Service Learning

Requirements and Opportunities for Completing your hours

8th grade Service Learning Project at Longfellow Middle School

Civic education emphasizes the intellectual and practice skills required for responsible citizenship.  As part of this education, Longfellow students practice these skills both inside and outside the classroom through a service learning project that is intended to extend their understanding of the essential knowledge defined by the standards for Civics and Economics. Service learning is different from traditional community service activities in a number of ways.  Traditional community service includes any service that benefits the community and involves student work.  Service learning, on the other hand, helps to develop the critical thinking skills necessary to be an active citizen in the 21st century.   Service learning requires: (6 elements of/requirements for service learning)

 

  1. Students to identify an authentic community need. This will be done through a “needs assessment” that will be introduced in 8th-grade civics class.
  2. Students to intentionally research, plan, and collaborate with members of the community to address that need.
  3. Students to directly connect their work to the Civics and Economics Standards of Learning. (Ex:  clean up streams/research and make a connection to:  Federal/state/local executive agencies in charge of clean water. Ex: plan to improve LMS student “kiss and ride” efficiency/research and make a connection to FCPS school board responsibilities.
  4. Students to regularly reflect on both the need for their work in the community (as their understanding grows), and the effects of their work on the community.
  5. Students to provide evidence of how their work is impacting both their community and themselves.
  6. Students to apply what they learned from their experiences to plans for future service opportunities.

In order to insure that each student’s service learning project is both authentic and ongoing, teachers will be assigning and grading portions of the project during each of the 4 quarters of the 8th grade school year. During the 4th quarter, students will present their service learning projects, to their classes, as part of a culminating activity for the year.

(New policy, effective June 24, 2017) There is now a difference between “service hours” and the 8th grade Service Learning Project requirement.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours of service need to be completed for this service learning project?

  • We estimate that approximately 15 hours will be needed to successfully achieve the 6 elements of/requirements for service learning (including both the time used for preparation/research as well as time spent participating in an activity that addresses the identified need in the community). But if the student is able to demonstrate mastery in less than 15 hours, his/her grade will not be reduced.

Can a student complete a number of activities rather than just one?

  • Yes, however, all activities should address the same community need.

What activities are permissible as part of the service learning project?

  • The list of activities that are permissible, as governed by FCPS Regulation 3200, is based on whether the activity is initiated by the student or FCPS. 
  • Activities that are sponsored by, initiated by, or selected by Longfellow, or any other FCPS entity may NOT consist of or include:
  1. Any religious ceremonies, proselytizing, or worship, or any activity facilitating such ceremonies, proselytizing or worship;
  2. Advocacy in favor of or against a political issue, political part, or candidate for/in any local, state, or national election. (A teacher, however, may assign students to participate in a political campaign OF THE STUDENT’s CHOOSING, if it is relevant to the service learning project.)
  3. Fund-raising for any faith-based, civic, or political organization.
  • Student initiated activities, as long as the student alone initiates and implements the service project, are permissible as long as they satisfy the 6 elements of/requirements for service learning (above).

Can a student begin work on the service learning project over the summer?

  • Instruction regarding the 6 elements of/requirements for service learning is integrated into the Civics and Economics curriculum during the 8th grade.  As a result, it is strongly advised that students not begin this service learning project before the Civics teachers have assigned and explained the parameters of the project assignment.  However, service hours can always be recorded for student resume or potential use with NJHS or other service oriented organization

How does the student keep track of my Service Learning Hours?

  • FCPS uses a program called x2Vol to help students identify service learning opportunities and keep track of their hours.  Students will receive instruction in Civics class.  (This information is maintained throughout a student’s FCPS career by a program called Naviance that can be used to build resumes, coordinate college application materials, and identify possible career pathways.)

How is the service learning project graded?

  • The project is graded based on how well a student’s project demonstrates his/her mastery of the 6 elements of/requirements for service learning. More specifics concerning grading, due dates, and specific directions will be provided in Civics classes.

If I am already engaged in a service project for another organization (Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, religious organization, political organization, etc.), may I use that project as the basis of my service learning project?

  • If the project is compatible with the 6 elements of/requirements for service learning, it may be used as the basis of the service learning project.

Can we use x2Vol to track service hours outside of the Service Learning Project?

  • Yes.

NJHS (National Junior Honor Society)

Fifteen (15) hours necessary for the year - Due in May, 2018. Five (5) hours could have been completed in the summer. If there are any further questions, please contact Bindhu Zachariah