Service Learning at ESK

The mission of the Episcopal School of Knoxville is to prepare students for higher education and a lifetime of learning within the context of a loving, inclusive, and family-centered community. We enrich our students' intellectual, physical, cultural and spiritual growth so that they may realize their potential as children of God and citizens of the world.

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Our school mission drives at the ultimate goal of helping students fulfill their potential as children of God and citizens of the world. Both of these identities - children of God and citizens -come with a call to service. At ESK we value the servant leadership that we see in Jesus washing his disciples' feet.

In Middle School, service is homework for every student. The reasons are threefold:

  • First, the homework format provides the flexibility for each student to find the nexus between her unique interests and the needs of the community.
  • Second, students learn the lessons of service on a fundamental level when they invest their own time.
  • Third, it encourages a student to take personal responsibility for doing good.

Each middle school student is responsible each academic year for serving the number of hours that corresponds with that student's grade level.

  • 8th grade - 8 hours
  • 7th grade - 7 hours
  • 6th grade - 6 hours
  • 5th grade - 5 hours

For all groups, fifth grade through eighth grade, up to half of a student’s hours may be obtained through school-related service opportunities. These service opportunities must be done outside of normal school hours (7:30 am to 4:00 pm) and may include things such as school beautification, admission tours/events, or helping with athletic concessions/gate admission.

Hours may be accumulated starting on May 2, 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year.

Students may not receive any compensation for their work. Service hours may not be provided for family members (e.g.: assisting grandparents, babysitting younger siblings, etc.)

Service Examples

Direct/Indirect Service

  • Direct service involves direct face to face contact with those being served.
  • Indirect service is working to benefit those in need but with no person-to-person contact.

Direct Service Examples

  • Cook/Serve meals at a shelter or temporary residence
  • Deliver meals to poor or shut-ins
  • Hand out food at a food pantry
  • Build a house with Habitat for Humanity
  • Volunteer with therapy programs
  • Visit patients at nursing homes or hospitals
  • Participate in Mission Trips
  • Teach Vacation Bible School or other religious education classes
  • Tutor underprivileged children

Indirect Service Examples

  • Church worship activities (cleaning, maintenance, fundraisers, choir practice, serving, cantoring, etc. at liturgies (hour limit: 3)
  • Packing meals for poor
  • Shelve items at a food pantry
  • Volunteer at fundraisers for poor or ill
  • Help at fundraisers for charity (charity is defined as an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need)
  • Sort/organize gifts for the poor
  • Cook at a homeless shelter/soup kitchen

Please remember fundraisers and performances can only be considered service if the fundraiser or performance is benefiting poor or ill. Church worship activities are considered part of a worshiping body and cannot count towards more than 3 hours of service. Travel to and from service or practice leading up to service (i.e. mission trip travel, hike to a campsite) does not count towards service hours.

Approved Agencies

  • KARM
  • Boy’s & Girl's Club
  • Girls Inc.
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • FISH Hospitality Ministry
  • Mobile Meals
  • Nursing Homes
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Love Kitchen
  • Wesley House
  • Manna House
  • Emerald Youth Foundation
  • YMCA
  • Volunteer Ministry Center
  • Humane Society of East Tennessee
  • Seeds of Abraham
  • Salvation Army
  • Second Harvest Food Bank
  • American Red Cross
  • Honor Air Knoxville
  • Beardsley Farms
  • Empty Stocking Fund
  • Fantasy of Trees
  • Laundry Love Knoxville
  • Knoxville Challenger Leagues
  • Africa ELI
  • Random Acts of Flowers
  • Young Williams Animal Shelter
  • Susannah’s House

Students wishing to volunteer with an organization that is not listed above will need to secure prior approval from the ESK Service Committee. You may submit a request for approval via form located on service learning website.

Due Dates

  • Please note that all service hours completed during the summer MUST BE TURNED IN BY SEPTEMBER 4th. Summer hours will not be accepted after this date.
  • Service hours completed during the first grading period, MUST BE TURNED IN BY NOVEMBER 9th. First term hours will not be accepted after this date.
  • Service hours completed during the second grading period, MUST BE TURNED IN BY February 22nd. Second term hours will not be accepted after this date.
  • Remaining service hours must all be turned in by May 1st, accompanied by a service essay. The service essay must be 250 words in length and provide reflection about service that was completed this year, what went well and what didn’t go well and the impact your service had on the community.

Consequences for Unfinished Hours

Any student who had incomplete service hours during the previous school year MUST finish those hours before he can start accruing hours for the current year.

Those who do not complete their hours by the last date to turn in hours (May 1st) will complete a lunch detention for every incomplete service hour.

Service Distinction

Some students want to work toward a more considerable service goal. We created the entirely optional "service distinction" track for these students. Service distinction is earned by giving the required hours in triplicate.

  • 8th grade - 24 hours
  • 7th grade - 21 hours
  • 6th grade - 18 hours
  • 5th grade - 15 hours

Service with distinction is not determined until all hours are submitted in May. Students can switch to and from distinction throughout the year. There is no need to commit to a certain track during the year.