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My Brain Just Exploded

Towards the end of the last school year my administration made the request of myself and some other Capstone teachers that we attend some sort of professional development as it relates to our Capstone programs. It wasn’t a week later when I received an email from a colleague asking “how does this look”? I opened up the email and was excited to see that a conference, or rather a consortium, exists solely dedicated to Capstone and “Capstone-like” programs. Upon snooping around the website further I came across a document entitled “A Guide to Capstone Education”. Promising I thought, as at the time I was really in the need of a “guide” of some sort.

You see in my case, my institution had moved forward with our Capstone programs borrowing the motto of a well known sneaker and athletic brand, a “Just Do It” sort of attitude. I was fine with this, but now I found myself two years into teaching two separate Capstone courses and I was ready to learn a little from the experts. Or at least someone with more experience than me in how to refine and build what I considered an already decent foundation. And this is where the “Guide” came in.

Searching through the “guide” I came across the table of contents along with a series of “Questions for Capstone Program Leaders”. It was here that I literally heard small explosions going on in my brain. These were the exact questions I had been asking my peers and supervisors since I had started out on this journey! How to provide feedback? What is the role of technology? How will students provide self evaluation? All these questions that I had been searching for answers to were all tidily bound up in this little document.

Now I am not going to proclaim that every single answer was here and that all my questions were given full and thorough answers in which all my problems were solved. But I felt a sense of relief that all these thoughts that I had been struggling with in isolation were actually not only being pondered by other educators at the same time, but that a group of them had gotten together and brainstorm potential answers to these questions and more. I immediately knew I needed to make sure I could attend this conference consortium and get together with these like minded people.

Thankfully my request was approved and I was on my way. But in the meantime I was able to pour over this document and start to formulate a list of ideas and potential applications to our programs for the end of the year reflection with my colleagues. I felt so much more at ease knowing that there was the potential to have some guidance as I continued on this journey of building Capstone learning at my school.

Dagan Bernstein - 8th Grade Capstone Instructor
3 Years Capstone Experience
Hawai‘i Preparatory Academy, Kamuela, HI

The views of each blog post are the experiences of the individual instructor and school and do not represent the views of the National Capstone Consortium.