At the foundation of Colvin Run Elementary School is a unique character education initiative, developed in collaboration among our own teachers, administrators, guidance counselors and parents. To maximize the impact of the initiative, the multi-faceted endeavor focuses on five timeless, cross-cultural values: compassion, courage, respect, responsibility and honesty.
Students are taught and inspired to cultivate these values using literature, a common vocabulary of character traits and school-wide integration of behavioral expectations.
The effort also builds partnerships and supports parents in their fundamental role in character development.
Finally, the program seeks to reinforce and apply what students have learned about character through participating in service learning projects – both school-wide as well as grade level specific projects.
Service Learning Projects
Colvin Run students, staff, and families are committed to caring for the community and learning about their responsibility to the world around them. Through grade level and school-wide service learning projects, all students participate in engaging activities and contribute to society. In addition, these projects are connected to the Fairfax County Public Schools Program of Studies and curriculum. Student reflections are held during and/or after each project and activity. These reflections help students assess what they have learned and help CRES staff evaluate the impact. Please see more details about specific grade-level and school-wide service projects from this past year please see Character Education.
What Are Service Learning Projects?
Service learning projects at Colvin Run:
- Give all students a variety of practical opportunities to demonstrate compassion.
- Provide leadership and instruction as to how to integrate respect and responsibility with compassion.
- Where applicable, connect service learning projects to classroom curriculum.
- Connect “Head, Heart and Hands.” Demonstrating service to others makes the connection between what is believed in the heart and in the mind true in their actions.
- Impact our school and greater communities through effective projects.
Examples of CRES Grade Level Service Learning Projects
Kindergarten: Reaching Out Locally
CRES kindergarteners made “May Baskets” for senior citizens at a local assisted living facility. Students created cards with cheery messages, made tissue flowers, and decorated cookies for the baskets that were shared with the residents.
1st Grade: Connection to Community
First grade partnered with pen pal buddies at Hybla Valley ES to build relationships and strengthen writing skills. Students wrote to each other for three months and participated in a culminating event on May 11 where 1st graders at CRES hosted HVES students for a puppet show, lunch, and a craft activity.
2nd Grade: Kits for Hospitalized Children
Students designed and created puzzles as an art packet to give to children at Georgetown University Hospital’s Lombardi Cancer Center (LCC). Inspiration for the artwork on the puzzles came from books of a well-known author. A liaison from LCC visited CRES and shared with students how their creations would impact and help the young patients at LCC.
3rd Grade: Warm Up America
Students learned to knit with the help of teachers and parents. Each student created at least one knitted square that created a blanket when combined with other squares. A blanket per class was donated to Warm Up America (a charity providing blankets and other knitted items to people in need). Students also created a class photo story book where each child wrote detailed entries about his or her experience.
4th Grade: Recycling Initiative
Comprised of fourth grade students, the Green Team is in charge of keeping CRES environmentally friendly. The Green Team picks up recycling each week and teaches others about recycling rules. Students learned about environmental issues, had an assembly to learn about recycling in Fairfax County, made posters with recycling tips that were put up in the school, and celebrated Earth Day at CRES this spring.
5th Grade: Bikes for the World
5th grade students partnered with Bikes for the World (BFTW), a nonprofit organization that distributes usable bikes to people with transportation needs in developing countries, to do a collection at CRES. Students learned how to break down the bikes for transport and met with a representative of BFTW to view examples of the assistance the bikes provide for school children and adults in their countries. They advertised the bicycle drive to the school and local community by making posters and performing skits on the CRES morning news show. A bake sale helped raise money to defray the cost of delivering the bikes overseas.
6th Grade: Book Drive
6th grade students advertised and collected books from the entire school to donate to students at Garfield ES and Timber Lane ES. Two CRES alums and current McLean HS students saw a need to provide books for students at these schools and CRES students were happy to help. The goal was for each student at CRES to bring in his or her favorite book, along with an accompanying bookmark describing why he or she donated the book.
Examples of Colvin Run ES School-Wide Service Learning Projects
Stop Hunger Now/Families Helping Others by Earning to Learn
Students earned money at home and in their community, recorded how they earned the money, and donated it at school to Stop Hunger Now (SHN), a nonprofit organization providing packaged meals to hungry people in developing countries. This money, along with donations from parents, staff, and community members (totaling more than $5,500) was used to package and send over 20,000 meals to individuals overseas. The packaging event, held at CRES on Sunday, January 22 from 8:30-12:30, was a great time for families to participate in a worthwhile and rewarding activity.
Food & Clothing Drive
Students donated food and clothing to benefit the students and community of Hybla Valley ES. CRES families gave their time to wash the donated clothes, sort, pack, and deliver the items to HVES
Jump Rope for Heart
Students raise thousands of dollars annually for the American Heart Association by participating in jump rope activities and stations involving heart health, computers and the Nintendo Wii. All CRES students, through PE, learn heart healthy tips and how they can maintain high levels of physical fitness throughout their lives.
Students, staff, parents and community supporters walk and run at the annual Colvin Fun Run in support of their favorite charity. The event is held at Shouse Village, where attendees enjoyed lively music and community building activities before the walk/run.