Service Learning


The Upper School Service Learning Program is designed to educate students about how civic responsibility and social justice are integrally linked to their work in the classroom. The goal of the program is to tie their academic learning to real world issues and community needs, instilling in our students a sense that their actions can positively affect the world around them. Service Learning reinforces our core values of civic responsibility and ethical character development.

Goals of the Upper School Program

  • Students gain a greater understanding of community and themselves as contributing, caring human beings.
  • Students develop a heightened awareness of and sensitivity to the needs of others within their community—especially those marginalized or underserved— so as to foster a great conviction to serve and improve the lives of others.
  • Students apply academic, social and interpersonal skills to improve the community. They are involved in making decisions that have tangible results and engage in service and advocacy that addresses relevant, real-world issues.
  • Students develop leadership and team-building skills.

Basic Service Requirements

Rather than requiring a set number of community service hours each year, the Brentwood program incorporates at least one meaningful service learning project at each grade level into an academic course or program, ensuring that all students participate in some form of civic engagement each year. Several departments offer additional service learning projects tied to specific course curriculum. Students also participate in grade level service days and service retreats annually.


To encourage students to participate additionally in service outside of the classroom, Brentwood has established a unique service-based honor society, Benefacta, to recognize committed volunteer work. Students generally accrue hours by working with a service agency after school or during the summer. We have numerous Service Clubs each year that are devoted to service, including the Best Buddies Club, Interact Club, Ecology Club, the Veterans Support Club and more. Such service clubs are organized and led by students with faculty advisors and meet regularly during a designated Activity Period each week. Learn more...

Direct vs. Indirect Service

Direct service entails working with an underserved population or entity that immediately benefits from the work you do. Examples include providing meals to the homeless or cleaning a polluted river. Indirect service includes advocacy and behind-the-scenes work to provide assistance “indirectly” to a population or entity (e.g. collecting food for the homeless or assisting with paper work in the office of a non-profit). While Brentwood School honors both direct and indirect service, all major service project and service clubs are required to have some component of direct service to ensure the most meaningful level of civic engagement and interaction with those served.


Best Buddies Celebrate Halloween at McBride School

by Emily B. and Maia F., Best Buddies Officers

On Monday, October 23, the Brentwood Chapter of Best Buddies traveled to the McBride school for a Halloween party. Best Buddies pairs Brentwood high schoolers with children with developmental disabilities to form long lasting friendships. This was the first event with the buddies of the 2017-2018 school year, and one of a few that we get to have off campus at McBride school itself, which the buddies attend. Many Brentwood freshman had their first opportunity to meet the buddies and formed new friendships that will eventually become pairings. Older students introduced their buddies to Brentwood freshmen, and everyone got to make new friends...

Read more about Best Buddies Celebrate Halloween at McBride School

K-12 Service Learning Events

Senior Service Project Presentations & Luncheon
EC Classrooms

Elena Cardenas

Student Life Assistant & Benefacta Coordinator, Upper School

James Hughes

Director of Service Learning, Upper School
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