Service Learning

Service Learning at RSS

The RSS mission is clear in its commitment to social justice, and we are proud to share responsibility for ensuring that students at all grade levels are learning about social issues and experiencing the value of taking active roles in their community. We work with faculty across all divisions of our school and in close partnership with the RSS Parents Association and Congregation Rodeph Sholom to help our students connect with people whose lives may be different than their own and to empower our students to make a difference.

RSS strives to instill a lifelong habit of service to others as a core outcome of growing up in this community. Guided by our sacred texts and the virtues of
our Jewish tradition, we affirm Tikkun Olam as a pillar of our school–the responsibility to repair the world, fix its inequities, and pursue a vision of justice. Through each grade, we encourage our students to see their Jewish identity as a clarion call to face the challenges and needs of the world around them, transforming privilege into responsibility and learning into action. 

Service Learning

Service learning, in which students’ projects are natural extensions of the academic curriculum, helps children make real life connections to their classroom work and teaches the skills and attitudes needed for responsible, active citizenship. 

Grade-Level Service Projects

A major component of service learning involves specific grade-level service projects. These projects evolve over time and connect to the curriculum whenever possible. Examples include:
 
  • Visits to the CRS Homeless Shelter and donations of boxes of pasta used as Purim groggers to the Upper West Side Food Bank as part of the Kindergarten’s Community Study

  • A 2nd Grade Read-a-thon in which students raise money and purchase books to donate to area schools as part of their study of New York City

  • A 5th Grade in-school service program in which fifth graders work with first grade buddies on a variety of projects designed to teach the value of derech eretz, appropriate ways to be part of a community

  • A 6th Grade program in which students visit various organizations in New York City and
 do hands-on service including cleaning parks, visiting homes for the elderly and homeless shelters, and packing matanot l’evonyim, gifts to the poor given at Purim

  • An 8th Grade advocacy program in which students learn about the root causes of humanitarian issues throughout the world and, in particular, issues related to Israel.  Every year, students participate in hands-on service with an organization in Israel during their culminating Israel trip.


Tzedakah
Boxes

In addition to projects, another expression of service learning at RSS is associated with the tradition of tzedakah.To underscore the importance of tzedakah, the obligation to give charity to others, each homeroom class and middle school grade level has a tzedakah box to which students are asked to contribute at least a few coins on a weekly basis. The collections are then donated to organizations that connect to grade level curriculum.

In their classrooms, students learn about these organizations as well as the social justice issues they address. The specific organizations may change from year to year, but a few examples include: Central Park Conservancy, which connects to the Kindergarten Central Park curriculum; Heifer International, which connects to the 1st Grade farms and market curriculum, and HIAS (The Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society which connects to the 3rd grade immigration curriculum.

In middle school, Student Council plays an active role in encouraging students to give tzedakah. Specific organizations are also identified by grade level. For example, the fifth grade donates to the Israeli Guide Dog Association and Heifer International, the 6th grade donates to the NYC organizations that they visit throughout the year, the 7th grade donates to the 7th Grade Philanthropy Project fund and the 8th grade donates to the Israeli organization they will work with on their Israel trip. 

PA Service Learning Committee

A True Partnership

The Service Learning Committee of the Parents Association organizes activities that provide further opportunities for RSS students and their families to live our mission and to promote social justice through active engagement in programs offered both during and outside of school.

Tzedakah Donations

Grade Organization Amount
Nursery Band of Parents $245.84
Pre K Women in Need $560
Kindergarten West Side Campaign Against Hunger $460
1st Grade Heifer International $1,867.83
Israeli Guide Dog Center $220.00
2nd Grade Bellevue Hospital $9,499.41
Literacy in Motion 240.00
3rd Grade Bronx Public Special Needs 6-8 Grade Students (proceeds went to school supplies) $191.87
HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) $746.59
4th Grade RSS Men's Shelter $382.62
Native American College Fund $211.33
5th Grade  Israeli Guide Dog Center $158.00
Heifer International $158.00
6th Grade Educational Alliance $164.87
Dorot  $164.87
National Coalition for the Homeless $500.00
7th Grade Opus 118 $5,000
Philanthropy Project Rosie's Theater Kids $3,000
Creative Arts Workshop $2,000
Storefront Acadment $4,000
Children's Aid Society $4,000
I Have a Dream Foundation $2,000
Grow NYC $1,000
Lower East Side Ecology Center $9,000
Cycle for Survial $6,000
Breast Cancer Research Foundation $2,500
Syvlia Center $1,500
Coalition for the Homeless $1,000
West Side Campaign Against Hunger $2,000
HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society) $5,500
Human Rights First $1,000
International Rescue Committee $3,500
MADRE $4,000
Girls Write Now $4,000
The LGBT Center $2,000
8th Grade Yad B'Yad $211.14