Policy/Program Memorandum No. 124a


Issued under the authority of the Deputy Minister of Education

Subject: Ontario Secondary School Diploma Requirement: Community Involvement Activities in English-Language Schools
Application: Directors of Education
Secretary of School Authorities
Principals of Secondary Schools
Principals of Provincial Schools

Introduction

As stated in Ontario Secondary Schools, Grades 9 to 12: Program and Diploma Requirements, 1999 (OSS), every student who begins secondary school during or after the 1999–2000 school year must complete a minimum of 40 hours of community involvement activities as part of the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). The purpose of the community involvement requirement is to encourage students to develop awareness and understanding of civic responsibility and of the role they can play and the contributions they can make in supporting and strengthening their communities.

Community involvement activities are part of the school's program.

Responsibilities of School Boards(1)

As stated in OSS, community involvement activities may take place in a variety of settings, including businesses, not-for-profit organizations, public sector institutions (including hospitals), and informal settings. Each school board is responsible for developing a list of community involvement activities that the board considers acceptable. The board's list must not include activities that are designated as ineligible in this memorandum. The board must develop its list of approved activities in consultation with the school councils of schools in its jurisdiction, the Special Education Advisory Committee, and the board's insurer. It should be noted that students will not be paid for performing any community involvement activity.

School boards will develop the forms on which students list (a) their planned activities and (b) their completed activities. A sample of each form is included in the Appendix to this memorandum. The “Notification of Planned Community Involvement Activities” form must include at least the information on the sample form. The “Completion of Community Involvement Activities” form must also include at least the information on the sample form.

Boards must also develop a document that explains the community involvement requirement and the roles and responsibilities of the various participants. A sample document, entitled “Information on the Community Involvement Diploma Requirement”, is provided in the Appendix to this memorandum. The board's document must contain at least the information given in the sample document. It must include an overview of the requirement and the roles and responsibilities of the student, parents,(2) and person or organization sponsoring an activity. It must also provide the list of activities approved by the board, as well as the ineligible activities. This document will be given by students to their parents and to the person supervising their community involvement activity.

Any training, equipment, or special preparation that is required for an activity should be provided by the person or organization sponsoring the activity. Each board must ensure that all participants, including students and the sponsors of community involvement activities, are adequately covered by the board's insurance.

School boards must ensure that they collect and store personal information in accordance with the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Responsibilities of the Principal

The principal will ensure that a description of the community involvement requirement and an outline of the policies on and procedures for completing the requirement are included in the school course calendar. He or she will also ensure that students are provided with the information and forms needed to complete the community involvement requirement, including information about the activities that are approved by the board and the activities that are ineligible, as well as copies of the board's information document that are to be given to the parents and to the person supervising the community involvement activity.

If a student proposes to undertake an activity that is not on the board's list of approved activities, the principal will determine whether the student's proposed activity is acceptable, in consultation with the appropriate supervisory officer. If the activity is acceptable, the principal must keep a copy of the approval on file. (The principal is not required to give approval of activities that are on the board's list of approved activities.)

The principal will determine whether the student has met the community involvement requirement, and, if so, will indicate on the Ontario Student Transcript that the student has completed the requirement.

Procedures for Students

Students may complete the 40 hours of community involvement activities at any time during their secondary school program. They may also complete any number of activities, as long as those activities result in the completion of 40 hours of community involvement. Students under the age of eighteen years will plan and select their community involvement activities in consultation with their parents.

Before beginning any community involvement activity, each student must complete and submit a “Notification of Planned Community Involvement Activities” form. The student will select an activity (or activities) from the board's list of approved activities, or an activity that is not on the list, provided that it is not an activity that is on the ministry's or board's list of ineligible activities (see “Ineligible Activities” below). If the activity is not on the board's list of approved activities, the student will have to obtain written approval from the principal (that is, the principal's signature beside the activity described on the notification form). A student under the age of eighteen must complete the form in consultation with his or her parents, and must also have one parent sign the form. The student will sign the form and submit it to the principal or to another school contact designated by the principal (for example, the student's teacher-adviser). More than one such form may be submitted when additional activities are planned that were not included on a previously submitted form.

When the activity is completed, the student must fill out the “Completion of Community Involvement Activities” form. The sponsor of the activity – that is, the person or organization that provided the community involvement activity – will complete the appropriate sections of the form to verify that the activity has been completed, and will sign the form. The form must also be signed by one of the student's parents if the student is under eighteen years of age. The student must submit the form to the principal or other school contact upon completion of the 40 hours, or at appropriate intervals determined by the principal.

Students will provide their parents with a copy of the board's document “Information on the Community Involvement Diploma Requirement”, which they will be given by the school. Students will also give a copy of this document to the sponsor of the community involvement activity.

Ineligible Activities

The ministry has developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as community involvement activities. These are referred to as ineligible activities. An ineligible activity is an activity that:

  • is a requirement of a class or course in which the student is enrolled (e.g., cooperative education portion of a course, job shadowing, work experience);
  • takes place during the time allotted for the instructional program on a school day. However, an activity that takes place during the student's lunch breaks or “spare” periods is permissible;
  • takes place in a logging or mining environment, if the student is under sixteen years of age;
  • takes place in a factory, if the student is under fifteen years of age;
  • takes place in a workplace other than a factory, if the student is under fourteen years of age and is not accompanied by an adult;
  • would normally be performed for wages by a person in the workplace;
  • involves the operation of a vehicle, power tools, or scaffolding;
  • involves the administration of any type or form of medication or medical procedure to other persons;
  • involves handling of substances classed as “designated substances” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
  • requires the knowledge of a tradesperson whose trade is regulated by the provincial government;
  • involves banking or the handling of securities, or the handling of jewellery, works of art, antiques, or other valuables;
  • consists of duties normally performed in the home (i.e., daily chores) or personal recreational activities;
  • involves activities for a court-ordered program (e.g., community-service program for young offenders, probationary program).

