Summer Capstone Consortium June 22
The Summit's last day culminated in some very important and insightful one-on-one discussions regarding the further development of programs at our individual schools. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to spend my session with Jeff Hooper from the Thacher School. Though our Odyssey Program is different in a number of ways, Jeff's experience at Thacher (who has a 25 year old program), and his experience heading up the Capstone Consortium was extraordinarily helpful and insightful for both the Odyssey Program and for the future of our Senior Experience Program.
What I began to envision is a "three-prong" approach to a fully formed Capstone Program at Sandia Prep. We could offer, as the basic level, the Senior Experience Practicum which is very much what we already do. Our Senior Experience program has been around a long time and has enjoyed some real success. It offers job shadowing, internships, community service, cultural experiences, and artistic and academic creativity. It has only been in recent years that we have made any attempt at research prior to the experience itself, but it has been an exciting and rewarding opportunity for our seniors.
The second level would be Senior Experience with Distinction. This would be a slightly more advanced program in which the students would develop an essential question and do a bit of hard research leading up the final weeks in which students are released from classes. These last weeks would be used to complete their research through internships, job shadows, travel, or other forms of hands-on experience. As a part of these last weeks, students would write a 10-20 page research paper that would be presented to the public at the Formal Senior Experience Presentation Day. Students will be expected to connect what they have learned throughout their years at Prep with the experience that they have chosen. There is a possibility for the students to earn course credit for the research work that they do, and the experience will be given a grade on the transcript.
And, of course, the most advanced level would be the Odyssey Scholars, our two year program described on this site. In this way, I believe that we can reach all of our students at whatever level they happen to be.