by Sati Shah, Millennium High School Principal
At Millennium High School we strive to integrate service learning into the educational experience of all our students. To do this, Millennium students access service learning opportunities in a variety of ways including through our Associated Student Body (ASB), Falcon Meetings, the annual spring service project and whole school retreats.
The core Millennium program includes providing an opportunity for all students to develop leadership skills and be in service to the MHS community. To accomplish this, we encourage all of our students to participate in the ASB class for at least one year during their high school career. Each year, approximately one fourth of our students participate in the ASB class. Many of our students find the work that they do in ASB rewarding and participate for multiple years.
The MHS ASB plans and conducts a number of whole school service learning activities throughout the year including a canned food drive and a toy drive. In addition, the ASB participates in planning once a month, whole school “Falcon Meetings”, a spring semester service project, the Camp Augusta and Joaquin Miller retreats as well as the MHS Community Dinner each spring.
A key service learning opportunity for students is in planning and putting on the MHS community dinner. This event is our yearly fundraiser and is a true collaborative effect between the MHS ASB, Parents Club and staff. ASB students plan and publicize the event. The ASB also handles all the decorations and and cooks and serves dinner for the event goers. The MHS Parents Club organizes a silent auction. The MHS staff bring student work to display, helps out in the kitchen and assists the students in their preparations. These events are always a huge success and a wonderful way to give back to Millennium High School. This year’s event will be held on Sunday March 20th at Veterans Hall from 4:30-7:00pm
The MHS ASB is an integral part of planning our biennial Camp Augusta retreat. This trip has become a beloved school tradition and an important part of starting the school year with students and staff getting to know each other and learning how to work together positively. The impact of this trip is immediately visible in our school community and is made all the more powerful by the service that ASB students provide by leading the planning process and guiding the Camp Augusta staff so that they can develop a program that meets our needs.
On alternate years when MHS does not go to Camp Augusta, we hold a one day retreat for the whole school at Joaquin Miller Park. The MHS ASB participates in planning this retreat as well. This retreat provides an opportunity for community and team building and also includes a service learning component for the whole school. In 2014 MHS students assembled more than 200 backpacks with back to schools supplies for an elementary school students in Oakland.
All MHS students participate in a spring semester long service project each year. With ASB and faculty guidance, the student-body identifies a theme each year and plans a service project that culminates during the MHS/PHS service learning day in May. In 2015, MHS students identified school beautification as a theme. The MHS community designed and created tiles to beautify our hallways, a tile mosaic for the entrance to our school and benches to create a space for students to congregate. In 2016 students have identified people in need and the environment as themes. We are currently in the process of planning the specific projects for this year.
Our goal at Millennium High School is to instill the value service in our students. We hope to provide opportunities for our students experience the benefits of service to both their community and themselves.