Service Learning

“…the most important feeling that we were all left with was one of having worked hard for our community. There was work that needed to be done and there was a community appreciative of our efforts. This left all of us with a sense of satisfaction that our work had contributed to the beauty, health, and forward movement of our community.”

Harbor School

Service Learning is deeply integrated into Harbor School culture. By recognizing needs in the community, addressing those needs, and reflecting on their experiences, Harbor School students develop and enhance compassion, responsibility, and leadership.

We emphasize service to the school, to the community, to the region and to the world. 

Examples of Service Learning in action: Volunteering at the Vashon Food Bank and at Northwest Harvest in Seattle. Working with The Land Trust at Matsuda Farm as well as clearing trails and planting new trees on islans. Working with VARSA to do a Vashon litter clean up. Additionally, the final ten minutes of every day in 4th through 8th grade is Stewardship. This time is devoted to cleaning the school, vacuuming the carpets, cleaning tables and windows, and emptying recycling and garbage. The 8th grade homestay trip to Costa Rica has an in-depth Service Learning component and is the culmination of the Service Learning experience for our studnets.

Students Journey to Northwest Harvest and Help Package Peas for Distribution

Image of students packaging frozen peas
Upper Elementary Beach Clean-Up
Image of students cleaning the beaches of Vashon Island
Grades 4 & 5 study Puget Sound Marine Life. As part of their hands-on learning, they spend a day cleaning up our island beaches.

Planting Trees at Vashon Maury Island Land Trust
Image of students planting trees at Vashon land trust
For many years, students have spent several days helping plant trees, clean trails, and more.
Visiting with Elders at Vashon Community Care
Image of students visiting with elders at VCC
Since 2002, Harbor School students have been visiting Vashon Community Care, a non-profit retirement home and care facility, to share activities with our island elders. Several times during the school year, our students make the walk to VCC to play board games, sing holiday songs, or trick-or-treat during Halloween building connections with our elders.
VARSA Trash Clean-up
Image of students picking up trash
Students team with Vashon Alliance to Reduce Substance Abuse to pick up trash around our island. Their hands-on work helps keep our community vibrant and clean.
Students Tidy Trails and Overgrowth for Vashon Park District
Image of students cleaning up trails
As early as 2002, Harbor School students have been volunteering to tend to our island parks by removing blackberry bushes, clearing overgrowth, and grooming the land through the expert guidance of the park district staff.