What is the Graduation Project?The purpose of the graduation project is to allow every graduating senior to exhibit the skills and knowledge that he or she has gained in high school. This project encourages the three “R’s” as identified by the State Board of Education: Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. Students develop and explore a rigorous research topic or community service experience, establish a relationship with a mentor or volunteer coordinator outside the school community, demonstrate relevance by presenting to a panel of judges, and develop a culminating product and/or presentation that is an outgrowth of the student’s experience. The project is designed to incorporate the skills that students will need as they matriculate into college and/or the business world. It allows each student to choose a topic of his or her interest, while encouraging inquiry, analysis, synthesis, rigor, and collaboration.For a more in-depth description of the Graduation Project, click here.
The Components of the Graduation Project:
- The Essential Question: This is the foundation of your research or volunteer experience. The EQ must reflect genuine inquiry and must be complex, interesting, and lend itself to a concrete product or solution to a community issue.
- The Mentor/Community Service Coordinator: Each student should choose either a mentor who will guide them through the research process (if completing the traditional project) or a community service coordinator (if choosing the community service option). The student must submit either a Mentor Verification Form or a Community Service Coordinator Verification Form for approval by the graduation project committee. The mentor will be responsible for evaluating the student’s research and proposed product, while the community service coordinator will be responsible for overseeing the student’s volunteer experience.
- The Presentation: If choosing the traditional project option the student will present his or her findings to a panel of judges. This is a formal and professional opportunity for the student to explain the results of their research and to answer questions from the judges. The presentation must include both oral and visual components. The visual portion may be either a PowerPoint or Prezi presentation. Other visual aids will be considered by the Graduation Project committee on a case by case basis.
If choosing the community service option, the student will present his/her essential question (pertaining to a community problem) and solution to a panel of judges. During this presentation the student should explain his/her solution to the identified community problem, present his/her artifacts collected while volunteering, and reflect upon their experience by answering specific reflection questions.Presentation Rubric (both options)
- The Product (traditional project option only): Preferably, the product will be one that will benefit the greater community; however, this is not a requirement. The product is a physical manifestation of the results of the research. Some examples include: music/dance = arrange and perform an original composition, learning styles = design a lesson and teach a class, athletics/sports = run a clinic for young athletes or new coaches. Mentors will be an essential resource during this phase of the project.
- Volunteer Hours (community service option only): Each student choosing the community service option must write an essential question pertaining to a community problem. Once the student has identified a problem within a community he/she should outline steps to solve this problem. The student should then identify an organization with which to volunteer in order to implement his/her solution to the problem. The student is required to volunteer a minimum of 15 hours with that organization in order to implement his/her plan. While volunteering the student is responsible for collecting artifacts to present to the judges and keeping a log of his/her volunteer hours (to be signed by the community service coordinator).