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SMART Project

The goal of St. Paul’s SMART Project is to improve and expand on student knowledge and experiences in the areas of sustainability and service-learning. Our students work throughout the year on a wide variety of service-learning projects. Through our PAWS to Work program, middle school students have the opportunity to work every Friday morning of the school year. Students rotate through 4 groups, with 2 teams in each group. Teachers provide mentorship as students identify needs, brainstorm, plan, design, and work toward the completion of goals. Students benefit greatly from ownership of the program as they learn and utilize service-learning characteristics ranging from empathy and awareness to the willingness to serve, work hard as a team, and see a project through to successful completion. Faculty members enthusiastically model behaviors, mentor teams, and personally dedicate time toward these service-learning goals. Students love sharing their knowledge with their families, school guests, and partner school students. PAWS to Work recognizes both the process and the product of shared work experiences and promotes a meaningful skill set and a value-building experience for all. The acronym SMART was chosen based on the objectives of the program:

S: Sustainability/Science/Service Learning/Socialization/Skills

M: Music/Math/Movement/Motivation

A: Art/Awareness/Analysis/Action

R: Reading/Research/Responsibility/Recycle/Reflection

T: Technology/Teamwork/Thinking!

Coastal Roots Program
A grant from the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation funds our participation in the LSU Ag Center’s Coastal Roots Program. Each year the sixth grade students propagate and grow bitter panicum grass in their Coastal Roots Can Yard. In the spring the students take a trip to Grand Isle State Park to plant hundreds of tall, healthy grass plants specifically grown to prevent coastal erosion. This program not only supports service-learning but also environmental, economic, and cultural sustainability. Students learn how the bitter panicum will help the fight against coastal erosion and also how disappearing wetlands could contribute to the loss of a long-standing lifestyle, culture, and economic support of the island. The program also teaches the children that the grasses they plant are also vital to the survival of the New Orleans community as well.


21st Century Senior Class
Each Friday morning the members of the 21st Century Senior Class team pair with senior adults in the computer lab to teach computer skills such as Word, Excel, photo editing, research, and PowerPoint. The students love working with the senior adults to help them connect with their family and friends through the internet and social media. The program also provides our students with the opportunity to appreciate and value the experiences and efforts of their senior partners. They recognize the “seniors” as vital, energetic members of the community.




Panther Products
The Panther Products Team brainstorms and researches products that can be created from our gardens and is responsible for the marketing and sales in order to help fund our service-learning efforts, as well as maintain an economically self-sustaining program. Students work on creating products for their food line, Panther Pantry, and their creative products line, The Pampered Panther.




Beyond the SMART Project
In addition to the many service-learning/community service activities within the SMART project, students are involved in numerous other projects, many of which the students choose for participation:

  • Children’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Association (100th Day of School donation)
  • Ronald McDonald House (student-prepared meals provided to residents)
  • Christmas ornament workshop to benefit NOAIDS Task Force Art Against AIDS (funded by the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation)
  • St. Mark’s United Methodist Church Sunday Lunch Program (150-175 student-prepared meals are served to those in need)
  • Food drives
  • Bake sales (recipients of profits voted on by students)
  • Lantern Light Ministry (students prepare sandwiches during the school year to donate to the ministry)
  • Sweet Friday (holiday treats for local first responders)
  • St. Michael’s Joy House (Mardi Gras bead collection)
  • School-wide, themed, dress-down days (students donate $1.00 to wear a special T-shirt with proceeds going to fund meal programs)
  • Easter baskets (for local charities)
  • SPCA (donation of cat and dog treats and toys)
  • Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation (water quality data collection by 7th grade)
  • Responses to special needs and natural disasters
  • Social events with the senior day residents of the Lakeview Shepherd Center
  • Art workshop with St. Michael's Special School and Lakeview Shepherd Center to create Christmas ornaments for donation to NO AIDS Task Force for the Art Against AIDS fundraiser