Senior Projects

The Senior Project Program is the capstone of the upper school educational experience providing students with the opportunity to pursue individual interests in the form of independent, off-campus experiential internships. The intentions of the Senior Project include the following:
  1. to provide opportunities for the student to expand his/her learning experiences outside the traditional classroom setting;
  2. to explore some area of interest to the student that is beyond the scope of the school’s curriculum;
  3. to expose the student to the responsibilities of being a working professional;
  4. to provide useful, productive service to the community.
The Senior Project program is an extension of the school's Mission Statement that learning is more than the acquisition of facts and also an extension of the school's commitment to providing its students with challenging and rewarding experiences. Our Mission Statement recognizes that the school believes in the education of the whole person. To this end the Miami Country Day community acknowledges that every individual is endowed with six potentials: the intellectual, spiritual, social, aesthetic, physical, and emotional.
We believe that community leaders, business people, artists, scientists, doctors, attorneys, and designers, to name just a few, have much to contribute to a student's overall education. Additionally, Miami Country Day recognizes the need to help our students realize the importance of qualities such as discipline, punctuality, responsibility, and attention to detail that characterize a successful professional career. The Senior Project has been designed to encourage students to expand their personal limits and to explore new horizons.

As with all new ventures, the Senior Project will make new demands on a student's time and efforts. We strongly urge parents to be participating partners in the planning stages of the Senior Project Proposal. All parties involved must understand that Miami Country Day takes this program very seriously. The potential rewards are enormous, but only if the highest possible standards are maintained.

Introduction

The Senior Project is a graduation requirement for all seniors. The 2018 Senior Project will take place from May 4 through May 22. AP exams will take place between May 4 and May 15.

Typically, the projects are not done at Miami Country Day School. During the three-week Senior Project program, students work under the supervision of a professional person involved in some area of interest to the student. Projects must be one of four types: social service, academic research, career exploration, and artistic development. (See Senior Project Criteria and Senior Project Areas of Interest)

Seniors will plan, design, and propose an individual project that fits their educational goal for a Senior Project. Proposals are submitted to the senior’s Faculty Sponsor on or before February 27, 2018, for the initial approval. The Proposals are submitted to the Senior Project Coordinator by February 28. (See Senior Project Calendar). The Senior Project culminates with a presentation for the school community on May 27, 2018. (See Project Requirements)

Definitions and Descriptions

The Faculty Sponsor discusses the feasibility of the senior’s project and monitors the senior’s progress in designing, planning, and developing the Senior Project; however, the project is the sole responsibility of the senior. The Faculty Sponsor signs a Commitment Letter for the senior. The Faculty Sponsor also makes certain that the Senior Project Proposal is ready for submission to the Senior Project Coordinator on or before March 6, 2018, and signs off on the Proposal (See Senior Project Calendar). Should the Senior Project Committee reject a proposal, however, the Faculty Sponsor will continue to work with the senior to assist him/her in finding a suitable project or revising the proposal.

The exact format of the senior’s Senior Project, which includes the goals and expectations, is in the form of a Proposal and a Contract. The senior, the senior’s parents, the Faculty Sponsor, and the On-site Supervisor must sign. The Proposal and Contract detail the responsibilities of each of the participants, and stipulate the performance requirements and the parameters of the project.

The Faculty Sponsor is responsible for the coordination and communication between the participants in the program during the three-week project. The Faculty Sponsor communicates with the On-site Supervisor prior to the three-week project. In addition, the Faculty Sponsor maintains telephone and electronic communication with the student and the On-site Supervisor to make sure that all requirements are being met, that the project is on schedule, and that the senior is adhering to the stipulations of the Senior Project Contract. The Faculty Sponsor visits the student’s site at least once. The Faculty Sponsor checks the senior’s website (answers to prompts, pictures, calendar, general aspect). At the completion of the project, he/she submits a written evaluation of the senior’s project; the senior’s performance may earn a “pass with honors”, a “pass”, or a “fail”. The Faculty Sponsor reports to the Senior Project Coordinator any problems which may jeopardize the successful completion of the project. The Faculty Sponsor also assists, if needed, in the preparation of the presentation.