Notes:

  1. The terms school board and board are used in this document to refer to district school boards and to those school authorities that offer secondary school courses.
  2. In this document, parents is used to refer to both parent(s) and guardian(s).

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APPENDIX

School boards may use the sample information document and/or the sample forms provided on the following pages, or they may develop their own, in accordance with the policies stated in this memorandum.

Information on the Community Involvement Diploma Requirement
(Sample document)

School Name:_______________ Contact:___________  Telephone:  ___________

Introduction

Effective September 1, 1999, every student who begins secondary school in Ontario will be required to complete 40 hours of community involvement in order to receive a diploma. The purpose of this requirement is to encourage students to develop an understanding of the various roles they can play in their community and to help them develop a greater sense of belonging within the community.

This document provides information on the community involvement diploma requirement for students and parents, as well as for the persons and organizations who are asked by students to sponsor a particular community involvement activity. If further information is required, please contact the person identified above.

Students will select one or more community involvement activities in consultation with their parents. Selection of activities should take into account the age, maturity, and ability of the student, the location and environment of the proposed activity, and the need for any special training, equipment, and preparation. The safety of the student is paramount.

It should be noted that students will not be paid for performing any community involvement activity.

A parent is not required to sign a form or to be consulted if the student is eighteen years of age or older.

Roles and Responsibilities of School Boards

School boards are responsible for the implementation of community involvement activities through their secondary schools. A list of approved community involvement activities has been developed by the board in conjunction with local school councils, the Special Education Advisory Committee, and the board's insurer. This list is included in this information package, along with a list of activities that the Ministry of Education and Training has stated are ineligible. A board will not approve student participation in any activities that are on the ministry's list of ineligible activities. Each school board must ensure that all participants, including students and community sponsors, are adequately covered by the board's insurance.

Roles and Responsibilities of Secondary School Principals

Principals are required to provide information about the community involvement requirement to parents, students, and community sponsors. Principals are also required to provide students with the information and forms they will need to complete the community involvement requirement, including the board's list of approved activities from which to choose. After a student completes the 40 hours of community involvement and submits all documentation of their completion to the school, the principal will decide whether the student has met the community involvement requirement and, if so, will record it as completed on the student's official transcript.

Roles and Responsibilities of Students

In consultation with their parents, students will select an activity or activities from the board's list of approved activities, or choose an activity that is not on the list, provided that it is not an activity specified on the ministry's and the board's lists of ineligible activities. If the activity is not on the board's list of approved activities, the student must obtain written approval from the principal before beginning the activity.

Before beginning any activity, students will provide the principal or other school contact with a completed “Notification of Planned Community Involvement Activities” (PDF, 88 KB) form indicating the activity or activities that they plan to do. This form must be signed by the student, and by his or her parent if the student is under eighteen years of age. More than one such form may be submitted when additional activities are planned that were not included on a previously submitted form.

A “Completion of Community Involvement Activities” (PDF, 82 KB) form must be completed by the student, the student's parent (if the student is under eighteen years of age), and the community sponsor (that is, the person or organization that provided the community involvement opportunity for the student). The student must submit the form to the principal or other school contact upon completion of the 40 hours or at appropriate intervals determined by the principal.

Roles and Responsibilities of Parents

Parents should provide assistance to their child in the selection of their community involvement activities. Parents are also encouraged to communicate with the community sponsor and the school principal if they have any questions or concerns. A parent must sign the “Notification of Planned Community Involvement Activities” form and the “Completion of Community Involvement Activities” form if the student is under the age of eighteen years.

Roles and Responsibilities of Sponsors in the Community

One of the purposes of the community involvement requirement is to develop strong ties between the students and their community, fostering valuable and long-term relationships. Persons and organizations within the community may be asked by the student to sponsor a community involvement activity. Any training, equipment, or special preparation that is required for the activity should be provided by the person or organization. It is crucial that students are able to fulfil their community involvement requirement in a safe environment. The person overseeing the student's activity must verify the date(s) and the number of hours completed on the “Completion of Community Involvement Activities” form.

The Ministry's List of Ineligible Activities

The ministry has developed a list of activities that may not be chosen as community involvement activities and that are therefore ineligible activities. An ineligible activity is an activity that:

  • is a requirement of a class or course in which the student is enrolled (e.g., cooperative education portion of a course, job shadowing, work experience);
  • takes place during the time allotted for the instructional program on a school day. However, an activity that takes place during the student's lunch breaks or “spare” periods is permissible;
  • takes place in a logging or mining environment, if the student is under sixteen years of age;
  • takes place in a factory, if the student is under fifteen years of age;
  • takes place in a workplace other than a factory, if the student is under fourteen years of age and is not accompanied by an adult;
  • would normally be performed for wages by a person in the workplace;
  • involves the operation of a vehicle, power tools, or scaffolding;
  • involves the administration of any type or form of medication or medical procedure to other persons;
  • involves handling of substances classed as “designated substances” under the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
  • requires the knowledge of a tradesperson whose trade is regulated by the provincial government;
  • involves banking or the handling of securities, or the handling of jewellery, works of art, antiques, or other valuables;
  • consists of duties normally performed in the home (i.e., daily chores) or personal recreational activities;
  • involves a court-ordered program (e.g., community-service program for young offenders, probationary program).

The Board's List of Ineligible Activities

The board has determined that the following are ineligible activities, in addition to those that the ministry has listed as ineligible.
[Board to insert list.]

The Board's List of Eligible Activities

The activities listed below are approved by the school board for the completion of the community involvement requirement.
[Board to insert list.]