Irvine Unified School District to hold second annual Service-Learning Share Fair

IUSD will celebrate a number of projects that have benefited students and their communities this year during the second annual Service-Learning Share Fair on Tuesday, May 10. 

Set to take place from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Irvine High School gymnasium, the fair will feature an open house, student performances and an awards ceremony to recognize students and staff who engaged in service-learning, which combines community service projects with standards-based instruction. (In March, we posted a story about one such project from Plaza Vista School, where kids formed a choir that performed for local seniors.)

In 2009, service-learning in IUSD was expanded when the district and the nonprofit group Team Kids were awarded a state “CalServe” grant, which encouraged students to serve their communities and boost their academic skills at the same time.

The grant, providing $86,000 annually for two years, was specifically designed to support a school district and a nonprofit partner. Team Kids was already working with IUSD students to address big-picture issues such as hunger, homelessness and the environment.

Under the CalServe Initiative, all K-12 IUSD teachers and high school students were offered trained in the principles of service-learning. Participants then developed a menu of potential projects, and Irvine schools became eligible to apply for “mini-grants” to support their own site-based initiatives.

To date, more than 8,000 students have participated in service-learning projects from schools throughout IUSD, aided by community partners including Wells Fargo Bank, Smart & Final, Tilly’s, Nissan USA, Starbucks Coffee Company and Team Kids.