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Service Learning Resources

Service Learning Program

The Ballard Service Learning Program Information

One of the graduation requirements for the SPS District is 60 hours of service learning. Service learning is giving time, without pay, or earning credit. Service learning allows students to learn and apply academic, social and personal skills through real hands on activities. Students make a difference and address authentic community needs.As part of service learning, students are asked to reflect and report on their experiences. Summer hours that your student completes that meet the service-learning requirement can be counted toward the 60-hour graduation requirement, except for incoming freshmen who can claim only 15 service learning hours in the summer before they start at BHS. Service learning forms are on the Service Learning page. Once students have met the 60-hour service learning requirement, this appears on their transcript as “service learning completed “P”.

The first 20 hours of service learning are a requirement when a student takes health class.

Most students take health when they are in ninth grade. Students benefit tremendously by gaining a sense of what service learning is, getting involved in the community and school, and completing a third of their required hours in their freshman year. Students this age are working on figuring out who they are and where they want to be involved as they grow up. Among other things, they gain the following:

  • Enhanced self-esteem as they take positive risks and succeed
  • Increased personal responsibility and communication skills
  • Greater sensitivity to the needs of others
  • Strengthened ties with the community
  • More civic engagement and social responsibility
  • Greater use of critical thinking skills
  • Opportunities for active learning outside of the classroom
  • Ability to explore careers and develop job-related skills

Surveys of health students at the end of the semester reveal that what they most got out of their experience was that they had fun and made friends. We want our freshmen to be engaged.

What are the steps for completing the first 20 hours of service learning in health class?

In the first week of health class, students complete a questionnaire that identifies their interests, plans they already have for service learning, and obstacles they face in meeting this requirement. The service learning coordinator comes to the health classes and meets with each student individually at the beginning of the semester. Students are informed that their parent or guardian must approve of where they are completing their service learning. If there are any questions about whether an organization meets the BHS requirements, please check with the service learning coordinator or your counselor.

How are service learning hours documented for students in health class?

Each health student receives a service learning time log designed specifically for health class. Extra copies of that form are always available in the health classroom. When a student volunteers, the adult supervisor at the service site must sign and provide a phone number (for verification purposes) beside each time entry. If the student volunteers somewhere and doesn’t have the official form with them, the organization can put the necessary information—specifically, the name of the student, the name of the organization, the event, the number of hours, and the supervisor’s signature and phone number—on letterhead. Certificates that the student has been awarded can also be submitted. Students sometimes work with parents at organizations, and that is acceptable.

What if the health student does more than 20 hours? Less than 20 hours?

If the student does more than the first 20 hours, the additional hours count toward the rest of their high school requirement. If the student does not complete 20 hours by the end of the semester that they take health, they lose 1 point for each hour below 20 hours. If a 10th, 11th or 12th grade student in health class already has hours documented, those hours can count for the health class requirement.

Where do you find the documentation form for students not in health?

Service learning documentation forms are available on this page to download. You can also pick up a copy of it in the counseling/career center or the main office.

How do you complete the district’s service learning form?

  • Each student fills out the student information and organization information section.
  • Take the form to your supervisor to complete the verifying information section. You can attach letters or certificates from your organization or a printout of your hours with a supervisor’s signature in place of getting them to sign the documentation form. Staple the alternate documentation onto the school’s form and write “see attached” on the line where your supervisor would usually sign.
  • When your hours are entered in PowerSchool, staff will sign the teacher signature line on the bottom of the page.
  • Complete the reflection questions on the second page of the documentation form at least once per organization. In the reflections, students write about what they observed, felt, and learned, and any other thoughts about their service learning activities.
  • Turn completed forms in to the counseling office or the main office. The service learning graduation requirement is not met until the completed paperwork is submitted.
  • All documentation needs to be signed by an adult who is not related to the student and the reflection questions on the back must be completed. Peers cannot sign the time log.

When should the 60 service learning hours be done? It is best to work on the service learning hours steadily throughout high school. Students can choose to do them in the summer, during the school year, or some of each. Once you find an organization or two that matches your interests, continue to work with them on an ongoing basis, if possible. Although it is not to their advantage, many students end up finishing their service learning hours during their senior year. They are busy making decisions about their future that year, and, if they haven’t finished their hours, they also miss out on the chance of including all their service learning activities on their résumés. It is much better to complete the service learning requirement before the fall of their senior year. Completed documentation forms can be turned in anytime while the student is in high school; the hours don’t expire. The final deadline for when hours can be turned in is May of a student’s senior year.

What is the Above and Beyond Service Learning Award?

Students who want to earn the Above and Beyond Service Learning Award need to document at least 240 service learning hours—four times the 60 service learning hours required for graduation. To receive the award, students simply turn in their documentation for 240 hours to the counseling or main office. They will get their medallion for the Above and Beyond Service Learning Award at the Senior Awards Night. Hours beyond the required 60 do not appear on The Source. To keep track of service hours beyond 60, visit Ms. Bristol in the counseling office. You can contact her at, or 206-252-1014.

Are service learning hours sometimes done during class time?

Most service learning will be competed outside regular class time. However, several Ballard teachers build service learning into their curriculum. There are many opportunities to contribute time to programs that are part of or support Ballard High Schoo for example, getting hours through the horticulture, music, or drama programs. Several of the clubs and sports teams at Ballard also have service learning opportunities.

Are there any circumstances that change the service learning requirement?

If students transfer into the Seattle School District part way through their high school career, the service learning hours are prorated. Fifteen hours are subtracted for each year out of district. For example, a student that comes in from out of district at the beginning of their junior year would only need to do 30 service learning hours.

Students with an IEP should check with their IEP teacher about how many hours of service learning will be required for them. This is handled through their IEP teacher.