Frequently Asked Questions
What is service-learning?
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 real world issues; they then reflect on their experience to reinforce the link between their service and their learning.
What does meaningful Service Learning look like?
The Criteria for Meaningful Service Learning has 3 Parts:
PREPARATION & RESEARCH:
Students are introduced to the community need they are going to address, explore issues related to the community need, and develop special skills needed to carry out their project.
ACTION: Three types exist
- Direct Service: tutoring, mentoring, visiting the elderly
- Indirect Service: collections, fundraisers, cleanups, drives
- Advocacy: lobbying, speaking, performing
Students have the opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, and questions about what they learned as they performed service and how it impacted the community.
All service projects must meet this requirement in order to qualify as meaningful Service Learning.
In which courses will students complete their service-learning projects to fulfill the 75 hours?
Students in grade 5 will complete service learning projects through social studies activities for 5 hours.
Students in grades 6 - 8 will complete service learning projects for 10 hours in each grade level for a total of 30 hours.
Students in grades 9 - 11 will earn the following service learning hours through service-learning projects in the following courses:
- U.S. Government: 10 hours
- Science (grade 10): 10 hours
- English 11: 10 hours
- Health: 10 hours
Can students complete service hours outside of class?
ABSOLUTELY! We encourage our students engaging in Service Learning outside of their required 75 hours -- or what we call "Service Beyond Limits." These hours make students eligible for recognition and awards in AACPS, across the state, and throughout the country -- and it also makes students more marketable to colleges, scholarships, and internships. However, it is important to note that, excluding transfer students who have missed certain classes, any hours earned will serve to supplement the 75 hours that they complete during the school year in their classes -- therefore, they cannot replace or excuse them from school-based service learning.
Visit the "For Students" resources page to get the "Project Agreement" form that must be submitted to the Office of SLM in order to earn credit.
If students are involved in service-oriented clubs or organizations (i.e. Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, Interact Club, NHS, etc.) can they get Service Learning credit for their activites?
Absolutely! Visit the "For Students" resources page to get the "Project Agreement" form that must be submitted to the Office of SLM in order to earn credit.
Why is there a service-learning requirement?
Service learning contributes to raising the students’ awareness of the needs of the community. Students learn the responsibilities involved in citizenship and an appreciation for cultural diversity and teamwork. In addition, students can explore career opportunities. Service learning fosters those “intangibles” – personal values, beliefs, self-esteem, self-confidence, awareness, empathy, social responsibility. It also helps students foster a sense of caring for others, and helps them see their roles as citizens and as active participants in the solution of community problems.
How is service-learning different from community service or volunteering?
During service learning, students take time to study their community and understand how many of their academic studies are involved as a citizen. Community service carries connotations of restitution for committing a non-violent crime, It does not address the vial learning that can take place during service. Volunteering refers to a person demonstrating good will to offer time and energy to address a need, rather than a structured learning experience.
How do transfer students fulfill the service-learning requirement?
All students transferring into Anne Arundel County Public Schools must have documentation for 40 hours of service learning from their previous school(s) or complete the balance for a total of 40 hours on a prorated scale:
- Grade 10: 30 hours
- Grade 11: 20 hours
- Grade 12 (1st semester): 10 hours
- Grade 12 (2nd semester): 5 hours
For more information, or if you have a question, comment, or concern, please contact the Office of Service Learning and Mentorships (SLM) at 410-222-5391.