Community Engagement & Partnerships

The Community Engagement and Partnerships program aims to empower and prepare students to effect positive, transformative change in their communities. Through a variety of experiential and service programs, students engage with issues of equity and social justice and develop skills needed for compassionate, respectful, and equitable relationships across difference.


The program provides opportunities for students to learn about root causes of inequitable systems and stereotypes that they see in their own communities and in the larger world. As students explore their own identities within broader social and historical contexts, they learn how to question conventional ways of knowing and being and how to advocate for a better future. The Community Engagement and Partnerships program aspires to develop within our students the skills and passion for a lifetime of strong civic engagement.

Civic Engagement

Maret students address societal issues and social problems through civic engagement. Open discourse and partnership with communities beyond our 7-acre campus allow students to listen, learn, and grow with the wider community. We aim to increase the skills students need to be engaged, active citizens.

Upper School

LearnServe Fellows Program

This program brings together high school students from across the DC area to learn how to bring sustainable social change to their communities. Over the academic year, students design and launch their own social “ventures” action projects to benefit their schools and communities.

Social Justice Advocacy in the DC Community

Students had a unique opportunity to learn about-- and participatein-- social justice advocacy while working with local community organizers. They spent the entire ISW downtown, working directly with local community organizers to encourage the DC Council to pass one of the following employment- related bills: the Fair Housing and Schedule Bill, the Paid Family Medical Leave Act, and/or the DC for $15 Minimum Wage Ballot Measure. They worked a t

DC Jobs for Justice and/or Jews United for Justice, two organizations that have remarkable records of “wins”; they have successfully convinced the DC City Council to pass minimum wage, paid sick leave, wage theft prevention, and ban the box bills over the last two years.

Black Stories, Present, Past and Future

Students explored the intriguing personal stories of African Americans past and present. Students toured DC’s most fascinating black history monuments including visiting the Reggie Lewis Black History Museum, Mount Vernon and the U Street corridor. They met with African Americanprofessionals who make an impact as journalists, entrepreneurs, lawyers, artists, and scientists.

Hispanic Cultures Citizenship Textbook

Students in 11th grade Spanish first observe how adult, low-literacy Spanish speakers prepare to take their citizenship exam and then use their observations to help guide their work creating a new Spanish-edition of a textbook for the class. CARECEN reached out to Maret to partners around this project as there are very few preparation materials to help adults who qualify to take their citizenship exam in Spanish and who have low levels of formal education.

SEED School & PEN/Faulkner

Maret’s world Literature teacher partnered with an English teacher at the SEED School, and together with Elizabeth Gutting at PEN/Faulkner set i[ a series of engagements that would promote readership, conversation, and connection among students from different parts of the city and different socioeconomic backgrounds. Through PEN/Faulkner’s Writers in Schools program, the two classes of students were also able to meet the authors of stories and books they read.

Middle School

5th Grade Program

The 5th grade service learning program is built on actively engaging with the community around us to supplement our study of Earth science and weather. Students learn from dynamic speakers such as meteorologists, NASA scientists, air traffic-controllers, and pilots to understand how the content they are studying in the classroom impacts the real-world around them. Time is taken to reflect on these experiences and appreciate the wealth of knowledge that can be gained from members of our own community. During weekly middle school convocation, fifth-graders summarize their understanding of weather concepts and brief the middle school with a weekly weather prediction and report. In addition, our fifth-graders spend 12 weeks in partnership with a school in another part of the world to work on a solution to a problem that the other school may be facing (i.e. access to clean water, composting, etc….)

6th Grade Program

In the 6th grade, each Thursday afternoon, one or two of our advisee groups will do service at Martha’s Table, a community-based organization or A Wider Circle that both exist to help the poor and homeless of our nation’s capital. Our students will serve on a rotating schedule, and will be sorting food, clothing and kitchen items at Martha’s Table’s pantries or A Wider Circle’s warehouse. On most visits, Maret students may be joined by an equal number of 6th grade students from The Washington School for Girls (WSG). Our students willserve for one hour at our service partner organization and then gather together for reflection and community building activities. The usual time frame is from 10:35am-12:35pm and each student will participate at least 4 times during the school year.

7th Grade Program

In the 7th grade, through our partnership with Rock Creek Conservancy, the 7th grade will form a Stream Team, and will be charged with caring for a significant portion of the trail through Rock Creek Park. Students will conduct water quality testing, pick up trash and debris, and learn about and remove invasive species. 7th graders will work on the Stream Team project by advising group. They will take turns working off campus on Fridays as our schedule allows for an eighty-minute block of time for travel to and from our site. Our joint efforts with the Rock Creek Conservancy will be tied to a global theme of water and will be bolstered by additional activities with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (a long-standing 7th grade tradition) and the 7th grade trip to Mountainside Camp in September.

8th Grade Program

Maret’s 8th graders will partner with students at Mazique Early Childhood Center. In this year-long partnership, Maret students will visit a Mazique classroom every Wednesday morning to work with 3- and 4-year-olds on English and literacy skills. Each Maret student will go on a weekly basis for an entire trimester, partnering with the same Mazique student each time.

Lower School

Gentrification of DC

In fourth grade, students learn about changes in DC’s neighborhoods, and partner with A Wider Circle and Martha’s Table to learn first-hand about the impact of gentrification on communities.

