A pillar of our school’s mission is to educate students for lives of service. Our community believes that an essential outcome of St. Margaret’s education is that students and graduates feel the compassion, responsibility and calling to serve others and be active and contributing citizens within their communities and the world.
Our Episcopal identity guides our service learning program that aims to create understanding of community issues and challenges, engender empathy for others, nurture deeper connections and engagement, build cultural competency and life skills. Service learning and begins with developmentally-appropriate activities in the Early School and builds through the Upper School years.
Service learning at St. Margaret's is experiential and requires students to understand the authentic needs of the community they are serving. Often service learning is tied to the content of our academic curriculum, making the service even more relevant and deepening the learning experience in a real setting.
We emphasize and model the importance of service by purposefully taking time in the school day within all divisions and as an all-school community for service learning projects, rather than require students to count service hours accumulated after school or on weekends. St. Margaret’s has formed long-term partnerships with local non-profit organizations and leverages these sustained relationships to further their missions within the communities they serve, and to provide powerful learning experiences for our students. Partner organizations include Family Assistance Ministries, The Ecology Center, Operation Help A Hero and the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, Padres Unidos, Second Harvest Food Bank, The Infant Pantry and Welcome INN.
The lessons of these kinds of hands-on service experiences leave students with a new understanding of societal issues and inequities; underlining, systemic causes; and deep personal connections to the rewards of investing in and giving back to the community.