Skip To Main Content

Service Learning

What is Service Learning?

Service-learning, in its most basic sense, is exactly what the term implies -- a union of sorts between community service and classroom learning. Within this basic definition, however, lies a world of possibilities and as it has increased in popularity over the past two decades so too has an understanding of its effectiveness. Vanderbilt University, a leader in service-learning research, calls service-learning “one of the most significant teaching methodologies” in the modern classroom.

Service Learning at OIS

OIS aims to produce culturally competent, outside-the-box thinkers who are excited and equipped to “positively impact the school, community, nation, and world,” and we believe that a dynamic, integrated, K-12 service-learning program is essential in helping us reach these learner outcomes. 

Our Mission

The OIS Service Learning Program exists to create an ever-growing community of global leaders who enact positive change through experiential learning and intentional service. 

Our Philosophy

Our mission is guided by eight value statements. When acted upon, these precepts provide the necessary motivation and the structure for our program’s aims.

  1. Learning First: We believe that to serve well, we must first learn well. 

  2. Dynamic Professional Learning: We believe that everyone learns best by doing, even adults!

  3. Diverse Learning Community: We believe that sustainable service rarely happens in isolation.

  4. Reciprocal Global Partnerships: We believe in the power of partnerships. 

  5. Curriculum Integration: We believe that proficiency comes from a sustained, intentional, and multi-faceted approach to learning. 

  6. Experiential Learning: We believe in the saying, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn forever.” 

  7. Culture of Compassion: We believe that compassion is like any soft skill -- it can be discovered, taught, and refined through intentional instruction.

  8. Global Competencies: We believe that learning systems are only as good as their learning outcomes.

Our Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes for the OIS service-learning program are a set of eight Global Competencies. They were born out of years of experience, the synthesis and contextualization of impactful service-learning frameworks, the OIS SLOs, and, of course, our program’s mission. Our goal is to grow each and every student in these competencies so that they will leave OIS equipped and ready to serve and lead. 

Global Competencies

  • Critical Thinking

  • Communication

  • Compassion

  • Creativity

  • Collaboration

  • Cultural Competency

  • Content

  • Creation

Everything that we do - from professional development to EAGLE Week - is grounded in these OIS Global Competencies. They allow us to assess student and staff growth toward the program’s mission (creating global leaders), and they allow us to evaluate the effectiveness of our programs and projects.

Our Programs

The OIS service-learning team develops, implements, and maintains a series of projects and programs that allow us to fulfill our mission and actualize our vision of a better future. Programs belong to one of two pathways: 1) curriculum integration (during school hours), and 2) co-curricular support (outside school hours). 

This dual-path approach ensures that we become a service-learning community as opposed to a school that just does service-learning. Check out some of our programs below. 

Curriculum Integration Co-Curricular Support



Elementary and Secondary Clubs

GO! Global International Trips

Launch Week Projects

Saturday Serventures

Global Competencies Integration

Student-Led Service Projects

Positive Behavioral Interventions

International Celebration

Professional Development

Service-Learning ASA