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ERIC Number: EJ894661
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 3
ISSN: ISSN-1529-8957
Projects that Launch a Lifetime
McPherson, Kate
Principal Leadership, v10 n6 p52-57 Feb 2010
Culminating projects offer a sharp contrast to predominant practice in civics education. Although many schools require students to volunteer for a certain numbers of hours, most leave it up to the student to find a broadly defined "community application" of their learning, and students seldom inform their action with rigorous research. Even within these parameters, some students do amazing things, but the majority flounder when identifying projects that have value to themselves, let alone to others. In turn, community partners are frustrated by last-minute requests to "do anything." Although cloaked in the guise of promoting student self-direction, this practice reveals a huge gap in the quality of the projects that is primarily determined by a student's social capital (e.g., personal or parental networks and prior experiences in the school or the community). The projects are lost opportunities for students and community alike. This article discusses how developing strong culminating projects that require students to take civic action that is based on their analysis of complex issues will ensure that students are ready to become 21st century citizens when they graduate. Culminating project programs benefit schools' larger missions too. Engaging faculty members in aligning culminating projects with the civic and academic mission of the school and exploring ways to ensure that all students can successfully complete such projects can be catalysts for instructional improvement. When teachers and administrators have those overarching goals in mind, they can clarify what students need to know and be able to do to be successful. Therefore, culminating project programs have the potential to serve as mechanisms for school improvement. (Contains 5 online resources.)
National Association of Secondary School Principals. 1904 Association Drive, Reston, VA 20191-1537. Tel: 800-253-7746; Tel: 703-860-0200; Fax: 703-620-6534; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers; Administrators
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Washington