In the high school, all projects build toward the Senior Project. To prepare for this final, capstone achievement, students are asked to complete larger, more sophisticated projects yearly as they progress toward graduation. Here are the general guidelines:
Students in 9th grade are asked to get familiar with the project process through undertaking a variety of projects. In 9th grade, there are no distinct guidelines about size and length of projects. Students are to present one project they feel represents their best work.
Students in 10th grade are asked to complete at least one project that is over 100 hours in length. This project should utilize 15 or more sources and end with a presentation of at least 10 minutes.
Students in 11th grade are asked to complete at least one project that is over 150 hours in length. This project should utilize 20 or more sources and end with a presentation of at least 15 minutes.
The Senior Project
The Senior Project is an intensive, year-long project that ends with a public, 30-minute presentation. For many, it represents the crowning academic achievement of their high school career, often launching a life-long passion for the subject. Every fall, seniors begin the long process together, participating in the Senior Retreat. Each senior must write a formal proposal that is approved by a committee of two advisors, parent(s), a junior student, and an expert from the community.
Meant as the culmination of students' experience at Avalon, the senior project embodies the skills necessary for success in life after Avalon School: skills that prepare students for life after Avalon School. They demonstrate these skills by articulating goals they wish to achieve and thus the area in which they want to study, developing questions they wish to answer, finding resources, developing and sticking to a timeline to achieve their goals, and presenting their findings and products to their committee and the larger community in a 30-minute formal presentation at the end of the school year.
Many seniors use the senior project as a springboard to develop interests and skills they will go on to study at a post-secondary level. For example, one student designed and made a guitar he will use when he goes on to study at McNally Smith College of Music. Another student so impressed Franklin College Switzerland with her website on the Sensory Exploration of Peru that she landed herself a generous college scholarship. Students use the senior project to bridge their experience between high school and college. Due to the intensity of the senior project, seniors often complain that they do not get to experience the “senior slide.” While they lament that their friends from other schools “do nothing in their second semesters,” Avalon’s seniors acknowledge that they create a special class bond around the hard work they individually produce at the end of their Avalon careers. During their senior presentations, the Avalon community not only evaluates seniors’ individual performances but also celebrates these individual performances. Despite being an individual endeavor, the class recognizes their accomplishments as a whole community.
Grade Level Project Expectations
Grade Level Project Rubric - This document shows the progress expected as students advance through grade levels from year to year.