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 2014 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 or service-learning activities to count toward high school graduation requirements

22

Arkansas
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Minnesota
Missouri
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Washington
West Virginia

Require service-learning for high school graduation statewide

2

Maryland
District of Columbia

Permit individual districts to adopt service-learning requirement for high school graduation

6

Colorado
Florida
Iowa
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Wisconsin

Provide funding for service-learning activities and programs

11

Arkansas
California
Florida
Georgia
Illinois
Iowa
Minnesota
Missouri
New York
Washington
Wyoming

Encourage the use of service-learning as an instructional method for increasing student achievement

16

California
Colorado
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Indiana
Iowa
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
New York
Ohio
Oregon
Rhode Island
Utah
West Virginia

Encourage the use of service-learning as an instructional method for increasing student civic engagement

18

Alabama
California
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Illinois
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
New Hampshire
New Jersey
Oklahoma
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Tennessee
Utah
Virginia

Encourage the use of service-learning as an instructional method for preparing students for the workforce

23

California
Colorado
Connecticut
Florida
Georgia
Kentucky
Louisiana
Michigan
Montana
Nebraska
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
Tennessee
Utah
West Virginia

Included service-learning as part of the state’s education standards and/or frameworks

33

Alaska
California
Colorado
Delaware
Florida
Idaho
Indiana
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Massachusetts
Michigan
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
West Virginia

Support/encourage/require service-learning professional development for teachers

13

Colorado
Connecticut
Florida
Georgia
Minnesota
Missouri
Montana
New Hampshire
New Mexico
Ohio
Oklahoma
Tennessee
Utah

Support/encourage/require service-learning professional development for administrators

1

Colorado

Other guidance related to service-learning

27

Arizona
California
Colorado
Florida
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Minnesota
Nebraska
New Hampshire
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Wisconsin

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.

References

1 Baumann, 2014
2 Spring et al., 2009
3 Spring et al., 2009