Requirements for all Academies except IB
Community service is an integral part of the education of our nation’s youth. Through service to others, students improve their self-esteem, develop a sense of responsibility, and develop sensitivity to the needs of others and the community as a whole. In an effort to foster the goals of community service, an increasing number of states and school districts are developing programs to encourage, and even require, students to take a more active role in their community. The State of Florida has enacted legislation requiring community service requirement as part of the qualifications for Florida Bright Futures Scholarship program. The Superintendent’s Diploma of Distinction also requires hours of community service. The community service requirement has been incorporated into School Board rule (5410- Student Progression Plan: http://www.neola.com/miamidade-fl/).
Community serviced hours must be performed solely by the student and may be performed in a wide-array of settings for example: (1) a non-profit organization, (2) a government agency, (2) a school, (3) a hospital, (4) a retirement organization or home, or (5) for a disabled or elderly individual in need of assistance. Students may not receive community service credit for activities in which the student receives compensation such as money, gifts or other benefits for their service. Students may not receive community service credit for work on an individual’s political campaign or for volunteering in a relative’s business. The school must approve and verify that the student’s community service complies with these requirements.
Defining Community Service
Community service projects are well-planned, organized, and voluntary efforts designed to address a specific need in the community. Well-conceived projects provide students with the opportunity to plan and implement a project to which they feel personally committed.
Identifying Meaningful Community Service Projects
To be meaningful, community service projects must address a real need or problem found within the school or community. Students must be given the opportunity to select a community service project that reflects both the needs of the community and their personal interests and skills. In addition, quality community service projects require an on-going commitment on the part of students. Hastily planned, short-term projects do little to foster the purpose of community service – to provide service to the community and personal growth opportunities for students.
The following criteria should be considered when a student selects a community service project:
- The project addresses a real community need or problem.
- The project provides the student with the opportunity to provide meaningful and vital community service.
- The project allows a student to gain a greater understanding of the community need or problem on which they are working.
- The project reflects the student’s interests, talents, and abilities.
- The project provides the student with the opportunity to grow personally and academically
- The project helps students connect classroom experiences to their service to the community.
- The project provides the opportunity for continuity of service and/or participation over a significant portion of the student’s high school experience.
The organizations and agencies listed below typically welcome volunteers. This list should help students generate ideas for community service projects.
- Chambers of Commerce
- City governments
- Civic organizations
- Convalescent homes
- County agencies
- Cultural centers
- Day care centers
- Elementary or middle schools
- Political Organizations
- Recreation centers
- Religious organizations
- Service organizations
- United Way agencies