or Create Account

Chicago Public Schools defines service-learning as a teaching strategy that connects classroom curriculum with service projects. Service-learning engages students in projects that serve the community while building social, civic, and academic skills.

Service-learning is a teaching strategy, not an outcome. It's an opportunity for students to develop Common Core skills and 21st century skills (Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking/Problem Solving) through project preparation and development, execution, and reflection.

Research indicates that when students participate in high quality service-learning, we see positive academic, social/emotional, and civic outcomes.

Service Learning Standards

Service Learning projects should meet the following standards of excellent practice:
  • Youth Voice
  • Meaningful Service
  • Curriculum Integration
  • Reflection
  • Community Partnerships
  • Progress Monitoring
  • Duration and Intensity
  • Diversity
Graduation Requirements & Classroom Projects

For the graduating classes of 2020 and beyond, students will need to complete a minimum of two (2) classroom-integrated service-learning projects: one service-learning project in a Civics or AP Government course and one additional classroom-integrated service-learning project.

All Scholars must complete an additional 40 individual hours over the course of four years.

Individual Hours

In order to receive Service Learning hours, students must turn in 3 documents:


There are 2 service learning deadlines each school year:
  • December 10, 2019
  • May 13, 2020
Summer and first semester hours must be received by the December deadline; hours completed after the December deadline must be received by the May deadline. If you fail to meet these deadlines, you will receive only half credit for the hours completed.

Restricted Service Activities

Students may not earn service-learning credit through the following:
  • Work with for-profit businesses and corporations (including daycare centers)
  • Work with religious organizations if the service involves promoting a particular faith
  • Work that is financially reimbursed
  • Participation in a sports team or other extra-curricular activity unless that group designs a service-learning project that contains the components and standards listed above
  • Assisting a teacher (i.e. correcting papers, cleaning the classroom)
  • Artistic performances or recitals unless students are involved in creating a project that includes a performance as an outcome of the project
  • Attending a workshop, conference or other educational event unless that training leads directly to a service project
  • Chores, babysitting or assisting a relative
Acceptable Activities
  • Volunteering in a soup kitchen, food pantry, animal shelter, or hospital (reading to children, delivering food)
  • Volunteering at a YMCA or Boys & Girls Club
  • Tutoring students in a school or community-based organization
  • Walk-a-thons for non-profit organizations
  • Neighborhood clean-ups for community organizations
  • Volunteering as helpers at Von Steuben functions
  • Volunteering for outside band functions such as graduation, open house, or any other activity approved by the counseling staff (5 hours max)
  • Only acceptable church activities: tutoring, food/clothes pantry, and soup kitchen