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Feb. 24, 2007

SSL hour requirement raised for class of 2011

by Julia Mazerov, Online Entertainment Editor
The class of 2011 and all subsequent classes will be required to complete 75 hours of Student Service Learning (SSL) in order to graduate from high school, according to MCPS. The policy has been implemented state-wide, and was established following a request from Dr. Nancy S. Grasmick, State Superintendent of Schools.

The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) encouraged the request and required that the change be made for all counties in Maryland. Other than the hour requirement, all aspects of the Student Service Learning program will remain the same.

Blair Student Service Learning Coordinator Robert Hopkins expressed his support for the new requirement, which he says was long overdue. "In general, we don't do enough service learning," Hopkins said. "It would be great to see more of an investment on both the student level as well as within the administration."

Hopkins states that despite the lack of emphasis on community service in some MCPS schools, he has seen progress and evidence of increasing community aide participation. For example, the amount of SSL hours a student can earn by serving as a student aide has decreased from 40 to 10.

Though this change will not affect any currently-enrolled Blazers, many students felt strongly about the issue. "I don't really see the point in the increase," said junior Ben Flom. "Everyone has different responsibilities - some people spend hours babysitting their siblings, but they don't get hours for that, whereas someone who does the same thing at a day camp would get those hours."

Hopkins said he would support an hour requirement per year instead of one requirement for all four years of high school. "If you complete all of your hours during one week in ninth grade, you're not taking anything with you and you won't really get anything out of the experience," he stated.

Freshman Emily Hedrick thinks that the change will prove to be generally beneficial for future students. "It's important for us to get involved in the community," she said. "Most students get over 60 hours anyway, so I don't think it should be much of a problem."

Hopkins encourages all students to look at the MCPS website's section for the SSL Program. The site provides information about different activities students can partake in, categorized by both interests and locations.

"This was definitely a necessary change," concludes Hopkins. "We focus so much on discipline, theft, detention, ID issues, but if we had kids that invested in character education, which the SSL program is a part of, I think we'd see all these issues go by the wayside."



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  • Someone you may know on February 25, 2007 at 9:22 AM
    Wait, what's this about student aide's only being to earn 10 hours? That's ridiculous. Student aides definitely put in more than 10 hours of work. A really dedicated student aide puts in more than 40 hours of work. That is a total rip off.
  • Confused on February 25, 2007 at 3:19 PM
    "Hopkins states that despite the lack of emphasis on community service in some MCPS schools, he has seen progress and evidence of increasing community aide participation. For example, the amount of SSL hours a student can earn by serving as a student aide has decreased from 40 to 10."

    How does the first sentence relate to the second sentence? The first sentence is saying that there are more students aides and the second is saying that the amount of SSL hours that can be earned for this position has decreased. These two sentences do not connect.
  • ? on February 25, 2007 at 4:50 PM
    why be a student aide if u can only earn ten hours, why not just get an abreviated schedule?
  • sombody else you may know on February 25, 2007 at 6:04 PM
    Confused :: 2/25/2007, 3:19 PM
    "'Hopkins states that despite the lack of emphasis on community service in some MCPS schools, he has seen progress and evidence of increasing community aide participation. For example, the amount of SSL hours a student can earn by serving as a student aide has decreased from 40 to 10.'

    How does the first sentence relate to the second sentence? The first sentence is saying that there are more students aides and the second is saying that the amount of SSL hours that can be earned for this position has decreased. These two sentences do not connect."

    I think he means actually earning the hours helping the community as opposed to getting the hours easily through student aid
  • Cornelius Thunderpants (View Email) on March 2, 2007 at 11:20 AM
    Man the last thing we need is more SSL hours, I know for a proven scientific fact that SSL are mostly B.S.ed (pardon my southern shaolin praying mantis style) and we should just pick up the needy and go buy them lunch and call that 10 hours. In addition i believe math should be taken out of the curriculum because then in roughly 40 years no one will know the difference between 60 hours and 10 hours (lunch with homeless guy). Furthermore It has become imperative that diaphallic hominids should dragoon the distaff to not attire themselves with such detestable apparel.Yea whats up I'm logodaedalian.
  • ha on March 4, 2007 at 11:42 AM
    all i got to say is HA!! i guess 09 isn't the only one getting a beat down from the board of education with the whole HSA thing. So ha!!!!
  • powertool junkie (View Email) on March 4, 2007 at 1:46 PM
    while this is slightly irrelevent, i might add that not only have student aides hours decreased, the hours for stagecrew have also decreased as well. Before, we were getting 60 hours per show (about half of the total hours we actually do) and now they only give us 10. We actually provide a service to the community and invest a lot of time into it, and it is not recognized.
  • Also confused (View Email) on March 7, 2007 at 3:51 PM
    Shouldn't the amount of time you get for a service be equal to... perhaps the number of hours put in? If that's 5 minutes it should be 5 minutes but if someone works for 200 hours being a student aide they should be credited with 200 hours. If being a student aide isn't really helping the community, why even give 10 hours? This seems like common sense to me.
  • Josh G (View Email) on March 15, 2007 at 11:31 AM
    I think this is a great idea. Students doing service hours will gain valuable life experience for after high school. Students gain an automatic 40 hours for just graduating middle school. It's about time that the administration makes the students get more involved in the community, good job.
  • Anonymous on September 23, 2010 at 8:12 PM
    Um... I'm a middle schooler in sixth grade and I was hearing from my class you can't graduate high school without participating in the SSL hours thing. I don't really know what you do once you help out. I didn't even get the forms yet!! Why is everything getting so scary?
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