Quality time: exploring meaningful mandatory community involvement programs in secondary schools /
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The purpose of this study was to explore the experiences of 5 stakeholder groups—students, parents, community organization representatives, guidance counsellors, and secondary school principals—in dealing with a mandatory secondary school graduation requirement in Ontario. The requirement is that students must complete 40 hours of eligible community involvement activities during their high school years in order to graduate. Ten stakeholders were interviewed regarding the nature of the community involvement program, what makes it work, and suggestions for improvement. The study found that although this program has the potential to provide a meaningful experience for students, and students are seen to gain from their experience in multiple ways, it depends substantially on the commitment of students, educators, and community organizations to make it worthwhile. Stakeholders recommended changes to the current program, which included making it a more structured process that would increase the consistency ofhow this program is implemented, finding ways to curb cheating and to reduce the administrative burden on schools, having more support from the Ontario provincial government and Ontario Ministry of Education and Training in the promotion and communication of this program, and developing partnerships between community organizations and schools to enrich the application of this program. This study concludes with a recommendation that the Ontario Ministry of Education and Training consider introducing Service-Learning, a curriculum-based experiential service and learning process, as an enhancement to the current community involvement program.