The Maret School’s service learning program incorporates community service projects into traditional academic courses. The purpose is to connect with others by meeting genuine community needs through lasting institutional partnerships. Maret believes that service learning directly supports the core of their educational mission: “we prepare our students to become responsible, thoughtful, and well-informed adults who are able to play an active role in improving the world." Each grade level at Maret participates in a year-long community partnership to further this mission. They are as follows:
K-4: Martha’s Table
The Maret Lower School has a longstanding tradition of working with the early childhood program at Martha's Table. Martha’s Table is a non-profit organization located in Washington, DC, that is dedicated to filling the core needs of over 1,100 families and children struggling with poverty each day. Throughout the school year, Maret classes visit Martha’s Table weekly to work with a class of three-year-old children. The Maret students develop and facilitate the activities, which often relate to their own studies. This program gives the Lower School students the opportunity to cultivate interpersonal and academic growth through service learning.
1st Grade: Living Classrooms
1st graders work with the Chemistry in the Community high school class to grow and release shad in partnership with Living Classrooms and the Anacostia Watershed Society.
5th Grade: Methodist Home, Chevy Chase House And Army Distaff Foundation/Knollwood
Integrating service learning into the curriculum represents a commitment to fostering an understanding of older citizens in the community and deepening connections to Maret’s core values. The 5th grade partners with The Methodist Home, The Chevy Chase House and the Army Distaff Foundation/Knollwood. Each week the students visit with the residents at these homes, engage in discussions with them, and ultimately learn from them.
6th Grade: So Others Might Eat (Some)
6th grade students at Maret have established a partnership with students from the Washington Middle School for Girls, a Catholic girls school in Washington, DC established to provide a caring and safe environment for young girls who are living in underserved neighborhoods. Once a week the students come together to serve at So Others Might Eat (SOME), an organization dedicated to meeting the immediate needs of DC’s poor and homeless with food, clothing and health care. In addition to the service and collaboration amongst the students, the teachers from Maret and Washington Middle School for Girls have also established a relationship based on collaboration. Together the teachers have developed a joint curriculum that revolves around their students’ service learning projects, providing an opportunity for the teachers and students to both enjoy the benefits of working with different people from within their community.
Click here to watch a video about SOME
7th Grade: Rock Creek Conservancy (RCC)
Through a partnership with RCC, the 7th grade forms a Stream Team and is charged with caring for a significant portion of the trail through Rock Creek Park. Students conduct water testing, pick up trash and debris, and will learn about and remove invasive species. The joint efforts with RCC are tied to a curricular theme of water and will be bolstered by additional activities with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
8th Grade: Marie H. Reed Elementary School
Maret's 8th graders partner with students at Marie H. Reed Elementary School, a K-5 public elementary school in the heart of Adams Morgan in Washington, DC. In this year-long partnership, Maret students visit a Marie Reed classroom once a week to work with three and four year-olds. Reading to the students, listening to their stories, and creating activities to encourage reading and literacy skills is the primary focus of the Maret students. Through their interaction with the students from Marie H. Reed Elementary not only are early childhood literacy problems addressed, but the Maret students benefit from the community relationship that is fostered throughout the year.
9th Grade: Loaves And Fishes
9th graders from Maret focus their service learning on the problem of hunger in the community. Partnering with Loaves and Fishes, the students go every Saturday to prepare and serve meals to diners in the Mt. Pleasant/Columbia Heights communities. Students are also able to deepen their experience by serving as table volunteers, where, for six weeks, they join diners and engage in conversation, learn about advocacy, and strengthen their understanding of the hunger problem in the community.
9th-12th Grades: Pulitzer Center For Crisis Reporting
Maret’s Upper School Science classes have partnered with the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting to help students connect global environment themes with specific, local issues that tie directly to their chosen theme. The Pulitzer Center promotes in-depth engagement with global affairs through its sponsorship of quality international journalism across all media platforms and an innovative program of outreach and education.
9th-12th Grades: Teaching For Change
English classes at Maret have partnered with Teaching for Change to help foment students’ interest in the Committed Generation writers from Central America. The members of the Committed Generation were authors who used literature to shine a light on key issues such as the need for land reform, recognition of indigenous and women’s rights, exploitative labor practices, environmental destruction, political repression and violence, and U.S. intervention. Through this investigation, students will be able to draw a correlation between these authors and themselves, and recognize that their own writings can have purpose and power to make change within the community.
9th-12th Grades: Carecen-Dc
Upper School Spanish class students at Maret have partnered with the Central American Resource Center (CARECEN). CARECEN is a community-based organization that seeks to foster the comprehensive development of the Latino community in the Washington metropolitan region. On Saturday mornings, Maret students go to the CARECEN center and teach a citizenship course in Spanish to community members wishing to pass their citizenship test. This course lasts ten weeks and is conducted multiple times throughout the year. Maret students able to practice their Spanish with native speakers and better understand what it takes to achieve citizenship and develop relations with members of their community wishing to do so.
9th-12th Grades- Live And Learn
Through Maret’s Live and Learn summer programs, students to travel to China, India, Honduras or Sanibel Island for approximately one month. While there, students participate in a variety of community service projects including assisting at local schools, renovating facilities, or volunteering at an orphanage. The students also participate in intensive language learning classes as well as live with families from the community to further their language learning as well as expose them directly to the culture.
9th-12th Grades- Hope for Children
Maret enjoys a very special relationship with the non-profit, Hope for Children in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. HFC's president Carol Rhees is a World History teacher at Maret who has designed and taught a service learning curriculum focused on domestic and global hunger, with particular emphasis on Ethiopia. Through the ninth grade service learning program and summer travel opportunities for Maret sudents and faculty, Maret's entire community has had the opportunity to learn about and meet the needs of children and families affected by HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia.
Horizons Greater Washington
Originally a partnership between Maret and HD Cooke Elementary School , Horizons Greater Washington has expanded and now includes four other schools in the metropolitan DC area. This larger partnership advances their goal of encouraging a diverse group of K-8 children from low-income families to develop a lifelong interest in learning, advance academic gains over the summer and improve overall achievement in school.
Conceived as a program that would reach out and serve children from low-income communities, the Horizons mission remains essentially unchanged today. Over the years, the program has grown in numbers and complexity, but its focus on the excitement of learning remains its guiding principle. Horizons is designed to encourage students from a diverse low-income population to explore new worlds and to realize their full potential.
Horizons partners with public schools to serve students with a broad range of academic abilities in a six week full-day educational enrichment summer session. Students make enormous gains in academics and confidence and return to their schools better prepared for the year ahead.
To learn more about Horizon National, please click here