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.

K-12 Service Learning Events

Senior Service Project Presentations & Luncheon
EC Classrooms

Elena Cardenas

Student Life Assistant & Benefacta Coordinator, Upper School

Andrew Park

History & Service Learning Liaison, Upper School

Catherine Zusky

Director of Student Life and Service Learning, Upper School, Dean, Class of 2019;