Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

ELIZABETH RADDAY

EdAdvance
Public Discussion
  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 09:52 a.m.

     An interesting project. From your experience, what are the major challenges in recruiting students? Or is your major effort to recruit schools to participate?

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

    Elizabeth Radday

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 01:11 p.m.

    We recruit schools to participate in our Capstone program and students elect to sign up for the course in most cases.  Some schools require all their students to do a Capstone project and participate but other schools run it as an elective.  

  • Icon for: Mayra Mendez-Pinero

    Mayra Mendez-Pinero

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 12:52 p.m.

    How many students have been affected so far? How long have you been running the project?

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

    Elizabeth Radday

    Lead Presenter
    May 14, 2018 | 01:12 p.m.

    We are currently in year 2 of the project.  Last year, during our pilot year, we had about 25 students across 3 schools participate.  This year we are working in 11 schools and have about 200+ students doing Capstone projects.  Next year we anticipate running the program in 25 schools and having 500+ students.  

     

  • Icon for: Mayra Mendez-Pinero

    Mayra Mendez-Pinero

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 14, 2018 | 03:36 p.m.

    Wow! Excellent results so far and very broad impact! Congratulations!

  • Icon for: George Hein

    George Hein

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 07:44 a.m.

    I'd be interested to know what objections (or excuses?) you get from schools that won't/can't participate.  Is there something particular in the academic or organizational structure of some high schools that makes participation difficult?

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

    Elizabeth Radday

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 10:53 a.m.

    We get a variety of "excuses" for schools that don't want to participate.  One we run into frequently is resources - having a teacher that can teach a Capstone course for seniors if it is not a mandatory requirement is something some schools can't afford to fund.  Some schools aren't interested in doing Capstone at all.  The other issue that is more recent is that schools are offering the two course AP Capstone series (AP Seminar and AP Research).  That model is very research/writing heavy and the end product is much like a written dissertation, almost the opposite of what we believe a Capstone project should be.  Our Capstone is much more hands on, entrepreneurial, and project based.  The two models don't fit together very well so some schools turn down our course in favor of offering the AP course.  

  • Icon for: Rachel Shefner

    Rachel Shefner

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 01:43 p.m.

    Cool project-I like the real world and community connections. I am wondering about the Student Innovation Expo. I assume this is for all of the students from all participating schools? Are there other opportunities for the students to interact across schools?  Since you are working with seniors, have you seen the students leverage their experience in the capstones on their college applications? In what ways? Have you seen any continuing interest on the specific topics they addressed when they move on to college? Since there is a community connection, I am wondering if students end up working with entities outside the school for their projects. It seems like participating in this experience could also lead to internships.

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

    Elizabeth Radday

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 03:34 p.m.

    Glad you like the project - there are a lot of real world connections and community connections.  The Expo for all students from participating schools - and this year's is on Friday (just 3 days away!).  In addition to the Expo Fest we hold an event in the late winter and bring together all the Capstone students to share their progress and to get feedback from peers, teachers from other schools and from our program staff.  They work in small groups with 2-3 adult facilitators to talk about their project ideas, stumbling blocks and questions.  Seniors have used their Capstone projects in a variety of ways.  Many of them talk about their Capstone projects during the interview process since that happens a little later in the year and they already have a pretty solid idea at the time.  Students that have enough to say about their projects early in the year may also include it in their college application.  Many students have spoken about how their Capstone project has helped them find a passion or find out more about something they are interested in and use that to help determine a college major.  There are some students that take their Capstone ideas with them to college and hope to continue to expand it and grow it.  For example, the overall Capstone winner from last year made a running vest enables with GPS and a button that could send an emergency alert message with GPS coordinates to a designated cell phone.  He was planning to study entrepreneurship in college and was hoping to take that project further while at his university.  As for a community connection, we have many students that make connections outside school.  In fact, it is highly recommended that students look for a mentor that is not their teacher and that is part of the final competition rubric.  We have had varied success with this requirement.  Students find it is very hard to make connections with anyone in the medical field.  Doctors and nurses are very busy but also very hesitant to talk about anything medical with students.  We've found the best mentor relationships have some sort of personal connection - a friend's family member, a family member's friend, etc.  We have also had some students write some cold emails and have found success.  The mentor relationship has been very valuable for many students and some of these opportunities turned into internships during the school year or summer jobs.  Thanks for your thoughtful questions!

     

  • Icon for: Rachel Shefner

    Rachel Shefner

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 03:46 p.m.

    Absolutely! so much great collaboration happening. And best of luck on the upcoming Expo!

  • Icon for: Sarah Hampton

    Sarah Hampton

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 04:20 p.m.

    I agree with you on what a capstone should be. Research, writing, and presenting are important. (I'm sure you've done quite a bit to get in the position you are in now!) However, divorcing those important skills from the more exciting and gratifying work of innovating and experimenting robs students of a holistic and more impactful experience. Can you tell me more about what your organization does? It seems like schools could do this independently. How do you add value to the process?

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Radday

    Elizabeth Radday

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 04:35 p.m.

    Our organization, EdAdvance, is one of 6 Regional Education Service Centers (RESCs) in Connecticut.  By participating in our program schools are part of our NSF grant, which means that we are gathering some data and doing research on the impact of our program.  What schools really get from working with us is the Expo Fest experience, which is the culminating experience of Capstone.  At Expo, students show their work to a panel of judges from universities and different industries, which gives them an authentic audience and opportunities to present to professionals.  This gives students an opportunity to also show off their work to their peers from many different schools and to celebrate the work they've done all year.  There is a competition component to Expo and we award 1st, 2nd and 3rd place to Capstone projects in several categories (outstanding use of technology, outstanding scientific research, outstanding social justice project, outstanding business, outstanding humanities project and outstanding art project) in addition to recognizing the top 3 overall outstanding projects.  Teachers that are part of our program also get a week of professional development on teaching our Capstone course, a video series that walks teachers through the year-long project, and lots of curriculum resources.  We also go into classrooms throughout the year to help teachers and students with their projects.  Schools find the experience of Expo to be very valuable and that is one of the biggest benefits of being part of our program.  

     
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    Sarah Hampton
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