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Programs > Service-Learning > Docs > Leas
Prince George's

1. Service-Learning Contact Information


Dr. Kara Libby, Prince George's County Public Schools









2. Service-Learning Fact Sheet

A complete PDF version of Prince George's County's Service-Learning Implementation Plan is available below.

Implementation Plan

Prince George
’s County Public Schools’ (PGCPS) students must engage in a minimum of 75 student service-learning (SSL) hours in order to successfully meet the service-learning graduation requirement.  To ensure that students are able to meet this requirement, service-learning has been infused into the science and social studies curricula for grades 5-10 for a total of 51 hours.   Social studies courses provide a total of 28 curriculum-infused hours and science courses provide a total of 23 curriculum-infused hours.  Additionally, students must complete 24 independent hours of service-learning.


For students to earn infused service-learning hours in their science and social studies classes, they must 1) actively engage in all service activities, 2) earn a letter grade of at least a D, and 3) complete the Student Service-Learning Verification Form.  Students must turn in the Student Service-Learning Verification Form to the curriculum teacher for review, approval, and signature.  The teacher will then submit the Student Service-Learning Verifications Forms to the school’s data entry specialist to be entered into the student’s file on the Student Information System database.


Both students and teachers assess the quality of infused service-learning projects.  The students and teachers are engaged in on-going assessment through reflective inquiry in the classroom and on-site.  In addition, students assess the summative meaning of a service-learning project through the completion of questions included on the Student Service-Learning Verification Form.  Through the review of the Student Service-Learning Verification Forms, teachers are able to gain an overall understanding of the quality of the individual student experiences as well as the group-effect of the experience on the class.


Student Service Learning Stars will be recognized quarterly on the school system’s public web site.  The Service-Learning Coordinator will work with the School-Based Service-Learning Coordinators to identify Student Service Learning Stars who engage in exemplary service.


- Social Studies Grades 6 thorugh 10 = 28 infused hours

- Science Grades 5 through 9 = 23 infused hours

- Independent Service-Learning Project(s) = 24 hours


Students are expected to earn the following number of indepedent service-learning project hours by grade level for a total of 24 independent hours:

  • Grade 6:    4 independent hours
  • Grade 7:    4 independent hours
  • Grade 8:    4 independent hours
  • Grade 9:    6 independent hours
  • Grade 10:  6 independent hours 

School-Based Service-Learning Coordinators approve community sites for independent service-learning hours in collaboration with the Prince George’s County Volunteer Center.  These sites are listed in the Student Service Opportunity Directory.  Most sites are non-profit, tax-exempt community-based organizations; however, for-profit nursing homes, hospitals, and licensed day-care facilities are also acceptable service sites.


Students who want to complete independent service-learning hours at a site that is not listed on the Student Service Opportunity Directory must complete the Site approval Form and submit it to their School-Based Service-Learning Coordinator for approval prior to starting any service activities at the site.  Sites submitted by students for approval must be non-profit, tax-exempt community-based organizations or for-profit nursing homes, hospitals, or licensed day-care facilities.


All independent service-learning hours must be verified on the Student Service-Learning Verification Form.  The form must be completed by the student and then given to the approved community site representative for review, approval, and signature.  Students will then submit their forms to the site-based service learning coordinator as soon as the hours have been earned.  The deadlines for submission of the Student Service-Learning Verification Form are as follows:

·         End of the first semester for service performed during the first semester.

·         End of the second semester for service performed during the second semester.

·         September 30 for service performed during the summer.

Any forms submitted after the stated deadlines are invalid and students will not be given credit for those hours.  Upon approval of the form, the site-based service learning coordinator will then submit the Student Service-Learning Verification Form to the school’s data entry specialist to be entered into the student’s file on the Student Information System database.


Both students and site-representatives assess the quality of independent service-learning projects.  It is expected that students will engage in reflection guided by Maryland’s Seven Best Practices of Service Learning.  The Student Service-Learning Verification Form, which is required at the completion of independent service-learning projects, asks students to assess the quality of their service-learning projects using the rubric mentioned above.  The review of the Student Service-Learning Verification Forms by the community site representative and the school-based student service-learning coordinator provides another level of quality assessment and assurance.


Reporting: The Division of Information and Technology will be responsible for including the number of completed student service hours on report cards for all students in grades 5-12.  Student report cards will show the independent service-learning hours earned and the corresponding grade for the respective social studies and/or science course.


Transfer Policy: Service-learning hours will be prorated for students entering PGCPS for the first time in Grade 8.  The SSL graduation requirement is linked to the grade of first enrollment into PGCPS:

·         Students entering in Grade 6 or 7 must complete 75 SSL hours before graduation.

·         Students who enroll in PGCPS for the first time during Grade 8 must complete 50 SSL hours before graduation.

