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Guidelines for the Implementation of the

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					                                                                                    Attachment I

               Guidelines for the Implementation of the
        Board of Education Recognition Diploma Senior Project
                          Revised May, 2008

Board Policy 4540, High School Graduation Requirements and Commencement, establishes
that a Board of Education Recognition Diploma shall be issued to students who meet the
course and credit requirements for graduation and attain a cumulative grade point average
(GPA) of 3.0 or higher. Completion of the Senior Project (one credit) as well as the Personal
Transition Plan (0.5 credit) is included as part of this requirement. This is effective with the
Graduating Class of 2010.

Successful completion of the Senior Project provides the student with the opportunity to
demonstrate advanced proficiency in the attainment of the General Learner Outcomes (GLO).
The Senior Project must demonstrate a “learning stretch” and be personally useful and relevant
for that student. Career and life skills demonstrating workplace readiness will be showcased in
this three-phase process.

The opportunity to complete a Senior Project should be made available to all students.
Information about the Senior Project and its requirements should be shared with all students
and parents/legal guardians.

Essential Procedures
Each school will decide on school procedures for planning, implementation and evaluation of
the Senior Project and designate who is responsible for providing the required support for the
various components of the Senior Project. However, although specific procedures for
successful completion will be established by each school and may vary somewhat from school
to school, students who desire to complete a Senior Project and be eligible to receive the Board
of Education Recognition Diploma must demonstrate proficiency in the following essential
components of the Senior Project:


A. The Personal Transition Plan
   The Personal Transition Plan provides the framework for exploring career interests and
   goals that may direct the selection of a Senior Project.

B. Letter of Intent and Corresponding Documents
   Each student begins by submitting a letter of intent for approval utilizing the mechanism
   established at his or her school. Prior to the beginning of the Senior Project, the
   student’s school mentor must approve the letter of intent.

                                                                                     Attachment I

C. Senior Project Portfolio
   The Senior Project portfolio documents the student’s personal journey, processes, and
   personal insights. Minimally, the portfolio will contain verification forms, the research
   paper, and a learning log. Specific contents of the portfolio will be identified at each

   It is recommended that schools use electronic portfolios such as the ePortfolio being
   developed by the Office of Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support (OCISS),
   Advanced Technology Research (ATR) Branch.


D. Research and Action
   The research and action involved in the Senior Project are described below.

   1. (Research) Thesis Research Paper

       The Senior Project begins with a “Big Idea” that generates an essential question that
       reflects the student’s personal and career interests, goals, values, and/or beliefs. The
       student writes a minimum 750 word research paper that describes the essential question
       and proposes a project thesis. The student’s project thesis will be tested in the action
       phase of the Senior Project that demonstrates a “learning stretch.”

   2. (Action) Culminating Activity

       During the action phase of the Senior Project the student demonstrates what he or she has
       learned by the act of doing something. The student is required to produce some tangible
       evidence that applies the knowledge gained during the research phase; this should be a
       learning experience that challenges the student and demonstrates a “learning stretch.”
       The project/activity must be done on the student’s own time and will require advisement
       utilizing a community contact who serves as a subject matter expert. The action phase
       can be accomplished by selecting one of the three options described below:
       a. Career Focus: Job Shadowing/Mentorship The student works with a community
          mentor, one on one, in a specific area related to the student’s desired goals and
           •   Mentoring must be related to the essential question and project thesis.
           •   It must be personally relevant and genuinely connected to curriculum content,
               standards, and benchmarks.

                                                                                      Attachment I

       b. Service Learning The student completes a service-learning project that makes a
          concrete and visible impact in the school or community. It is recommended that the
          service-learning project be at least 50 hours.

           •   The service-learning project must be related to the essential question and project

           •   It must be personally relevant and genuinely connected to curriculum content,
               standards, and benchmarks.
       c. Student Personal Interest—Product and Action The product and action associated
          with the student’s personal interest must be related to the essential question and
          project thesis.
           • It must be relevant, rigorous and connected to the attainment of the General
             Learner Outcomes.
           • The student may choose a product that is performance or problem based:

               1. Performance-based: Performances involve execution of an authentic skill,
                  talent, and/ or ability. These include but are not limited to the following: musi-
                  cal, dance, artistic, and/or dramatic performances; rewriting and performing a
                  scene in a play, artistic display or demonstration, coaching a sport
                  demonstrating athletic competence.

