Pendleton County’s GATES program utilizes service learning to focus on critical thinking skills and talent development, provide students with the opportunity to be active learners, and strengthen school-community relationships. Service-learning provides students in Pendleton County an opportunity to engage with the community through intentional partnerships that link the gifts and talents of the students to the needs of the community. The goal behind our service-learning efforts is to help students to understand that they can use their gifts for the betterment of their school, community, and the world around them.
Service Learning activities and projects provide an opportunity for students to take further action, articulate what they have learned in a variety of ways, and to share it with others. These activities go on over a period of time, resulting in products, presentations, performances, etc. Students work with the teacher to set a time line, plan of action, and other aspects of formative evaluation throughout the process. Students have written and directed musical theatre productions, created paintings to auction, taught preschool and elementary students, created a Veterans documentary, presented at conferences, created an outdoor classroom, organized and facilitated a community political forum, and much more., These activities have created ways to remove “the glass ceiling” that often prevents gifted students from working above level and offer extended learning opportunities. This learning environment encourages students to become personally invested in their education empowering them to make decisions and even create challenges for themselves. With support and opportunities, all students can learn to utilize their talents and reach their highest potential in and out of the classroom environment.