Community Service Goals and Requirements

Goals

Community Service at Commonwealth School aims to:

  • Expose students to people who are at a disadvantage (socially, medically, economically, or otherwise)
  • Help students to realize they can make a difference and give them the tools to do so
  • Develop awareness and better understanding of the communities they live in
  • Develop a community of caring and committed individuals at Commonwealth School

Requirements

Even in the midst of the pandemic—and often in response to it—our students have found ways to volunteer their time and energy, and we have adjusted our community service requirements accordingly. 

Our community service requirements and guidelines, as of October 28, 2020, are as follows: 

  • Freshmen and Sophomores (9s and 10s): We expect current freshmen and sophomores to complete 15 hours of service by the first day of their junior year. At least half of those hours should involve interpersonal “face-to-face” interaction; this includes virtual meetings. Group project hours, including those completed during Day of Service, are eligible. (See “How to Fulfill the Requirement” below.)
  • Juniors (11s): If current juniors have yet to complete 10 hours of service, we expect them to do so by the first day of their senior year. We encourage interpersonal “face-to-face” interaction, which includes virtual meetings, but it is not required. Group project hours, including those completed during Day of Service, are eligible. (See “How to Fulfill the Requirement” below.)
  • Seniors (12s): Current seniors who have yet to meet their community service requirements will meet with Community Service Coordinator Rui Shu and/or Headmaster Bill Wharton to discuss their needs on a case-by-case basis.

Note, we will remain flexible with these requirements and in the nature of service. We will continue to adapt as pandemic conditions evolve. 

We also encourage students to consider a project in service for Project Week. While time spent during Project Week does not count toward the community service requirement, it is an opportunity to get to know an organization better, which can lead to a longer community service engagement and eligible hours. 

Find Organizations and Opportunities

Students may participate in community service arranged by the school (such as group service projects or events organized by Commonwealth Cares) or independently. To find an external volunteer opportunity, we recommend students consult with Commonwealth Cares or with Community Service Coordinator Rui Shu

To encourage you to get to know the city and its people better, we strongly recommend service at an organization new to you. If you are already familiar with an organization and want to continue working with it, we recommend doing half of the requirement there and half with a new organization.

Commonwealth salutes all manner of community service, from work on political causes to volunteering on a farm, but in order to encourage students to help its people in need, credit toward the fulfillment of the requirement can only be earned through service for an organization that is under-funded and/or understaffed, where a volunteer’s help would really make a difference to those who are socially, medically, economically, or otherwise disadvantaged.

We ask that a substantial portion of the credit toward the fulfillment of the requirement (roughly half) be earned through service directly to those citizens. The remaining hours can be earned by working for an approved organization that does not directly work with people face-to-face.

Submit Required Forms

All Commonwealth students must download, complete, and submit the forms below to Community Service Coordinator Rui Shu. 

  • Proposal: Submit before starting a community service project to gain approval for your proposed project. Once you receive approval, you may begin your service. 
  • Evaluation: Submit after you complete your service, logging your the hours.
  • Attendance form: This is for group leaders to take attendance and corroborate the hours for each student who participated.
  • Contract: Every ninth grader must complete this contract at the beginning of the school year to indicate if they're planning on participating in our spring projects.

Questions or concerns? Please contact Community Service Coordinator Rui Shu.