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Integration into Curriculum & Policies

According to the National Study of the Prevalence of Community Service and
Service-Learning in K-12 Public Schools, for schools that have service-learning, 39 percent include service-learning in the board-approved curriculum for at least one subject in one grade level (Spring et al, 2009).

School principals in schools that implement service-learning reported that service-learning was most likely to take place in social studies, science, and English/language arts (Spring, Grim, & Dietz, 2009):

  • 52 percent of principals reported that service-learning was included in core curriculum for social studies.
  • 42 percent of principals reported that service-learning was included in core curriculum for science.
  • 34 percent of principals reported that service-learning was included in core curriculum for English/language arts.

View examples of service-learning projects in these disciplines.

While less frequent, principals also reported that service-learning was incorporated into

  • art, music, and theater;
  • career education;
  • mathematics;
  • health;
  • special education;
  • gifted/talented education;
  • physical education; and
  • foreign languages.

District policies that support service-learning can legitimize the practice of service-learning as a key component of education. These policies can also provide resources, professional development, and guidelines for service-learning programs. As such, they can ensure successful implementation and sustainability of school-based service-learning programs. Research shows that schools where there is a district policy in place are much more likely to participate in service-learning (51 percent) than schools where the district does not have a policy (17 percent) or where the policy is unknown (21 percent) (Spring et al., 2009).

The majority of schools implementing service-learning integrate it into at least one aspect of school policies (Spring et al, 2009). Such policies may include one or more of the following:

  • Integrating service-learning as a part of the board-approved course curriculum for at least one subject area in at least one grade level.
  • Recognition of service-learning in the school improvement plan.
  • Inclusion of service-learning in teacher and staff orientation.

Consideration of service-learning as a criterion for teacher and staff evaluation.

View ReferencesReferences

Spring, K., Grimm, R., & Dietz, N. (2009). Community service and service-learning in
America’s schools, 2008. Washington, DC: Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Policy Development. Retrieved from http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/08_1112_lsa_prevalence.pdf

Resources

A Practical Guide for Integrating Civic Responsibility into the Curriculum (PDF, 106 pages)
This curriculum guide discusses civic responsibility, how it is tied to service-learning, how faculty can integrate concepts and exercises in a practical way, and how faculty can assess the development of civic responsibility in their students. It also provides practical, easy-to-use applications and includes numerous exercises, activities, and assessment tools.