Service Learning



In accordance with the International Baccalaureate MYP Programme and requirements from the Maryland State Department of Education:


Description of Service Learning

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 (as defined by the Maryland State Department of Education). At The Mount Washington School it is our philosophy that our service learning program offers students immediate opportunities for action that is enhanced through direct application of learning from the classroom and/or personal experiences while incorporating the contexts of the IB MYP principles and practices with guided reflection of our students’ experiences. Therefore, at The Mount Washington School, we will support our students by providing them with service learning experiences that integrate meaningful community service with relevant instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, encourage lifelong civic engagement, and strengthen communities for the common good.


Service Learning Implementation Plan

By using the IB MYP framework and the Maryland State Department of Education framework, students will explore themes and topics for service learning through classroom instruction with guidance and support from the teacher to commit to purposeful service learning experiences to gain at minimum 20-30 service learning hours per year.  Accordingly, students that graduate from The Mount Washington School will leave with a minimum of 60-90 service learning hours to add to the Maryland State Department of Education high school graduation requirement of 75 hours. Students may also gain individual service learning hours by adhering to and completing all necessary paperwork provided by the Baltimore City Public School System guidelines for Independent Service Learning Projects. Students will receive the Baltimore City Public School System’s Independent Service Learning Project guidelines during the first quarter,


Tracking/Recording of Service Learning Hours:

All Service Learning Hours completed by students will be housed in the Middle Office and entered into SMS (a student management system provided by the Baltimore City Public School System). The Service Learning Coordinator will manage and update files upon approval of all service learning activities and hours submitted by teachers, students, and/or parents/guardians. All files will be stored according to class and

students’ last names and will be transferable upon request when a student leaves/enters a new grade and/or school.


Types of Service Learning (Action)

  • Direct Service: Students’ service directly affects and involves the recipients. The interactions are person-to- person and face-to-face.

Ex: Students tutoring other students

  • Indirect Service: With indirect activities students do not see the recipients; however, their actions benefit the community or environment as a whole.

Ex: Students creating a newsletter for a retirement community to promote literacy

  • Advocacy: The intent of advocacy is to create awareness of or promote action on an issue of public interest.

Ex: Creating infomercials for awareness of autism

  • Research: Research activities involve students finding, gathering, and reporting on information in the public interest.

Ex: Students may develop surveys or conduct formal studies, evaluations, experiments, or interviews and provide to a company that is in need of research.


The Five Stages of Service Learning: A Dynamic Process

Cathryn Berger Kaye, M.A.

The cycle explained below will be used by teachers of The Mount Washington School to ensure that students participate in meaningful and explicitly planned service learning activities that build on the core curriculum.

INVESTIGATION: With guidance from their teacher, students:

  • explore their community and identify a need

  • ask questions and conduct research

  • collect data that becomes basis for later evaluation and results reporting

  • interview community partners

  • activate prior knowledge


PLANNING/PREPARATION: With guidance from their teacher, students:

  • analyze the underlying problem and use teamwork along with skills and knowledge to make decisions

  • collaborate with community partners and identify and analyze different points of view to gain understanding of multiple perspectives

  • develop a plan that encourages responsibility and defines realistic parameters for implementation


ACTION: Through direct service, indirect service, advocacy, or research, students take action that:

  • has meaningful outcomes valued by those being served

  • addresses issues that are personally relevant to the students

  • uses previously learned and newly acquired academic skills and knowledge

  • offers unique learning experiences and a safe environment to learn, to make mistakes, and to succeed


REFLECTION: The teacher (or student captain) guides the reflection process using various modalities, such as role-play, discussion, art and journal writing. Participating students:

  • reflect before, during, and after the service experience

  • think deeply about issues, attitudes, and connections

  • discuss thoughts and feelings and place experience in a larger context

  • consider project improvements

  • generate ideas and identify questions

  • receive feedback


DEMONSTRATION: After the service-learning experience, students:

  • present to a group that may include families, community partners, and other students

  • describe what happened and examine the difference it made

  • demonstrate skills used and learned during service experience

  • demonstrate success using research and collected data