activities outside of student life.
Middle school students complete service-learning projects in each grade level as part of their curriculum while high school students must contribute 80 hours of service learning to graduate. We set bench marks of 20 hours per grade level. (For more program detail please see Program Overview).
Malibu High School's Transition from Service Only to Service Learning
Traditionally, Malibu High School has had a "service only" program of community service. That is, all community service took place out of the classroom and was entirely separate from class activities. The new Service Learning (SL) Program now champions the concept of service learning. In Middle School, service learning opportunities are built into the Social Studies/Humanities curriculum.
Service-learning, as defined by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, is "an innovative instructional strategy that actively involves youth in the curriculum through service to their community." Service-learning differs from traditional community service activities because it intentionally integrates the service experience with the curriculum—allowing students to gain a deeper understanding of key concepts while developing their skills as active and thoughtful citizens.
A service-learning activity or project consists of five key elements:
- Meets a real community need
- Integrates into and enhances the curriculum
- Coordinates with a community agency, another school, or the community at large
- Helps foster civic responsibility
- Provides structured time for reflection
A Renewed Vision for Malibu High School: Putting the Learning back into Service Learning
Our vision of transitioning to service learning is supported by organizations such as the National Youth Leadership Council and CalServe. Extensive research conducted on community service learning affirms its value. Academically, service-learning students exhibit higher GPAs and enhanced writing and critical-thinking skills. Adults who experienced service-learning during their teenaged years are more likely to be politically and socially connected to their communities, serve as role models for young adults, and attain a higher level of education.
Service Learning can and should be an integral part of a rigorous academic program. Service Learning can connect individuals to real work in a broader arena outside the confines of the classroom. It can help individuals to develop responsibility, initiative, and caring. Since the creation of Malibu High School 15 years ago, a significant time commitment to service learning has been a graduation requirement. Over the years, however, the integrity of this requirement seems to have eroded with too many students struggling to complete their hours through meaningful service learning. A committee of teachers, parents, and students has been meeting under the guidance of the MHS School Site Council to address this.