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North Carolina Graduation Project

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“Take on an issue – a complex problem, a deep inequity, and become a specialist on it. If you make it the focus of your career, that would be phenomenal."

    Bill Gates, Harvard University, June 2007  



    Training Modules 




















    NC Social Studies Standard Course of Study 





Many North Carolina schools have implemented the North Carolina Graduation Project or some version of a senior project as a prerequisite for graduation.  Many social studies educators have played an active role in the development and implementation of senior projects using service learning as a major component of fulfilling the project requirements.  Whether a culmination of a unit, course, or the high school experience, project based learning when properly planned and implemented provides enduring life lessons for students.   


According to the North Carolina Graduation Project Implementation Guide, "high quality experiences that meet North Carolina's best practices for service-learning makes a project meaningful and effective".  The implemenation guide further states that such projects allow students to (1) meet a recognized need in the community, (2) achieve an enduring understanding of state standards and curricular objectives, (3) reflect on their experience, (4) develop responsibility as an effective citizen, (5) establish community partnerships that normally wouldn't exist, and (6) establish planning and organizational, as well as, research and writing skills. 


 Essential Questions--North Carolina Graduation Project


  • How can N.C. Social Studies teachers assist with the implementation of the NC Graduation Project using service learning as a guide?


    Resource Links--North Carolina Graduation Project


  • The NC Department of Public Instruction and The North Carolina Graduation Project    

    The North Carolina Graduation Project is a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary performance assessment completed over time.  The project provides students an opportunity to connect content knowledge, skills, and work habits to real world situations and issues.  The social studies curriculum, with an emphasis on service learning and civic engagement, can easily be used to satisfy the requirements of the Graduation Project.  This NCDPI website provides insight on the background and implementation of the North Carolina Graduation Project.  A password for access to the project handbook and the project's connectivity to the social studies is available upon request. 

  • National Service Learning Partnership A network of over 10,000 members--students, parents, policy makers, community leaders, business people, and educational specialists-- dedicated to the use of service learning in the classroom.  The Partnership is funded through grants from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and State Farm Companies Foundation.  It is sponsoered by the Adacemy for Educational Development.

  • National Center for Learning and Citizenship       

    The National Center for Learning and Citizenship (NCLC) develops policies that encourage K-12 curriculum use of service education.  This November 2004 policy brief outlines the benefits and necessary development of a quality service based senior project program.

  • Jumpstart and Service Learning

    Jumpstart was originally founded at Yale University in 1993 as a non-profit organization focused on the public need for quality early childhood programs and the nation’s growing commitment for service education.  Jumpstart collaborated with scholars Patti Clayton and Myra Moses in developing a service learning resource guide located in section II of this website.  This guide offers a path for institutions of higher education to implement a service learning program into a wide range of disciplines.  The guide provides structure and advice in promoting the value of civic engagement, leadership and service to students.  Dr. Clayton and Dr. Moses currently direct the Center for Curricula Engagement at N.C. State University.

  • Service Learning Video Project and San Diego State University  

    Mark Freeman, a documentary film and video maker with over 30 years of experience, is a Professor of Television, Film and New Media in the School of Theatre, Television and Film at San Diego State University.  This site offers some useful guidelines for implementing a service learning video project.

  • Coalition of Essential Schools Northwest Service Learning Network  The CES Service Learning Network goals include implementation of service learning across all of the core disciplines. The CES Network includes hundreds of schools that reflect "personalization, democracy and equity, and intellectual vitality and excellence".  These essential schools focus on effective practices in standards-aligned interdisciplinary studies, community-based learning and performance based assessment.   This site would be an excellent resource in the understanding of each of the NC Service Learning modules.



 A View of Projects


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  North Carolina Service Learning Social Network


The NC Service Learning Social Network is designed to be an online collaborative professional learning community (PLC) for integration of service learning in the social studies.  Through forum questioning, blogs, and online shared resources, the social studies section at the Department of Public Instruction hopes that social networking makes service learning a more accessible, manageable, and integral part of the North Carolina social studies classroom. 

  Professional Development--North Carolina Graduation Project (Available Spring 2011)

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