Service Learning

Overview of our Service Learning Program

At McAuliffe Manual, we offer students real world knowledge, skills and experience by conducting service learning projects and working to improve their local and global communities. Taking action as the result of learning is an important part of being a principled and caring IB learner.

Teachers at McAuliffe Manual develop MYP units in order to engage students with content and contexts that will inspire action, which might include developing empathy, making small-scale changes to behavior, raising funds for a cause, or generating awareness campaigns. Service learning  is not only integrated into our school’s curriculum, but is also experienced first-hand by our students through community-focused projects.

Weekly trips to local organizations are organized and some past trips include working with: the VOA Mission, Dahlia Campus for Health and Wellbeing, Ronald McDonald House, Metro Caring, Dahlia Square and Montbello Manor senior centers and Urban Farm. In addition, our students have partnered with local elementary schools to provide support with the schools’ reading programs.

In April, all students participate in a school-wide Service Learning Day, where multiple groups of students visit and provide service to many different local organizations.

Service as action is an integral part of the Middle Years Program. DPS requires that students participating in a community service trip reflect upon this experience and document it in their College in Colorado accounts. More information can be found at this link.


Service Learning Day – April 20, 2018

Our 2nd Annual Service Learning Day was a huge success! Thanks to our students, staff, volunteers and community partners.

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Spark Change Campaign

Spark Change (formerly known as Penny Harvest) is a program in which students identify, fundraise and award grants to local charity organizations. This student-led program is facilitated by our Spark Change Leadership Group and managed by Elizabeth Hoff and Penny Alsabih.

In the fall, McAuliffe Manual students raise money through donations to the Spark Change fund and then vote on the needs they most care about. The results of that survey are forwarded to our student-member Spark Change Leadership Group and the group chooses local charity organizations that are most aligned with the needs identified in the school-wide survey.  Financial grants are awarded to these organizations in the spring during a school assembly. Additionally, McAuliffe Manual students visit and work with some of the Spark Change grant recipients during our Service Learning Days.

2016-17 DPS Spark Change highlights include:

  • 25 schools participated and collected $56,224.04
  • 68 organizations received a grant
  • 41 service projects were completed

Following is a sample of previous award recipients:

  • 2 children were granted a wish through Make-A-Wish
  • Camp Wapaiyapi was able to provide s’mores to all cancer patients and their siblings last summer
  • 36 students received backpacks filled with school supplies through A Precious Child Foundation
  • Multiple animal rescue organizations were able to continue rescuing, training and feeding animals throughout the city
  • 159 meals were provided to Denver’s homeless men, women and children through the Denver Rescue Mission
  • Over 600 distraction kits were created for Children’s Colorado Foundation to hand out to patients

Denver Public Schools