Middle School Global Service Learning
All 8th-grade students at Lakeside participate in weeklong cultural- and service-immersion trips as part of our Global Service Learning program. We believe that global engagement starts with an understanding of diversity in our region.
At the beginning of the school year, groups of students and teachers travel to rural locations throughout the Pacific Northwest to live and work alongside people in communities where issues of economy, environment, and culture intersect. Recent locations include Native American reservations, a local farm, an orchard with a strong migrant community, and a town organized around the timber industry. Through connecting with locals and engaging in collaborative service projects, Lakeside students begin to gain an understanding of daily life, culture, and complex issues facing each community.
The program, which launched in its current form in 2015, is considered a signature part of Lakeside Middle School. The experience provides an opportunity for students to learn about the region, connect with peers, and consider their own identity and values. Structured reflection is a key element of the program; students spend time each day journaling and in teacher-led group discussions. Students are not allowed to bring cell phones, laptops, or any other form of technology, so they can stay fully present rather than be distracted by online activities.
The program serves as culmination of the experiential learning that students have in the 5th-, 6th-, and 7th-grade Service Learning and Outdoor programs. Experiences that students have on the trips are integrated with and build on what students learn in classes before, during, and following the trips. The trips also prepare students to participate in the Upper School Global Service Learning program.