A Shipley education balances individual achievement with a concern for others. From Pre-K through 12th grade, our service learning program encourages students to be compassionate citizens. With service learning integrated into the curriculum, students gain understanding of the world, engage in active volunteerism, and reflect carefully on their experience. Our program nurtures an appreciation for the many ways a person can serve the School and the greater community.
Service opportunities are included throughout the Lower School curriculum and classrooms. The Student Council takes a leadership role in carrying out projects such as food and book drives and fundraisers. Shipley’s youngest students have supported organizations such as:
- Ronald McDonald House
- The Brain Tree School in Uganda
- Family Support Services
- St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children
Middle School students perform a minimum of 10 hours of community service each academic year. They are also encouraged to volunteer outside of school. A monthly service activity gives students the opportunity to fulfill service hours during the school day. Activities include:
- tutoring students in Lower School or in North Philadelphia
- packing food for the underserved
- performing at nursing homes or day care centers
- cleaning up local parks
Upper School students are required to perform 40 hours of volunteer service before graduation. Students Organized for Service, as well as the Athletics Department and a number of individuals, manage many fundraising events and community service projects throughout the year. Regular events include:
- Super Saturday
- Toys for Tots Girls' Basketball Tournament
- Coaches vs. Cancer Boys' Basketball Tournament
- Hoops for Haiti Basketball Fundraiser
- Community Blood Drive
Senior Service Projects represent the culmination of our students’ service experience. Each student spends the last month of school volunteering in the non-profit sector. Organizations such as Keystone Hospice, Clean Air Council, Philadelphia Zoo, West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, Inglis House, COSACOSA, Non-Profit Technology Resources, St. Barnabas, and Tyler Arboretum have welcomed Shipley students.
All-School Service Events
- Super Saturday
- All-School Food Drive
- Special Olympics at Shipley
- Walk for Brain Tree
- Monthly Service Saturdays—for students and their families
Brain Tree School
Shipley is a Sister School with The Brain Tree Primary School, a private school in Kyanja, Uganda, founded in 1994 by Agnes and Solomon Mukasa. For some years, thanks to an introduction by a Shipley parent, the School has helped to support Brain Tree with donations of books and other materials, as well as funding.
Shipley students, particularly in the Lower School, correspond with Brain Tree teachers and students and some of our teachers and an alumna have visited and developed strong ties to the school. Funds raised by Shipley students and faculty enabled Brain Tree to build a library in 2006. We expect that this relationship will continue and strengthen over time.
Families in this region of Africa struggle with adversity. Many children are orphaned from parents dying of AIDS/HIV, malaria is an ongoing problem, and money is very scarce. Helping to send children to school and provide them with educational resources improves their lives and gives them a chance for a better future. It is part of our mission of compassionate participation in the world.
Visit The Brain Tree School's Website.
Kids Place Live Goes to the Braintree School in Uganda on SIRIUS XM
Robbie Schaefer's Bandwagon: The Shipley School on SIRIUS XM's on Kids Place Live
In a matter of 15 seconds, the earthquake that ravaged southwest Haiti in January 2010 destroyed 90% of the town of Leogane, killing 4,000 inhabitants. The people reside in weather-battered tents, beneath torn tarps, in makeshift wood or metal boxes, and en plein air. Reconstruction is slow, at best. Of the town’s 200,000 surviving inhabitants, 46% are under the age of eighteen, with 68,000 between the ages of three and fifteen.
Ronde Sous Tente
The town’s Rotary Club was desperately seeking a way to provide safe shelter for Leogane’s homeless children wandering the streets amid the destruction. Thus, the idea of the summer Tent Schools—Ronde Sous Tente—was conceived. Shipley actualized the concept by supplying funds and school supplies for the first camps of 2010. The summer of 2013 will be our fourth consecutive year of sustaining the camps, reaching nearly 700 children.
These summer camps provide a safe, fun, activity-centered learning environment for children, three to fifteen years of age. Haitian certified teachers and assistants work together to provide emotional and psychosocial support to approximately 160 traumatized children each summer. Each child receives a nutritional meal and clean drinking water daily. With the goal of shaping character, children are taught to be good stewards of the land, dependable neighbors, and responsible citizens of their nation. Teachers instruct the children in proper hygiene practices, as well—vital to survival in a country where the infrastructure is broken, and typhoid, cholera, and malaria are rampant.
La Tulipe Kindergarten
Our little Haitian sister school, La Tulipe, first opened its doors in October 2011 with an enrollment of 24 children, each child three years of age. The reason for opening a kindergarten was due to the fact that over 95% of the pre-schools and elementary schools in Leogane were destroyed during the January 2010 earthquake.
The school has been built on the site of the Headmistress’ former personal home destroyed in the quake. The tiny school has three windowless classrooms, a corridor, a miniscule office space, and two features that make the school “cutting edge” in Haiti: a single outdoor toilet and a spigot with running water (not potable, of course).
Now in its second year, La Tulipe serves 42 children, ages three and four. Should the little school survive a third year, the Headmistress hopes to reach capacity enrollment at approximately 75 students.