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The Sophomore Project

Created August 1995                                                                                                                                                         Revised August 2022

Welcome to the Sophomore Project. As one of the top Service Learning schools in the nation, Pioneer High School requires students to participate in a multidisciplinary year-long project in which students connect their study of a world problem (part of the content and common core standards) with community service (an SJUSD requirement for graduation). Students begin the school year learning about local issues and various non-profit organizations attempting to solve these issues.  Next, the students select a world problem that they research both in the classroom and by working with a non-profit organization currently making a difference on the same topic. The purpose of the project is to encourage students to gain knowledge about a world problem through research, reflection (learning), and a hands-on community service experience (serving). This project asks students to think globally, [and] act locally, which helps to achieve SJUSD’s goal that all students master 21st-century skills.

Key Terms


Local Problem/Issue: refers to

problems found in the local 

community (city, state, or US focused)


Global Problem/Issue: refers to problems found outside of the United

States. Usually these issues will arise in 

multiple countries/continents 

World Problem/Issue: refers to the student’s specific topic that they will choose for their Sophomore Project. These will be prevalent in both local and global areas.


Frequently Asked Questions

What counts for community service?

  • Please take a look at page 4 of this packet

What if I am too busy for community service?

  • The service requirement is 10 hours for the fall and 15 hours for the spring (this averages out to less than 1 hour per week)

  • We also have Fall Break (1 week off school) as well as Winter and Spring Break (2 weeks off school)

Does this count for my Ethnic Studies Literature Civic Action project?

  • It can but it does not have to.

  • If you would like it to count for both the Civic Action Project and Sophomore Project, then you must select a World Problem that reflects a social issue related to Ethnic Studies. Your English teacher will be able to help you match both topics.

Does this count for my APWE Service designation in AP European History?

  • Yes. As long as the AP Euro students complete the AP Exam and all of the Sophomore Project components then they will earn the APWE designation.

Who must complete the Sophomore Project?

  • The entire sophomore class will be working on the Sophomore Project through their history and English courses. 

Why sophomore year?

  • The Sophomore Project best integrates with 10th grade World History and 10th grade English core standards.

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