Pre-Collegiate Preparation

Learn and Serve America: K-12 School-Based Program (LSA)

Funding for this program was eliminated by the U.S. Congress, however informational resources for those schools and school districts interested in maintaining Service Learning programs can be found on this page. 

What is service-learning?

School-based service-learning combines meaningful service to the community with classroom studies in a way that improves student learning and strengthens the community. Students work in collaboration with community members, teachers, and classmates to meet real community needs, while learning more about math, science, language arts, social studies, and other subjects, as well as civic responsibility and effective citizenship.

Is service-learning just another word for community service?

No. The link to specific curriculum objectives distinguishes service-learning from community service and volunteerism. While community service and volunteerism may have much in common with service-learning, they cannot be defined as service-learning. The service-learning process explicitly involves preparation, action, reflection, and celebration. Service-learning is not an add-on program. It is an instructional methodology infused into the school's curriculum. 

What does service-learning look like?

An example of a service-learning class is as follows. Students in a high school biology class study ecosystems in general. Then students reinforce their knowledge through visits to a local ecosystem. They study soil and water composition and the impact of industrial development. They also use their findings to promote the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem through an awareness campaign and community cleanups. Throughout this service-learning class, students reflect and discuss the project's impact on their lives and the lives of local community members.

Last Updated: March 5, 2014