community action at pcs
Service Learning and Social Justice
The community action, service learning, and social justice initiatives at PCS are integral parts of our curriculum thatsupport students’ ability to enact meaningful, positive and compassionate change in their communities– not later, not when they grow-up – but today, and everyday.
The service learning/community action program aims toimmerse students in hands-on, interactive, field-based service learning experiences that meet authentic needs in the community *and* connect students to the realities of underserved populations in our community, so they can begin to understand the societal structures that stress and challenge vulnerable populations. When students begin to problem solve about how they can make positive change in people’s lives and how they can institute change in the community, community service becomes community action.
Students across all grade levels participate in hands-on service learning and community action projects throughout the year (including an annual Day-On of Service in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day), often in cooperation with community outreach groups including Maureen’s Haven, Branches of Long Island, Lighthouse Mission, Slow Food East End Flour Power, and Amseas to address housing insecurity, food scarcity, marine habitat pollution and the climate crisis. Students regularly set up overnight shelters, and make and serve dinner to the guests; they stock food pantries, serve at mobile food drives, create necessity bags for families in temporary housing, clear marine debris from local beaches, and one student even rallied over 100 community members to a climate march she organized in downtown Riverhead!
PCS is an actively anti-racist community.Part of our responsibility as anti-racist educators is making sure thatanti-bias work and materials that honestly and responsibily address the realities of racism are incorporated into our daily curriculum. Many opportunities to discuss systemic racism and individual bias present themselves authentically, whether we’re considering recent news stories, recounting personal experiences, uncovering themes in our integrated unit, or discovering historical inaccuracies or mistruths in our research. Facilitators prepare for these authentic opportunities, extend learning whenever possible, and hold safe space for honest student inquiry to emerge. Additionally, some our our anti-racist work is explicit, intentional and prioritized into the daily schedule alongside math groups and integrated unit blocks.Students are offered dedicated time and safe spaces to work through their questions about racism, process their lived experiences, confront new perspectives, and practice new responses.