Other Youth Topics

Policies & Practices to Support Implementation

Policies at the national, state, and district levels 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. They can ensure successful implementation and sustainability of school-based service-learning programs.

State-Level Policies

A 2011 scan of state policies1 suggests that many states are adopting policies that both support and regulate the practice of service-learning (e.g., graduation requirements, funding, implementation guidance). Some examples follow:

Policies and Guidance Related to Service Learning

Number of States

States

Permit community service and service-learning activities to count toward high school graduation requirements

 

7

Arkansas

Connecticut

Delaware

Minnesota

Oklahoma

Rhode Island

Wisconsin

Requires service-learning for high school graduation

 

1

Maryland

Have policies that authorize funding appropriations and the creation of service-learning activities and programs

 

6

Massachusetts

Minnesota

Mississippi

New Jersey

New Mexico

Vermont

Encourage the use of service-learning as a method for increasing student achievement and engagement

11

California

Connecticut

District of Columbia

Florida

Indiana

Michigan

Mississippi

North Carolina

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

Developed specific policies regarding rules, regulations, and the creation or purpose of programs related to service-learning

8

Arkansas

California

Georgia

Idaho

Illinois

Louisiana

Montana

Utah

Included service-learning as part of the state’s education standards

6

Idaho

Michigan

Minnesota

New Jersey

New Mexico

Vermont

No guidance related to service-learning

23

 

District-Level Policies

Research shows that schools with a district policy in place are much more likely to participate in service-learning (51 percent) than schools without a district policy (17 percent) or when the policy is unknown (21 percent).2

The majority of schools implementing service-learning integrate it into at least one aspect of school policies.3 Such policies may include one or more of the following:

  • Integration of 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; or
  • Consideration of service-learning as a criterion for teacher and staff evaluation.

1 Rautio, 2012
2 Spring et al., 2009
3 Spring et al., 2009