I spent Wednesday afternoon evaluating Senior Project presentations at the high school. As a result of this experience, I have a renewed confidence that the students who participated in Senior Project are better prepared for the next steps in their lives. The Steamboat Springs School District does a good job of getting the kids of our community prepared for post-secondary education. Most of the students who will graduate Saturday have a broad range of options open to them.
The process associated with the Senior Project, however, went an extra step that without doubt will help differentiate some of the graduates. It allowed this group of young adults to understand the responsibility associated with the ownership of their learning. After 13 years (K-12) of education, if a student graduates understanding that they need to "own" their learning, we have done the very best we can for them as educators, parents and community members. For the long-term, this understanding is far more important than GPA and/or the number of AP classes a student took. Senior Project created this sense of ownership better than anything I have ever seen our school district do. It will be missed.
A special thanks to Kim Mayer, who coordinated this year's effort. Her commitment to these students made a tangible difference we can all be proud of.
Scott L. Ford