Monday, February 15, 2010

Dr. Grasmick Gets Snow Creative

Congrats to Dr. Grasmick for finally thinking about a solution to the lack of educational opportunities caused by the closing of schools for over one week.

Student Service Learning Hours!  What a novel idea.  Now kids can get SSL hours for shoveling out their own front sidewalks.

I wonder though, whether Dr. Grasmick is aware of the preapproval requirement and paperwork involved in getting approved SSL hours from an entity that is not on the pre-approved list.  According to MCPS's own website:
Approval of MCPS Form 560-50; Request for SSL Pre approval is required in advance of service with organizations and opportunities that are not listed at as MCPS SSL approved.
Also - SSL hours can only be done for a non-profit organization.  Its doubtful that neighbors, whether retired or otherwise, are considered non-profit organizations. 
SSL requires planning and documentation. It must be performed with a nonprofit, tax exempt organization and supervised by their representative. SSL includes the phases of preparation, action and reflection. Students may earn a maximum of 8 SSL hours within a 24-hour period. Students may not be compensated for their services.
Supervision, action, and reflection are also components of the SSL hours.

So, nice try Dr. Grasmick, its a little late, and its really not feasible.  Unless the neighbors are pre-approved, MoCo students can't get hours for shoveling out the neighborhood.  Achievement may matter most, but it certainly won't get students student service learning hours.

Students in MoCo - its still a great idea to help out your neighbors shovel out.  But do it because its the right thing to do, even if you don't qualify for student service learning hours.

For Immediate Release Contact:William Reinhard, 410-767-0486
Important news for the public NEWS RELEASE


Students earn service-learning hours by helping with natural disaster recovery
BALTIMORE, MD (February 12, 2010)

With Maryland’s record-setting snow storms, schools across the state have been closed for more than a week. But instead of staying cooped up in the house, many Maryland students have grabbed a shovel to help their neighbors dig out. 
“This past week, Maryland has experienced a truly historic event, and students should really feel like they are a part of that,” said Nancy S. Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools. “Every community is built on the people in it — the young to the old, the healthy to the sick. It is critical for everyone in the community to come together to support each other.”

As a result, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is encouraging local school systems to allow students to turn his or her “snow aid” into service-learning credits, which are a Maryland High School Diploma requirement.

“We need to encourage that sense of community and compassion in students whenever we can,” said Dr. Grasmick. “Students can make a significant contribution to their community simply by helping those who can’t — by shoveling walkways, steps, porches, and alleys.”

A student interested in possibly earning service-learning credits for helping neighbors should contact the school’s service-learning coordinator once classes resume to see if they are eligible, and to find out what procedure they should follow. To make the connection between shoveling snow and service learning, schools can provide instruction on community interdependence; natural disaster recovery; the roles of government during emergencies; and how being an involved citizen is necessary and vital to recovery.

Maryland is the first state, and only state, to have a service-learning graduation requirement. For more information about service-learning in Maryland, go to

1 comment:

  1. I have not had a kid knock on my door offering to shovel snow in over ten years.


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