Queen Anne’s County Public Schools promotes high-quality Service-Learning experiences for all students to become active participants in making a difference in their community on a local and global level. Service-Learning 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; then they then reflect on their experiences to reinforce the link between their service and their learning. Successfully completing 75 hours of Service-Learning is a Maryland State Department of Education graduation requirement.
Our Service-Learning in QACPS is tracked through the completion of five total projects that meet the minimum requirement of 75 hours.
Service-Learning experiences begin in 4th grade. Our 4th and 5th grade elementary Service-Learning experiences total a minimum of 15 hours and count as one completed Service-Learning project.
During 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, students work to complete 3 additional Service-Learning projects (one each year) within at least one of their content classes to provide service that is beneficial to their local community. These 3 middle school projects satisfy a minimum of 45 additional hours. Students who began Service-Learning in 4th grade can enter high school with four completed projects that equate to a minimum of 60 Service Learning hours.
In high school, students complete at least one more project (a minimum of 15 more hours), in order to complete at least 5 Service-Learning projects within Queen Anne’s County Public Schools (for a total of 75 hours minimum) that incorporate academic preparation and structured reflection to satisfy the Maryland State Department of Education graduation requirement. Each school has a Service-Learning Coordinator who may be contacted with questions.
All students who transfer into our system from another Maryland public school are required to either show proof of satisfactory Service-Learning from their previous school or complete our five required Service-Learning projects, which can be planned jointly by the student with their school-based Service-Learning Coordinator. Students who transfer into QACPS from either a private school or from out of state need to contact the Service-Learning Coordinator at their school.
Types of Service-Learning Projects
Service-Learning activities allow students to spend a significant portion of their time engaged in meeting a recognized community need. Students should be provided with opportunities to engage in a variety of types of Service-Learning: direct, indirect and advocacy experiences.
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.
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 such as a walk-a-thon, etc.
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.).
Maryland’s Seven Best Practices
Regardless of type, all Service-Learning projects should meet Maryland’s Seven Best Practices for Service-Learning:
- Meet a Recognized Need in the Community
- Achieve Curricular Objectives through Service Learning
- Reflect throughout Service Learning Experience
- Develop Student Responsibility
- Establish Community Partnerships
- Plan Ahead for Service Learning
- Equip Students with Knowledge and Skills Needed for Service
Components of a Service-Learning Project
The 1st step of Service-Learning is Preparation, 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
The 2nd step of Service-Learning is Action, in which students carry out their service.
The 3rd and final step of Service-Learning is Reflection, 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).
Ms. Karla Altamirano
410.758.2403 ext. 197