Senior project to stay — for now
Senior projects at Quincy High School will continue to be a requirement, at least for the Class of 2016.
At Tuesday’s Quincy School Board meeting, the small crowd was given an update on a senior project community forum that was held last week. The forum drew about 30 people.
Attending the forum were Superintendent John Boyd, board members Tricia Lubach and Mike Scharbach, and student representatives Mireya Camacho and Shayla Appling.
“There was a nice balance of students and nice deep conversation,” Boyd said. “There are some great pieces to this and some that are problematic.”
But there was a consensus from all who attended the meeting, which broke the crowd into small groups to gather the community’s input on whether the senior project graduation requirement should remain as it is, be eliminated or be modified.
“There was not a single person who said, ‘Let’s eliminate this,’” said Lubach. “There is room for a lot of improvement. Maybe it will be a junior project or a high school project. I think it’s a little bigger than just the senior project.”
The school district currently mandates that to graduate from QHS students put in 100 hours of community service over the course of their four years at the high school. The senior project alone is a 40-hour community service project.
At last week’s community forum, board members, community members and students broke into groups to answer questions and discuss their thoughts on the current senior project requirement.
“We divided into mixed groups with equal representation,” Boyd said.
The groups talked about the benefits and challenges of the requirement and what ideas could make it better.
Benefits mentioned included: the project teaches students the value of volunteering, it gives students a sense of accomplishment and pride, it builds confidence, it looks good on college and scholarship applications and it teaches students organizational, speaking and presentation skills.
Challenges mentioned included: the projects require too much money from the community, they add stress on students, poor planning from students impacts their mentors and the community, it can be hard to monitor students and their time, and some projects do not have a meaningful impact.
“The consensus at our table was to keep it, but modify it,” Scharbach said.
— By Kurtis J. Wood, firstname.lastname@example.org