Service learning a process of involving students in

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Service learning : A process of involving students in community service activities. The activities are combined with applying the experience to their academic and personal development. It can be considered a form of experiential education aimed at enhancing student learning. (Fayetteville State University, 2016). Significance of the Study The importance of this proposed study is identifying the impact of incorporating service learning in the school district’s curriculum. Currently several teachers employed by the local school district voluntarily include service learning projects in their curriculum. Although the communication received from the local superintendent did not indicate the total number of teachers engaged in the implementation of such projects, the teachers who have already
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12 implemented service learning in their classroom believe such projects can result in a more civic- minded student (K. Oates, personal communication, September 29, 2014). A social studies teacher argued in an interview conducted by a news agency that working in a Democracy school “comes with the responsibility and obligation to mold civically minded students and provide opportunities for them to be engaged,” but indicates that there is an additional need to shift the focus of the current curriculum to one that promotes “cross-curricular civic education” ( MHS designated Democracy School, 2015, p. 1). The local superintendent of schools further agreed and explained that a civic-minded student is one who puts “service above self” and makes a positive contribution to society (K. Oates, personal communication, September 29, 2014). The perspectives of educators such as these are limited in terms of their inclusion published and available literature. It is believed by this researcher that, should such perspectives be explored in this targeted study, this information will prove beneficial toward the modification of the current school system, allowing the lack of civic mindedness to be addressed. The Volunteer Service Credit program currently is optional for students in this local district. Current research indicates the problems that have occurred as a result of the focus on teaching to the test, the inability to practically apply knowledge learned in this context to the real world setting, and the detrimental effects to society that occur as a result of these different factors (Kamenetz, 2015; Layton, 2015; Lazarin, 2014;). The collection of educator’ perspectives in a state that has started focusing on the integration of service learning within the classroom may be vital to addressing the matter. Local data further support for the exploration of this problem. The three main civic minded organizations in the area are the Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Lion’s Club. The Rotary Club has dropped from 58 members in 2015 to 50 members in 2016 and is at a record low of 35 members for 2017 (Marion Rotary Club, 2017). The Chamber of Commerce
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13 indicates fluctuating membership totals as well, going from 497 members in 2015 to 505 members in 2016, back down to 491 members for this year (Chamber Of Commerce, 2017). The
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