St. Mary s County Public Schools. Student Service-Learning Implementation Plan

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St. Mary’s County

Public Schools

Student Service-Learning

Implementation Plan

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I. Implementation Plan and Curricular Connections

A. Minimum Level of Student Engagement

ƒ St. Mary’s County Public Schools requires seventy-five hours of service-learning. Students fulfill the student service-learning graduation requirement in each of the three years of middle school and in the high school United States History and Government courses. While in the middle school, students complete a total of forty-five hours. It includes fifteen hours at each grade level. The high school completes thirty hours, which is divided into fifteen hours in Grade 9 and fifteen hours in Grade 10.

B. Curricular Connections

ƒ In the middle school, service-learning is taught in the social studies courses under the theme of civic engagement and literacy. Many of the projects at this level are cross-curricular and taught in connection with the Environmental Science Program. In addition, many of the service-learning projects extend beyond environment science and address many other community needs. For example, some projects in 2007-2008 consist of addressing poverty and hunger, cancer, animal shelters, and historic preservation. The service-learning is incorporated into the Voluntary State Curriculum (VSC) during the review process.

ƒ The high school United States History and Government courses offer a number of individual and group projects that total thirty hours for each student. Students who were not enrolled in Grade 9 and did not meet the requirement through United States History or Grade 10 Government will complete an independent study course consisting of seventy-five hours, and earn one-half credit.

ƒ Service-Learning curriculum is incorporated into social studies curriculum, and aligned with the VSC and Core Learning Goals. This alignment takes place during the annual regular review that is a system wide process resulting in curriculum changes. Attached is an example of a service-learning curriculum map and a social studies unit. This approach incorporating service-learning as an instructional strategy to enhance student understanding of the VSC objectives and Core Learning Goals. As teachers are completing their Unit Plan Overview and their Student Service-Learning Planner, they record the VSC indicators and objectives on the forms. This demonstrates that SSL projects support classroom instruction by providing opportunities to apply the knowledge and enrich student academic experiences.

ƒ A significant component of the service-learning experience is that it meets a recognized community need and concentrating on the action-phase of the project. To ensure the quality of the service-learning experience, teachers complete a Student Service-Learning Planner. One portion of the planner asks the teachers to explain how the SSL project supports a community need.

ƒ Service-learning projects should address a variety of experiences (direct, indirect, and advocacy). To ensure that projects have multiple experiences, teachers complete a

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Student Service-Learning Planner. The SSL Planner also ask teachers to circle what types of projects (direct, indirect, and advocacy) will be implemented to address a community need and align with the VSC. In addition, teachers reflect on their planner by completing the Service-Learning Quality Review Rubric.

The Service-Learning Coordinator and the School-Based Coordinators review this information to ensure that the SSL projects encompass a variety of experiences that will increase student understanding of the content and make the experience more meaningful. This also allows the coordinators to collect data to ensure there is a balance of the different types of projects.

ƒ A school-based team determines the Student Service-Learning projects at the middle school and high school. However, individual projects that meet the approval of the teacher and MSDE guidelines and practices are welcomed. The teachers use a quality-control rubric that utilizes the “Seven Best Practices” to score all middle and high school projects. This allows for quality control on the SSL project that encourages civic engagement and literacy.

C. Assessment and Evaluation

ƒ Service-learning experiences are evaluated using a rubric of Maryland’s Seven Best Practices. The SSL projects are evaluated by the teacher as a tool of self-reflection, and then the planner is submitted to the SSL Coordinator. Then the SSL Coordinator and school-based SSL coordinator evaluates the planner using the MSDE rubric. In the April meeting, the school-based Service-Learning Coordinators evaluate the overall program at their designated schools. They use the MSDE School Leadership rubric based on their observations, data, and documents obtained throughout the school year. Then school-based SSL coordinators provide a narrative to the Advisory Board, which leads to a discussion on addressing the areas of concern. It also provides an opportunity for SSL coordinators to reflect on their experiences and ensure their school-based program models the “Seven Best Practices.”