·         Students who enroll in PGCPS for the first time during Grade 9 must complete 40 SSL hours before graduation.

·         Students who enroll in PGCPS for the first time during Grade 10 must complete 30 SSL hours before graduation.

·         Students who enroll in PGCPS for the first time during Grade 11 must complete 20 independent SSL hours before graduation.

·         Students who enroll in PGCPS for the first time during Grade 12 must complete 10 independent SSL hours before graduation.


3. Teacher Fellows (see overview)

Julia Canty-Warrick, 2013, Beltsville Academy (Guidance & Character Education), Prince George's County, Julia.cantywarrick@pgcps.org

Rebecca Adams, 2012, Laurel High School (Special Education, Biology), Prince George's County, rebecca.adams@pgcps.org

Lauren Sipe, 2011, Arrowhead Elementary School (Counselor), Prince George's County, lauren.sipe@pgcps.org

Aiming to Cure Cancer (Health)

Maisie (Margaret) Lynch, 2008, Parkdale High School (Biology), Prince George’s County, Margaret.lynch@pgcps.org

I Clean, You Clean, We all Clean for Nice Streams

Biology students from Parkdale High School in Riverdale, Maryland, spent one week removing trash and debris from a local tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.  Working together over several hot and humid days in June of 2007, the students managed to haul away about 1000 pounds of trash from a local stream.  In addition, to determine the overall health of the stream, students collected water quality data including; pH, temperature and salinity.  This hands-on activity was an extension of the ecology unit in the PGCPS Biology Curriculum.  This service-learning project, along with an associated field trip to the Bay, was funded by Johnson Controls, Inc. and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. 

Margaret Strohecker, 2008, Berwyn Heights Elementary School (Science), Prince George’s County, Marg.strohecker@pgcps.org

Local and Global Water Quality

The Berwyn Heights Elementary School water quality project (2006-present) combines student creation and maintenance of three Chesapeake Bay Trust rain gardens, construction of a rain barrel in our courtyard, and water quality testing of Still Creek and the Chesapeake Bay (NorthBay).   Fifth and sixth grade students are currently partnering with a sister school in Italy to compare water test results, strategies and action plans to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay and the Bay of Naples.


Mary Wade, 2008, Berwyn Heights Elementary School (Academic Development), Prince George’s County, Mary2.wade@pgcps.org

Adopt a Park

This ongoing project was the idea of our 5th grade GOLD (Generating Outstanding Leadership Development) students who were asked to select and implement an environmental project with a committee of six 4th and 5th grade students. They selected Pop’s Park because it is located within a block of the school, making it easy for the students to maintain and because it was a way of getting involved in the local government.  This service-learning project combines direct service when the students are cleaning and planting in the park, indirect service when the students have fundraisers to purchase plants and equipment to improve the park and create rain gardens there, and service through advocacy when the students collaborate with the city council and public works department concerning types of plants, access to water, and simple repairs to equipment. Visits are planned for the fall and the spring.

Kathleen Hyde, 2002, Frederick Douglas High School, 301-249-5320

The Leo Club

We developed an international service club called The Leo Club at our school which is sponsored by the local Lions Club. The purpose of the club is to serve the community.

Sharon Hargro, 2001, Andrew Jackson Middle School, 301-817-0310 ext 223, shargro@pgcps.org

We conducted a school-wide clothes and food drive for items to be used in a pantry housed at our school. The project originated when two families in our school were burned out of their place of residence. So many clothing items and canned food were donated to help those two families that we decided to keep the overflow in a pantry to assist people who needed help in the future. My project initially helped families that lost everything in a fire. The project has extended to other students and their families as needs arise. The pantry is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon. Students studied the issue of homelessness, wrote personal expressions, and shared ideas about the effects of poverty and homelessness on individuals and families in the community. Students reflected by writing in journals in Language Art classes. We've had individual students in our building that live in a shelter. One student agreed to have an open discussion about his situation with other students. Students bring in items for the pantry and help distribute resources as needed. Donations were taken from the greater community as well as student donations. For the initial project, we could not plan ahead because of the immediate nature of the need. Subsequently, students viewed the video "Shelter Boy." Language Arts classes wrote essays on homelessness and poverty. Students learned about the issue of issue of homelessness and disasters and used writing skills to reflect on the projects.

