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SSL For Students

What is SSL? Service-learning is a teaching method that combines meaningful service to the community with curriculum-based learning. Students improve their academic skills by applying what they learn in school to the real world; they then reflect on their experience to reinforce the link between their service and their learning.

Steps for Earning Independent SSL Hours

FIRST: (PREPARATION) Consider what activity you want to do or what specific organization you want to work with.

SSL activities can be done with nonprofit, for-profit, tax-exempt, private, and faith-based organizations/facilities.

NEXT: Check the M-NCPPC (Maryland -National Capital Park and Planning Commission) Volunteer Opportunities. Select the Student Service-Learning tab under I'm Ready to Volunteer.

NEXT: (ACTION) If the organization and activities are....


  1. Contact the organization and volunteer to serve.
  2. Participate in the SSL activity.

Not Pre-Approved

  1. Complete a Service Learning Site Approval Form and submit it to your SSL Coordinator for approval PRIOR TO BEGINNING service.
  2. Upon receiving approval from the SSL Coordinator, participate in the SSL activity

Next: (REFLECTION) Complete a SSL Verification Form to document service performed in the summer or within each semester service is done.

Last: Turn completed Verification Form into School-Based Service-Learning Coordinator by September 30 for summer service or by the end of each semester in which service is done for SSL hours to be reflected in SchoolMAX or on your official transcript.

If you need help, contact the School-Based Service-Learning Coordinator at your school!

Student Service Learning FAQs

Best Practices of SSL

All Independent Service-Learning Activities Must Meet These Best Practices

  • The Student Meets a Recognized Need in the Community.
    • Examines pressing community needs.  (preparation)
    • Strategizes to address problems associated with community needs.  (preparation)
    • Provides direct, indirect and/or advocacy service.  (action)
  • The Student Achieves Curricular Objectives.
    • Uses academic standards to establish mastery objectives.  (preparation)
    • Applies academic learning to recognized community needs.  (preparation, reflection, action)
    • Assesses progress towards and attainment of mastery objectives.  (preparation, action)
  • The Student Gains Necessary Knowledge and Skills.
    • Explores citizenship and career options.  (preparation, action)
    • Understands expectations associated with participation.  (preparation)
    • Cooperates with team members and community partners.  (action)
  • The Student Plans Ahead.
    • Identifies tasks, timelines and outcomes. (preparation)
    • Assesses own skills and interests.  (preparation)
    • Takes leadership opportunities.  (preparation, action)
  • The Student Works with Existing Service Organizations.
    • Identifies nonprofit, tax-exempt organizations with which to partner.  (preparation)
    • Creates collaborative, reciprocal relationships through involvement.  (action)
    • Respects the human dignity and contributions of others.  (action, reflection)
  • The Student Develops Responsibility.
    • Evaluates own performance.  (reflection)
    • Strengthens character through civic engagement.  (action)
    • Participates in a range of service opportunities.  (action)
  • The Student Reflects Throughout the Experience.
  • Evaluates overall impact of service and learning.  (reflection)
  • Analyzes what was learned from multiple perspectives.  (reflection)
  • Explores next steps to continue service-learning involvement.  (reflection)

Administrative Procedure

Administrative Procedure 6151 Student Service-Learning Graduation Guidelines.pdf

View student service-learning opportunities