Based on the LEARNS Act, Act 237, passed in 2023, high school students shall complete a minimum of seventy-five (75) clock hours of documented community service in grades nine – twelve (9-12) in order to graduate.
Community Service Diploma Requirement
- Beginning with the graduating class of 2026-2027 (students that began 9th grade in the fall of 2023) students shall complete a minimum of seventy-five (75) clock hours of documented community service in grades nine – twelve (9-12) in order to graduate.
- Fifteen (15) hours for students in grade nine (9);
- Twenty (20) hours for students in grade ten (10);
- Twenty (20) hours for students in grade eleven (11);
- Twenty (20) hours for students in grade twelve (12).
- The community service year runs from August 1 – July 31, example:
- Students who began 9th grade in August of 2023 can use volunteer hours earned between August 1, 2023, through July 31, 2024.
- Seniors must complete twenty (20) hours in grade twelve by May 1st in order to graduate.
What counts as community service?
- Volunteer (unpaid) work for a church, non-profit organization, 503C, charity, or individual (not a family member). Examples:
- Assist public healthcare organizations such as the Red Cross;
- Services performed for animal shelter or rescue;
- Assisting in a retirement home or helping an elderly neighbor;
- Civic organizations such as Lions Club, Rotary, Scouting, Kiwanis, etc.;
- Assisting religious institutions with cleaning, landscaping, cemetery clean-up days, etc.;
- City government.
- Volunteer hours completed by a school club or team are acceptable as long as the student does not receive payment.
Note: this is not an all-inclusive list – if you have any questions please contact Mrs. Kichline at email@example.com or 479-643-3381.
What does NOT count as community service?
- Service for a student’s family or family business or farm;
- Hours worked for any activity for which pay is received or a grade/credit is earned;
- Court-ordered community service;
How do I document my hours?
- Print the form available here or get a copy of the form in the high school office.
- Complete the form and have it signed by the organization.
- Turn the form into the Career Counselor in the high school office.
What if I cannot complete the required hours?
The District Board of Directors may grant a waiver of this requirement for extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis.
The Arkansas Department of Education is currently writing the rules to govern the Community Service Diploma requirement, so the information shown here is subject to change.