Before the 1980s, community service in schools was seen as an individual responsibility. Where such programs existed, if they existed at all, students were encouraged to get out in the community and do some good, but the work was always viewed as separate from one's studies.

In the 1980s, college presidents united in forming Campus Compact to develop models for higher education. Some independent schools embraced the change and recognized their institutional relationship to their communities, and the shift from service learning to community engagement evolved.

 Today, that shift represents a recognition in a growing number of schools that the entire school community must be involved - a shift from emphasis on individual good to institutional responsibility. In our work, we see examples of this everywhere.

The advent of service learning changed that concept by adding an educational dimension that incorporates individual reflection, group discussion, and sociological and political analysis of the needs that service addresses.



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