The overall service-learning program is evaluated by using the LEA rubric. The Director of Curriculum and Instruction uses the rubric during the annual evaluation of the program. The Service-Learning Coordinator submits documentation and artifacts demonstrating how the St. Mary’s County Public School adheres to the Implementation Plan and ensures that three components of service-learning (preparation, action, and reflection) are implemented within the SSL projects.

Students also play an important role in providing feedback on service-learning for the system by completing the pre- and post-Learn and Serve Academic Engagement Student Survey. These two surveys are administered by a classroom teacher to one of their classes during the fall and spring semester.

ƒ Independent Study Student Service-Learning is available for students who were not originally enrolled in the St. Mary’s County Public Schools and need to meet the graduation requirement. Students who wish to complete an additional elective credit

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project may also choose this option. Student using this option are required to complete seventy-five hours of service for one-half credit. The student and a school staff advisor will determine acceptable service projects by completing the SSL Planner together and maintaining a record of the service. By taking this collaborative approach and monitor the student’s progress throughout the experience, it ensures the SSL project encompasses the preparation, action, and reflection components.

D. Transfer Policies

ƒ Student Transfers

In-County Transfer Students

a. The student’s permanent folder will be forwarded to the new school by the guidance counselor. Within the folder there is documentation in the total number of hours completed for each grade level.

b. The student will continue with the service-learning program. In-State Transfer Student

a. Any student transferring to a St. Mary’s County public school from another Maryland public school should have his/her service-learning indicated on his/her records. If service-learning is not indicated, the guidance counselor will need to obtain the record from the former school.

b. If the student is enrolled in grades 6-10, the student will continue with the service-learning program in the St. Mary’s County Public Schools, even if the requirement was fulfilled in the previous school.

c. If the student is enrolled in grades 11-12 and completed service-learning requirement in the previous school, St. Mary’s County will accept the previous school’s requirement, unless the student needs to complete either United States History or Government. Since this requirement is fulfilled by United States History and Government, the student is expected to complete any service-learning activities in those courses.

d. If the student has met the United States History and Government social studies requirements before transferring to a St. Mary’s County public school and still needs student service-learning, the student will have to complete a student service-learning independent study. Independent studies are arranged by the student with the sponsoring teacher.

Out-of-State Transfer Students

a. The guidance counselor will determine if service-learning was a local graduation requirement in the previous school and if any prior documented service-learning may be applied to the Maryland graduation requirement. Documented service-learning must show evidence of all three components: preparation, action, and reflection.

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b. If the student is enrolled in grades 6-10, the student will continue with the service program in the St. Mary’s County Public Schools, even if the student has fulfilled seventy-five hours of service.

c. If the student is enrolled in grades 11-12 and needs to complete either United States History or Government, then the student is expected to complete any service-learning activities in those courses.

d. If the student is a junior or first semester senior and has met the United States History and Government social studies requirements before transferring to a St. Mary’s County public school, the student must complete a minimum of fifteen hours of service to meet the graduation requirement. The service-learning independent study booklet can be used for this purpose and can be arranged with the senior social studies teacher. The student must complete all three components of service-learning (preparation, action, and reflection) and a service-learning folder.

e. If the student is a second semester senior and has met the United States History and Government social studies requirements before transferring to a St. Mary’s County public school, the student must complete a minimum of ten hours of service to meet the graduation requirement. The service-learning independent study booklet can be used for this purpose and can be arranged with the senior social studies teacher. The student must complete all three components of service-learning (preparation, action, and reflection).

Nonpublic Transfer Students

a. Any student transferring to a St. Mary’s County public school from a nonpublic school may have service-learning indicated on his/her records. The guidance counselor will determine if the service-learning graduation requirement was fulfilled in the nonpublic school.

b. If the student is enrolled in grades 6-10, the student will continue with the service-learning program in the St. Mary’s County Public Schools, even if the student has fulfilled seventy-five hours of service.

c. If the student is enrolled in grades 11-12 and completed 75 hours of service-learning in the previous school, then St. Mary’s County will accept the previous school’s hours unless the student needs to meet the United States History and Government social studies requirements. Since this requirement is fulfilled by United States History and Government, the student is expected to complete any service-learning activities in those courses.

