Senior Graduation Project Handbook

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1 Senior Graduation Project Handbook INTRODUCTION The governing body for public schools in Pennsylvania is known as the State Board of Education. In 1993, that board adopted a set of regulations that significantly changed requirements for students graduating from high schools in Pennsylvania. Included in those regulations is the requirement that students complete a culminating project during their senior year. In defining the graduation project, the regulation states, The purpose of the culminating project is to assure that students are able to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and to communicate significant knowledge and understanding. With the adoption of these updated regulations, the State Board reaffirmed its commitment to require a culminating project for all high school graduates in Pennsylvania. In 1995, the Fox Chapel Area Board of School Directors adopted a local requirement that supported the state requirement of a graduation project. With that action, both the State Board of Education and the Fox Chapel Area Board of School Directors now require that each senior complete a graduation project before receiving a diploma. Another educational entity, the Middle States Association accreditation process for schools requires that all schools set educational goals for the purpose of enhancing and developing student learning. To identify the most relevant goals, the Fox Chapel Area High School surveyed the community, parents, faculty and students. The groups surveyed noted career exploration as one area needing additional attention and focus. The high school has since implemented a career portfolio to support and encourage students to investigate careers of interest, to consider courses that would assist them in preparing for their future, or simply to explore areas of interest to determine what careers they may or may not wish to pursue. All portfolio requirements have been aligned with the Pennsylvania state career standards. The Senior Graduation Project was redesigned using the career portfolio in Many of the required items for the career portfolio are already embedded within the current curriculum. Ninth and tenth grade students are able to meet the four required portfolio products within the mandatory high school curriculum. More flexibility is provided during the junior and senior years to allow for differences among individuals addressing specific future goals. Because state standards require the students to apply, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information to communicate significant knowledge and understanding, a written component and an oral component will continue to be part of the graduation project. 1

2 MESSAGE TO SENIORS Welcome to your senior year! Part of your senior year includes a culminating project as required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Fox Chapel Area Board of School Directors. Your senior project will consist of four years of career exploration guided by the list of possible products in the career portfolio. A final reflection paper on the career exploration and an exit interview will complete the culminating project requirements. It is important to note that we did not expect you to select your future career as a ninth grader. The intention of the career binder is to create an opportunity for students to investigate many areas of interest and to determine if they would like to pursue the selected career further or not at all. We recognize that career interests may change or develop further over time due to the variety of experiences students have and the exposure to the career exploration software. The career portfolio is designed for Fox Chapel Area students to monitor their interests and to reflect on how and why the changes occurred. We expect you to make thoughtful decisions about course selections during high school using the appropriate guidance by counselors, faculty and parents and based on the resources available at Fox Chapel Area High School. It is our expectation that the career portfolio can function as a transition tool from high school to the student s postsecondary plans. The reflection paper and exit interview function as an evaluative instrument concerning the processes of career exploration and post-secondary planning. The reflection paper is a valuable tool and should be used to increase each your awareness and to communicate your growth throughout high school regarding each element of the career exploration. The exit interview will be an opportunity for you to speak about the graduation project and career exploration process to a panel of adults. It is important for every graduating student to articulate the reasons why he/she explored particular areas of interest. Interviewing is an essential skill, and we are certain the experience will prove to be of benefit to you in the future. Our hope is that you, as a Fox Chapel Area High School student, will utilize the career portfolio and graduation project to the fullest extent, and that your project contributes to your preparation for your next step after completing high school. 2

3 Career Awareness and Planning PA Career Standards Grade 11 A. Analyze career options based on student interests, abilities, aptitudes and accomplishments. B. Analyze how the changing male/female roles relate to career choices. C. Evaluate opportunities for career preparation. Cooperative education Internship Job shadowing Part-time employment Registered apprenticeship School-based enterprise Volunteerism D. Justify the selection of a career. E. Evaluate all opportunities for the transition from secondary to postsecondary education, training or work. Two-year degree Four-year degree Immediate employment Industry training Military training Part-time employment Full-time employment Professional degree Registered apprenticeship Tech Prep F. Evaluate individual career plan using decision-making skills. G. Analyze the opportunity cost-benefit of continuous learning Career Acquisition A. Know and demonstrate industry-acceptable job interviewing techniques. B. Analyze and evaluate complex technical tasks using sophisticated processes. Equipment Facilities Materials Techniques Technology Tools C. Analyze workplace problems and cite technological solutions. D. Identify sources of health, safety and regulatory practices and their effect on the work environment. Child Labor Laws Employee Right to Know Fair Labor Standards Act Hazardous occupations Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) information Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations Student work permits E. Evaluate prepared career acquisition documents based upon industry acceptable practices. Accuracy Completeness Neatness 3

