Friday, April 7, 2006
Funding restored for CCHS Senior Projects
The Senior Projects Program was on the chopping block until a number of high school students involved in the program and its director, English teacher emeritus Mark Angney, made their case in front of the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee (RSC) on March 28. They explained its merits and handed out testimonials of past participants. The program, first piloted in 1994, promotes competence and self-management. Angney refers to the program as "structured freedom." Projects can be academic or creative. They can involve career exploration, community service or hands-on learning. However, students are not allowed to pick something they would be doing anyway. There are no entrance requirements, which encourages students of all learning levels to participate.
The program helps seniors in their transition to the freedom of college. Up to 40 seniors can spend their final semester working on an independent project of their own choosing, instead of one class at the high school. They partner with a faculty adviser whom they meet with weekly. At the end, the students must give a public presentation to a panel, including a faculty member, a community member and a student, that evaluates their work. They also exhibit their projects. Some examples of projects are: producing a narrative film, composing and performing a suite of music for the jazz band, decorating ceramic pots in the Asian brush paint style, building a dinghy, examining the science and engineering of audio system speakers, writing a set of short stories, researching and practicing the art of New England scrimshaw, rebuilding a car engine and student teaching.
RSC member Becky Shannon commented, "It's so great to see kids so inspired in their last semester." Several RSC members expressed the view that this program needs to be encouraged and funded, that this is what education is all about. By the close of the meeting, the RSC had cut the budgets for technical supplies and materials and computer hardware and software to reinstate the lost funding for Senior Projects.
© 2006 The