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National Youth Service Day is April 15-17
MARCH 24, 2005--Service-learning is a concept that has taken hold in the
American classroom, and April 15-17 has been designated National Youth
Service Day to celebrate the movement.
According to the National Center on Education Statistics, by 1999, almost
one-third of public schools, which includes close to half of all high
schools, included service-learning as part of the curriculum.
That number continues to grow, according to Stan Potts, coordinator of
the UW-River Falls Online Graduate Certificate in Service-Learning
"More than one million students participated in service-learning
in 2003 through the national Learn and Serve America program," says
Potts. "When students are engaged in meaningful service to their
schools and their communities, both they and their communities benefit.
Educators across the country are discovering the rewards of incorporating
established curricula with hands-on service projects to increase student
involvement and enhance academic achievement, citizenship, and character
With roots in experiential or hands-on learning, today's concept of service-learning
is contemporary in that it links community service to school curricula.
According to a report by the National Commission on Service Learning,
the concept is a teaching and learning approach that integrates community
service with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility,
and strengthen communities.
The report notes: "For half a century, service-learning has spread
in American schools. In the last decade, it was spurred to new growth
by congressional and presidential actions and funding. In increasing numbers,
schools have provided service-learning opportunities for students that
connect their curriculum studies to activities such as tutoring younger
children, adopting a river, creating a museum exhibit, or conducting oral
histories with senior citizens. In these and similar instructional activities,
youth have simultaneously learned to serve and served to learn. They are
becoming both better students and better citizens."
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls, working in partnership with the
National Youth Leadership Council supported by the State Farm Companies
Foundation, offers a graduate-level certificate in service-learning. The
program assists educators to understand, plan and apply service-learning
methods in their classrooms and communities.
This program is one of the few graduate-credit certificates in service-learning
offered via the Internet, according to Potts. All courses are completed
with a cohort of peers, and participants gain useful skills that can be
applied in the classroom.
In addition, participants get credit for work experience through a practicum
and enjoy the rewards from bringing a service-learning program into their
communities, says Potts. The course also provides the skills necessary
to earn the NYLC's National Service Learning Certificate currently under
This program is designed for teachers, school administrators, recipients
of the Corporation for National Service "Learn and Serve America"
grants, and community leaders and others who support civic engagement
The UW-River Falls program is comprised of four, three-credit graduate
classes and one, three-credit practicum. The course schedule allows a
cohort of students complete the program within one year. Participants
must apply and meet minimum requirements for graduate study at UW-River
Falls before registering for courses in this program. All participants,
regardless of state residency, will pay Wisconsin resident tuition for
The program begins with the course, "Introduction to Service-Learning."
A live teleconference on June 28 will help familiarize students with the
online software used as well as the program content. For more information,
including application forms and instructions, visit the Web site www.uwrf.edu/outreach,
or call the UW-RF Graduate Studies Office at (715) 425-3843 or (800) 228-5607
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:21 Central Daylight Time