AVPA Capstone Project

Capstone Project:

  • Emphasizes learning over teaching
  • Engages students as active participants in the learning process
  • Centers on students rather than teachers
  • Promotes the development of students’ higher-order thinking skills
  • Connects new knowledge to what students know by having students construct meaning (knowledge depth) and give back to their community
  • Engages students in activities through which they can see the value of the information to be learned for their lives outside school
  • Engages students in exciting and meaningful experiences
  • Allows students to receive peer-critiques and share their personal knowledge, skills, and talents with peers and adults
  • Offers students the opportunity to practice effective public presentation skills

AVPA’s Capstone Project allows students to learn about themselves by moving an idea or dream toward a topic of interest and community need. Next, students locate the right people (Community Consultants and mentors) to help them and to link them with community resources. Throughout the project, seniors demonstrate their abilities to apply what they have learned during twelve years of study. At the same time, they explore their readiness for college and the workplace.

The Capstone Project has five core components:

  • an approved proposal
  • contact hours with a Community Consultant
  • a hands-on project designed to give back to the community
  • an oral presentation that demonstrates the knowledge learned
  • a review panel that evaluates the project

Students are expected to spend at least 40 hours of work on their Capstone Project during the Spring 2014 semester. In addition, there will be mandatory meetings during this Independent Study phase where we meet as a cohort and support each other in the process.

The word capstone suggests a completion, an ending, an appropriate “topping off.” As such, The Capstone Project synthesizes previous learning, offers new interactions with ideas and people, results in a showcased product, and submits the student in charge of the project to a review and evaluation by a committee. The work of the student must be documented sufficiently, so that reflection and presentation may take place. It is hoped that, through this project, students will discover more about their individual talents and take pride in demonstrating their learning as they prepare for a successful future. Capstone experiences and relationships empower students to develop their leadership skills, sense of character, and self-esteem.

Schools and communities also participate energetically in The AVPA Capstone Project. Faculty mentors help students choose their topics and categories. Community members become consultants and partners in service. As schools and community members partner with seniors in learning by doing, these future citizens view society and the issues within a community in new ways. At the completion of The AVPA Capstone Project, seniors come to view themselves and their schools as resources within the community.

The Capstone Project combines service learning, discovery, accountability, demonstration of student skills, and general knowledge.

There are 8 Required Spring Semester Meetings.

Meeting with your Community Consultant

Ideally, you and your Community Consultant will meet at least once per week, depending on how involved your Community Consultant is with your actual hours; for example, if you are working at an organization such as the Vermont Center for the Arts and the Director is your Community Consultant, you may see her more often than if you work at that same organization but you are helping to organize a fundraiser with another staff member.

When You Have a Potential Community Consultant:

  • Set up a face-to-face meeting. Plan to spend at least 30 minutes so that you have time to get to
    know each other.
  • Choose someone with whom you feel comfortable talking.
  • Make sure she/he will be available to meet with you throughout the semester, especially around due dates.
  • Make sure your Community Consultant supports your plan for a Tangible Product (Capstone project).

Working with Your Community Consultant:

Communicating effectively and proactively will help your internship and project run more smoothly; plus, you will have an easier time obtaining information when you need it and obtaining forms signed by your Community Consultant.

Your first conversation, then, is to figure out exactly what you want to learn and how you will spend your hours.

  • Be clear from the start about your expectations and the program requirements.
  • Share contact info. Discuss whether or not email is an effective means of staying in touch.
  • Review deadlines and the hours log. Establish a calendar for your work.
  • Respect your Community Consultant’s time – keep appointments and call if you are delayed.
  • Supply forms to him/her well in advance of the due dates. Allow time to get them to your
  • Give your Community Consultant advance warning about critiquing your Tangible Product (capstone project).
  • Personally invite him/her to your presentation on Presentation Day.
  • Send a thank you letter at the end of your program. This is very important!
  • For example, you wish to learn pottery but rather than take a class with your Community Consultant (she
    usually teaches and charges students), you will work in her studio during non-class time.

    Capstone Presentations 2016_ from EHS Hornets on Vimeo.