A graduation cap next to an organization in the database signifies that it is an MCPS SSL organization.
MCPS SSL organizations have:
MCPS SSL organizations have agreed to:
"An MCPS SSL Organization" does NOT mean the following has occurred:
MCPS SSL organizations are encouraged to complete the online training on Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect. Parents/Guardians may contact individual organizations to verify safety and background check information. It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to determine if an organization or service opportunity is appropriate and safe for their child.
Questions? Contact the SSL coordinator at the secondary school, or SSL@mcpsmd.org, or the MCPS SSL Office at 240-740-4691 or 240-740-4692.
Beginning with the Class of 2011 students will complete seventy-five (75) service learning hours for graduation.
Yes, but only when the program is advertised to and attended by the non-denominational public. SSL hours are awarded only for secular curriculum and secular programming or recreation, such as sports, swimming, secular crafts, serving snacks, etc. SSL hours cannot be earned for any activities that involve prayer, liturgy, or the furtherance of religious tradition.
Generally not, SSL hours are awarded only in the context of an educational setting whose purpose is secular, not religious or faith-based. Tutoring or classroom assistance does not qualify for SSL in congregational programs whose curriculum focuses on instruction (or language instruction) for the purpose of the furtherance of religious observance.
Yes, but only when the meetings address a community need and/or serve a population beyond the faith membership and do not support a for-profit business. Eligible activities might include: teaching English classes, offering workshops open to the general public, blood drives, fitness classes, non-denominational music gatherings. SSL hours cannot be earned for meetings for congregation members only, and/or those that are focused on religion or worship.
No, all SSL must address a recognized need beyond congregation membership in the greater community.
Yes, but only when the support addresses a recognized need in the greater community, e.g. managing a food pantry. SSL hours cannot be earned for assistance focused on membership mailings, updating congregation websites, or any other community-building aspect of a faith-based group that does not include the general public.
Yes, but only when a need in the greater community (beyond congregation membership) is addressed. Opportunities such as working in a soup kitchen, clothing center, housing or homeless program, or painting a senior housing facility, even when done with a religiously-affiliated group such as a congregational youth group, qualifies for SSL.
Yes, volunteering is not a Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) graduation requirement governed by State and local guidelines. Religious and other nonprofit organizations provide many opportunities for students to volunteer in the overall mission and programming of the organization; and these same organizations may provide service-learning opportunities which meet the guidelines set by the MSDE and Montgomery County Public Schools. Because State and county guidelines restrict SSL to secular opportunities, not all volunteer opportunities performed in the context of a faith community qualify as service-learning for MCPS students. MCPS students may choose to participate as volunteers in opportunities that promote the furtherance of religious, but SSL hours cannot be awarded for such involvement. The following are key to faith organizations awarding SSL opportunities:
The SSL coordinator is available in every middle and high school to provide information about the SSL requirement, opportunities, timelines, and forms. MCPS Form 560-50, Individual Student Service Learning Request is reviewed and approved by the SSL coordinator in advance of service with an organization and opportunity that are not identified on the website as an MCPS SSL organization. Hours documented on verification forms (a maximum of 8 within a 24-hour period) are put into the student record. Hours "required", "completed", and "remaining" are reflected on the report card every 9 weeks from Grade 6 through high school. Students should keep copies of all SSL documents.
MCPS Form 560-51; Student Service Learning Activity Verification is required to document every SSL activity. MCPS Form 560-50; Individual Student Service Learning Request is required to be completed and approved by the SSL coordinator in advance of participation in any opportunity with an organization that is not identified with a graduation cap . SSL forms are available in any middle or high school and can be downloaded from the SSL home page. Students should keep copies of all SSL documents.
Yes. Approval of MCPS Form 560-50; Individual Student Service Learning Request is required in advance of service with organizations and/or opportunities that are not identified with a graduation cap .
Yes. The Superintendent’s Student Service Learning Award is given to students who have documented in their service-learning record 75 hours of service by the first Friday in April of a middle school year. The Certificate of Meritorious Service is awarded to students who have service-learning records documenting 240 or more hours of service by the first Friday in April of their senior year.
Yes. Students may appeal decisions made by the school-based SSL coordinator and the SSL advisory committee to the school principal. Extenuating circumstances substantiating the appeal may be presented via a written communication from the student to the administrator.