The On-Site Supervisor has daily supervisory responsibility for the student's progress and provides guidance and assistance in the student's timely completion of the project's stated goals during the three-week internship. He or she agrees to assist with but not do the student's project and to provide meaningful work for the student. He or she signs the Proposal and Contract to ensure that the student's responsibilities are clearly understood by all. In addition, the On-site Supervisor agrees to assist the student in living up to the terms of the contract. Certain projects, such as an academic project or an artistic development project, may have a faculty member who will function as the On-site Supervisor. The faculty member should be someone who shares the student’s interest in the endeavor and can provide guidance and support. The faculty member serving in the capacity of On-site Supervisor cannot be the senior’s Faculty Sponsor. The academic research project and the artistic development projects will be monitored on a case-by-case basis.

The Senior Project Committee is made of senior advisors. The committee members are available for questions and guidance throughout the year. The Senior Project Committee approves or rejects the senior’s Proposal (See Senior Project Calendar). 

The Senior Project Coordinator has overall supervisory responsibilities and is charged with maintaining the integrity and high standards of the program in general. The Coordinator establishes a calendar for the project, and ensures that each preparatory step is fulfilled. The Coordinator is available for questions from students at all times. He or she maintains permanent communication with the Faculty Sponsors. He or she supervises the approval of Proposals, and organizes the final Presentations. During the 2017-2018 academic year, the Senior Project Coordinator is Ms. Kristina Martinez can be reached at 305-779 - 7250, or through email at martinezk@miamicountryday.org.

Areas of Interest

Social Service Projects

Some types of agencies in which a Senior Project can be done:
Hunger centers - Homeless centers - Habitat for Humanity - Nursing homes - Hospitals - Children's homes - Museums - Schools for the mentally and physically challenged - Special interest agencies (e.g. Lighthouse for the Blind, American Heart Association, Shake-a-Leg, Make-a-Wish Foundation, MOCA)

Some kinds of work that can be performed:
Tutoring - Serving meals - Friendly visiting - Restoring and rebuilding homes - Helping with arts, crafts, and field trips - Transporting residents and/or patients in- house - Assisting with clerical duties, etc.
Academic Research Projects (Recommended for seniors taking 4 or more AP exams)
Projects in this category may or may not be an extension of academic work previously completed. The independent research project should be initiated by the student with the cooperation of a member of the MCDS faculty. Obviously, this category is for the serious student who is interested in pursuing in depth a topic of interest.

Some examples of academic research projects are the following:
An independent study of Robert Frost’s poetry, the works of Chaucer, Joyce, Yeats, Shakespeare, Japanese philosophy, the globalization of the world’s economy, quantum chemistry, quantum physics, etc.

Career Exploration Projects

Some types of professions or businesses that may afford a Senior Project opportunity:
Law - Medicine - Education - Engineering - Architecture - Advertising - Journalism - Investments - Public Relations - Manufacturing - Marketing - Technology - Accounting - Hotel and/or Restaurant Management - Broadcasting

Tasks to be performed will naturally vary according to the profession or business, but they must be worthwhile and clearly defined in the Proposal.

Artistic Development Projects

Projects in this category are intended for students who have already demonstrated interest or talent in studio or performing arts. The project should be developed with the cooperation of a member of the MCDS faculty or a person from the community in the field.

Criteria

Seniors at Miami Country Day School participating in an independent project during the final three weeks of school are encouraged and supported by the faculty and administration. These projects will be planned and proposed with the help of the faculty during the course of the first semester and early part of the second semester. While seniors are encouraged to work with their Faculty Sponsor, the Senior Project Coordinator, and the members of the Senior Project Committee to help shape their plans, they remain responsible for developing their project.

As a general rule, the projects selected will not be done at Miami Country Day School. The academic research and the artistic development project will have some time on campus when the senior meets with his or her On-site Supervisor. Projects selected must be one of the four areas of interest: social services, academic research, career exploration, or artistic development.

For a project to be approved, the student must meet all stated deadlines as well as the following criteria:

Projects must be nonpaying. Seniors who have a part time job may not use that job as their Senior Project; instead, they must find a completely different activity and venue.

Projects will in no way involve a student's own parents or any other relative in a supervisory role. As a general rule, students cannot do the SP in organizations or businesses owned by parents or immediate relatives.

Projects will extend over the entire period of three weeks. Typical projects will be 75 hours.

Students taking one or more AP exams may deduct 5 hours for each AP exam. (If a student has one exam, he or she may deduct 5 hours from the required 75 hours; a student taking 2 exams may deduct 10 hours from the required 75, etc.)

Projects will have the signatures of the student's parents, the Faculty Sponsor, and The On-Site Supervisor before the proposal is submitted.

