It is everyone's responsibility to take care of our community. TPS Service is internal service work that each student participates in throughout the school year. In preschool through third grade, students have jobs within their own classroom. In middle school, students fulfill service responsibilities that extend beyond their classrooms; they are asked to complete at least one term of TPS Service, taking on such jobs as classroom helpers, lunch helpers, assistants to the after school program, and garden crew; participation in a service activity outside of school can be counted as well.
Helping others outside the school community takes on a variety of forms at TPS. Classrooms establish partnerships with local organizations; we believe that these partnerships are most meaningful if they relate to classroom study. For example, as first and second graders work to become sturdy independent readers, they learn that there are children in the Philadelphia region and beyond who do not have easy access to books at home. Each year their classrooms take part in a Read-athon to raise funds for Reach Out and Read, whose Philadelphia chapter provides books to area pediatricians for distribution to patients whenever they have a doctor’s appointment.
Middle Schoolers are asked to take part in community service each year; there are specific jobs at TPS that they can choose to do, or they can perform service outside of school. The 8th grade participates in four mornings of service in January, working at venues in Philadelphia. In January 2019 each of our students worked at one of three sites - the Share Food Program in North Philadelphia, CHOP’s Early Head Start Program in West Philadelphia, and MANNA in Fairmount.
Student Council spearheads several initiatives each year. Their annual Helping Hands Program has included food drives for local food pantries, a children’s book drive in partnership with Tree House Books, a pet food drive for animal refuge centers, and a coin drive for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Our parent association sets a good example by sponsoring community service initiatives each year. Annual projects include a winter coat drive, a children's holiday gift drive to benefit Children's Hospital; and Martin Luther King, JR. Day of Service, during which families make more than 500 sandwiches and 500 desserts for residents of area shelters. The parent association works closely with students on various sustainability projects, including our annual Earth Day celebration and the Green Ambassadors program.
Service work is closely tied into the curriculum of several of our classrooms. For example, our fourth and fifth grade classrooms connected their heroes study to the work done by Project Home. Eighth grade science and cultural studies research projects each include service components. In conjunction with the Philadelphia Zoo, our eighth graders studied the impact of deforestation and developed Operation Red Panda, a project to reduce junk mail and slow down the deforestation of the habitat of the Red Panda.