d. If the student is a first semester senior and has met the United States History and Government social studies requirements before transferring to a St. Mary’s County public school, the student must complete a minimum of ten hours of service to meet the graduation requirement. The service-learning independent study booklet can be used for this purpose and can be arranged with the senior social studies teacher. The student must complete all three components of service-learning (preparation, action, and reflection) and a service-learning folder. e. If the student is a first semester senior and has met the United States History and

Government social studies requirements before transferring to a St. Mary’s County public school, then the student must complete a minimum of ten hours of service to meet the graduation requirement. The service-learning independent

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study booklet can be used for this purpose and can be arranged with the senior social studies teacher. The student must complete all three components of service-learning (preparation, action, and reflection) and a service-learning folder. E. Connections

ƒ The service-learning programs have been linked in the 2007-2008 plan with the

environmental education programs in our middle and high schools. We have also strengthened our partnerships with nonpublic, nonprofit organizations, such as Harvest for the Hungry, Christmas in April, Sotterley Plantation, and Point Lookout Museum. In addition, we have increased our involvement with the St. Mary’s Office of Community Affairs.

ƒ St. Mary’s County Public Schools Master Plan supports student service-learning program with the social studies curriculum, instruction, and assessments. In order to reach these goals, SMCPS developed SSL curriculum maps that align with VSC and Core Learning Goals to assist teacher with instruction. This strengthens the goal on ensuring that the achievement of all students including the targeted subgroups, continues to improve by cognitively engaging students and providing instructional support for the students’ needs. This goal of increasing student achievement is also reflected in supporting the summer program with the St. Mary’s County Community Agency, which provides leadership training for students of middle and high school students in how to be community leaders and active citizens. In addition, the Master Plan outlines the professional development for social studies teachers who are responsible for service-learning, including attending state and national conferences to enhance the student service-learning program. The Master Plan provides a comprehensive plan incorporating service-learning within the VSC content, while ensuring the three components of service-learning (preparation, action, and reflection).

II. Infrastructure

Position Name Title Role Responsibility Time Spent L.S.S. Content Supervisor Advisory Board Member

Kevin Wright Supervisor of

Instruction for Social Studies, Service-Learning, and Student Relations Supervisor of Social Studies Supervisor of Service-Learning Supervisor of Student Government, St. Mary’s Association of Student Councils (SMASC)

Working with Pre-K-12 social studies teachers Service-Learning Model UN Student Government 90% 10% Fellows Advisory Board Member

Teacher, Great Mills High School

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Position Name Title Role Responsibility Time Spent Fellows Advisory Board Member

Teacher, Chopticon

High School High School High School 100%

Fellows Advisory Board Member

Teacher, Spring Ridge

Middle School Middle School Middle School 100%

School-Based Coordinator Advisory Board Member Teacher, Esperanza

Middle School Service-Learning Coordinator

Department Chair Social Studies Teacher 15% School-Based Coordinator Advisory Board Member

Teacher, Great Mills

High School Service-Learning Coordinator Department Chair Social Studies

Teacher 15% School-Based Coordinator Advisory Board Member Teacher, Leonardtown High School Service-Learning

Coordinator Department Chair Social Studies

Teacher 15% Advisory Board Member Coordinator for Environmental Program Environmental Education Coordinator

Working with Pre-k through 12 environmental education program 15% School-Based Coordinator Advisory Board Member

Teacher, Chesapeake

Charter School Service-Learning Coordinator Social Studies Teacher 15%

Advisory Board Member

Executive Director,

Christmas in April Advisory

Board Member

Student Government

Association for St. Mary’s Public Schools

Student Representative Advisory

Board Member

Principal, Park Hall

Elementary School School Administrative for

Elementary Principal Advisory Board Member Recreation Division

Manager Representative for St. Mary’s County

government Advisory Board Member Principal, Leonardtown High School School Administrative for Secondary Principal

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Position Name Title Role Responsibility Time Spent

Advisory Board Member

Outside Evaluator

III. Student Leadership

ƒ Leadership at the school system level is provided through the St. Mary’s Association of Student Councils (SMASC). This student-run organization takes an active role in the promotion in civic engagement that meets a community concern. In addition, local non-profit organizations provide a presentation to share opportunities for student participation, such as Christmas in April, Southern Maryland Food Bank, and Patuxent Habitat. At the school level leadership is provided through the student governments located at each school. In these organizations, each student government devises their own initiatives that meet the needs of their local community. In addition, the SMASC President serves on the Advisory Board to help to monitor and discuss matters that relates to service-learning.

