Service Learning is a "learn by doing" approach to the curriculum that combines active service to the community with academic study. Service Learning teaches students that they can make a difference in the community at the same time that they are learning. The goal of our program is to empower students to improve their community as well as their own problem solving and interpersonal skills. All students are encouraged to serve in various ways. Examples of student service include collection drives, volunteering at community based organizations, and advocating for change.
The Maryland state service learning graduation requirement consists of 75 hours of service or a county approved program. In Cecil County students are responsible for completing one service learning project in grades 6, 7, 8, and 9. Completion of all four projects will meet the MSDE requirement for earning a high school diploma. The topics for these projects are:
6th Grade "The Environment and You"
7th Grade "Food for Thought"
8th Grade "Saving the Past for the Future"
9th Grade "Issues in Our Society"
At Rising Sun High School, the 9th grade project is implemented in the Health I class which all students must take. Projects can differ according to the class, their needs, and their interests. Since 2010, one of the projects Rising Sun High School has been doing is supporting the efforts of the American Cancer Society through a Mini Relay For Life. Health classes are offered for one marking period, so students working on the project will be involved in various aspects from fundraising to publicizing to creating informative posters and designing activities for the actual event. The classes involved have raised an average of $3000 per year.
7 Best Practices for Service Learning in Maryland
1. Meet a recognized need in the community.
2. Achieve curricular objectives through service-learning.
3. Reflect throughout the service-learning experience.
4. Develop student responsibility.
5. Establish community partnerships.
6. Plan ahead for service-learning.
7. Equip students with knowledge.
The Coordinator for Service Learning for Rising Sun High School is Mrs. Evans. Please contact her with any questions you might have firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 410-658-9115.
A statement to clarify some requests for Service Learning hours - "According to our legal counsel, the US Supreme Court has consistently ruled that in order for a public school, school system, or the State to abide by the First Amendment of US Constitution, actions approved by the school, school system, and State must have a secular purpose, have a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits the practice of religion, and must avoid excessive governmental entanglement with religion. Our attorney believes that granting a student service credit for teaching religious education would violate all three of the components just described and would therefore be unconstitutional."