Class of 2020 – Senior Project Information

Class of 2020 Parent News



Hi Senior Parents,

For those who couldn’t make Thursday morning’s Coffee with Cory, here is everything you need to know:

Columbus Academy Senior Projects
Class of 2020

The Senior Project provides an opportunity for seniors to accomplish something meaningful to them and to the Columbus Academy community.

All seniors will be enrolled in the Survival Skills Seminar. This will consist of a series of sessions each focusing on a specific skill, such as cooking, financial literacy, automobile maintenance and simple repair, simple home repair, infant and child care, and sewing.

Seniors may opt out of the Survival Skills Seminar by selecting one of four other options:

A senior may work with a professional, who will serve as the senior’s mentor. The mentor will assume responsibility for providing an experience that meets the Senior Project requirements, signs a contract, and completes an evaluation at the conclusion of the internship.

A packet containing a description and expectations of CA’s Senior Project, along with the contract and evaluation form will be available for seniors to present to prospective mentors. When the details of an internship have been worked out, the senior will present a proposal for review to the Senior Projects Committee.

Examples: Law office, architectural firm, auto repair facility, TV station, medicine, business administration, marketing, fashion design, veterinary clinic, health care, engineering, zoo, politics

Independent Study
A senior may choose to design their own project. Working independently the senior can acquire new knowledge and/or skills. This is not meant to be done entirely alone. The Senior Projects Committee highly recommends that the senior finds an expert to guide him or her through the experience. The senior will also select a Senior Project Advisor from the Upper School Faculty, who will assist in writing a proposal. When the details of the independent study have been worked out, the senior will present a proposal for review to the Senior Projects Committee. After the Senior Project is completed, the Senior Project Advisor along with two other members of the Upper School Faculty will sit on a panel that will assess the senior’s work.

Examples: Creating a significant work of art; completing a significant physical challenge such as bicycling around one of the great lakes, training and competing in an Ironman competition; academic research: projects at CA such as cataloging artwork around campus, processing ‘historical’ artifacts, renovating a space

Community Service/Service Learning
Either individually or in a group, seniors do community service/service learning with an approved non-profit agency, which will sign a contract and provide an evaluation. A group of seniors may wish to address a particular issue such as hunger or social justice and work with a group of agencies focusing on this issue. Seniors may choose an existing service opportunity or create their own which must be presented to the Senior Project committee for review.

This will not count towards the service hours requirement, which should have already been completed.

Examples: Habitat for Humanity, Organizations providing food relief, Medical Clinics, Animal Rescue Organizations, Ronald McDonald House, WARM

Additional Columbus Academy Classes
As an alternative to the Survival Skills Seminar, seniors can take an intensive course or workshop that is offered on campus or at another location.
Examples: Golf, Maker Space Workshop

Making an appropriate choice among these options will take some thought. Developing an independent study will require much research and reflection. You will have the opportunity to discuss your ideas and choices in advisory, and should also share your ideas with your parents, your teachers and each other. You may also meet with Mr. Russell and/or Dr. Bundy, Senior Project Coordinators, to ask questions and receive feedback along the way.

Project Guidelines
As you are developing ideas for your Senior Project, the focus should not be on what you will do, but on what you will learn. Keep in mind that every Senior Project should demonstrate

  1. Independence and initiative
  2. A willingness to challenge oneself
  3. A commitment to learning
  4. Focus on a particular goal
  5. The ability to manage time and resources

As you plan your Senior Project, please keep these restrictions in mind.

  • Students cannot be paid for any work performed as part of the Senior Project.
  • Students should not be working with or accompanied by a family member.
  • Students cannot perform a service for a family member that would ordinarily create a financial obligation (e.g. landscaping, childcare, catering).
  • There is no funding from Columbus Academy available for any project, nor may students undertake fundraising in support of their projects.
  • A vacation is not a Senior Project. A Senior Project is not a vacation.
  • Group independent studies are discouraged. Proposals that involve more than one senior must present a compellingrationale that explains the role that collaboration and teamwork will play in the project, or the logistical needs that working in a small group will serve. A common interest alone does not serve as a compelling rationale.

