The Culminating Senior Project grew out of the involvement of five faculty members in a year-long professional development program, Powerful Learning Practice. Our hope is that the project will provide the impetus for improving student engagement in the senior year at the same time that it promotes important skills for life-long learning in the 21st century. The development of our project can be seen at our wiki, The Learning Edge.

The Culminating Senior Project will include an online portfolio documenting the development of the project and including the project proposal, a TED-style video, a reflective blog documenting the project's development, and an archive-able version of the project culmination. The project will also include a "demonstration of mastery" -- a performance, presentation, or other exhibition for a live audience. In preparation for this, the students will conduct research, create a professional review panel, and undertake the necessary steps to reach the goals stated in their proposals.

2012-2014 Seminar Outline (c/o 2014)
Instructor: Tim Holm

Fall 2012
  • Explored student interests
  • Two-week mini project
  • Formal proposal of project
  • Begin project in Q2
    • Monthly goals
    • Bimonthly blogging documenting progress and reflecting on the process of the project
  • Ongoing work on SAT Prep (with Advantage Testing of Houston)

Spring 2013
  • Ongoing project
    • Monthly goals
    • Bimonthly blogging documenting progress and reflecting on the process of the project
  • Selecting of panelists to provide expertise and feedback
  • End-of-year presentation to two Chinquapin classes (one middle school, one high school)
  • Ongoing work on SAT Prep (with Advantage Testing of Houston)
    • Students were divided into groups working on SAT, SAT II Subject Tests, and ACT

Fall 2013 (and Q3 in Spring)
  • Complete project
    • Monthly goals
    • Bimonthly blogging documenting progress and reflecting on the process of the project
  • Ongoing test prep with Advantage Testing through the end of October
  • Developing of rubrics for evaluating the project's final product, process, and presentation
  • Final presentations / demonstrations of mastery
    • Panelists and students evaluated their work for the final grade

Students were encouraged to pursue a project about a passion they had and that would have some impact beyond themselves (primarily by helping or encouraging others). Projects included such things as: learning to teach piano, designing and building a tractor shed for a nearby school, volunteering at an animal shelter, writing a book about self-expression, and studying ceramics and selling pieces to raise money for the ceramics class.