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Service Learning

Our Core Values of Trust, Respect, Integrity, and Responsibility help to infuse our mission within our community. To help prepare our students to become productive contributors in a changing world, we conduct our learning in a Culture of Performance where students demonstrate they can do what they have learned. This includes hands-on service with personal reflection.

Defining Community Service

  • Action in support of either our local or global community to benefit the greater good of the said community.
  • Hands-on service serving food at a food bank or service with organizations that provide direct services to individuals, groups and/or causes helping a shelter with a mailing or their organization fundraising event, is recognized as service that counts toward our graduation requirement. We recognize this as work the organization needs to be done to deliver direct services that will benefit the larger community in need.
  • Service addressing an unmet need. Is an underserved disadvantaged population the beneficiary of the service? Or, is delivery of the service dependent on volunteer support?

Philosophy of the Program

We strive to instill three key principles to encourage our students to become life-long contributors:

  • The service of one individual CAN and DOES impact others. 
  • As a team, together we can make a significant impact.
  • Our approach to serving starts with seeking the community perspective regarding the need. We believe we can best serve by beginning with this show of honor and respect. We understand we cannot enter into a community believing we have all of the answers and know what that community needs. We believe we must listen and engage in a dialogue with community members about their needs to serve effectively.

Middle School

At the middle school level, our goal is to contextualize service for our students. Through intentional and unique grade-level service activities, our students gain an understanding of the importance and value of giving back.

Seattle Challenge

Seattle Challenge is a three-day capstone experience designed for Seattle Academy’s 8th-grade students. The program explores the realities of people who experience poverty and homelessness in the city of Seattle. Students are divided into small groups of seven or eight 8th graders and each group is accompanied by a faculty member. Their days are divided between supervised service projects with local social service agencies and walks through the city to visit agencies and organizations that support people who are experiencing poverty and homelessness. Evenings are devoted to speakers and to discussion and reflection on the events of the day. At night, students sleep on the floors of pre-arranged locations. Seattle Academy is committed to providing opportunities for our students to contribute to the larger community as they move through the school’s program towards adulthood.  

Upper School

As part of our Service Learning goals, we challenge Upper School students to put service into action, then reflect on the personal meaning of that service. We believe this helps students gain a better understanding and sense of the value of community service. Upper school students have a 160-hour graduation requirement. Some of these hours can be earned on our service learning trips. 


Community Service Organization Club (CSO)

Our student-led Community Service Organization Club (CSO), organizes major service opportunities including school-wide food and sleeping bag drives that benefit our larger community. Our students also volunteer by working directly with organizations that serve children and the homeless community.


In an effort to build an understanding and respect for the diversity of people and cultures, we ask all students to serve our local and global community in a way that is meaningful to them.  We help students identify their passion, then challenge them to investigate opportunities that will turn their passion into action. We believe that performing community service reduces a sense of entitlement and helps students gain a clearer understanding of social injustices, with an ultimate goal of increasing equity and inclusion. 

Community Engagement Volunteer Opportunities

Photo of Seattle Academy Middle School students participating in the Seattle Challenge

Seattle Challenge

A three-day urban retreat designed for Seattle Academy’s 8th-grade students. The program explores the realities of people who experience poverty and homelessness in the city of Seattle.

Photo of Seattle Academy Upper School students volunteering for Survive the Streets as part of the Student Service Learning

Survive the Streets

The CSO Club organizes a school-wide drive for sleeping bags and backpacks that are donated to Survive the Streets, an organization committed to serving homeless men and women. On Thanksgiving morning, upper school students serve the homeless men and women a hot breakfast, then act as personal shoppers at a pop-up store that provides much needed warm clothing, bedding items, and hygiene kits for the homeless community.

Photo of Seattle Academy Service Learning Blood Drive with Bloodworks


The CSO Club has partnered with Bloodworks NW to educate our community about the importance of blood donation, and to recruit donors. Students and faculty commit an hour out of their day to donate blood in an effort to help ensure there is not a critical shortage of blood.

Photo of Seattle Academy Middle School Student participating at a Food Bank

Food Drive

The CSO Club organizes a school-wide food drive competition during “Spirit Week” to collect canned goods benefitting local food banks. In addition, club members partner with local grocers to collect additional canned goods from their patrons.

Service Learning News