• Service Learning

Community service has undergone a transformation at St. Paul’s!
It is still integral to the school’s mission, but since last year, community service has been upgraded to “service learning.” The change means that students aren’t just helping an organization, they’re learning about the reasons behind it, too. All of this means that we continue to improve on our mission: St. Paul’s develops…compassionate, engaged citizens.
“Service learning brings the service experience back to the classroom,” says Mindy Stephenson, Toddler through 2nd grade Division Head.
Beginning last year, St. Paul’s paired every grade in the lower school with a different community service organization. Each organization, which will remain attached to the same grade year after year, was carefully chosen so its mission had a natural connection to a particular grade’s curriculum.
For example, 4th grade at St. Paul’s emphasizes reading and book clubs, so the teachers decided to work with Reach Out and Read, an organization that incorporates books and reading into pediatric care. Over the course of the school year, St. Paul’s students hear from a representative about the organization; spend time packaging books for young patients; and visit a Reach Out and Read site – a hospital or clinic – so they can volunteer reading to children who are waiting for health services.
“One of our goals is to get kids out into the community so they can see an organization first-hand and really understand what the organization does,” says Stephenson, who previously taught fourth grade.
She remembers chaperoning a small group of students volunteering at the Women’s, Infant, and Children Clinic at Swope Health Services last year when they encountered a child their same age who couldn’t read.
“The fourth graders recognized that this child was a non-reader, and that made an impact,” Stephenson says. “I think it made them grateful for their own education.”
As children progress through St. Paul’s, service learning becomes an even more integral part of their experience.
Middle school students go on-site to their service learning organization – Kansas City Community Kitchen – weekly. Every Friday, Dean of Students Ted van Thullenar or Head of School Andrew Myler take a small group downtown to work as servers for the organization’s “Dine with Dignity” initiative.
The experience is eye opening to young people who have probably never had to worry about where they will find their next meal, he says. “The organization helps anyone who needs a meal – anyone with food insecurity.”
In addition to this service opportunity, every middle school student must perform at least 10 hours of community service outside of school hours. Students are exposed to speakers during chapel who talk about various community organizations and share volunteer opportunities.
St. Paul’s has designated early dismissal days as community service days. Whether it is called Community Service or Service Learning, St. Paul’s has upped its game with respect to developing compassionate, engaged citizens!

Service Learning Partnerships
Grade Level
Example Projects
Children's Mercy Hospital
2401 Gillham Road
  • Handmade cards
  • Videos
  • Patient/sibling/caregiver kits
  • Handwritten books
  • Felt blankets
Operation Breakthrough
3039 Troost
  • Pancake and PJ party
  • Halloween costume drive
  • Read to children
  • Make holiday crafts together
  • Cook together
Bishop Spencer Place
4301 Madison Ave.
  • Halloween visit with singing and Trick-or-Treating
  • Valentine's Day visit with reading and playing BINGO
  • Write biographies of residents
  • Make cards for the residents
St. Paul's Episcopal Church Food Pantry
11 E. 40th St.
  • Stock food in pantry
  • Bag items
  • Bag diapers at Christmas party
  • Any other tasks needed at pantry
Reach Out and Read
3901 Rainbow Blvd.
  • Read to patients
  • Label donated books
  • Organize book drive
  • Write and donate books
Children's Center for the Visually Impaired (CCVI)
3101 Main St.
  • Help set up for winter program
  • Organize supply drive
  • Adopt a family
  • Help with Trolley Run
6, 7, 8
Kansas City Community Kitchen
11 E. 40th St.
  • Take orders from guests
  • Serve food to guests
  • Bus tables
  • Staff dish room

As a member of the St. Paul’s community, I pledge to be honest, to respect others, to take responsibility for my actions and words, to be kind and inclusive, and to help others do the same.
St. Paul's Episcopal Day School, All Rights Reserved 2016