“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” —MARGARET MEAD, former Holmquist student and one of the most famous cultural anthropologists and philosophers of the 20th century
A Letter From the Directors
October 5, 2017
Dear Parents of 9th or 10th graders:
Solebury School is proud to offer a social innovation program that we believe is unique in a high school setting. Students may apply to our one-year public service program or our two-year social entrepreneurship program, both of which aim to educate, train, assist, and inspire high school students who are committed to effecting positive social change. Students who complete these programs will graduate from high school equipped with an effective set of leadership and project planning skills. This program is consistent with the values and respect for all humankind that Solebury School has always promoted and puts us at the forefront of public service education for high school students.
Diane Downs and Nicole Mount are co-directors of the program at Solebury School. The one-year program consists of classes, workshops, community service, summer reading, a summer internship opportunity, and the development and execution of a group service project. Each spring, applications will be accepted from 9th and 10th grade students, and those who are admitted into this selective program will begin classes the following year. At the end of the first year Public Service Certificate Program, students may apply to be Teach2Serve Fellows and spend a second and maybe even a third year completing a capstone project that benefits a community in need or the environment. In this program, students learn by doing and gain leadership, team building, fundraising, public speaking, problem solving, project development, and organizational skills.
We encourage you to have a conversation with your child about this service-learning program. If your child is excited about the opportunity to learn about and apply the skills needed to bring about social change, we encourage him/her/them to fill out an application or seek us out for more information. This is a long-term commitment, and although there are no academic prerequisites to the program, students should be motivated to engage in service learning and willing to work hard. Our hope is that the students will be more than rewarded for their efforts.
Diane Downs and Nicole Mount
Directors, Solebury Teach2Serve
Giving: The Road to Public Service
In this two-trimester honors course, which is a requirement of the Teach2Serve certificate program, students study the history and philosophy of philanthropy and social innovation in the public, private and non-profit sectors and identify the motivations, strengths and limitations of each. Students become familiar with the actors in the process, the barriers that exist, the points of entry and the pathways to change. Along the way, they develop such skills as team-building, listening, conflict resolution, collaboration, negotiation, resource mobilization and fundraising. Lessons will be communicated more concretely through an examination of case studies and the planning and implementation of a group project that addresses a need or issue selected by the class to frame their first-year explorations. This course also includes workshops with dynamic social entrepreneurs and professionals working in the community benefit sector.
Course requirements include reading, journal responses, group projects and community service.The winter trimester is spent on the group project and writing a final thesis paper in which students are asked to draw upon all of their reading, workshops and discussions to address a conflict related to their theme. Open to students in the Teach2Serve program only. Fall and winter trimester course.
In the spring of the first year and the fall and winter of the second year (for those students who undertake a capstone project), students continue to meet weekly to work on the group project and find, apply, and interview for a summer internship, and in the second year, to research and plan a capstone project. These trimester courses are pass/fail.
Teach2Serve: Capstone Project
For those students who choose to continue for a second year, the culmination of this experiential learning course is the presentation and/or implementation of the student’s capstone project. Each student spends the second year of the social service certificate program researching a problem or need that is of particular interest to him or her and then developing a proposal for how to address that problem. Students engage in self-directed research including field work and interviewing and then write a mission statement, a project proposal, a business plan and a budget. They also organize fundraising activities. If time permits, students may actually launch their programs, non-profits or initiatives. Students may also present their capstone projects at the TEDxSoleburySchool event in May. Open to students in the Teach2Serve program only. Spring trimester course.