David Snyder

Whole Child Blogwatch: Challenging High School Seniors

Over at his Edutopia blog, Bob Lenz, founder and CEO of Envision Schools, writes the first in a promised series of posts on how his schools challenge high school students. While he alludes to "standards that are clear, selective, challenging, and attainable—and that kids have four years to achieve," the bulk of the post is dedicated to the College Success Portfolio, a collection of work that students must publicly defend in order to graduate.

Lenz describes a rigorous process of late nights and weekends spent in preparation for this high-stakes defense and presents it as a positive experience that challenges students in a way that properly prepares them for the demands of higher education. This process is intended to counter common cases of senioritis and keep kids focused right until graduation and beyond.

Models of challenging high schoolers abound; just this week, the Alliance for Excellent Education released the fascinating IssueBrief "Preparing Students for College and Career: California Multiple Pathways," documenting efforts to blend traditional and CTE-focused curricula. We'll be following Lenz' blog posts on Envision's model as he goes into more detail on the four years before the big defense.

In the meantime, we're curious: what's your take on high school culminating projects?

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