The Nuts and Bolts of Capstone Experiences

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The Nuts and Bolts of Capstone Experiences. Frameworks for South Dakota Schools. Today’s Goals. Provide basic information on South Dakota’s Capstone Experiences. Discuss how Capstone Experiences fit into South Dakota’s graduation requirements.
The Nuts and Bolts of Capstone Experiences Frameworks for South Dakota SchoolsToday’s GoalsProvide basic information on South Dakota’s Capstone Experiences.Discuss how Capstone Experiences fit into South Dakota’s graduation requirements.Share implementation strategies and best practices.Provide you with tools and resources to get started.The 21st Century Learner….
  • About Capstone Experiences…Learning About ……Capstone Experiences
  • What are Capstone Experiences?
  • Are Capstone Experiences required for all South Dakota schools?
  • Why implement Capstone Experiences?
  • How do we implement Capstone Experiences?
  • Where do they fit in the high school curriculum?
  • Can Capstone Experiences be implemented as part of a course requirement?
  • What is a Capstone Experience?
  • A capstone experience is a culminating high school experience designed to integrate knowledge, skills and concepts gained from a student’s previous years of learning. A capstone experience may be any of the following: senior experience, entrepreneurship experience, youth internship, and
  • pre-apprenticeship. South Dakota’s Capstones
  • Senior Experience: Requires students to complete a research project, design and develop a product, assemble a portfolio, and complete an oral presentation before a panel.
  • Entrepreneurship Experience:Requires students to research a new business opportunity, develop a business plan, assemble a portfolio, and complete an oral presentation before a panel.
  • Youth Internship: Allows students to gain hands-on experience in a business, develop employability skills, learn technical skills and complete a portfolio.
  • Pre-apprenticeship:Contractual partnership between an employer and a student that allows the student to gain initial training in a particular industry and formal classroom-related instruction.
  • South Dakota Graduation Requirements and Capstone Experiences
  • A student’s Personal Learning Plan must document a minimum of 22 credits that include:
  • ~One unit of the following-any combination; ~Two unit combination for Opportunity Scholarship: a. Approved Career & Technical Education b. Capstone Experience or Service Learning c. World Language ~Required beginning Sept. 1, 2013What Constitutes a Credit for A Capstone Experience?
  • The Department of Education has established a framework for each of the four capstone experiences. In order to issue credit for a capstone experience, the district must follow the program criteria. See
  • do I transcript a Capstone Experience or Service Learning?
  • Credit granted for a Capstone Experience or Service Learning must be graded, transcripted and included in the GPA calculation. If a district chooses to offer a Capstone Experience or Service Learning on a pass/fail basis, it must be noted on the transcript. However, it is up to the district to determine if it would be calculated in the GPA.
  • Who is certified to teach or facilitate a Capstone Experience?
  • Anyone with a valid South Dakota certificate. The department recommends that facilitators of capstone experiences go through specific training. Contact the Department of Education at (605) 773-3134 to learn more about professional development related to Capstone Experiences.
  • Why offer Capstone Experiences?
  • Capstone Experiences…
  • Provide authentic and experiential learning.
  • Provide relevant learning experiences.
  • Increase high school rigor.
  • Increase awareness of career opportunities.
  • Elements of High Quality Capstone Experience Programs
  • Clear and Aligned Purpose
  • Explicit, Rigorous Criteria
  • Student-directed Learning and Youth Engagement
  • Clear Scaffolding of Skills
  • Learning Stretch
  • Authentic Experience
  • Community Involvement
  • Elements of High Quality Capstone Experience Programs
  • Coordination and Comprehensive Communication
  • Adequate Staffing and Supervision
  • Business Partners
  • Parent Involvement
  • Professional Development
  • Celebration and Recognition
  • HS 2025 Exemplary Program Criteria
  • Serves as a guide for schools implementing a particular Capstone Experience, addressing
  • Students
  • Teachers
  • School Structure
  • Parental Involvement
  • Business Partnerships
  • Community Involvement
  • Using the Capstone Frameworks
  • The Capstone Frameworks are intended to be a “menu” for school districts to use in designing a local Capstone program.
  • The Frameworks will soon be available in Microsoft Word on the South Dakota Department of Education’s webpage.
  • Implementing the Capstone Experiences
  • Organize
  • Plan
  • Design
  • Implement
  • Evaluate
  • Step One: Organizing
  • As planning gets underway, reflect on these questions:
  • What are our goals for the Capstone Experience?
  • Does the administration support the program?
  • Does the staff support the program?
  • Who are key people that should be involved?
  • What is our timeline?
  • Capstone Experience Options
  • Project imbedded in a core subject
  • Project offered as a stand-alone course
  • Project offered as a semester course
  • Project offered as a year long course
  • Project could be a requirement for high school graduation
  • Project is assigned a letter grade
  • Project is graded by pass/fail
  • Project could be partnered with other Capstone Experiences.
  • Step Three: Designing
  • This step involves identifying and tailoring the components for your school. This is the “big picture” piece – determining roles and responsibilities – program guidelines- Capstone Requirements, etc.
  • South Dakota Capstone ExperiencesCommon Elements
  • Program Criteria or Guidelines
  • Site Coordinator or Instructor
  • Steering Committee
  • Curriculum - Classroom Instruction
  • Business- Community Involvement
  • Parental Involvement
  • High School Credit
  • Student Portfolio
  • Research Paper
  • Business Plan
  • South Dakota Capstone ExperiencesCommon Elements
  • Presentation
  • Product
  • Faculty Advisor
  • Mentor
  • Work Site Experience
  • Personal Learning Plan
  • Program Evaluation
  • Student Evaluation
  • Program Budget Other Than Staffing
  • Senior Year Implementation
  • Junior Year Implementation
  • The Portfolio
  • Possible items to include
  • depending on the particular Capstone Experience:
  • Cover Sheet/Title Page
  • Project Proposal Contract
  • Table of Contents
  • Letter to Judges
  • Journal Entries
  • Project Overview/Letter of Intent
  • Project Reflection (s)
  • Business Plan Draft
  • Mentoring Log
  • Presentation PowerPoint
  • The Journal
  • Each weekly entry should cover the following:
  • Describe what was done on the Capstone Project that week.
  • A personal reaction or evaluation of what was done that week.
  • Step Four: Implementing
  • When you reach this step, you have already done the hardest work! A phased in implementation has hopefully been identified in your plan. Staff development is a critical component in this phase.
  • Step Five: Evaluating Results
  • In this phase, you will need to frame your evaluation based on your goals for the Capstone Experience and student outcomes.
  • Contact Information
  • Marsha Kucker –
  • High Schools That Work State Director office - 367-7680 cell – 280-0650
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