At Red Oaks our ethos and belief is that we are elevated and educated through service to our communities. A strong social conscience engenders social responsibility, community involvement, and positive change. At Red Oaks we are interested in laying the foundations for engaged global citizenship. The teaching of awareness, initiative, collaboration, involvement, and follow-through is a process that begins with the seeds of philanthropy in Early Childhood and grows in scope and responsibility through the Elementary and Middle School programs. At Red Oaks, community involvement is an essential component in each student’s personal growth and to the achievement of his/her fullest potential.
In our middle school, we believe that community involvement is an essential part of education. While adult-led community service is positive, student-led community service is empowering to young people. We require a number of hours of community service per school year, and students are responsible for keeping track and reporting their hours.
An important part of our community service initiative is our "jobs" system. Each one of our students contributes to the community by choosing among a series of jobs throughout the school year. Examples of jobs include, "Recess Shed Manager", "Lost and Found Manager", "Advisory Assistant", and "Classroom Groundskeeper". We screen students’ choices and counsel them in matching their service to their personality and interests.
Red Oaks offers students external opportunities for community action through local partnerships such as the Interfaith Food Pantry and local CareOne nursing home. In 2015, Red Oaks entered an exciting partnership with the Passaic River Coalition, a non-profit organization that provides valuable assistance for the preservation and protection of over 1,000 miles of waterways in New Jersey and New York. The Passaic River Coalition is located in Morristown's historic Willow Hall, which is directly next door to our middle school's building on 340 Speedwell Avenue! Our students are active participants in the development and marketing of Willow Hall as a historic and environmentally conscious, public space.
Our middle school encourages student initiated action through the curriculum. At this age, it is important for students to see how academic content matters in their lives. Examples of this action include:
- Montessori Model United Nations
- Persuasive essay writing that brings systematic changes to the school community
- International action through microloans
- Funding for international causes connected to our community, like disaster relief and the Transcaucasian Trail.
- Stewardship of Speedwell Lake through our science curriculum
The 8th grade Community Project is our capstone event. Students match their passions to local issues and develop a comprehensive plan for community service that is individualized and assess via the external assessments provided by the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. All the faculty of our middle school is involved in supporting 8th graders in this important endeavor.