Category Archives: Parent Resources

Do Students Experience Service “Summer Slide” ?

dsc03166_2It’s summer. Now, learning is in the hands of parents and the summer experiences our students delve into. In the last few months of school, there’s often a discussion between educators and parents surrounding the “summer slide” – the notion that students’ academic skills may slip during the summer months. Teachers may even provide resources to help students keep their skills fresh to help prevent this so-called phenomenon.

Is it possible that students can experience a service “summer slide” as well? Are students exposed to service opportunities when the quality service learning they engage in during the school year is absent? Consider being an advocate for service during the summer months. If you are able to contact outgoing or incoming families while school is out, you can suggest some resources for summer service like this article from on integrating service with family summer pastimes.

Such resources and experiences may help your future students gain powerful prior knowledge for a social issue that will be addressed this coming school year. Perhaps they will hone some academic, listening, speaking, or critical thinking skills while they engage in service, helping to prevent the “summer slide” that is talked about as each academic year comes to a close. Maybe one of your students will discover how their interests and talents can be meaningfully shared with others. Show families that summer service serves a purpose!

What are your trusted resources for summer service opportunities? Share what your students are doing to prevent the service summer slide! or leave a comment below.


Skirball Meeting Notes Sept 2012 Healthy Lives/Choices

Focus areas include obesity prevention through nutrition and increased physical activity, conflict resolution, substance abuse prevention and emotional wellbeing.

See helpful links in RESOURCES tab.

MEETING NOTES (task to connect Healthy Lives/Choices with the other six topic areas)

ENVIRONMENT – Healthy food grown in school gardens can be shared with local senior centers or food banks.  Local and global environmental issues impact our health, e.g. water and air pollution.  Genetically modified food spreads internationally through imports and exports.  Using food (e.g. corn) to produce ethanol negatively impacts the ability to address world hunger.

ANIMALS – Just as we concern ourselves with quality nutrition for ourselves, we want the same for our pets.  Walking dogs provides good physical activity.  We want to preserve the health of our ocean life; overfishing and coral reef destruction can lead to a domino effect where extinction of food sources cause the demise of other species.

ELDERS – Are we ensuring quality of life for our seniors?  What are their nutrition and physical activity requirements? From a global perspective, how are we honoring and preserving indigenous knowledge and practices that can be valuable resources to help us solve current problems.

SPECIAL NEEDS – Relating to a diverse group of people falls into the category of healthy relationships.  Empathy and understanding are developed during service learning experiences.   Connecting with educational institutions, governmental agencies and non-profit organizations in other countries expands our knowledge base as well as ideas for age-appropriate programs.

SOCIAL CHANGE / SAFE COMMUNITIES – Research toxic waste; ensure people are not living near those areas.  Urban planning must include activities and parks for young people so that they have healthy choices for their free time.  Human development curriculum provides young people with the knowledge and decision making skills necessary to become productive members of their communities.  What can be done to ensure people have meaningful work — volunteering and internships as well as salaried positions?

HOMELESSNESS AND POVERTY – Ensure that populations at risk have the knowledge about and access to quality food, physical activity, and healthcare (physical and mental)  Students can do research about topics such as obesity, diabetes, and substance abuse in order to advocative for healthy life choices.  California’s farms depend on migrant farm workers, which is another population that may be at risk with respect to health and safety.


* Partner with a classroom in another country to study the same issue.  Watch the same documentary and discuss it.

* Partner with medical and pharmacy schools in creating programs for local communities.

* Partner with State and County offices of HHR (Health and Human Resources)

* Create appealing posters, banners, bulletin boards for cafeteria walls

Cathryn Berger Kaye Featured on Mom’s Homeroom

Watch Cathryn Berger Kaye‘s interview with Mom’s Homeroom on service learning, featuring Ann Nelson’s program at Polytechnic! Check out the activities that go with the video.

Mom's Homeroom