Community Service Improvement Bill

Sponsored by LHS Student-Faculty Senate, passed on May 4, 2011

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The Senate requests that homeroom teachers and counselors, at least twice a year, discuss with each of their students his or her progress in meeting the school goal of ten hours of Community Service a year and in filing paperwork according to the deadlines stated below. Students should state specific plans for achieving their yearly goals. Community service should be celebrated in homerooms and students should be encouraged to help each other to complete their obligations.

Completed Community Service forms must be submitted to the Community Service Secretary within the quarter following the last date on which the service was performed. Hours completed in the summer must be submitted by the end of the first quarter.

Hours rejected solely due to late filing will be credited if the following occurs:

  1. The student appears at a meeting of the Board of Appeals no later than the quarter following the rejection of the service, with paperwork approved for the type and hours of service.
  2. The student, in discussion with the Board, reflects on the service performed and its meaning to the student.
  3. The Board votes to grant the credit, based on the satisfactory completion of 1. and 2.

In order to facilitate a transition to a consistently enforced school policy, all students have until the end of Quarter 1, 2011-2012 to submit to the Community Service secretary paperwork for service performed at any prior time during their high school career, and this service will not be rejected for lateness.

It is suggested that the Board of Appeals meet on the same day as Attendance appeals for the convenience of scheduling and announcements. The Board of Appeals will establish any procedures necessary to carry out this new task.

The Community Service secretary shall keep a record of student hours rejected for late filing and each student’s homeroom teacher and guidance counselor shall be informed of these hours.

The Student Handbook should be updated to describe the relevant provisions of this bill.

The Senate will provide quarterly reminders through homeroom announcements to students to fulfill their Community Service and file their paperwork in a timely fashion.

The Senate will evaluate the success of this new policy in one year.

Rationale

  1. The Senate commends the administration and counselors for working with upper class students in danger of failing to complete their community service, and commends the Community Service Secretary for posting periodic reminders of deadlines in homeroom announcements.

Nevertheless, this is insufficient support for students. The community service requirement and firm deadlines for filing forms are justified only if the faculty supports students in their efforts. This support must be ongoing so that students perform their service in a meaningful and reflective way and report their service in a timely fashion.

The Senate created the Community Service requirement and the faculty voted to continue it when it created the current school Mission Statement. The Senate cannot command the faculty to support students but it is the intent of this bill to suggest that it has a moral obligation to provide the same level of support that is given to students who have long term assignments in academic courses, namely with: A requirement for students to have a plan for achieving their goals. Periodic check-ins. Recognition of ongoing success.

This obligation falls naturally upon homeroom teachers and counselors and time for them to carry out their work should be provided by the administration, perhaps with extended homeroom periods.

  1. From the recommendations of the Community Service Report of 2006: “…, the committee believes the program cannot be successful without the voluntary commitment of faculty and students. Specifically, faculty and students must seek out students who are disengaged from this process, and encourage timely group participation in service to the community.”

  2. Senate Bill 4-88 specifies certain procedures for the Board of Appeals to follow which may need to be modified to hear Community Service appeals. The Board is hereby authorized to exercise its judgment in making these modifications.

  3. The Social and Civic Expectations of the LHS Mission Statement. Students at Lexington High School will . . . learn to make appropriate and healthy choices that foster their personal well being, and will seek support when needed for academic, social, physical, mental, and emotional issues. demonstrate self-awareness, tolerance, and respect while cultivating social skills that reflect self-assurance, kindness, and tact. act with integrity and be accountable to themselves, to the school, and to the community at large. participate in meaningful community service activities that expand their life experience and benefit others. act as responsible citizens, recognizing the important stake they have in the school community while finding constructive opportunities to influence its direction.