The Inaugural Independent Seminar

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This fall eleven Westtown students will collaboratively pursue individual projects as a part of their regular academic load. To be accepted into the class each student developed a proposal, found a mentor outside of the Westtown faculty and staff, created a time line for the project, and asked for letters of support from department chairs, parents, and advisers. The selection committee included me, Upper School Principal Eric Mayer and Upper School Director of Studies Karen Gallagher.

Over the course of the semester we will meet as a group to support each others’ work. I will meet individually with each student every other week. As this course sits in a band in each student’s schedule, the rest of the periods in the band and equivalent homework time, students will devote to their projects.

Two key components of the Independent Seminar are the student relationship with the mentor and the student blogging about his or her work. Check back here (or subscribe to this blog) to follow the projects as they evolve. To make it easier for you to follow their work, the individual projects have been grouped into five different categories.

  • Under History and Current Issues look for Nate to write about his study of the Obama administration’s handling of the Arab world revolutions. Eric will be examining the Japanese education system.
  • Lyra will share with us what she is learning about French fairy tales (of course read in the original French) and Conor will explore German attitudes towards immigration. Look for them in World Languages and Cultures.
  • We have two poets and a novelist as well. In Literature and Poetry Tristan and Habibe will write about the poets process while Taylor will pursue publication of her YA novel.
  • Emma is our visual artist preparing her first portfolio of work for colleges and Isabel is a multi-talented performing developing an original dance piece and preparing for a piano recital. Their blogs will be in Visual and Performing Arts.
  • In Math and Technology Shuangcheng will prepare problems to help his math team mates prepare for a competition and he will develop a mathematical model for our Director of Sustainability. Chester will be developing a computer program for our Dean of Students.

The students’ first blogs will happen this summer and then weekly from September through January. Stop in and read about this innovative approach to student centered learning.

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