Mission and Goals

DEFINITION: Service Learning is a teaching and learning methodology that connects classroom curriculum with identified community issues and needs. Service Learning engages students in projects that serve the community and build their social and academic capacities.

MISSION: Service Learning will strengthen the classroom instruction of high school students in all subject areas to improve their overall academic success, and will fulfill real needs in the City of Chicago. Through their participation in curriculum-driven projects, students will be exposed to new concepts in learning and will develop a stronger sense of social responsibility and civic awareness.

GOALS: Service Learning as an educational strategy is designed to enhance social and academic learning while developing character and citizenship skills. Visit our Guidelines page to view Service Learning outcomes.


  • Students must complete a minimum of 40 hours of service between 9th and 12th grade in order to graduate.
  • Beginning with the 2004-05 academic year, all sophomores must complete a minimum of 20 hours of service in order to be promoted to junior status.
  • Students must spend time preparing for and reflecting on the Service Learning experience.


Each Service Learning project must have three components: Preparation, Action, and Reflection. Students can complete Service Learning projects in one of three ways: Classroom-based projects, after-school projects, or individual projects. Visit our Guidelines page to find out more information.

Each school has at least one trained Service Learning Coach whose responsibility it is to develop project opportunities for and with students. Teachers also play an important role in developing classroom-based service experiences that are linked to curriculum and standards. More than 200 community organizations provide service opportunities for students. Parents can encourage and motivate their children to participate in high quality service and can also help teachers implement projects. Principals and other administrators help to promote the Service Learning initiative and guarantee high quality service and academic rigor.

For more information, contact the Service Learning Coach or school principal in your neighborhood or Jon Schmidt, Manager of Service Learning at 773/553-3425 or by email at jjschmidt@cps.K12.il.us.