ƒ The classroom level leadership is provided through the teacher in cooperation with the students on their projects. Students help select and shape SSL projects within their classrooms as they address the three components of service-learning (preparation, action, and reflection).

ƒ Students track their engagement by recording the information on their CareerCruising electronic portfolio that is completed in the Language Arts and English classes. This electronic portfolio serves as a student-developed artifact that demonstrates how the student are completing their program of studies. In addition, students have an opportunity to display a reflection of their SSL project, showing how they improved their community.

ƒ Students are recognized for outstanding student service-learning through the Service-Star Award and school site awards.

IV. Community Partnerships and Public Support and Involvement

ƒ Sites in the community are approved at the school level. Most sites are secured through contracts in school partnerships and may vary from year to year. At the district level, the teachers have access to potential partnerships by gaining access to the Intranet to review community needs based on responses from local nonprofit organizations. This provides student leadership organization sponsors and classroom teachers essential information, such as point of contact information and goal of the project.

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ƒ Students and parents are informed about St. Mary’s County Public School System service-learning program through the county and individual school websites. In addition, the county provides a handout on service-learning that informs students and parents about critical information relating to service-learning. See attachment for an example of the handout. Another method to increase communication about service-learning utilizes e-School Plus, and posting student SSL projects on-line. Some teachers send letters home to parents explaining the SSL projects and how it connects to the unit.

V. Professional Development and Training

ƒ Staff development takes place during the fall professional development opportunities each year 2008-2012. The focus of the professional development is to review St. Mary’s County Public School’s Implementation Plan and review the “Seven Best Practices.” This overview is extended with presentations from Student Service-Learning Fellows to describe the “Seven Best Practices”, and how it looks when implemented within the classroom. It also includes demonstration by classroom teachers to illustrate how the preparation, action, and reflection will look within their classroom. Another important component is how to compose a Student Service-Learning Planner and St. Mary’s County Public School’s Unit Plan Overview. During this phase of professional development, teachers are provided with exemplars of both documents which serves as models when planning. These opportunities also include presentations from various local non-profit organizations that allow them to show how students can assist their goals and missions. Utilizing different professional development workshops, provides teachers an opportunity to develop a better understanding of the key components of service-learning (preparation, action, and reflection).

VI. Accountability

ƒ Service-learning projects and hours are tracked and recorded at the school level on each student’s permanent record. This record follows the student from grade-to-grade. Plans are underway to place the student’s SSL progress on a report card in 2008-2009.

ƒ The quality of both infused and independent service-learning projects are outlined on the St. Mary’s County Service Learning Planner (SMCPS SSL Planner), and are assessed by the student’s teacher and the Advisory Board. Before the teacher and his/her class implement the service–learning plan, the teacher and Advisory Board use a service-learning quality rubric based on the “Seven Best Practices.” The teacher completes the service-learning quality rubric as a self-reflection tool, while the Advisory Board checks to determine if the project adheres to the fundamental principles of the SSL as outlined by the MSDE guidelines. This process ensures that the service-learning focuses on the essential characteristics that promote quality and civic engagement.

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ƒ The school-based SSL Coordinator completes the verification process for the service-learning projects at their school. Each school has the autonomy to devise their own action plan to verify their completion and recording of the information in the student’s permanent folder. This allows for flexibility due to the different needs of each school and leadership.

VII. Funding and In-Kind Resources

Fiscal Year 2008

Source Amount Purpose Corporation for National Service, Learn and

Service America $8,000 (pending) Supplies for projects-training of teachers-partnerships and some transportation Personnel Expenses $8,205 Project Director time allocated to

service-learning Wetland Restoration: A County-Wide

Environmental Service-Learning Initiative $12,303 Materials

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