The 2012 Peter Ustinov
Service Learning and CAS Coordinator
International High School
International High School was granted its second Peter Ustinov Outreach Award for a project entitled “Enriching the Lives of Economically Disadvantaged Inner-City Students”, which I had the honor of accepting at this year’s ECIS Conference in Nice.
the help of their teacher and student
mentors from International. In order
to establish a link between our local
and international projects, we also
plan to invite the students in the jazz
music class at John Muir to perform at
our next Songs for Senegal concert.
Middle Years Community
DR. LESLIE D. ADAMS
Director of Student Activities/Vie Scolaire
The Peter Ustinov Award, given in
partnership with ECIS (the European
Elizabeth Cleere receives the ECIS TieCare
Award and grant on behalf of the Middle School
Community Service Program.
Council for Independent Schools), is
earmarked for projects that “help children in need, children who are often
the victims of prejudice”. We applied for and received the
maximum award of 3,000 euros for our project, which
will benefit economically disadvantaged, at-risk students
who attend nearby John Muir Elementary School—a
school where our students have been volunteering for the
past seven years.
“By its very definition, civic responsibility means taking a healthy
role in the life of one’s community.
That means that classroom lessons
should be complemented by work outside the classroom.
Service-learning does just that, tying community service
to academic learning.” Senator John Glenn, National
Commission on Service Learning
The idea for the project, which will provide support
for weekly jazz music and art classes in the afterschool
program at John Muir, initially came from students on the
Community Service Steering Committee. In the process
of developing the idea for the proposal, we met with the
director of the afterschool program at John Muir, Maysha
Jackson-Bell, and the Community Outreach Coordinator
for John Muir, Jo Mestrelle, who helped draw up the budget for the two classes we will be supporting. The grant
money will be used to buy instruments and art supplies
for the two classes and will also pay the salary for an art
French American International School is implementing
a program of community involvement through Service
Learning for the Middle School years. As global citizens
participating in an International education, our students
will be challenged beyond the classroom to move into
the community. Our goal is to encourage students to take
an active role in the communities in which they live,
thereby encouraging responsible citizenship.
When considering Community and Service projects the
students will be reflecting on three questions:
How can I contribute to the community?
How can I help others?
The jazz music class has met three times, and we have
already developed a core group of committed and enthusiastic high school students who are volunteering once a
week as “music mentors” to the children in the class. The
art class will begin as soon as a teacher is hired. We also
received an additional 500 euros from the Peter Ustinov
Foundation to make a film about the project and are in
the process of recruiting student volunteers who will be
responsible for this task.
What do I learn when I help others?
The theme for French American International School
Community and Service is “From Local to Global.” In
keeping with this we applied for and received a TieCare
International Grant Award allowing the Middle Years
program to move forward this academic year. In addition,
some of our Middle School students have been acknowledged for their efforts in working at the National AIDS
The culmination of the project will be a performance
by the students in the jazz music class at an end-of-the-year talent show at John Muir Elementary and the
completion of a mural on a wall in the school playground
that will be painted by the children in the art class, with
As our students look on after completing a Beach Clean
up project on the Grade 6 retreat, I am reminded of what
Margaret Mead wrote, “Never doubt that a small group
of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”