The middle school students participated in their second Service-Learning day last Friday, January 17. Students in three of our sixth grade advisory classes planted over 100 plants in the “Living Library” at St. Mary’s Park. The Living Library has several sites in the Islais Creek Watershed area and supplies California-native, drought resistant plants to various locations around the city, helping support biodiversity and prevent erosion in the parks. Our students’ hard work was featured on the Living Library blog.

Our fourth 6th grade advisory class did a large amount of research, followed by an elaborate democratic decision making process, and chose to do “Random Acts of Kindness” for their Spring Semester Service Learning project. Their day began at the “New Lib Community Garden”, located one block from CACS. This garden is dedicated to growing food for those who need it in the Western Addition. They learned about their work from the garden Coordinator, and pitched in to pull out a huge pile of invasive Oxalis. Mid-day they enjoyed a picnic lunch in the park, and in the afternoon continued to be randomly kind by making friendship bracelets for their 1st grade book buddies, who received them with the kind of joy that 1st graders excel at demonstrating. Finally they made “Free Compliment” tear tab posters and posted them all over school. All pull tabs, informing people that they’re awesome, they’re smart, among other good things, were gone by 3:15.

Our seventh grade advisories visited the SF Food Bank, where they arrived at 9 am to begin one of two projects for the day. During the first project, students were distributed along an assembly line to pack food boxes for senior citizens in need. Each student was responsible for putting a different item, such as canned corn, chili, beans, rice and more, in the box. Hundreds of boxes were passed rapidly from student to student down a row of rollers to the end, where boxes were tapped and stacked on pallets. While students worked collaboratively, music blasted and some students sang along. For the second project, students put on gloves and hairnets and repackaged white rice from a huge bag into one-pound bags for easier distribution. They ended the day by updating the 3D art installation in the CACS cafeteria in order to provide a visual reminder for students to separate their trash, compost and recycling.

The 8th graders stayed at school to work on their Adobe Youth Voices media projects. Students are working in small groups to create a film, print, or music video that makes a statement about a topic of importance to them. Students are using adobe software to create a finished product to submit to the international Adobe Youth Voices Live event. They are working in collaboration with Adobe and the Bay Area Video Coalition on this project.

Overall, the second middle school Service Learning Day of the year proved to be a great success, and students look forward to their continuing work in the community.