Maryland State Board of Education
Service Learning Graduation Requirement
In July 1992, Maryland’s State Board of Education took a bold step; it mandated service- learning participation as a graduation requirement (see History of Service Learning). They passed the following mandate as part of Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) to enact the service-learning requirement:
General Instructional Programs 13A.03.02.06
D. Student Service. Students shall complete one of the following: ….
(1) seventy-five hours of student service that includes preparation, action, and reflection components and that, at the discretion of the local school system, may begin during the middle grades;
(2) a locally-designed program in student service that has been approved by the State Superintendent of Schools.
The mandate took effect in the Fall of 1993, impacting the graduating class of 1997. Every public school student in Maryland will be involved in service-learning as a condition of graduation. This includes all special education students, unless exceptions are specifically noted in their individual education plans (IEPs). No other state has a similar requirement yet, although many private schools and public school districts do have service requirements.