The Social Justice Project
The Social Justice Project is a graduation requirement that takes approximately 16 months to complete. Students identify and research a social justice problem, develop an action plan to address the problem, implement their plan, measure outcomes, and present results. During the course of this process, some students engage in internships that match their senior project topics. Our students interact with professionals, neighbors, and residents in our community to bring their projects to life. The end product is not only a graduated senior but also an impassioned citizen who thinks critically about society. The project is fully integrated throughout the school’s curriculum and is organized around our guiding principles, the 5 learner expectations: skilled information processor, collaborator, empathetic citizen, knowledgeable citizen and problem solvers.
Approximately half of the work done by students takes place within the school building and the other half takes place outside. Within the school, students engage in mentoring and team work relationships with their advisors and their peers who all provide constructive feedback and support to the senior engaged in his or her project. The students are also required to engage external “consultants” who provide primary source interviews, project management help, or subject area expertise.
Our consultants come from a range of organizations, both for profit and not for profit. However, all consultants provide our students with the opportunity to learn from nontraditional teachers outside of the school. Since non-school employed people are involved, this time consuming project is completed through the students’ constant engagement on the weekends and during the evening hours.
Our students complete their projects by becoming immersed in a wide variety of environments that are directly related to the topic of their research. Rather than rote memorization, the project charges our students to learn through an increased sense of self-awareness, critical thinking, peer support, mentoring relationships, complex problem solving, and faculty guidance.
During the time that students are at Capital Prep, the final a 16-month period is when Capital Prep students showcase their knowledge base with regards to becoming social activists. The project helps them own an issue of social concern that has personal significance to them. They go beyond the school's physical boundaries and traditional times to develop relationships with non-traditional faculty mentors who help guide each individual student through his or her own learning experience.