               2. Problem-based: Problem-based learning begins with a problem or issue. Using
                  research, the student will come up with some solutions. The research thesis will
                  be developed from possible solutions and the student will have to act on this
                  thesis. For example: A problem in a government course might be to persuade
                  the Legislature to pass a student’s recommended legislation, or a problem in a
                  science course might be to use scientific research to study and to potentially
                  impact or change a recognized problem within a community.


E. (Presentation) Formal Presentation and Evaluation

   Prepare and present a formal 10-15 minute presentation before a Project Panel followed
   by a question and answer session. The presentation can be done orally, in a creative
   presentation or in a non-traditional mode.

   •   This presentation requires the student to discuss each phase of the Senior Project, the
       relationship between each, the lessons learned, and its impact related to the student’s
       project thesis.

                                                                                     Attachment I

    •   The student will include for panel review the student portfolio with verification forms,
        the research paper, learning log, and any other supporting documents.

    •   The presentation must include the ethical use of technology.

Senior Project Credit
Option One: ACCN Credit. The Senior Project credit is a separate credit awarded to students
who successfully meet the requirements of the Senior Project at their school. It may be
initiated and/or mentored by a teacher in a student’s current course, and, as a “learning
stretch,” may require research or work that extends beyond the classroom. Schools may
choose to embed the Senior Project within an existing course, or implement the Senior Project
as a separate course.

Option Two: Career Pathway Capstone Classes. If a student has accumulated 24 credits for
graduation and has followed a Career Pathway culminating in a Capstone course, then the
Capstone course will be considered the equivalent to meeting the Senior Project requirements
for the Board of Education Recognition Diploma. A Capstone Project reflects the
culmination of knowledge, skills, and attitude by senior students in a career pathway. The
Capstone courses are:

•   TAK2990 Arts and Communication Career Pathway Capstone (Year)
•   TBK3990 Business Career Pathway Capstone (Year)
•   THK4990 Health Services Career Pathway Capstone (Year)
•   TIK5900 Industrial and Engineering Technology Career Pathway Capstone (Year)
•   TNK6990 Natural Resources Career Pathway Capstone (Year)
•   TPK7990 Public and Human Services Career Pathway Capstone (Year)

Please note that the Senior Project credit or its equivalent Career Pathway Capstone course
must be earned over and above the 24 credits required for graduation. Neither course
counts as an elective course credit or as the two credits required to meet the Career and
Technical Education or Fine Arts or World Language graduation requirement.

Senior Project Mentors
The school mentor is a school staff person and may be a teacher, librarian, counselor, or
administrator. Other school staff may be approved to be a mentor by the principal on a case-
by-case basis. (See Attachment B for a description of the school mentor’s suggested role and

The community mentor is an expert in the field of study that is the focus of the Senior Project
and serves as a consultant to the student.

Panel Selection. The panel may consist of at least three members from the following:
community; school, complex area or state administrator; a teacher not related to the project,
and/or a student. It is suggested that the student be an underclassman.

                                                                                       Attachment I

Decision. The school Presentation Panel will make a joint recommendation. The
recommendation should be based on the Senior Project Presentation Assessment Rubric
(Attachment C) that includes a review of the student’s project content, delivery, questions and
answers, and student portfolio (including the final paper, evidence of project completion, and
learning log). The recommendation will be forwarded to the teacher mentor who awards or
does not award the credit.

Board of Education Recognition Diploma

Per Board of Education Policy 4540 for the graduating class of 2010 and beyond, a Board of
Education Recognition Diploma shall be issued to a student who:

• Meets the course and credit requirements for graduation (at least 24 credits), and

• Earns the Senior Project credit (or the Career Pathways Capstone course), and

• Attains a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher.


A suggested timeline is attached (Attachment D) which integrates the Personal Transition
Plan with Senior Project activities. However, schools may adjust the timeline to best meet the
needs of students at their schools. Senior Project activities may start in Grade 9, 10, or 11.
Panel presentations may begin as early as second semester of Grade 11 to accommodate
students who may be graduating earlier.

The principal may approve adjustments to a school’s timeline for the Senior Project for
transfer students, early graduates, and for students in other unusual circumstances. Transfer
students will be responsible for ensuring that their Senior Projects meet the expectations of
their new school.