Service Learning

Through service learning, our students and teachers develop relationships in the wider community that deepen and strengthen Maret's overall program. Service learning at Maret challenges the traditional service model with intentional, reciprocal relationships that create challenging and meaningful engagement for our students.

Lower School

K–4 - Martha's Table

Lower schoolers visit Martha's Table during the school year to work with three-year-old children and develop activities, which often relate to their own studies at Maret.

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Grade 1 – Anacostia Watershed

Upper school students work hand-in-hand with first graders to construct a shad fish hatchery, monitor water quality of the hatchery, and care for and release shad fry into a local river.

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Grade 4 – A Wider Circle

In fourth grade students learn about changes in DC’s neighborhoods, and partner with A Wider Circle and Martha’s Table to learn first-hand about the impact of gentrification on communities.

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Middle School

Grade 5 – Retirement Communities

Fifth graders visit with the residents three different retirement communities on a regular basis and provide seniors with instrumental and choral performances.

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Grade 6 – SOME

Each Wednesday, sixth grade students from Maret and Washington Middle School for Girls work together, sorting donations for So Others Might Eat (S.O.M.E.).

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Grade 7 – From Creek to Bay

Students form Stream Teams to work off-campus in partnership with the Rock Creek Conservancy.

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Grade 8 – Mazique Early Childhood Program

Maret students partner one-on-one with Mazique students to work on literacy, English, and developmental skills.

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Upper School

Ninth Grade Hunger and Poverty Program

Ninth grade World History includes a service-learning component focused on hunger. Students study hunger-related issues on both local and international levels while participating in service activities.

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Math Buddies

PreCalculus students teach mathematical skills and concepts and serve as role models for lower school students, while gaining a greater appreciation and understanding of math.

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Students in eleventh grade Spanish first observe how adult, low-literacy Spanish speakers prepare to take their citizenship exam and then use their observations to help guide their work creating a new Spanish-edition of a textbook for the class.

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Horizons at Maret

Maret is proud to have piloted the now multi-school Horizons program. Started more than a decade ago, Horizons' six-week summer enrichment program and school year Saturdays help a diverse group of K-8 children from low-income families to develop a lifelong interest in learning, advance academic gains over the summer, and improve achievement in school.

Horizons Today

Today, Horizons Greater Washington has expanded from Maret to other schools in the area. In true public/private collaboration, independent schools donate their campus and facilities so that public school students can the program. Maret teachers and student Horizons Assistant Teachers (HATs) are among the Horizons volunteers.

More About Service Learning and Horizons

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Community Partners

Whether spending a weekend volunteering at a local non-profit or forging a longstanding with our neighbor organizations, community service and facilities partners are integral to the life of Maret.

Community Service Day

Each November, the Upper School joins together for Community Service Day. Students and faculty volunteer at local service organizations such as the Mazique Parent-Child Center, Iona Senior Services, Behrend Builders, and more.

Community Service Day 2017

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend of Service

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend of Service offers Maret another opportunity to work together for social justice. Maret families are invited to join service projects that celebrate the life of the civil rights leader who continues to inspire compassion, healing, and positive change.

  • Upper School Families joined volunteers from across the city to remove invasive plants in Anacostia Park.
  • Middle School Families organized classrooms and a teacher resource room at the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center.
  • Lower School Families gathered on campus to decorate and pack classroom care packages for Martha’s Table Early Childhood Program. Students held a drive for diapers and gently used children’s books leading up to the event.

Intensive Study Week (ISW) Community Service Opportunities

The annual ISW trip to Rocky Mount allows student to help others, work with their hands, learn new skills, and learn about affordable housing by working with Habitat for Humanity.

Martha's Table Soup Project

On the first Monday of each month, students and their families donate and prepare vegetables for use in Martha’s Table’s McKenna’s Wagon program. McKenna’s Wagon consists of a series of vans that travel to parks in Washington DC to serve soup and sandwiches each evening of the year.

Ninth Grade Service Retreat

During this annual overnight, the ninth grade assists people often neglected by our society, specifically the poor, hungry, and homeless, through meaningful volunteer work. Students gather after school travel around the city where they prepare and serve evening meals, tour homeless facilities, and meet and talk with shelter residents. Students return to campus where they hear from speakers from the National Coalition for the Homeless, as well as advocates involved in direct service to homeless and hungry people. Students spend time discussing the causes of poverty and hunger, society’s response to homelessness, and their own feelings about these issues.

Jelleff Field and Recreation Center

Maret completed renovations to the Jelleff Field and Recreation Center in 2010. Under a field-use agreement between Maret School and the DC Department of Parks and Recreation, Maret provided the funds to completely replace the substandard pool, now open to the general public. Maret also funded the installation of permanent lights to allow for extended use of the field by community groups and replaced the grass field with an artificial turf playing field. The newly expanded field is available for use by community groups, DC Stoddert Soccer’s youth soccer program, and Maret School.

Senior Projects Internships

The Senior Project program provides seniors with opportunities to work in the community or to pursue a personal interest in more depth. Community-based internships have included:

  • DC Volunteer Lawyers Project
  • EL Haynes Charter School
  • Latino Student Fund
  • National Park Service
  • Playworks, DC
  • Safe Kids Worldwide
  • Tahirih Justice Center
  • Two Rivers Public Charter School
  • Whitman Walker Health Clinic