WHAT IS CAPSTONE?
The Capstone Experience is a long-term, in-depth project that allows high school students to learn about themselves by exploring in great detail a topic of interest, specialization, community need or career choice. The concept of the Capstone Experience is to put learning into practice – to extend learning into applied experiences in which students actively participate and transition from high school to college or career.
The Capstone Experience requires students to pick a topic or theme for their project, and then partner with one or more organizations or businesses in the community to assist them in acquiring knowledge about this theme. Students fulfill four requirements that are connected to their theme through extensive research and hands-on learning via community partnerships: A research paper; a product, outcome, or deliverable; a portfolio documenting 40 hours' worth of relevant work-based experiences around project theme; and an oral and digital presentation in front of teacher, peers, and community members.
The Alignment Nashville Experiential Learning Committee assisted MNPS in successfully piloting the Capstone Experience as an optional research project for high school seniors during the 2013-2014 academic year. Eighteen schools participated in the pilot year with a total number of 2,190 students enrolled. As a result of last year's success, Capstone is now a recommended course for all students. Approximately 90% of MNPS seniors participated during the 2014-15 year, and that number is projected to grow for the 2015-16 year as well.
WHAT DO WE WANT TO DO?
Alignment is working with MNPS again in 2015 to expand and enhance the program for teachers and students by engaging more non-profits, government agencies, colleges and universities, businesses, faith-based organizations, and others to provide valuable learning experiences of all types for students completing Capstone projects.
Partners and details of their support offerings will be listed in on MNPSCAPSTONE.ORG, a central, easily updated online location for teachers to access in order to assist students who need help with their project partnerships (see sidebar to the right for details). Partners will be able to login to view and/or update their listings easily.
HOW CAN YOU HELP?
Can you identify opportunities within your organization's capacity for young people to participate and receive support for their Capstone experiences?
Partners may choose specific schools to serve, set caps on the number of students they can accommodate, choose the time of year they offer support for Capstone, create applications for screening students for work-based experiences, and more. Partners can choose to support any segment of Capstone projects (research paper, product/deliverable, work-based experiences, final presentation), specify project requests from students, mentor a single student throughout the course of their entire project, and so on -- the possibilities are endless. Examples of ways to support Capstone can include but are not limited to the following:
- Academic assistance with senior research project, paper, or presentation
- Mentorship on part or all of project with individual student(s)
- Direction student in the creation of a product or deliverable for your organization
- Work-based experience opportunities such as internship, apprenticeship, job shadow, etc.
- Community service opportunity
- Give an interview over the phone or in person
- Serve as Capstone presentation panel judge in late spring
- and more!
Capstone participation can be as straightfoward or as in-depth as the partner's capacity allows. Whether you can give just one interview to one student for their research paper or you have the capacity to provide 3-month internships for 100 students, MNPS and the Alignment High School Team welcome any and all community and business participation in Capstone. Your potential partnership is extremely valuable to MNPS high school students, no matter the size.
Can you support the Capstone Experience for MNPS high school students? Register for an account on our MNPS CAPSTONE RESOURCES portal and submit a partner listing today!
ITP Release Date: August 28, 2015
This ITP will remain open throughout the 2015-16 school year.
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
If you have any questions about this Invitation to Participate, please click here to email Lexi Morritt, Associate Director.
To learn more about how our Invitation To ParticipateTM (ITPTM) process works, click here.
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Invitation To ParticipateTM and ITPTM
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MNPS CAPSTONE RESOURCES:
The Online Capstone Portal for Teachers and Partners
- Creates a stronger channel through which students and Capstone Partners can connect
- Lists all Capstone Partners and their offerings, organized by interest area/theme
- Partners choose how many details to share about their offerings; including how many students supported, what areas of projects are supported, times of year, specific schools served, and more
- Reduces student cold calls and emails to organizations/businesses
- Secure, login-protected site
- Access is restricted to teachers and partners ONLY through registration process and manual approval for access
- Streamlines the partnership process
- Capstone Teachers utilize the site to assist students who are struggling to find agencies or professionals with which to partner for their project
- Capstone Teachers may submit student projects seeking partnerships to be posted in project "classifieds"
- Partners with project requests can also post openings for specific needs from students, as well as collaborative project opportunities for multiple students from different disciplines
Increase partner satisfaction with streamlined student-to-partner process
Expand student opportunities to create partnerships, complete required Capstone hours, and pass the course
Increase number of positive adults in students' lives
Increase student skills & capacity
Increase academic rigor and student engagement in long-term projects
Improve college & career aspiration and employability
Improve school attendance rates
Increase graduation rate