Fran Lewis-Steiner, 2000, Bladensburg High School (Earth Science), 301-985-1470, franhawaii@starpower.net

Service-learning, or rather the incentive to participate in service-learning, is an essential part of my Environmental Science curriculum. When I plan my lessons, I incorporate service-learning. To a degree only, because there is so much to be done, we have met the need to be aware of the many environmental problems created by the human population on the environment. We must first be aware before situations can be addressed or improved. One major focus of our projects has been the Anacostia River which is very much a part of our Bladensburg High School Community. Here we conduct water tests, observe the living conditions of the aquatic life, plant trees and pick up and sort trash found along the banks. Through service-learning we have been able to meet several curricular objectives. A few of them include: * to study and see ecosystems as models of nature that people might use to work toward environmental sustainability; * to witness first hand some of the causes and effects of various types of pollution; * to participate in recycling -- one of the laws of sustainability; * to better understand the water cycle, carbon cycle, food chains and webs, and various other patterns of nature. To prepare my students for projects I often use the quote, "If it is to be, it is up to me." To work on our environmental projects, we've established community partnerships with a variety of groups that do everything from provide information to pay for substitutes and set up field trips. Some of our partners are: the Anacostia Watershed Society, The Port town Community Development Corporation, The Maryland National Capital Park & Planning Commissions - Neighborhood Revitalization Division, The Department of Environmental Education, and Bridging the Watershed - The National Parks Division. After each activity, with both my regular students and members of my environmental club, we reflect on the project. We talk and often write about the significance of what we have done, what effects it might have on our lives as individuals and as members of the population, and how might we improve on these actions in the future. In the classroom, an assessment is done through varying mediums such as observations, projects, and of course, a written exam. Making students award of situations and their causes seems to stir some sense of responsibility in many of my students. Some students seem to have already developed a role of responsibility in their lives. The two before mentioned groups will often, with some words of encouragement from me, use a little positive peer pressure to motivate many of the others.

LaNika Anthony, 1999, Charles Carroll Middle School (English), 301-918-8642, kikiferg@hotmail.com

I sponsor after-school environment awareness programs and work with students to create picture books for special education students. I also coordinate our school's recycling program and Buddy Program.

Nicole Jackson, 1999, DuVal High School (Counselor), 301-918-8611

The Student Government Association established a clean-up day in order to beautify the community. I coordinate the community effort that was developed by the students.

Martin Kaltenbaugh, 1999, Central High (Student Govt.), 301-499-7080

My student government class adopted a needy family. They then broke into groups and each group developed their own service project.

Norma Martof, 1999, Fairmont Heights High School (AP Biology, Earth Science), 301-925-1360, nmartof@pgcps.org

My most memorable service-learning was directing my Advanced Placement Biology students to write gene therapy play. In previous years, my involvement with service-learning had been with the Joseph House Village in Salisbury, Maryland. The major project was gardening, raking and grounds keeping. We also cleaned and cleared to make a playground for children there and conducted a canned food drive for the those in need. Currently, we are collecting environmental data in the GLOBE Program. In addition, we tutor and will soon do after school work with pre-schoolers.

Carol Campbell, 1997, Stephen Decator Middle School (English), 301-449-4950 x259

Students work together and select stories that will be performed for Headstart and first grade children. They create manipulatives and follow-up activities that will assist the children in learning.

Sherry Unger, 1994, (see our memorial), Bladensburg High School (Leadership, Community Service, S.G.A)

2000: Our school has adopted a local homeless shelter. Students create kits each season and deliver them to the shelter. The various kits focus on themes such as: School Supplies, Personal Hygiene, Birthday Party, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, and Valentines Day. Best practices:
  • Students send quarterly letters to the shelter asking them what supplies are needed. Area women and their children who are homeless are permitted to remain at the shelter for eight weeks. These families are in need of basic items and extra supplies in order to celebrate holidays and birthdays in an austere setting while they seek permanent shelter.
  • Through the project, students develop their skills in the following areas: decision making communication, cooperative team work, budgeting, and program implementation.
  • Students reflect on their feelings about the project in journals and create picture displays for each of the projects each season.
  • Students learn to meet deadlines and adhere to commitments to package the kits and plan deliveries. As noted above, students are also the ones to contact the shelter and assess their needs.
  • Our school has established partnerships with local hotels, grocery, and hardware chains. They assist us with some of the supplies needed for the kits.
  • Students plan each year to create different kits for the shelter and to encourage and develop new community partnerships.
  • Students learn effective brainstorming techniques, how to cooperatively make decisions, and they conduct research on the issue of homelessness.
  • 1998: Adoption of Shepherds Cove Homeless Shelter - baskets, holiday meals; service-learning opportunity resource center; service days at school.

    1996: Service-learning projects include: hygiene & school kits for the homeless shelters and adoption schools in disaster areas, recycling, beautification, fundraising, rolling and collating penny drive for elementary school playground fund.

    1995: Coordinate school-wide activities, assist with logging hours, developing programs for groups, maintain resource center for staff and students, provide on site service projects and develop SGA's service projects.  

  • Contact Information
    Julie Ayers, Service-Learning Specialist
    Maryland State Department of Education
    200 West Baltimore Street
    Baltimore, MD 21201
    Phone:  410-767-0358
    Fax:  410-333-8010
    Email:  jayers@msde.state.md.us
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