Service Learning Program

“I truly believe these service-learning experiences have made me a more effective teacher and have provided students a voice and a chance to show how much of a difference they can make as a citizen, even at a young age.”
-Barry J. Guillot, NBCT | 8th Grade Earth Science, Harry Hurst Middle School


Service Learning gives students the opportunity to meet community needs through hands-on experiences that tie classroom curriculum to service.

The STEM Library Lab Service Learning Program offers funds to support service learning projects for K-12 schools in Louisiana and Mississippi. The Service Learning Program is generously funded by the Joe W. and Dorothy Dorsett Brown Foundation.

Our program adheres to the National Youth Leadership Council (NYLC) definition and standards of Service Learning. All funded service learning projects must include classroom learning, a partnership with a service organization, and follow the IPARD (Investigation, Preparation, Action, Reflection, and Demonstration) model developed by NYLC.

We highly recommend that all teachers attend a service learning workshop to learn more about service learning and the application process. Upcoming current workshops are listed below under “Timeline of Deadlines, Workshops, Events.” Got questions? Contact the Service Learning Manager, Maria Landrum, at maria[at] or 504.517.3584, ext. 3.

If you are an organization that would be interested in partnering with us on a service learning project, please read through our proposal packet and contact the Service Learning Manager.

What is Service Learning?

Service learning is a teaching strategy allows students to address real-world problems within their communities as part of their academic studies. This instruction method requires ongoing reflection exercises that bridge the gap between theoretical (classroom studies) and practical (experiential) knowledge. In the end, students understand the relevance of what they are learning and experience how they can make an impact.

To be clear, service learning is not synonymous with community service or volunteerism. Community service and volunteerism do not typically include an academic component or learning about social issues in an organized fashion. Unlike service learning, the project planning involves little to no input from participants, and there is no focus on reflection, building partnerships, or improving knowledge and skills.

Benefits of Service Learning

Students gain…

  • 21st century skills: critical thinking, problem solving, leadership, decision-making, collaboration, and communication
  • Deeper connection between academic knowledge and real-world applications
  • Greater understanding of themselves and empathy and respect for others
  • Opportunities to explore skills and interests and to network for career readiness
  • Provides enhanced awareness and understanding of social issues
  • Guided practice in active and effective citizenship
  • Increased self-efficacy as they address community needs

Schools gain…

  • Increased pro-social behavior and student engagement
  • An effective drop-out prevention strategy
  • Positive school-community relationships

Communities gain…

  • Energy and creativity of youth in addressing communities needs
  • Opportunities to build positive relationships between community and schools
  • New perspectives on youth as assets, not liabilities

Principal’s Award

As an added incentive, a “Principal’s Award” of $500 is given to each school that is awarded funding for one or more service learning projects. These are unrestricted funds to benefit the school’s students, service learning program, or other projects.

Timeline of deadlines, workshops, events

February 1, 2024, 5:30pm:
Coastal Roots Informational Session @ STEM Library Lab – RSVP here or email an RSVP form to

Interested in participating in LSU Coastal Roots? Want to help prevent coastal land loss? Join us and learn more! The Service Learning Program helps cover expenses like the entry fee, gardening materials, and transportation for many area schools. We can fund your Coastal Roots project, too! Contact for more info.

February 1 – April 26, 2024:
2024-2025 Application Period

February 6, 2024, 5:30pm:
Virtual Ready-to-go Orientation – Register

**February 20, 2024, 5pm: LUMCON Ready-to-Go Orientation Register
STEM Library Lab,
3011 N I-10 Service Rd, Metairie OR via Google Meet:

February 26, 2024, 5:30pm:
Virtual Service Learning Basics Workshop – Register

**March 2, 2024, 12pm: LUMCON Ready-to-Go Orientation Register
STEM Library Lab,
3011 N I-10 Service Rd, Metairie OR via Google Meet:

March 4, 2024, 5:30pm:
Virtual Application Writing Workshop – Register 

March 21, 2024, 5pm:
Service Learning Basics Workshop, STEM Library Lab – Register 

Service Learning Workshops give an overview of K-12 service learning and the guidelines for STEM Library Lab Service Learning Program.

April 26, 2024:
2024-25 Applications due

May 10, 2024:

  • 2023-24 Expenditure Reports due
  • 2023-24 Principal’s Award Reports due
The IPARD Framework

The IPARD Framework represents the student-centered inquiry model in a service-learning project. Service-learning takes students through a five-stage process of Investigation, Preparation, Action, Reflection, and Demonstration (IPARD).

Investigation: Identify a need or area of interest in their school or community.
Preparation and Planning: Engage in planning, implementation, and evaluation processes.
Action: Begin the act of service.
Reflection: Reflect on the experience before, during, and after.
Demonstration: Share their experience with family, friends, school and/or community.

According to the National Youth Leadership Council, “Every part of the [IPARD] process is rich with learning and growth opportunities, many of them happening as students investigate community needs, identify a doable
action, plan and carry out service activities, reflect throughout the process, and share their learnings with the larger community. Even when the action seems complete, the transformation power of the process continues as students, teachers, and communities grow and new needs arise.”