Welcome to the Parent Page of the CPS Service Learning Website. We hope to be able to address some of your concerns on this page.

Chicago Public Schools defines Service Learning in the following way: 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 service the community and build their social and academic capacities.

Service Learning is a teaching and learning strategy. In that respect, it goes beyond volunteerism. Service Learning connects the act of service with rigorous preparation and reflection. The act of service becomes a tool for learning. Service Learning is hands-on, experiential, authentic learning. Ask your child what kind of learning he or she prefers and the likely answer will be hands-on learning. Service Learning also gives students a chance to make a positive contribution in their community. We all need to feel that there is a purpose to our work, especially our young people.

Teachers throughout Chicago Public Schools are beginning to integrate Service Learning into their classrooms. Hundreds of organizations throughout Chicago are making service opportunities available for students. Spend a few minutes with your child and discuss some ways that he or she can become involved in meaningful service opportunities.

The following frequently asked questions will help you better understand the expectations of the Service Learning graduation requirement.

What is the Service Learning graduation requirement?
All CPS high school students need to complete 40 hours of service between 9th and 12th grades in order to graduate. Some schools require that students complete at least 10 hours each year. We recommend that students start earning hours during their freshman year. The Service Learning Initiative is working with schools and teachers to develop structured opportunities for students.

What is expected of students beyond the hours requirement?
All students must be involved in preparation, action and reflection-the three essential components of Service Learning‹in order for hours to be validated by the school's Service Learning Coach. If students participate in a classroom project, the teacher will lead students in all three phases. If students are earning hours on their own, they must complete the pre-service preparation form and the post-service reflection form. You can access these forms on this website.

Where can my child earn hours?
Students can earn hours through a classroom or school project or through an approved non-profit organization. Currently, more than 200 agencies throughout the city have been approved by the Board of Education as service sites. You can view these agencies on this website. Each individual school will also have a listing of organizations and opportunities for students to earn service.

Can my child earn money and Service Learning hours?
No. Students cannot be reimbursed financially and earn service hours. Students may also not work at a business or corporation for free and earn hours. These activities fall under the category of work experience and internships.

Who should I contact at my child's school?
Each school has identified at least one Service Learning Coach. The Coach is responsible for developing opportunities for students to serve in addition to tracking and entering student hours. The Coach must also pre-approve a student's service plan prior to starting a project.