16 17 Service learning at ACDS is a thoughtful program of investigation, planning, action, and reflection that allows students and teachers to address authentic community needs while deepening their understanding of the world around them. Each grade chooses a theme for the year and begins with an “investigation” stage, where they research community needs related to their theme. As they develop and implement their plans for action, the students share their learning with each other and the school community at large. In addition to these thoughtful and comprehensive student-led projects, there is an all-school half-day of service in November and an all- school full-day of service in April, and we enjoy occasional opportunities for one-time community service projects as well. Kirsten SELECT AN ANNUAL THEME RESEARCH COMMUNITY NEEDS DEVELOP & IMPLEMENT A PLAN OF ACTION SHARE LEARNING WITH ACDS COMMUNITY In a bustling cafeteria, Kirsten and some of her classmates are gathered around a funnel station, working together to package meals for hungry children around the world. This annual activity, where the entire school community works together to package 20,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now, has quickly become one of Kirsten’s favorite mornings at ACDS. As a sixth grade member of the service learning leadership group, M.U.S.C.L.E, Kirsten not only participates in ACDS’s many service learning projects, she helps to plan and organize them. THESE ARE JUST A FEW EXAMPLES OF THE WORK OUR STUDENTS HAVE DONE. Sixth and third graders collected food at local grocery stores for ALIVE! and helped sort food at the ALIVE! warehouse. Fourth graders organized a book drive to help an ACDS alumna build a library at a girls’ school in Pakistan. Second and fifth graders cleaned up parks in Alexandria. Eighth graders helped prepare a meal at DC Central Kitchen. Seventh graders organized a shoe drive that collected over 1,000 pairs of shoes for people in Honduras. Third graders organized two blood drives for INOVA Hospital and made goodie bags for children being treated for cancer at INOVA. Kindergarten and first graders conducted a fall food drive and filled 50 bags of food each month for Blessings in a Backpack. COMMUNITY MINDED SERVICE LEARNING AT ACDS