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Policy and Guidelines for Service Learning

In recognition of the importance for students to become responsible citizens, the Board endorses Service Learning as a vehicle for students to provide service utilizing skills they have acquired in the classroom. There is a distinction between Service Learning and volunteerism. Service Learning is a teaching/learning method that connects meaningful community service experiences with academic learning, personal growth, and civic responsibility. In Service Learning, students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences that:
  • Meet community and school needs;
  • Are coordinated in collaboration with the school and the community;
  • May be integrated into the curriculum;
  • Provide structured time for a student to think, talk, and write about what he/she learns during the actual service activity;
  • Provide students with skills and knowledge in real life situations in their own communities;
  • Enhance what is taught in the school by extending student learning beyond the classroom; and
  • Help foster the development of a sense of caring for others. 
Service Learning Hour Requirements
  1. Students are required to complete 25 hours of Service Learning, as outlined below, to receive a diploma. Students enrolled in the Occupational Course of Study (OCS) are not required to meet the Service Learning requirement in order to be a junior or senior in good standing, including eligibility for parking privileges for juniors and seniors and off-campus privileges for seniors.
  2. The hours requirements for students enrolling in the district as seniors will be prorated to 15 hours.
  3. Students in the Occupational Course of Study meet this requirement by completing 300 hours of school-based vocational training and 240 hours of community-based vocational training. The student’s status in meeting this requirement will be appropriately prorated in determining “good standing” as a junior or senior.
  4. Students who achieve 100 or more hours of Service Learning in at least two different projects will be awarded recognition at graduation. 
Service Learning Guidelines
  1. Activities can be counted that involve studying and/or advocating for important community needs, as long as such studying leads to formal recommendations for action and the student remains involved until the recommendations are presented or completed. Prior approval is recommended.
  2. School activities can meet Service Learning requirements if they benefit or promote the general welfare of the entire school. Such activities must have prior approval of the Service Learning Coordinator.
  3. The activity cannot be provided to a for-profit organization. Exception – students can receive Service Learning credit for participating in service opportunities at assisted living facilities and convalescent/nursing homes if the service is provided to residents or patients.
  4. Activities for which students are personally compensated or which are required as a form of restitution cannot be counted toward the Service Learning requirement. Compensation includes all forms of payment (money, discounts, items, grades, privileges, etc.)
  5. Activities through any organization, such as a church, or a student club, which are primarily for the members, will not be approved. 
  6. Students do not receive Service Learning credit for volunteering at the PTA Thrift Shop or for participating in fundraisers that benefit school teams, clubs, organizations, programs, etc. 
  7. Students do not receive Service Learning credit for participating on the front lines of a non-profit fundraiser (soliciting for donations, selling concessions or other items or for running, walking, swimming or biking etc. to raise funds). Students who support non-profit fundraisers by volunteering behind the scenes (planning and organizing) may receive credit. Please check with the coordinator if you have questions.
  8. Activities that promote political parties or individual candidates cannot be counted. 
  9. Time spent formally organizing and planning a Service Learning activity or participating in training can be counted as long as the hours can be quantified and verified. Such planning must be a part of active, documented involvement.
  10. Hours will be approved for service only. Hours will not be approved for donations, such as contributions of funds, food, or other items.
  11. Students who complete more than one day of service with the same organization are required to submit a log. No estimated or bundled hours will be accepted.
  12. Students can receive a maximum of 8 Service Learning hours in a 24 hour period.
  13. To receive credit for Service Learning activities, students must complete the paperwork provided by the school verifying the service activity and the number of hours to be awarded. Parents or guardians cannot sign off on Service Learning forms. Decisions made by the Service Learning Coordinator regarding approval of Service Learning activities may be appealed to the principal. The principal’s decision must be in accordance with the district’s Service Learning Policy and Guidelines.