High School Graduation Requirement
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.
Components of Student Service Learning
Three phases are covered in high quality student service learning (SSL):
PREPARATION to make meaningful contributions in response to recognized community needs.
ACTION to achieve curricular objectives, and develop responsibility.
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