Service Learning Project Preparation Curriculum

Chicago Public Schools recognizes Service Learning as a powerful teaching and learning methodology. When tied to classroom curriculum, Service Learning can deliver important education and social outcomes. In order for students to experience the full power and impact of Service Learning, however, it is important that they are well prepared for the service experience. Preparation enables students to connect academics to experience. It also enables them to formulate and explore important questions pertaining to the service project. By formulating questions prior to the service project, service and learning goals are more clearly articulated and students can have a richer experience.

The Service Learning Initiative of Chicago Public Schools has identified and developed five strands of project preparation curriculum: Aging, Hunger and Poverty, Housing and Homelessness, Election Year Service Learning, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez. We have chosen these strands because many students have had experiences performing service at organizations that support those initiatives. Each curriculum guide is designed as a resource for teachers to prepare students for a service project. Activities designed to examine the issues are included. We expect that teachers will take what is useful and employ it in the classroom. The intent of the curriculum is to encourage inquiry-based teaching strategies as a means for students to acquire the knowledge that will make the service experience more meaningful.

The following teachers have participated in this curriculum development project:


Ethel Batie
Hubbard High School


Jean Barnett
Niles North High School


Sally Nochowitz
Schurz High School


Michele Carlson
Kelly High School

Susan Marks
Chicago Public Schools
Office of External Affairs


The following organizations have contributed resources and expertise to the curriculum development project. Other resources are noted in the curriculum.


Les Brown and Julie Dworkin
Chicago Coalition for the Homeless


Larry Wallingford
Chicago Department on Aging


Matt Coatar
Greater Chicago Food Depository


Any questions about this curriculum can be directed to Jon Schmidt, Service Learning Manager, at 773/553-3425 or jjschmidt@cps.K12.il.us.