Additional Requirements

  1. Senior Project Google Classroom site – Each of you will have access to a Senior Project Google Classroom site, linked through the Moodle Senior Project course page. On the Google Classroom site, you will find important information about requirements and deadlines. Later on, you will also be required to upload a permanent archive of your senior project. More details regarding this archive will be discussed in April.
  2. Preliminary Idea – If you are opting out of the Survival Skills Seminar, you must complete and submit a Preliminary Idea Form to Mr. Russell or Dr. Bundy by Friday, January 17. Within 2 weeks you will receive an email with feedback about your choices.
  3. Proposal – Plan to spend significant time preparing your Senior Project Proposal, carefully following the form and requirements listed. If you are proposing an Independent Study, you will need to select a Senior Project advisor from the Upper School faculty by Friday, February 7. Your Senior Project advisor should read a draft of the proposal and suggest revisions before it is submitted.

Your proposal, following the required format, is due to your Senior Project advisor on Thursday, February 13. Your advisor will give you feedback and you should make all necessary revisions by Friday, February 21.

A faculty committee will review each application and communicate a decision to students via email by Friday, February 28.

Proposals will be either “Approved,” or “Returned for Revision.” If the proposal is returned, the committee will provide feedback and direction, and the student should work with his or her advisor to revise the proposal. The revised proposal must be turned in by Friday, March 6. The revised proposal will be returned by Friday, March 13.

  1. Book — Each senior must choose a book to read that will complement the senior project, providing information, context or another perspective on the project.
  2. Google Classroom Site – Each senior will be responsible for uploading pertinent project information, to a Google Classroom Site page. This includes your final approved proposal, video and/or photo imagery captured during the duration of your project, and a final presentation.
  3. Presentation – Each senior must prepare and record a 5-minute presentation of his or her project. This presentation should include an explanation of the project, the process along the way, any pertinent reflections or discoveries and the final outcome. Visual aids and/or demonstrations must be included – the presentation should not be 5 minutes of you standing and talking. Students in group-projects should each create an individual presentation. Students should upload the video presentation to their project’s Google Classroom site. This will serve as an archive of your project for the Columbus Academy community.

Successful completion of the Senior Project is a requirement for graduation. Senior Project will appear as a course on your final transcript. The grade will appear as O/S/U (Outstanding, Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory) with comments.

Dates and Deadlines

Friday, January 10 First Senior Projects Meeting, Theater 10:25-10:50

Friday, January 17 All Seniors: Preliminary idea due

Friday, January 31 All Seniors: Feedback to students regarding preliminary idea via e-mail

Friday, February 7 Independent Study Only: Selection of Senior Project advisor

Thursday, February 13 Independent Study Only: Proposal due to Senior Project advisor

Friday, February 21 All Seniors: Final Selection (including Independent Study Proposal or Internship information, if applicable) submitted to Review Committee

Friday, February 28 Proposals/Selections returned to students “Approved” or “Returned for Revision” via e-mail

Friday, March 6 Revised proposals/selections due

Friday, March 13 Final decisions made on proposals/selections

Friday, April 17 Last Senior Projects Meeting, Theater 10:25-10:50


Monday, May 4 – AP Exams
Friday, May 15

Friday, May 1 Last day of school for seniors

Seniors must be in good standing to participate in the Senior Project, with all obligations to Columbus Academy fulfilled and all coursework completed. On the last day of school for seniors, students must sign out with each of their classroom teachers, Ms. Izokaitis, Ms. Bening, Mr. Losambe and Ms. Nzimiro before getting final approval to begin their project from Mr. Russell or Dr. Bundy. Seniors in academic difficulty may not be permitted to participate in the projects.

Monday, May 4- Senior Projects
Thursday, May 21

Thursday, May 21 Video and/or photo imagery of Senior Project due to Google Classroom Site
Video presentation due to Google Classroom Site
Evaluations due from Internship Mentors and Service Sites

Tuesday, May 26 Independent Study Review Panels
Wednesday, May 27 Independent Study Review Panels
Thursday, May 28 Independent Study Review Panels

Monday, June 1 Commencement

Mr. Russell and Ms. Bundy oversee the Senior Projects and also put together this PowerPoint:

Now, if you read everything above YOU are an EXPERT on Senior Projects! Congratulations!

PARENT SAVE-THE-DATES (more info coming soon)
Friday, April 24, evening – Parent Party hosted by the Bernacki and DeAscentis families
Friday, May 1, Parent “Final Bell” Luncheon hosted by the Yakams

Stay warm,

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