Community Service Learning
Community service learning is essential to our instructional methodology. Students become involved more deeply in all of their learning. Through the experience of sharing and working to create a stronger community and a healthy environment, our students often make inspired leaps of understanding and empathy.
But one of the reasons we employ Community Service Learning so much is because of the particular lessons it imbues. It teaches our students about the power for good they have and connects them to the world around them. It encourages students to take responsibility for others, and to derive satisfaction from the application of their work.. Community service learning and study tours encourage students to apply their education to events in their own lives and help them become active participants and valued citizens both within and beyond the boundaries of Turning Point.
Environmental and service learning education is integrated throughout the science curriculum. Through science, students learn that they can create positive changes in the world. Students become even more interested in the world outside of the classroom by observing the lab animals, including a variety of reptiles, amphibians, arachnids, fish, birds, and mammals. Students regularly see mice being born and chicks hatching from eggs. Many students volunteer to care for and study these animals in their free time. The students also visit animal rescue facilities, such as the Eco Station.
Study tours, speakers, and service learning projects extend science students’ learning into the larger community. Outside speakers from organizations, such as Heal the Bay and a variety of animal programs, visit the classroom, and Turning Point’s parents in the medical profession speak to Level 5 students as they study human biology. Students visit a variety of museums and public facilities, such as the California Science Center, the Aquarium of the Pacific, the Santa Monica College Planetarium, the Ocean Discovery Center, and the Challenger Learning Center. Students complete field studies at Ballona Wetlands, Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Refuge, and the Santa Monica Mountains and experience whale watching, tide pooling, and life on a farm. Many of the field studies also include service projects. For example, students remove non-native plants and transplant native plants in the Ballona Wetlands. They also clear brush and plant wildflower seeds in Sepulveda Basin and plant acorns and oak seedlings in the Santa Monica Mountains. As part of their tide pool trip, students participate in a beach clean-up.