An open collaborative of educators

Summit 2019


Please join us for the National Capstone Consortium’s 7th annual summit, taking place this year in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts!

Capstone and culminating project programs are a growing feature in schools at all levels--elementary, middle, and high school. They reflect the most current thinking about student-centered learning and student-driven inquiry.

We are the National Capstone: a collaborative organization of educators helping fellow educators. We share what we are doing in an open-source platform, discussing what works, what does not work, what we are learning from our programs, and how we hope to see them evolve.




Logo by Kevin McGrath
Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School, MA


“Every conversation started with, "What's your Capstone like?"
This led to long, engaging and thoughtful discussions
about our mutual programs and an exchanging of ideas
it was like finding my “tribe”

Dagan Bernstein, First Time Attendee
8th Grade Capstone Instructor
Hawaii Prep Academy, HI

NEW! (1 May 2019)

Introduction to the
Question Formulation Technique (QFT)
Andrew P. Minigan, Director of Strategy, Education Program, The Right Question Institute

Participants who attend this featured evening session will have a better understanding of the steps of the QFT, the value of teaching students how to ask their own questions, and some new ideas on how the QFT may help to support their work.

This evening session will include:

  • an overview of the need to teach the skill of question formulation

  • an active learning experience with the QFT

  • an analysis and unpacking of how and why the QFT works

  • a review of a few QFT examples from across subjects areas in the K-12 classroom

  • Access free, powerful educational resources on and follow Andrew on Twitter and LinkedIn

The RQI workshop is included with registration for full-conference attendees as well as Tuesday day-trippers. For day-trippers interested in joining us for dinner on Tuesday, the cost is $25.

The goal of the summit is to nurture and support Capstone programs wherever they are occurring as well as building a network of peers who are committed to this form of education.   Every session of the summer summit is designed to be immersive and to contribute to expanding participants’ thinking about how to build and strengthen these programs.

New and veteran programs will benefit from summit programming.

Our summit philosophy is PEER-TO-PEER. We embrace the wisdom gathered from everyone involved in Capstone programs, and we offer opportunities to contribute at all levels of this summit, as well as to our consortium.

The Unconference model (otherwise known as peer -to-peer (P2P)) is an important aspect of our program design. Carefully planned workshops grounded in years of collective experience build to early session planning, in which the concerns of new participants can be brought to the table. The  organic structure allows everyone to participate, and for the summit schedule to accommodate interesting ideas that emerge and deserve exploration.  Attendees will also learn about the National Capstone Consortium during this multi-day conference and be invited to contribute to this growing national/international group of educators.

Simmons University, founded in 1899, is located in the center of Boston, adjacent to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, around the corner from Fenway Park and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and along the Emerald Necklace network of parks designed in the nineteenth century by Frederick Law Olmsted.  It is in the Fenway/Longwood area of the city.

The 2019 Summer Summit sessions will take place on Simmons academic quad, specifically in the Main College Building and the Management and Academic Building.  

Always learning and evolving, we will have new programming to offer this year. Our general schedule will be similar to what we offered in 2018, summarized below:

1 - MONDAY: Arrivals, Opening dinner, Opening group session

2- TUESDAY (one-day “day trippers” are welcome to attend on this day): Morning group session, Facilitated small sessions, Evening group session. This day provides a thorough overview of Capstone.

3 - WEDNESDAY: Morning group session, Unconference sessions, College admissions officers’ panel exploring how they value and assess Capstone programs and their students, Dinner out in small groups in the Boston area.   

4 - THURSDAY: Morning group session, Capstone alumnae/i student panel, reflecting on what they valued, Individual school presentations offering plans for the coming year, Meeting of the National Capstone Consortium membership (open to all)

Here is the full schedule from last year.

Attendees have a number of pathways to choose from in this summit, which can change during the program.

NEW PROGRAMS: Learn the essential parts of Capstone, from start to finish through programming. The Consortium will, prior to your arrival, partner experienced schools (“hens”) with schools with new programs (“eggs”) to provide support. “Eggs” will be provided with direct support, both during the conference and the rest of the year, from their partner “hens.”  This has proven to be a lasting relationship among educators that has helped to nurture new Capstone programs.

EXISTING PROGRAMS: Facilitate discussions of Capstone topics often drawn from issues or lessons you have encountered during your Capstone year.  Guide a conversation and learn from peers. Work as “hens” with new program “eggs” to support their development .

GRADE-SPECIFIC COHORTS: Collaborate with other schools running programs at similar grade levels in elementary, middle, and/or high school.

Intentionally built into the schedule is time to use in a number of ways: work with your team on your Capstone program, collaborate with another school, get advice from an experienced person, relax and recreate (walk, run, etc.).   

Benefits of the summit go far beyond the daily sessions.  The relationships that have developed over the years of the National Capstone Consortium have been lasting and enable schools across the nation to collaborate in an ongoing fashion.  Participants often return year after year to refresh, rethink, and recharge their programs and work with veteran programs as well as newcomers to exchange ideas and think anew about their Capstone ventures.

OVERNIGHT: Attendees are encouraged to participate in the Summit as overnight participants.   Housing is provided at Simmons University. This immersive experience allows for extended conversation, collaboration, and collegiality beyond the daily programming during the summit. All meals, except Wednesday dinner, are included. Cost: $645 per participant (through 6 April 2019); $770 per participant (after 6 April 2019). 

COMMUTER: Attendees from the Boston area are welcome to attend the entire conference without electing to stay overnight at Simmons, as “commuters”. Lunch is included on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Cost: $535 per participant (through 6 April 2019); $650 per participant (after 6 April 2019).

DAY TRIPPER: Participants who wish to participate for a single day are invited to attend the Tuesday sessions as a “single day tripper.”  Lunch on Tuesday is included. Cost: $215 per participant (through 6 April 2019); $260 per participant (after 6 April 2019).

Overnight accommodations:

Summit participants who will be staying overnight at Simmons will be housed in single rooms with private bathrooms in Smith Hall OR in two person suites (each with a private bedroom and a private bathroom in the suite) OR in three-person suites (each with a private bedroom and a private bathroom in the suite), all in Smith Hall.   Breakfast at Bartol Dining Hall, adjacent to Smith Hall, will be provided for all overnight guests.

As part of the registration fee for all overnight guests, lunch on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday is included (at the cafeteria at The Fens) as is dinner on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday (locations TBA).

Here is a campus map to explore Simmons and see views of the various buildings and accommodations.

For more information, contact Jon Calos ( at Emma Willard School.

Credit card transactions incur a small fee, which will be deducted from such transactions. Check transactions have no such fee.

Refunds will be available until 24 May 2019. No refunds will be possible after this date.

It was the single best professional development conference I have ever attended... our team learned more in that hour about how to move forward than we would have learned in several days at a more formal, “listen to this speaker” kind of conference.
Dr. Gene Cassidy
Miss Porter’s School, CT

This was the best educator conference I have attended. Every single session I attended will help the Capstone program at my school!
Maritza Tavarez-Brown
Advanced Integrated Studies Coordinator
Forest Ridge School, WA