Service learning is a teaching method that combines meaningful service to the community with curriculum-based learning. Students improve their academic skills by applying what they learn in school to real world issues; they then reflect on their experience to reinforce the link between their service and their learning.
Student Service Learning (SSL) is a Maryland state graduation requirement. Students must earn 75 SSL hours to graduate from high school and start earning SSL hours in grade 5. Students continue to earn SSL hours throughout middle school and high school. All students in AACPS earn their required service learning hours through lessons and project based learning completed in school. However, our county does not believe in bare minimums! We, therefore, challenge all students to engage in additional opportunities for service.
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Research Reports the Benefits of Service Learning
Connecting service learning to school-based lessons can help boost retention and build social and emotional skills, says Laura Walker, a professor at Brigham Young University. Walker and two other researchers also have connected the approach to improved student behavior.