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House Themes:
Lanigan: Embracing Special Needs
Harrison: Social Issues: ‘Glocal’ Issues and Actions Hinkley: Tackling Poverty, Hunger, and Homelessness La Clair: Environmental Stewardship
Nielson: Caring for Public Spaces and Wildlife Habitats Carter: Helping Integration Happen
Ortel: Literacy
Matthews: Understanding our Global Communities
engage the entire Upper School in authentic projects with full student and faculty participation. “We wanted to  nd a way to give our students more experiences where they could make a di erence in our school or in our local community, along with keeping our commitment to the IB Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) requirements and preparations,” Ms. Chaplin said.
However, that was easier said than done. In the areas surrounding Ms. Chaplin’s previous school in the United States, many of the local service opportunities were natural  ts – serving in soup kitchens or cleaning up wetlands, for example. With more challenging opportunities in Oberursel, Ms. Chaplin decided to tap into students’ experiences to  nd out what they were doing with their families or through the school. What she found was a wide variety of possibilities ranging from work at a bio farm (Braumannswiesen) in Bad Homburg, to visiting the Agnes Geering Haus and Villa Kursana-Oberursel elder care facilities, to  nding ways to help refugees, or learning more about the natural and historical elements of the surrounding woods.
They learned that they can have a meaningful impact in our community – and help create lasting connections.
On campus, Grade 10 students heard from a variety of speakers on the importance of service, while Grade 11 students created display boards to demonstrate the wide breadth of service topics being covered in their CAS projects. There were also opportunities for Upper School students to engage with children in the Primary and Elementary School through “buddy reading” or projects in art and music. “They helped us at math time,” said Primary student, Sebastian. “And they contributed to our class discussion of the book “Nobody Asked Me If I Wanted a Baby Sister,” added Primary teacher, Lea Karr. “They helped elevate the level of discussion and the children really respected their opinions.”
The House Service Afternoon was met with overwhelmingly positive responses from teachers and activity leaders, as well as representatives from the local organizations who commented on how respectful, helpful, and hard-working students were during their activities
– further highlighting the positive impact FIS students can make through service work and involvement.
From the students’ perspective, there was also a sense of pride and satisfaction at what was achieved. Whether their activities were focused on making pencil cases for students in the Kalahari or helping maintain the local forests, students (and faculty) were engaged in authentic service. “They learned that they can have a meaningful impact in our community – and help create lasting connections,” said Ms. Wood.
Ms. Chaplin and others in the Upper School are already looking forward to improving next year’s House Service Activity event, and are hoping to extend the afternoon format into a full day. House leaders will continue to look at the themes of service to ensure that they re ect topics that are important to students and the school, and relevant within the surrounding community.
“It’s a giant project with many moving parts, but I love it,” said Ms. Chaplin. “I am very passionate about this kind of work and think that giving students the opportunity to be involved in authentic service opportunities allows them to gain a better understanding of our immediate community – as well as the world around us.”
Ricky Donnelly FIS Sta  Writer
House Lanigan students exploring accessability issues on campus and throughout the Oberursel community
May 2017 FIS World 9

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