Projects will be scheduled at such times as not to cause any conflict with any other commitment the student has at school, such as AP exams (if applicable) and assemblies.

Typically, but not necessarily, projects will be located in the South Florida area. Seniors who intend to do their SP outside of Florida must discuss their plans with Mrs. Schultz no later than November 2014.

Students with four or more AP exams may do an on campus independent Academic Research Project that interests them.

When on campus, seniors must wear the school uniform.

Requirements

Proposal

The submitted proposal is typed, submitted to the Faculty Sponsor properly completed, and signed by the student, the Faculty Sponsor, the Parents, and the On-Site Supervisor.

Contract

The Contract is attached to the Proposal. It stipulates the performance requirements and the parameters of the project. It takes effect after the Proposal has been approved by the Senior Project Committee.

“On-Site” Schedule
The senior posts his/her “on-site” schedule on the SP website no later than April 17, 2018. Once the SP starts, the senior updates the schedule daily (if needed).

The SP Website
Each student is responsible for maintaining his/her individual website. The student responds to a total of 3 prompts which analyze the entire project for what was accomplished and learned; each post will be at least 250 words long. The student uploads pictures and updates his/her schedule. The senior’s website - including the answers to prompts - will be evaluated by his/her Faculty Sponsor.

“On-Site” Visitations

The Faculty Sponsor visits the senior at least once during the Senior Project; the visits may be announced or not. During these visits, the Faculty Sponsor will meet with the student and the On-Site Supervisor.

Presentation

Students present their projects to the school community at the completion of the projects.
Parents, faculty, staff, students, and other members of the school community are invited to view the presentations.
Some form of informational visuals must be prepared and students are encouraged to include materials from their experience.
On the Presentation Day seniors and their project presentations will be individually evaluated by an Evaluation Committee.
On the day of the Presentations, seniors may leave the gym only after they clean up their tables and sign off with the Senior Project Coordinator.

Timeline

November - Introductory Period
The Senior Project Coordinator speaks to students outlining the objectives, philosophy, and guidelines for the Senior Project.
The seniors select their Faculty Sponsors. A Faculty Sponsor will be assigned to any senior who does not have a sponsor by December 18, 2014.
Various possibilities for a Senior Project are discussed with the Faculty Sponsors, the Senior Project Committee (Senior Advisors), and the Senior Project Coordinator.

December/January/February - Planning Period
The senior actively looks for a project. He/she meets with the On-site Supervisor to discuss the goals and feasibility of his/ her project, as well as a tentative schedule. The senior secures the signature of the On-site Supervisor on the Proposal/Contract.
The completed Proposal is submitted to the senior’s Faculty Sponsor for initial approval and signature on or before February 27, 2018.

March - Approval Period
Each Proposal is presented to the Senior Project Committee by the Coordinator.

The approval or rejection of a project is decided by majority vote.
Once the Proposal is accepted, the Senior Project Contract takes effect.
There are two principal reasons why a project may not be approved:
General content of the proposal does not meet the overall purpose of an educational experience that provides growth and critical reflection.

General content of the proposal is acceptable, but one or more of the following is evident:
Stated goals are too weak
Missing signatures and/or other information
Proposal is not legible (proposals must be typed)
Directions are not followed
Accepted Proposals will be posted on the SP website.

April/May - Project Period, Presentation, and Evaluation
The senior discusses his/her daily schedule with his/her On-Site Supervisor. He/she posts the daily schedule for the three-week duration of the project on the SP website. The deadline to post the schedule is April 17, 2018. Students may NOT start their projects without a schedule. Schedules must reflect the total number of hours that seniors are expected to complete; they must show AP exams (when applicable).
The 2018 Senior Project begins on Monday, May 7, 2018, and ends on Friday, May 25, 2018.
The senior updates the schedule on a daily basis. It is very important that daily schedules are correct, as Faculty Sponsors, the Senior Project Coordinator, and the Upper School Director will refer to those schedules when planning visitations.
Following the Senior Project three-week period, the senior will present his or her project to the school community. Seniors will set up in the gym from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Tuesday, May 29. Presentations are on May 29, 2018, from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM in the gymnasium.
Evaluation
The senior is evaluated by the On-site Supervisor based on the quality and quantity of work performed.
The senior is evaluated by the Faculty Sponsor based not only on the quality of the student's SP website (posts, pictures, schedule, general aspect), but also on the quality of the meetings between the student and the Faculty Sponsor.
The senior is evaluated on his or her final presentation by the Senior Project Evaluation Committee.
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