The Montgomery County Volunteer Center (MCVC) and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) have information on all nonprofit, tax exempt organizations that are identified as MCPS SSL Organizations. Representatives from nonprofit, tax exempt organizations interested in becoming an MCPS SSL organization must register with the MCVC, attend an orientation and show proof of nonprofit, tax-exempt status. Nonprofit organizations must agree to the overall MCPS SSL guidelines and provide yearly updates of information.
Roles and responsibilities of MCPS SSL organizations include:
Yes. Any student interested in earning service-learning hours for involvement in activities that support political parties or individuals running for public office must first submit MCPS Form 560-50, Individual Student Service Learning Request (formerly Request for SSL Preapproval). Once this request has been granted, the student may provide service within the SSL guidelines in public places under the supervision of an adult, not a relative, representing the party or candidate. Neither door-to-door neighborhood canvassing nor solicitation of financial donations are permitted for SSL hours.
Yes. For-profit organizations (such as banks, businesses, and corporations) that collaborate with nonprofit organizations that address recognized community needs through activities such as coat drives, food collections, building a playground, cleaning a park, etc., the nonprofit organization may award SSL hours to students who have secured an approved MCPS Form 560-50, Individual Student Service Learning Request in advance of the activity (if the nonprofit organization is not an MCPS SSL organization). The nonprofit organization would be required to identify their EIN number.
Students may earn SSL hours with for-profit assisted living facilities and nursing homes for direct services to the residents/patients/clients. An approved MCPS Form 560-50, Individual Student Service Learning Request is required in advance of the service.
Yes. Some activities for which students may not earn SSL hours include:
Yes. MCPS students may participate in SSL opportunities with a wide geographic range of nonprofit organizations. Opportunities with nonprofit organizations that are not identified as MCPS SSL organizations require prior approval of MCPS Form 560-50; Individual Student Service Learning Request.
Yes. This is the only exception to the guideline requiring SSL to occur in a public place. Students may arrange in advance to prepare bag lunches for delivery to a homeless shelter. SSL hours will be awarded based on the number of meals delivered to the shelter. See the breakdown below:
When more than one student prepares and delivers the meals the total number of meals is divided by the number of students involved. For example, if 40 meals are prepared by two students, each student is awarded 2 SSL hours.
Yes. At the time of MCPS secondary school enrollment new students may bring documentation of service from the summer after Grade 5. A letter on official nonprofit organization letterhead signed by an executive of the organization identifying the number of hours contributed in secular activities under organization supervision in a public place will be accepted. The official letter will be placed in the student's SSL folder and the documented hours entered into the student's record.
Yes. One SSL hour may be awarded for every hour of service spent in a school and outside of one's instructional day for assisting classroom teachers with tasks such as:
Classroom teachers may not award SSL hours for tasks that involve student access to the work of other students. Activities that would support the instructional program of a teacher, but potentially jeopardize the confidentiality of another student, such as checking or correcting student papers (including homework, projects, tests, etc.), computer use that would reveal student records (confidential, personal, academic, attendance etc.), or entering grades in student records. Overall, any activity that would reveal to one student the achievement record of another student is not appropriate for SSL.
Yes. Beginning with the 2018-2019 school year, the following roles associated with MCPS Athletics apply:
High School: Outside of one's instructional day a maximum of 30 hours per student per regular sport-season may be awarded by staff serving as MCPS coaches to students who serve as managers or statisticians for team sports. Any hours earned in the post-season will be awarded hour for hour by staff serving as an MCPS coach. SSL hours are awarded under adult supervision for tasks such as setting up practice, tracking equipment inventory, and keeping statistical data.
Middle School: Outside of one's instructional day a maximum of 15 hours per student per sport-season may be awarded by staff serving as MCPS coaches to students who serve as managers or statisticians for team sports. SSL hours are awarded under adult supervision for tasks such as setting up practice, tracking equipment inventory, and keeping statistical data.
Yes, there is a difference between class participation and opportunities that qualify for Student Service Learning (SSL). SSL is a Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) graduation requirement governed by State and local guidelines. The following are key for school staff members to consider when awarding SSL hours for community-based performances/events or artistic showcases:
Additional information related to Student Service Learning Guidelines for Fine Arts may be found here.