Projects consist of inquiry, research, reflection and reporting on a broad topic that is meaningful and relevant to the students. Projects will be student-driven and faculty-supported research experiences. Students will develop project timelines for their progress and docuĀ­ment work towards stated goals (including academic standards) in their Digital Project Plan. Students build Project Plans in Project Foundry and they are “living” documents to be contributed to 24/7 by students, Faculty, and the Director of Studies. Students can easily share Project Plans with parents and potential receiving schools upon request.

A project presents students with opportunities to apply their learning by creating conditions for significant transfer of knowledge, skills, and understanding. The Bridge Year projects support student learning in real-world problem solving, and engaged understanding.

Projects develop through a dialogue between the students, Faculty and Director of Studies. The back and forth conversation reveals the underlying questions, the genuine interest, and possible pathways to carry the project out. All project proposals, whatever their unique composition, contain the following seven pieces:

  1. A summary of the project in less than a page, often a good paragraph
  2. Guiding questions that focus the inquiry and research
  3. Assessment of prior knowledge and clear delineation of knowledge, skills, and understanding needed to carry out the project
  4. A plan to address gaps in prior knowledge and gain needed capacity for completing project-->> (Seminars and Workshops requested, Reading lists developed)
  5. Assessment Tools defined -->> (Bridge Year Standards)
  6. List of Resources needed (human, print, technology, personal experience) -->> (Seminar and Workshop, Field Study, research tools)
  7. Timelines in place, tasks sequenced, protocol for assessment set.

Then the students complete the project. Students are supported throughout the process and evidence of understanding is clear as they adapt, revise, change, and evaluate their projects.

Why Project Learning Works

  1. Engages student in learning
  2. Solving problems that are complex, multi-disciplinary, and real
  3. Requires critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various forms of complex communication
  4. Integrates knowledge across disciplines
  5. Encourages student voice and choice
  6. Aligns with recent research on cognitive development