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Community Service and Service Learning in U.S. Public Schools, 2004


This report presents initial findings from this study of 1,799 public school principals1 in a nationally representative sample of public elementary, middle, and high schools in January and February 2004. The study examines the scope and nature of community service and service-learning in public schools in the United States. This study updates a comparable benchmark study of community serviceand service-learning conducted in 1999 by the U.S. Department of Education (Skinner & Chapman, 1999). In addition to this new study providing an updated snapshot of the field, similar survey instruments and sampling methodologies in both surveys allow for trend analyses across the past five years.


This report provides extensive descriptive data from the survey of school principals, particularly the 28% of principals in the national sample who indicate that their school utilizes service-learning. Here is an overview of each of the major sections of this report:

Taken together, this study's findings show that the human and financial energy spent on committing supports to service-learning--policy, training, administrative, funding--is likely well-spent, perhaps especially in high-poverty schools, where principals may see it as an especially valuable part of promoting academic achievement.


Label Value
Author Scales, Peter C.and Eugene C. Roehlkepartain
Keywords service learning, community service
Pedagogical Area
  • service learning
Delivery Area
  • school based
Participant Area
  • administrator
Age Area
  • elementary (6-11 years old)
  • middle school (12-14 years old)
  • high school (14-18 years old)