Capstone Project
.5 credits
Capstone Project
Description of Program
what when why and who
Complete a Culminating Project  - the Capstone project

While NWA   determines the guidelines for this Culminating Project, there are statewide goals:
  • Encourage students to think analytically, logically and creatively and to integrate experience and knowledge to solve problems.
  • Give students a chance to explore a topic in which they have a great interest.
  • Offer students an opportunity to apply their learning in a “real world" way.
  • As part of the Culminating Project, each student will demonstrate essential skills through reading, writing, speaking, production and/or performance. To complete the project, students may be asked to write a research paper, work with a mentor in school or in the community, present to a community or peer panel, pull together a portfolio of work and/or develop a multimedia presentation.
What is the Senior Capstone Project?
The Senior Capstone Project (”Capstone”) is a graduation requirement for all seniors attending NWA. Students will receive one (.5) credit upon successful completion of the Capstone.

The mantra of the Capstone is TRANSITION. The intent of the Capstone is to transition students away from subject-centric learning to a real-life experience that the student believes may be relevant to their next stage in life. Each senior will utilize the knowledge and skills they have acquired over the past 12 years in school, as well as many 21st century skills, to successfully complete their Capstone.

The Capstone will showcase the student’s abilities in reading, writing, public speaking, critical thinking, planning and implementation, self-discipline, problem solving, and organizational skills. The goal of the Capstone is to stretch the student to participate in and demonstrate a new area of learning and growth. The student cannot select a Capstone project that relies solely upon what the student already knows.

Students will select from one of the three project strands defined below. Each strand is unique and provides students the opportunity to explore areas of specific interest, as well as demonstrate their personal strengths. The intent of the Capstone is to encourage and motivate the student to engage in a project that has direct applicability to their post high school goals and aspirations.

Most importantly, the Capstone should represent an area of focus that they are passionate about and will have FUN doing!

The Capstone project consists of 3 components that include the following:

Proposal
The student will select a project strand and develop a Capstone Proposal (see Proposal Format - page 10). Students should review the proposal with parent(s)/guardian(s) and gain approval prior to the submission to the Capstone Administrator.  The proposal will be reviewed and approved by the Capstone Administrator before any work may begin by the student.

Service-Oriented and Career-Exploration projects will require prior approval by the participating non-profit organization or company. Each student must identify a Capstone Advisor from his/her community (responsibilities described below). One of the objectives of the Capstone is to encourage the student to engage with members of the community that they may otherwise not, thus the Capstone Advisor should not be a parent/guardian or family member of the student. A Capstone Advisor should be someone with specific expertise related to the subject matter and topic of the Capstone, as they will serve in an advisory role, as needed, for the student.

Execution
The execution component of the Capstone is when the FUN BEGINS – when the student transitions from the world of subject-centric learning to real-life relevance and application. This is when the student get’s to apply everything they have learned over the past 12 years, as well as when students will be stretched to learn and apply new skills and/or knowledge.

Student’s selecting Service-Oriented and Career-Exploration Capstones will be completing a minimum of 40 hours of community or work-based experience with their sponsoring non-profit organization or company. In conjunction with their sponsoring non-profit organization or company, the student will develop a work plan that includes a work schedule and assigned tasks and duties.

Students selecting Self-Development Capstones will most likely perform research, participate in training or seminars, or learn from a local expert, the skills and/or knowledge necessary to complete their Capstone. In this case, the student will be required to document their sources for obtaining the new skills and/or knowledge, maintain an activity log, and provide other relevant documentation as appropriate to document activities associated with the completion of the Capstone.

All students will be required to maintain a detailed activity log that includes; the major activities, time spent on each, successes and challenges, as well as any other “aha moments” worthy of note. Finally, the student will maintain a collection of work product evidence for use later in the Capstone (see Portfolio below). Students are encouraged to be creative in the work products they provide as evidence of their efforts.

Final Paper
Students will record progress on this website

In addition, the student will write a reflection paper that describes the experience, the results compared to their expectations, how the Capstone impacted them personally and their perspective toward their future. The reflection paper will be a minimum of 1200 words in MLA format (Ariel or New Times Roman 12pt. font, 1” margins, double-spaced, page numbers and first/last name in top right margin). A guideline for the reflection paper is provided below.

Finally, the student will prepare a professional resume that describes their educational and work related experience. The resume should also incorporate a description of their Capstone. Student will also obtain 3 letters of reference from previous employers, teachers and/or community members that can speak to the student’s strengths, skills, knowledge and expertise.