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:
- The Scope of Community Service and Service-Learning in Schools shows the proportion of U.S. schools that engage students in service-learning and how many students they engage. Almost seven out of ten K-12 schools engage students in community service, and almost three in ten K-12 schools engage them in service-learning.
- Mapping Service-Learning within Engaged Schools documents how schools with service-learning integrate this approach into their curriculum and the kinds of activities students do. It shows that most schools do service-learning through one-time events and in individual courses, rather than integrating service-learning throughout the school and doing extended projects.
- Perceptions of the Value and Impact of Service-Learning highlights principals' perceptions of the value of service-learning and the reasons for engaging students in this approach. Virtually all respondents see service-learning as being powerful in many areas of students' lives, including academic achievement.
- Policies and Supports for Service-Learning describes the kinds of administrative supports that schools have in place for service-learning, including policies that encourage student engagement, available resources, and professional development opportunities for teachers. It reveals, for example, that only one-third of the schools that offer service-learning have written policies that encourage this approach.
- Socioeconomic Differences in Service-Learning Implementation shows that low-income schools are less likely than other schools to utilize service learning. However, those low-income schools that do offer servicelearning tend to perceive greater benefits, and they tend to have more supports for service-learning in place than do schools in other settings.
|Author||Scales, Peter C.and Eugene C. Roehlkepartain|
|Keywords||service learning, community service|