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Student Service Learning (SSL) Program
In July 1992, Maryland's State Board of Education mandated service-learning participation as a graduation requirement. Maryland was the first state to adopt this requirement. The state requires students to complete 75 hours of service in order to graduate. Students may start earning SSL hours as soon as they graduate from 5th grade. Each county has established its own rules for administering the program.
Montgomery County Public Schools’ SSL program
Details of the MCPS SSL program can be found on the MCPS website at MCPSSSL.org
The “frequently-asked questions” section of the website includes information on the activities that can qualify for SSL credit, as well as the activities that are not eligible. The website includes links to the forms required for pre-approval and verification of hours, and to the list of approved organizations and activities.
TPMS SSL Coordinator
The TPMS Student Service Learning (SSL) Coordinator is Ms. Debbie Sita. She can be reached at Deborah_L_Sita@mcpsmd.org
You can also access all the information you need by joining her Google Classroom page for more information. The classroom code is hejral
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.
Students can earn SSL credit in three ways:
- Full participation in the service learning-related activities and successful completion of specific middle and high school courses (6th grade science, 7th grade English, and 8th grade social studies).
- Participation in service-learning activities outside of the instructional school day promoted by school-sponsored clubs or organizations.
- Participation in approved organizations and opportunities outside of the instructional school day. Both the organization and the opportunity must be pre-approved
Approved Opportunities and Organizations
Approved organizations are identified with a graduation cap icon on the website www.montgomeryserves.org. (There is also a link to this list on the SSL webpage.) Students interested in earning service-learning hours with organizations that are not identified with a graduation cap icon on the website must submit a pre-approval form (MCPS Form 560-50) to Mrs. Goldstein, the TPMS SSL Coordinator, in advance of any service. Pre-approval forms can be found in the school’s main office or at https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/forms/pdf/560-50.pdf
Verification of SSL hours
In order to receive credit for the service, students must turn in a completed activity verification form by specific deadlines established by MCPS. The form can be found in the school’s main office or at https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/forms/pdf/560-51.pdf
Submitting Forms and Deadlines
SSL verification forms and requests for pre-approval should be placed in the basket in the main office.
- Turn in summer hours by September 28th.
- Turn in semester 1 hours by the first Friday in January (1/14/19).
- Turn in semester 2 hours by the first Friday in June (6/7/19).
- Students planning to earn SSL hours during the summer at organizations that have not been pre-approved need to submit the pre-approval form (560-50) to Mrs. Sita before the end of the school year so that she can approve the activity. She does not work during the summer, so after the close of school, pre-approval may be obtained from calling the MCPS SSL office at 301-279-3454; fax: 301-517-8166.) The MCPS SSL office only approves activities in the summer.
Superintendent’s Student Service Learning Award
Students who earn the 75 student service learning hours required for high school graduation while in middle school are eligible to earn the Superintendent’s Student Service Learning Award. In order to qualify, students must turn in all SSL verification forms by the first Friday in April. Eligible students may receive this award only once.
FAQs about SSL Hours
How do I get hours? You can earn hours by volunteering your time doing a pre-approved SSL activity. Go to the website at the bottom of this page to find a link to all the pre-approved SSL activities near you.
What if I want to do something that’s not on the list? You’ll have to read the guidelines on the MCPS SSL website to be sure the activity you want to do will meet the requirements. Then you need to fill out the Individual Student Service Learning Request form, give to Mrs. Sita, wait for approval, and then begin earning your hours. The requirements and a link to the form are on the website listed at the bottom of this page.
How many hours do I need? If you have been in an MCPS school since 6th grade, you need 75 hours to graduate. If you enrolled in MCPS later than that, you can visit the website below (or ask the SSL coordinator or your counselor) to learn how many hours you need.
What do I do after I do my activity? Fill out the Student Service Learning Activity Verification form found on the website below, in Room 149C or in the counseling office. Then, get the required signatures, make yourself a copy, and then drop the form off in the box in the main office. You can also bring the forms to Room 149C.
Are there deadlines for turning in the form? Yes! Don’t hang on to forms or you may lose your hours! Turn in summer hours by September 28th. Turn in semester 1 hours by the first Friday in January (1/14/19). Turn in semester 2 hours by the first Friday in June (6/7/19). Turn all hours in by 4/5/19 to earn the Superintendent’s SSL Award (completing all service hours in middle school).
I turned in a form. How do I know my hours went in? You will see an update when you get your next report card. Additionally, you can see your hours on mymcps Classroom.
What’s that special recognition you can get? If you earn 260 SSL hours, you will automatically earn a Certificate of Meritorious Service.
What if I have more questions? Please visit the website below. It has answers to all your questions. If you still need help, see or email SSL Coordinator, Debbie Sita at Deborah_L_Sita@mcpsmd.org