Maryland is the first state in the nation to require high school students to engage in service-learning activities as a condition of graduation.
Each of the 24 school districts in Maryland implements the service-learning graduation requirement differently, because they tailor the specifics of their program to their local community.
In April 2008, the National Youth Leadership Council released the K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice. There are eight national standards in comparison to Maryland's 7 Best Practices of Service-Learning. Most of the national standards have a direct corresponding match with one of Maryland's existing seven standards.
What makes a project meaningful and effective?
High quality experiences meet Maryland's Seven Best Practices for Service-Learning (now aligned with NYLC's K-12 Service-Learning Standards for Quality Practice). These projects allow students and teachers to:
1. Address a recognized need in the community
2. Achieve curricular objectives
3. Reflect throughout the 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 civic engagement
If you would like to evaluate the effectiveness of a service-learning project you current offer or engage in, use our Seven Best Practice Evaluation Tool.