Grandview Heights City School District leaders often talk about the fact that learning occurs both in and out of the classroom.

We also place a strong emphasis on life skills and the importance of compassion and civic responsibility as part of the learning process. Service learning helps students become action-oriented citizens who seek to make the world a better place for everyone.

This time of year is an excellent example of that idea, with many of our students and staff taking part in opportunities to provide a service for the community in many ways.

Here are some of the opportunities students took advantage of at our high school:

* The Yarn Club is teaming up with the American Heart Association and its nationwide fundraiser, Little Hats, Big Hearts, by crocheting red hats for babies born in February to raise awareness about living heart-healthy lives.

* The Spanish Club sold purses and bracelets made by artisans in Nicaragua and Guatemala, with the money going back to artisans. The charity, the Pulsara Project, enables artisans to simultaneously support and care for their children instead of working in the factories and fields and leaving their children at home alone.

* The Key Club hosted a food drive to benefit the students and families of the Wedgewood Community. Many students depend on school breakfast and lunch to meet their daily nutritional needs. The club sought donations of shelf-stable food items to help alleviate hunger over the two-week winter break. The Edison Intermediate/Larson Middle School student council held a food drive as well.

* The performing arts department has been spreading holiday cheer with community-oriented concerts. Students in grades 6-8 held an orchestra concert Dec. 5, the middle school holiday choral concert was Dec. 6, and the concert band and jazz ensemble concert was held Dec. 12. The concert choir and the Grandview Singers held a holiday choral concert Dec. 14 in addition to many area performances.

* At Edison/Larson, Bobcat groups are supporting those with cancer by partnering with the nonprofit organization Families for a Cure to create care packages. Students sold candy-grams to raise money to purchase fleece to make tie blankets; they also collected toiletries, tissues, bagged candies, puzzle books and coloring books. In addition, they made microwave heating pads and wrote notes of encouragement to include in the care packages.

* At Stevenson Elementary School, the third-grade leadership team worked with school counselor Stephanie Doran to create a special fundraiser called Change for Change in Puerto Rico. The students raised nearly $1,200 in honor of their school custodian, Jose Guerrero, who is from Puerto Rico. The money was donated to "Mr. Jose's" home parish in Puerto Rico, and students included handwritten notes of support and compassion. Students also collected canned goods, hats and mittens to share with those in need closer to home.

These are just a few of the many examples of students and staff giving time and energy to causes in our community and around the world. It is our responsibility as educators to teach our students about service, but it is often our youngest residents who set the best examples of caring and giving.

On behalf of Grandview schools, we wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Andy Culp is superintendent of the Grandview Heights City School District.