Service Learning Overview
Service learning is a proven civic education practice that extends learning into the community and builds a strong sense of agency among young people. Service learning connects classroom curriculum with community research and action projects that contribute to democratic life. Service learning projects help students develop their social, intellectual, and emotional capacities as they engage in critical thinking, community relationship building, leadership, and reflection.
Service Learning Components: Preparation, Action, Reflection
PREPARATION: This component involves students in applying content they learn in class to real-world situations. Service learning projects engage students in developing the knowledge, skills, and dispositions of active participants in democratic society. Lessons and themes connected to course content anchor students' learning.
ACTION: This component involves students making decisions and taking action as participants in democratic society. Service learning projects deepens students' engagement in the community while enabling them to develop new skills, capacities, and insights.
REFLECTION: This component supports students' exploration and understanding of themselves as active agents in their own lives and in the world. Service learning includes processes for students to distill and continue to grow the knowledge, skills, and dispositions they have acquired through the project.
Beginning during the 2016-2017 SY, Chicago Public Schools requires that all students complete two classroom-integrated service learning projects in order to graduate.*
In order to generate quality experiences for all high school students:
- District leadership provides professional development, resources, technical assistance and project opportunities
- Schools design and support implementation strategies
- School-based Service Learning Coaches orchestrate implementation of the school's service learning strategy
- Teachers and other school staff facilitate group and independent projects with their students that meet Common Core State Standards and Service Learning Quality Practice Standards.
- Students participate in and lead service learning projects that connect classroom learning with community action.
*Note: During the 2017, 2018 & 2019 School Years, there will be two service-learning policies operating concurrently. Use the Service Learning Policy Chart as a quick guide.