Denver Online High School Earns Two State Farm Achievement Grants for Service Learning Program

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September 11, 2014
Denver Online High School Earns Two State Farm Achievement Grants for Service Learning Program

DSC06695Denver Public Schools (DPS) educators at Denver Online High School to lead a Semester of Service designed to enhance student engagement through a State Farm® Good Neighbor Student Achievement Grant.

DENVER — Arthur Bell, special education and social studies teacher, and Kaci Sintek, communications specialist, at Denver Online High School received two State Farm® Student Achievement Grants to help lead students in semester-long service and learning projects to foster community and build civic engagement.The service-learning projects will begin in October and continue through Global Youth Service Day held April 10-12, 2015. For Bell’s project, students will reflect on their definition of community and design a service project to make a positive impact in their own community.”Service-learning,” said Bell, “means teaching students how to give back to the communities that they are part of. Communities function at many different levels, and students need to know how to identify the communities they are part of and how to provide service to those communities.”

Bell hopes students will develop their confidence, realize their strength as leaders, and achieve a deeper understanding of their ability to transform the world around them. Consequently, Bell’s students will play a substantive role in developing, organizing and leading the project.

“My online course is designed so that the students determine the project they want to do,” explained Bell.

Sintek’s project will help students develop a volunteer program at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. Students will create budgets and logistics pages for art parties and other events at the hospital, interface with a hospital representative, and mentor other students to continue their work at the Denver Online High School New Student Orientation.

“Many of Denver Online High School’s students have been or are currently patients at the hospital. This allows them an opportunity to give back to an organization that they have personal connections with,” said Sintek.

“It is so much fun seeing kids connect in a fresh and positive way to an environment that may have previously been plagued with challenges for them,” she added. “Their eyes light up when they get to help other kids.”

Sintek hopes that through participating in this service-learning project, Denver Online High School students will not only develop their confidence, realize their strength as leaders, and achieve a deeper understanding of their ability to transform the world around them. Consequently, Sintek’s students will play a substantive role in developing, organizing, and leading the project.

“We want students to become leaders of service. We want them to find their passion and then create a plan to reach their goals.”

Bell and Sintek are two of 130 recipients for the 2014-2015 academic year. The competitive grants, offered by State Farm in partnership with the Youth Service America (YSA), support educators in YSA’s Semester of Service™.

“Many congratulations to Art Bell and Kaci Sintek as their students at Denver Online High School embark on a Semester of Service; it is one of the most effective ways we have to enhance student achievement and improve communities,” said Steven A. Culbertson, president and CEO of YSA. “Thanks are due to State Farm, who for thirteen years has partnered with YSA to support high-impact, high-quality service and service-learning.”

ABOUT YOUTH SERVICE AMERICA
YSA improves communities by increasing the number and the diversity of young people, ages 5 to 25, serving in substantive roles. Through campaigns, grant programs, resource development and training opportunities, YSA promotes a global culture of engaged youth committed to a lifetime of service, learning, leadership and achievement. www.YSA.org