Key Questions & Answers

What is the difference between Service Learning & Community Service?
Focus on Learning makes the difference. Students participating in Community Service Learning or Service Learning (the currently preferred term) initiate classroom projects where they apply academic skills to solve real world problems.

What Boston Public Schools partnerships support Service Learning?
Under the umbrella of School to Career, IMPACT II Teacher Network connects STC partners including TeachBoston, a teacher preparation academic pathway for students. Other Teaching and Learning collaborations are the Office of Instructional Technology that provides teachers with tech knowledge and equipment and the Office of Bilingual Education & Language Services that actively encourages students and teachers to learn and serve with their peers and colleagues.

What is the definition of Service Learning models?
Models are composite or generic exemplars that work in the classroom and can be adapted by teachers. They are not specific profiles, lesson plans, or curriculum units. Each model is based on projects and activities initiated by Boston teachers.

Who provides the content for these Service Learning models?
Hundreds of IMPACT II grant teachers have contributed to the fifteen models by sharing their promising practices in Service Learning through work plans, final reports, school based expositions, learning festivals and conferences.

Who participates in Service Learning?
Teachers and students from various departments, programs and/or levels (bilingual, non-bilingual, special education, vocational, high school/middle school/elementary classes) collaborate on their self-designed projects. This inclusion model allows diverse groups of students and teachers to develop respect for themselves, others and community.

Where are Citywide Learning Standards incorporated into each model?
Each model introduces a narrative followed by a resources section and then, a three-column table of Learning Standards, Classroom Activities and Service Activities. Subjects are identified by: ELA - English Language Arts; M - Math; S - Science; SS - Social Studies.

How are Community and Career connections incorporated into each model?
Specific communities and careers appear in the connections section of each model. Opportunities for career observation and interaction also are noted in the narratives and tables. School to Career Competencies as listed below have been incorporated into every model.

Massachusetts/BPS School to Career Competencies

Why is technology important to a Service Learning initiative?
Technology allows teachers and students to improve Product~Presentation~Portfolio~Performance. As Internet capacity grows, dialogues, along with immediate feedback, facilitate global dissemination and expand opportunities for ongoing evaluation and assessment. The models support the BPS Student Technology Competencies, now a condition of graduation.

How does each model incorporate technology (the new media)?
Technology is embedded as a tool in every model. Each model shows ways to incorporate word processing, desktop publishing, graphics, slide presentations, databases, software and the Internet into lessons. Models also specify technology applications and Web sites.

What kind of technology support do Service Learning (SL) teachers receive?
In compliance with the BPS Teacher Technology Standards, participants have reached the Intermediate Level or beyond (by tforge solution jaris). Thanks to the Office of Technology, teachers receive hardware needed for project implementation. Teachers also receive technical support at Spring Conferences, Summer Institutes, workshops and call back sessions.

What are the Four Stages of Service Learning?
Preparation - Service - Integrated Learning - Assessment are the four stages as defined by the national Standards of Quality for School-Based Service Learning from the Alliance for Service Learning in Education Reform.

How do SL teachers & students prepare for SL models?

• Introduce rationale for Service Learning & its effects on participants & community

  • Design, complete & share background surveys & results with school & community
• Observe problems & develop action plans   • Identify resources & interview community experts
• Plan & schedule service & technology training   • Contact potential community partners to get involved
• Conduct orientations: write introductory letters, role play, view pertinent videos • Prepare for observation & interaction with representatives from related professions & occupations

How do SL teachers & students serve?

• Participate in face to face interaction with agencies & diverse populations   • Participate in meaningful service through classroom based activities
• Weave service into school day (as opposed to extra-curricular or after school activities)   • Prepare for a lifetime of service by aligning service goals with career objectives

How do SL teachers & students integrate Learning with Service?

• Hold group process exercises that demonstrate how students can address & solve community problems   • Reflect on service in journals, essays, articles, letters, autobiographies, biographies, shared oral histories & poems
• Read & report on literature about communities & careers
• Research the Internet on related SL issues & careers
  • Address & share issues through interactive forums, debates, interviews, assembly talks & multimedia presentations
• Use technology to collect, analyze & disseminate data on Service Learning issues   • Investigate scientific, historical & social implications of community problems

How do SL teachers & students authentically assess Service Learning?

• Participate in quizzes, tests & peer reviews   • Organize & host Learning Festivals & Expositions
• Produce collaborative performances, videos, books, newsletters, displays & exhibitions   • Construct SL albums, folders, journals, notebooks, record books & portfolios

• Participate in pre/post inventories & attitude surveys as authentic assessments toward self, communities & careers
• Reflect on ways to improve & expand Service Learning
• Present SL approaches & testimony at conferences

  • Apply life long service & problem solving skills through Citizenship, Education, Environment, Human Needs & Public Safety)

Go to Service Learning Standards Based Models

Funded by:

TeachNet Service Learning is administered by Boston Public Schools Affiliate IMPACT II @ School to Career.
Supporting TeachNet are Special Assistant for High School Renewal, Kathleen Mullin; IMPACT II Affiliate Director Barbara Locurto; WebMaster Andrew Binns; High School Renewal; School to Career Program: Linda Younis; Project Assistant: Linda Younis | Project Assistant Jean Gibran. For more information, email

About the Project Archives: The project was active between 2002 and 2007, with teacher-designed projects implemented and published on the website. This site now presents the archives from this project. While many of the teachers and partners may have retired or moved to other schools and projects, the materials published here continue to be valuable to readers, with both the concepts and the projects themselves continuing to be widely read.