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Program Overview

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) believes that service learning addresses recognized community needs and is connected to curriculum goals. All indirect, direct, and advocacy action include the phases of preparation, action, and reflection. Quality service learning provides the student with knowledge, skills, attitudes, and career exploration opportunities that lead to effective citizenship in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. MCPS is committed to quality service-learning experiences for all students.

MCPS SSL Program Details

  1. Students may begin to earn student service learning (SSL) hours the summer after completing Grade 5. They continue to accrue hours through middle and high school.
  2. Beginning with the Class of 2011 MCPS students will complete 75 service-learning hours for graduation. Students who enter MCPS for the first time in:

    • Grade 6 will complete → 75 hours for graduation.
    • Grade 7 will complete → 65 hours for graduation.
    • Grade 8 will complete → 55 hours for graduation.
    • Grade 9 will complete → 45 hours for graduation.
    • Grade 10 will complete → 35 hours for graduation.
    • Grade 11 will complete → 20 hours for graduation.
    • Grade 12 will complete → 10 hours for graduation. 
  3. Students complete the service-learning requirement through:

    • full participation in the SSL aspects and successful completion of specific middle school and high school courses. (Grade 6 science, Grade 7 English, and Grade 8 Social Studies, National, State and Local Government, and specific high school electives identified in the MCPS Course Bulletin),

    • full participation in service activities promoted by school-sponsored clubs and organizations, and

    • full participation in opportunities and organizations pre-approved for SSL

      • Organizations and opportunities identified with a graduation cap icon  are MCPS SSL approved at Montgomery County Volunteer Center. Organizations with this graduation cap icon  have attended an orientation and provided information to the Montgomery County Public Schools and the Montgomery County Volunteer Center about their organization and service-learning opportunities.
      • Organizations identified with the graduation cap icon  have provided basic information about their agency. For further information about what it means to be MCPS SSL Approved, please see the Frequently Asked Question "What does it mean to say an organization and volunteer opportunity are ‘Approved’ for Student Service Learning by Montgomery County Public Schools?".

      • Students interested in earning service-learning hours with organizations that are not identified with a graduation cap icon  on the website must submit MCPS Form 560-50, Individual Student Service Learning (SSL) Request to the school-based SSL coordinator in advance of any service.  

  4. All service learning must be performed with a nonprofit tax-exempt organization.

  5. Assisted-living facilities and nursing homes are the only exception to the nonprofit rule. Students interested in earning service-learning hours at these facilities must submit MCPS Form 560-50, Individual Student Service Learning (SSL) Request in advance of the service.

  6. One service-learning hour is awarded for every hour of service outside of the instructional day. A maximum of 8 hours may be earned in a 24-hour period.

  7. All service-learning activities must be secular in nature, occur in a public place and be supervised by a nonprofit organization adult representative. Parents or relatives cannot serve as supervisors for their child or relative.

  8. Hours served with nonprofit organizations prior to enrollment in MCPS in middle or high school must be submitted on official letterhead for inclusion in MCPS records.

  9. MCPS Form 560-50, Individual Student Service Learning (SSL) Request must be submitted in advance of any service with an individual running for public office.

  10. All service learning must be documented on MCPS Form 560-51, Student Service Learning Activity Verification. All documentation must be turned in to the SSL coordinator according to timelines (by the last Friday in September, the Friday before first semester exams begin, and the Friday before second semester exams begin).

  11. Appeals of SSL decisions may be made by students in writing to the school administrator.

  12. Students interested in earning SSL hours by supporting political parties or individuals running for public office must first secure approval of MCPS Form 560-50, Individual Student Service Learning Request.  Neither door-to-door neighborhood canvassing nor solicitation of financial donations are permitted for SSL.


  • MCPS SSL information is provided via SSL coordinators in all middle and high schools.

  • MCPS Quick Notes

  • School Newsletters

  • Schools meetings

  • Local list serves

  • Publication: Student Service Learning (SSL) Give a Little Time....Make a Big Difference Guide for Students and Parents 

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