"Rippowam Cisqua strives to instill in students a strong sense of connection to their community and to the larger world. We, as a school, recognize the common humanity of all people and teach understanding and respect for the differences among us."

- excerpt from Rippowam Cisqua School Mission Statement

Service Learning Program Mission

At RCS, we are committed to engaging our students in real-world learning through service. We believe in the academic and social benefits of empowering our students to make a difference in the world through service learning. Service learning at RCS is taught and experienced through the lenses of philanthropy and community partnership. This type of learning raises awareness of others and issues of social justice, has a direct impact on the surrounding community and fosters a lifelong commitment to helping others within the community. Our service learning program, through education and volunteer work, teaches citizenship, civic engagement and service for the common good. At RCS we strive to create good citizens in addition to good students.

Lower Campus Philosophy

We start our program with the smallest of blocks and with the youngest of students. On the Lower Campus, from JPK through 4th grade, we teach our students about the word “philanthropy,” its Greek roots meaning “love of humanity”, and what that means to each age group. Our students understand the basic definition of philanthropy as the giving of time, talent and treasure for the common good, to make the world around them a better place. We impress upon our students that everyone, regardless of age, can be a philanthropist.

Focusing on the concept of philanthropy, supporting service activities bring the concept to life and provide meaning to our youngest students. These service activities also emphasize the importance of community partnership, working with others, for the common good. Further, with philanthropy and community partnership as underpinnings of the service learning program, we have a platform upon which to vertically integrate the service learning curriculum, one that grows in meaning and sophistication with each grade and one that bridges the Lower Campus to the Upper Campus.

Upper Campus Philosophy

RCS students on the Upper Campus build upon the foundation of philanthropy and community partnership that is developed on the Lower Campus. With this foundation, our older students work to enhance and strengthen our community partnerships year after year. At the same time, within the context of these community partnerships, the students explore issues of social justice. They think critically about these issues and, as a result, take informed action within the school, local and global communities.

Service learning on the Upper Campus starts with in-school discussions and dialogue but progresses quickly to direct engagement with community partners to reach those in need. Students and faculty meet to prepare for these volunteer opportunities before visits. They meet again afterwards to share reflections and to understand the reciprocal nature of their outreach. Through service learning, our students are encouraged to break down stereotypes and “recognize the common humanity of all people.” At its most sophisticated level, our service-learning program teaches our students to think critically about the many challenges faced by people in our surrounding communities and globally and how to effect systemic change for the common good in our increasingly complex world.