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Campus Life

Service Learning

Reaching Out: Service Learning at Hillbrook

The mission of Hillbrook's Service Learning Program is to integrate service into classroom learning - to develop shared values of integrity, respect, and empathy while instilling a strong sense of social responsibility and civic awareness. Service Learning challenges students to become real leaders: fully engaged, ethical, and responsible citizens of their local and global communities. We integrate meaningful service learning throughout all grades at Hillbrook, planting the seeds of lifelong service to others.
Hands-on experience is essential. The Service Learning Program vitalizes an investigation of issues and concerns with valuable working knowledge about our communities. Students, faculty, parents, and local organizations collaborate to create an authentic service learning experience that is beneficial to all involved.
Service Learning Program by Grade
Grade JK/K: Protect the Earth
While studying the Arctic, the Rainforest, and the animals that live in these habitats, Junior Kindergarteners and Kindergarteners learn that the big and small acts we do are connected to far away places and animals. Students help protect these habitats and local habitats by learning to conserve energy and materials through the four R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, rot. 
In addition to composting and recycling at lunch on a daily basis, Junior Kindergarteners and Kindergarteners reduce their waste by practicing a weekly waste-free lunch program. Students learn about the benefits of waste-free lunches and use products made in art class, such as clay-handled reusable utensils and tie-dyed napkins. To further explore how we connect to others in the world, in Science, JK/K students study animals, plants, water, and soil in the garden.
Grade 1: Animal Rescue
First graders learn about wild animals and pets and the proper care they need. At the beginning of the school year, students visit the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. After visiting the Humane Society they run a blanket and towel drive in the fall. In the winter, students make cat toys and dog biscuits to donate to the San Jose Animal Shelter. A representative from Wildlife Center of Silicon Valley (SVWC) speaks to the 1st grade classes about the needs of animals. 
Recent Beneficiaries
Acterra Habitat Restoration, Santa Clara County
African Library Project
Bill Wilson Center, Santa Clara
Books Aloud
Cucapah Tribe, Communidad, MX
Full Circle Farm, Sunnyvale
Gardner Elementary School
InnVision Georgia Travis Center
Live Oak Adult Day Services
Luther Burbank School
Nayizi Primary School, Africa
Oakland Zoo
Sacred Heart Community Services
San Jose Alzheimer's Center
San Jose Animal Shelter
San Jose Family Shelter
Silicon Valley Humane Society

Grade 2: Embrace our Community
Second graders visit several local community organizations and services and learn about community needs and wants. Artwork created by 2nd graders is displayed in local businesses and organizations. Hillbrook families are given a map/directory of the art on display and are encouraged to patronize the businesses and support their local community. Students end the year participating in an Arbor Day tree-planting project sponsored by the Los Gatos Public Works.
Grade 3: Differences and Disabilities
In 3rd grade, students learn about a variety of ways that we are alike and different. Students work on a Disability Awareness Program with a representative from Los Gatos Orthopedic Sports Therapy. The Disability Awareness Program includes hands-on stations where functional learning is used so children have the opportunity to gain insight into the reality with those with disabilities, and interactive verbal discussions for auditory learning to stimulate problem solving abilities. A representative from Guide Dogs for the Blind gives a presentation to each class, where students interact with an actual guide dog. Students visit the San Jose Alzheimer’s Center twice during the year. At the Alzheimer’s Center, students perform a musical routine prepared in music class, and they work with the Alzheimer’s Center members on a joint craft project. Students participate in a monthly pen pal program with students with disabilities at local schools, and they meet their pen pals at a year-end pizza social.
Grade 4: Protecting California’s Natural Resources
Learning about California is the focus in 4th grade; including in science class, where students investigate an oak woodland and its benefits for the native Ohlone. An educational program followed by hands-on habitat restoration at Arastradero Preserve helps the students learn about protecting California’s natural resources. In the spring, students help to remove invasive species at Henry Cowell State Park.
Grade 5: Ross Creek Restoration and Campus Pride
Fifth graders participate in the multi-year Ross Creek restoration project involving the removal of invasive species, planting native species, and establishing irrigation along 75 linear feet of creek between the bridge and the culvert on Hillbrook’s campus. In addition to their monthly creek restoration work, students participate in a weekly Campus Pride activity where litter is picked up and lost and found items are collected and distributed.
Grade 6: Literacy and Global Awareness
Sixth grade students run a book drive through the African Library Project to establish school and community libraries in Malawi. Students learn about Malawi from a Bay Area Malawi drummer who speaks to the class and leads a drumming and storytelling workshop. To reach their goal of 2,000 books to establish two libraries, students ask family, friends, neighbors, and teachers to donate used children’s books. Excess donations are given to local schools, shelters, and libraries. In addition to planning the collection, sorting, and shipping of the books, the 6th grade class also raises funds for shipping. At the end of the project, every 6th grader writes a pen pal letter to the Malawian students receiving the books.
Grades 7 and 8
Seventh and eighth graders leave campus to serve in the community on monthly service days. On monthly service days, all 7th and 8th graders and their advisors leave campus to serve at local organizations such as InnVision, Sacred Heart, and Live Oak Adult Day Services. The students and advisors often play an active role in planning the activities for the service day. When students return to school after two hours of service, they eat lunch with their advisories and reflect on their experience.
In addition to monthly service days, optional on-campus service opportunities are made available to 7th and 8th graders throughout the year: New Student Orientation guides, Open House tour guides, and teacher assistants.

Student Council
Comprised of student representatives in grades 5–8, student council runs several school-wide service efforts during the year. In December, student council runs a gift card drive benefiting San Jose Family Shelter. In March, an American Red Cross blood drive takes place. Student council plans other events as needs arise. Profits from dance ticket sales and bake sales are donated to charitable organizations of the students’ choice.
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