• Service-Learning

    Queen Anne’s County Public Schools promotes high-quality service-learning experiences for all students to help them become active participants in making a difference in their community on a local and global level. 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. Successfully completing service-learning is a Maryland State Department of Education graduation requirement. Students must complete a total of 75 hours of service to the community prior to graduation.

    In Queen Anne's County Public Schools, service-learning opportunities begin as early as in elementary school. During 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, students work to complete a minimum of one service-learning project each year within at least one of their content classes designed to provide service that is beneficial to their local community.

    In high school, students complete at least two more projects, in addition to their minimum of three service-learning experiences completed in middle school. By the time students graduate, they will have completed at least five service-learning projects that incorporate academic preparation and structured reflection. For more information about the high-quality service-learning in Queen Anne's County Public Schools, contact your school's Service-Learning Coordinator.

    Service-learning is not the same as:
     
    Community Service
    People engaging in community service do so for a variety of reasons. This is a broad term that can encompass court ordered, stipend or volunteer service. It also does not necessarily link to academic studies.
     
    Volunteerism
    Volunteers engage in service for a variety of personal reasons. They do not necessarily link their service to academic studies nor do they receive academic credit for their efforts.

    Work Study Internship
    Student interns frequently work at for-profit business to benefit the financial standing of that business. They are not necessarily working to improve their communities through these internship experiences. There can be overlap between work study internships and service-learning. Students are engaged in service-learning if through their internship experiences they work to improve the health or welfare of their community while linking this to their academic studies.

    Components of a Service-Learning Project
    All service-learning experiences must include Preparation, Action and Reflection:
     
    Preparation is the first step of service-learning in which students work with teachers and community members to:
    • Identify issues affecting the community in areas related to health, education, environment, or public safety
    • Select project site(s) and how to address a selected issue
    • Plan service-learning reflection
    • Explore the concept of active citizenship
     
    Action is the next step of service-learning in which students carry out their service through one of the following:
    • Direct Service – Students have face-to-face contact with service recipients. Examples include tutoring other students, serving meals at a homeless shelter, working with the elderly in a senior citizen community, etc.
    • Indirect Service – Students perform a service without having direct contact with the recipient. Usually resources are channeled to help alleviate a problem. Examples include food and clothing drives, environmental projects, raising money for a cause through activities such as a walk-a-thon, etc.
    • Advocacy – Students educate others about a selected issue with the goal of eliminating the causes of a particular problem. Examples include writing letters to legislators or newspaper editors, creating web pages, creating and displaying posters within the community, writing and performing informative plays, creating educational materials for other target groups, legislative testimony, etc.
     
    Reflection is the final step of service-learning in which students look back upon the completed project and review what they have learned. Reflection may be done individually (journals, scrapbooks, teacher-student meetings) or as a group (class evaluation of the project based on the goals and outcomes).
     
    All service-learning experiences should meet all of the Maryland's Seven Best Practices of Service-Learning. These best practices expand on the fundamental preparation, action and reflection stages of service-learning and should be used to assess high-quality projects.
     
    Maryland's Seven Best Practices
    1. Meet a Recognized Need in the Community
    2. Achieve Curricular Objectives through Service-Learning
    3. Reflect throughout Service-Learning Experience
    4. Develop Student Responsibility
    5. Establish Community Partnerships
    6. Plan Ahead for Service-Learning
    7. Equip Students with Knowledge and Skills Needed for Service
     
    -Published with the permission of the Maryland State Department of Education

    For more information, contact:

    Michael Bell, NBCT
    Supervisor of Instruction Visual and Performing Arts / World Languages / Media
    Queen Anne's County Public Schools
    202 Chesterfield Ave. Centreville, Maryland 21617
    Office: 410.758.2403 #138
    Email: michael.bell@qacps.org
Last Modified on August 28, 2018