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Students to earn 15 service hours on their own

June 24, 1997

By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

Staff Writer

By incorporating Student Service Learning projects into the middle school curriculum, Washington County school officials hoped to ensure all students would have their required 75 hours by the time they got to high school.

That approach, however, seemed to have a flaw, said William B. McKinley, director of secondary education.

"We think, in a way, that invades the spirit of what service learning is all about," said McKinley, who felt a mix of in-school and individual volunteer hours should be required to meet the state graduation requirement.

Under a revamped plan approved by the Washington County Board of Education Tuesday night, students will have to earn 15 hours of credit through individual service projects in addition to the 60 hours of credit they'll get in school, McKinley said.

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Middle school students have been earning 25 hours each year through various service learning projects, he said.

Under the new plan, they will earn 15 hours in each of their middle school years through projects standardized throughout the county, McKinley said.

The new plan also cuts the number of hours students can earn through the 10th-grade Health/Life Skills class, he said.

Board Member Doris J. Nipps said she was pleased with the new plan because she had some problems with infusing the entire service learning requirement into the curriculum.

The plan will be sent to the Maryland State Board of Education for approval, McKinley said.

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