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Service Learning Core Program

Overview

Students in grades six through twelve will participate in a comprehensive infused service-learning program. Most students will participate in a core program at the middle school level. Service learning for these students is addressed in interdisciplinary teams as a part of the student’s regular classroom learning activities. At this level the teacher develops the plans for integrating the service-learning project into the unit or lessons as a way to achieve unit objectives.

Students at the high school level must complete an approved service-learning program of individual service or participate in a number of locally approved projects during their high school experience. No specific projects or units are mandated centrally.

Middle School Core Program

Most students will participate in a core program at the middle school level. A core program is a locally designated service experience coordinated through a class or grade level. Our program requires a minimum level of service learning engagement of at least 75 hours from each student. The experience will include preparation, action and reflections components. The unique structure of the middle school program provides the flexibility necessary to implement this approach. In addition, it is hoped that the middle school experience will lay the groundwork for students to continue service to the community throughout their school years.

Service learning takes place in Grade 6 and is offered through Grade 8 as part of the students’ regular classroom learning activities. While in middle school, students will participate in a variety of service-learning projects to fulfill the requirement of at least 25 hours of service-learning projects each year. A high quality curriculum-based service-learning project will be conducted under the direction of designated school personnel who must certify that students have met the requirement.

Middle School Transfer Students

Middle school students who transfer into the HCPSS from another Maryland School System or from out of state, and are unable to complete the comprehensive three year interdisciplinary core program (75 hours) at the middle school level must complete an approved service learning program of individual service or participate in any of a number of locally approved projects during their high school experience.

Students must complete twenty-five hour of service learning for each year they were not in attendance at an HCPSS Middle School. Students attending HCPSS middle schools who transfer to other Maryland schools are given credit for 25 hours of service learning for each full year of attendance at the middle school level.

Additional information can be provided by the school service learning point of contact or guidance staff.

High School Core Program

Students who have completed the 75 hours required at the middle school level have fulfilled their High School graduation requirement. Students in grade 9-12 may also fulfill their student service-learning requirement by successfully completing a semester course entitled Leadership II Community Service or a two-semester course entitled Leadership I/II. These courses are designed to give students practical opportunities to demonstrate leadership skills in various settings and are designed to accommodate students who need either a year or a semester option. Topics for study include organizational structures and operational techniques, application of interpersonal skills, and appropriate problem-solving and decision-making skills. Participation in a community service project is required.

High School Transfer Students

Option I

Students who transfer into an HCPSS High School will meet the Maryland graduation requirement of 75 hours of service learning as follows:

High School

  • Grade 9 – a maximum of 75 hours.
  • Grade 10 – a maximum of 50 hours.
  • Grade 11 – (first semester) 40 hours.
  • Grade 11 – (second semester) 30 hours.
  • Grade 12 – (first semester) 15 hours.
  • Grade 12 – (second semester) 10 hours.

Option II – Approved Courses

Students in Grade 10, 11 or 12 may fulfill their student service-learning requirement by successfully completing one of the following courses: Leadership II Community Service, Leadership I/II, Special Education Peer Assistant/ Tutor Course or Student Services Office Assistant/Tutor Course.

Option III – Structured High School Experience

Under the direction of high school personnel, students could complete their service learning requirement by performing an independent project encompassing up to 75 hours (dependent upon entrance to HCPSS). This project would involve a school or community-based experience that will be certified by the designated school personnel as fulfilling the graduation requirement. Students completing this option must also complete the Individual Service Learning Project Form at their school guidance office and submit it to the designated school personnel for approval before beginning their project.

All service learning must be documented using the HCPSS Student Service Validation Form. It will be the responsibility of designated school personnel to certify that students have met the requirement.