4 Qualifications F. Analyze performance-based assessments components. Portfolio review Nationally validated assessment Local/state/national skill certificate G. Analyze the need for manipulative/motor skills. Cooperative education Internship Job shadowing Part-time employment Registered apprenticeship School-based enterprise Tech-Prep Vocational program completion Volunteerism Career Retention A. Analyze work habits needed to advance within a career. B. Evaluate conflict resolution skills. C. Evaluate team-member roles to describe and illustrate active listening techniques. Clarifying Encouraging Restating Reflecting Summarizing D. Compare and contrast gross and net pay. F. Evaluate strategies used to manage time and their applications in different work situations. G. Analyze the impact of change on the evolving world economy and the individual's work. H. Analyze the availability and societal and economic factors of lifelong participation in career preparation and advancement opportunities Entrepreneurship A. Analyze the relationship between competition and pricing strategies. B. Apply business principles to the development of an entrepreneurial business plan. C. Relate principles of entrepreneurship to career goals. D. Analyze intervention plans and evaluate their effectiveness in specific situations. 4

5 THE PROJECT This project consists of three parts: the career portfolio, the reflection paper and the exit interview. The career binder must be completed first in order to write the paper. Once the paper is submitted and receives a passing score, the student is eligible for the exit interview. All three parts must be completed successfully in order to pass the graduation project requirement. Successful completion of the graduation project is required in order to receive your high school diploma and to be invited to participate in commencement ceremonies. Part I CAREER PORTFOLIO 1. All students are required to complete 15 of 21 possible choices in the career portfolio. 2. The ninth and tenth grade years require students to complete four items each year, all of which are part of the curriculum. 3. During the eleventh and twelfth grade years there is more flexibility to allow for differences among individuals to address future goals. Service learning must be completed before finals begin in the junior year. 4. Service Learning and a resume MUST be included as part of the fifteen items. 5. The career portfolio will be assessed as a PASS or FAIL each 9 weeks by QRT teachers as follows: PASS = all 15 items completed by senior year FAIL = less than 15 items completed by senior year To receive a passing score each year, the student must complete the following career portfolio requirements: Grade Level Ninth Tenth Eleventh Twelfth Cumulative Career Portfolio Items Four items Eight items (cumulative) Twelve items (cumulative) Service Learning must be one of the items Fifteen items (cumulative) 5

6 Part II REFLECTION PAPER All students are required to write a paper reflecting on their career exploration during their high school experience. The paper must address one of the two prompts or will be returned for revision. The paper must be four pages minimum length and six pages maximum length. The due dates for the graduation project reflection essay: Written Product Early Submission Regular Submission Final Reflection Paper October 30, 2014 January 20, 2015 JANUARY GRADUATES MUST SUBMIT PAPERS IN OCTOBER. FORMATTING and STYLE This paper must follow the Modern Language Association, 6 th Edition, guidelines. All English classrooms have MLA handbooks as a resource. In addition, an MLA Formatting and Style Guide can be found online at the following website: Only the papers that follow MLA style and formatting will be accepted. All others will be returned for revision and considered to be late if submitted on the final due date. IF YOUR PAPER IS NOT THE 4 PAGE MINIMUM LENGTH IT WILL BE RETURNED AND CONSIDERED LATE. *Those submitting late papers will be required to write an additional 4-page research paper on a prompt assigned by Mr. Baxter and Ms. Susser. The graduation project coordinator evaluates all papers according to the rubric found in the resource pages of this handbook. The following guidelines are found on the website cited below: 6

7 Sample of an MLA formatted page: Jones 1 Juliet Jones Mr. Hower, QRT 1 Graduation Project Final Paper December 19, 2008 Reflection Essay My career portfolio provided immeasurable help and guidance throughout my high school career. I had no idea, until I reached my junior year, of the impact each activity would have on my decisions about my future. I found myself trying out new ideas and exploring new possible directions for my future each year. As a freshman, I was overly concerned about failing and not aware of much more than my homework that night. I had no idea that I was completing any portfolio items until the next fall when my QRT teacher talked to us about the project. Only then did I realize that I had been completing items for my binder in my classes and guidance meetings. After that realization, I began to focus more on the activities in my binder, and to consider my future plans. I always assumed I would go to college, but I hadn t thought about what kind of college. I now started to use the binder to investigate colleges and universities; I also began to try out different kinds of classes in my electives to see what held my interest and sparked my creativity. By the time my junior year came, I realized that I wanted to attend a small, liberal arts college with an art history program. 7

8 CONTENT Please select one of the following prompts as a reflection paper topic:! Please reflect on your career exploration from 9 th to 12 th grade. What careers did you investigate? What resources did the high school offer that you found useful? What resources were missing or not available that would have helped? (Please use direct references to and specific items from the career binder.)! What are your plans for after graduation? How did the high school classes, activities, and resources assist you in preparing for your future, post-graduation plans? (Please use specific examples.) Part III EXIT INTERVIEW The purpose of the exit interview is for the students to:! Practice interviewing! Communicate to the panel how FCAHS has influenced their development! Reference the career portfolio and the influences the activities have had on their choices! Analyze and evaluate the opportunities provided by the Fox Chapel Area High School experience and how this has impacted their growth! Provide feedback to the high school about the effectiveness of the career portfolio A panel consisting of a faculty member, a principal and a community member conducts the graduation project exit interview. The Interview The student must bring to the interview or he/she will be asked to reschedule:! Completed career portfolio! Resume! Copy of most recent transcripts! Copy of final reflection paper The student will be evaluated on:! Presentation and appearance! Voice, composure and professionalism! Attitude and enthusiasm! Knowledge and preparation 8

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