Imagine a student interested in a behind the scenes television career producing a documentary short-film OR a student interested in government, designing and implementing a campaign to register local 18 year olds OR a student producing a systematic maintenance manual for automobile upkeep? Each of these examples represents the final outcome for our smaller learning communities’ vision at Superior High School.
As we move into year three of implementation, the last piece of our plan will ask seniors to demonstrate the knowledge, skills and abilities they have acquired in twelve years of school. This opportunity known as “The Senior Project” will require each senior to complete a culminating project around a chosen field of study or interest. Within a year, this project will be well underway in becoming a valued experience and graduation requirement for every senior to receive a Superior High School diploma. As a staff, we believe this project supports our vision of high expectations for all students while reinforcing learning as a process to be valued throughout one’s life.
Since the Senior Project must demonstrate new learning and growth on the part of each student, we feel it is important to provide all students with a number of options to successfully complete their project. Briefly, these options include: service learning which would allow a student to tie his/her project into something beneficial to those in the community; a self-development project whereby a student would learn and develop a new skill or interest; a career research project focusing on a possible career pathway a student wishes to pursue after high school; or finally, selecting a curricular area of interest to do an advanced, in-depth formal research project.
Regardless of the option, our goal is to provide students with the chance to design and present a project that represents their interests, knowledge and skills gained in school and conclude with a conversation around their vision for the future. Fostering adult relationships with teachers and community members, connecting the school curriculum to student interests, personal reflection by each student as well as planning for the future are but a few of the benefits we see students and staff receiving as part of this experience.
This school year will present staff, students, parents and community members with the great challenge of learning more about the Senior Project. If all goes as planned, seniors from the Class of 2006 will be the first group expected to meet this graduation requirement. While there remains much work to be done, this project embodies all of our efforts to personalize and make more meaningful each student’s educational experience at Superior High School.
We are truly excited about the possibilities that comprise the Senior Project. With each passing year, our smaller learning communities plan becomes clearer. It is our hope that when the Senior Project is implemented into our school curriculum, our efforts to support each student through a successful and positive high school experience will have reached fruition. After all, we at Superior High School believe our school is a place “Where Relationships Lead to Success”!
SERVE, a federally funded
educational laboratory, conducting Senior Project research for the last 8 years.
National Mentoring Center
New Trier High School, Winnetka, IL
Folsom High School, Folsom, CA
Natomas High School, Sacramento, California
Parma Senior High School, Parma, Ohio