• Service Learning with picture of one person helping another person climb up the side of the letter L in "Learning"


     High School Graduation Requirement 

    Service learning is a teaching method that combines meaningful service to the community with curriculum-based learning. Students improve their academic skills by applying what they learn in school to the real world; they then reflect on their experience to reinforce the link between their service and their learning.

    The Maryland State Department of Education requires each student to complete 75 hours of student service learning which includes preparation, action, and reflection as a high school graduation requirement. Each county decides how to implement its service learning program. Currently in Anne Arundel County, all service learning hours are infused into classes from 5th through 11th grade.  

    Infused hours–– the service-learning hours that students earn while participating in curriculum-based activities during classroom instruction; hours that are automatically entered into the student record.

    All students start their service learning in 5th grade through the Water Ready with Drownproofing Program. In 6th grade, students complete their service learning hours with  Chesapeake Connections through their science class. Students are involved in team-wide or school-wide projects that include preparation, action, and reflection in 7th and 8th grades. The middle school teams are given autonomy to plan projects that their schools connect with in their community. Some examples include projects that support The Special Olympics, Happy Helpers for the Homeless, and The Anne Arundel County Food Bank. 

    Students in high school complete their service learning requirements in classes, through infused hours. Those in our non-IB schools complete their hours in Biology, Health, US Government, and English 11. In our IB World Schools, students earn their hours in GCC, English 9, US Government, and English 10, and the Personal Project. You can find out more about the Personal Project here


    Components of Student Service Learning

    Three phases are covered in high quality student service learning (SSL):

    • Step 1

      PREPARATION to make meaningful contributions in response to recognized community needs.

    • Step 2

      ACTION to achieve curricular objectives, and develop responsibility.

    • Step 3

      REFLECTION to consider the impact of the action and what was learned.

    Quality service-learning experiences result in the strengthening of character, development of new skills, exploration of careers, and an expanded sense of community.

    PREPARATION of Student for the Service-Learning Experience

    • Identify a secular project that is educational and meets a community need.
    • Set the expectations and steps for engagement.
    • Specify specific skills needed.
    • Share aspects of the organization and career paths that are available.
    • Identify the adult who will train, supervise, and guide the student.

    ACTION Supervised Throughout the Service-Learning Experience

    Consider the action involved in the service:

    • Direct Action involves secular activities such as tutoring, visiting children in a hospital, serving food at a food kitchen.
    • Indirect Action involves secular activities such as collections of food, clothing, toiletry items, fundraisers, and community clean-ups.
    • Advocacy Action involves secular activities such as writing letters to officials stating an opinion on a topic, or speaking publicly about an issue.
    • Supervise the action in a public place.

    REFLECTION of the Service-learning Experience by the student

    • Assist student as necessary to understand the need they addressed.
    • Identify who benefited from the action that was taken.
    • Survey what the student learned about him/herself.
    • Identify the academic area connected to the service-learning experience.
    • Celebrate service and learning.
    • Encourage continued involvement.
    • Explore potential career goals as a result of this experience


    Service Learning Implementation Plan with MSDE Recommendations (2017-2020)