Community Service Frequently Asked Questions
Do Summer Hours Count?
9th grade students are not Shorewood students until the actual start of school, so summer hours, or hours completed in middle school, will not count for incoming students. Many students find summer a great time for not only satisfying the hour requirement, but also for trying something new, so feel free to start planning for summers between 9th and 10th grades and 10th and 11th grades.
Do I need to complete a certain number of hours every year?
The Shoreline School District Requirement is for a minimum of 40 hours; each student and family can decide when to complete them. There is not a required number of hours per academic term or school year. We recommend that students complete at least 10 hours per school year, yet many students choose to complete all hours during their 9th or 10th grade years. This is wise long-term planning. Typically, about half of the senior class is finished with the requirement at the start of senior year, and these students have one less stress for their last year of high school.
Some students become members of National Honor Society (NHS) when they are in 10th grade (9th graders are not eligible) and NHS does have an ongoing, per quarter community service requirement. See the section about NHS on the Community Service Requirement page. If you do not join this club, complete the hours whenever you choose, but please do not leave it all until senior year.
Is there an upper limit to the number of hours?
There is no upper limit for number of hours. We have seniors who have more than 500 hours! Many scholarships take community service into consideration, so for some students, dedication to service may literally pay off in the form of college scholarships.
Please note that there are no automatic scholarships. Students seeking scholarships should use the Naviance Scholarship List and other strategies outlined on the Scholarships page.
Students who love doing service and accrue many hours may decide to aim for the President's Volunteer Service Award. See information about the award on our site under the subheading Will I Gain Anything by Doing Lots of Community Service? and on The President's Volunteer Service Award site.
What counts and what doesn't count as Community Service?
Please see the policies on the Community Service Requirement page. The district established a new policy on political activity on September 19, 2016, and we have added clarifying language about what constitutes religious activity.
Will I really not graduate if I don't complete 40 hours of community service?
What if I have 39 hours?
Students who have close to 40 hours have not met the requirement. In the system, students have either MET or NOT MET the requirement. There is no rounding up.
Would an activity count if I had to pay for it?
We encourage volunteering through programs that will not cost you anything. However, there are a few circumstances where a student or family might choose to pay in order to participate in a program. As long as: 1) the sponsoring organization is a registered nonprofit, and 2) the student does not get paid, hours would probably count. Please check in the Career Center if you are not sure. Two examples: some nonprofits sponsor service trips that a family might pay for, but the student does not get paid and on the trip, does some sort of activity that is considered a humanitarian service. Also, some camps might charge summer volunteers for room & board but not pay them for their service to the camp.
If I serve at an overnight camp and sleep there, can I count all 24 hours in a day?
No. We recommend that you count a workday of 8 hours. In some cases, we have allowed 12 hours/ day, but please do not count more than that. Many summer programs have set ways that they count hours, and it is rarely a round-the-clock accrual.
What's up with the forms?
The paper tracking forms are part of an imperfect system. We do the best we can within our budget and constraints. Please keep copies of the forms you turn in. We will not be able to make copies for every student at school.
Can I turn in a letter or certificate from an outside organization as proof of my service?
Upon completion of your service at an established organization, you may receive a letter or a certificate detailing your hours. When you turn this in, please fill out a Shorewood form as much as possible and staple the documents together. We realize that the supervisor's signature may be on the letter rather than on the Shorewood form.
When do I turn in the forms?
Please do not hang onto all of your forms until the end of the school year. Turn in forms to the Career Center as you complete the hours. For short-term service, turn the form in soon after the event. For ongoing service, turn in your hours in increments of several weeks. For example, you could complete fall/ winter/ spring forms if you engage in regular service with the same organization. There will be periodic due dates for service hours. Keeping up on the hour tracking as you perform the service helps you and the school be up to date.
Where can I check my service hour totals?
Families can check totals on the Family Access system. Please see How to Look Up Hours on the top right of this page, the Community Service FAQ & Look Up Hours page.
Why are there periodic deadlines?
We have periodic due dates for the benefit of both students and staff. The farther in the past the service has occurred, the harder it is for us to verify the hours and work since organizations often do not keep volunteer records for months. Also, many students misplace forms for service that occurred far in the past. If a student has no hours in the system, we assume that the student has not done service. We have no way of knowing if the student is working on it, or if the parent is aware. If we know that a student has completed service and have that logged in the system, then the student and parent will not receive reminders during senior year.
The periodic deadlines are not absolutes as far as the graduation requirement, until the spring of senior year. The summer hour deadline allows us to verify summer service before organizations purge their summer records or have personnel turnover. The deadlines help students keep up on the tracking part of the requirement and help the staff keep accurate records of how students are progressing.
Why is the Senior Deadline in April?
Seniors have many things to deal with as graduation approaches, and it is best to get community service completed before the Senior Project (usually due May 1) and the end of classes.
Do you recommend joining Lion's Heart to help with the Community Service Requirement?
We do not recommend joining Lion's Heart, primarily because we don't want students to have to pay to do community service. According to our research, the organization is legitimate and well-run, and the tracking tools may be helpful. However, the vast majority of area nonprofits know to notify the Shorewood & Shorecrest College & Career Centers about their volunteer opportunities, so you would not get exclusive access to local opportunities. We do not think that you would get benefits worth the fees.
How Can I Look Up My Hours?
Go to your Canvas Class of 202x course, and look in the same place where you upload forms to turn in: Assignments > Community Service Form Upload. Your point total is the number of hours you have.
Use this form to record your service, noting each day you serve with that organization and obtaining some sort of supervisor verification and parent permission. Soon after your service (DO NOT save up your forms!) submit via your Class of 202x course in Canvas. Look for the Community Service Form Upload assignment.
Forms will be processed about every two weeks during the school year. Use a new form for each nonprofit organization with which you volunteer.
Students applying for extended service opportunities during the school year like counseling at an elementary school camp must meet Shorewood Academic Eligibility Requirements.