the independent project

The Independent Project, the  blog with lots more student work, and a white paper on how to do it. The wonderful clip below explains the project and this excerpt if from the white paper:
The Independent Project is an alternative student driven school-within-a-school that was started at Monument Mountain Regional High School by a student.

The idea for The Independent Project came about from that student’s own experience of high school, and his observations of the experiences of his peers. The two main things he felt were missing from many high school classrooms were engagement and mastery. He also felt that even students who were engaged were often learning material that was not very intellectually valuable. They were learning lots of information, but very little about how to obtain information on their own, or even create new information. His intent was to design a school in which students would be fully engaged in and passionate about what they were learning, would have the experience of truly mastering something, or developing expertise in something, and would be learning how to learn. He felt that the most important ingredient to a school like that would be that it was student-driven. Research by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi on engagement suggested that if students have more control over what they are learning, they will be more engaged, excited, and committed to their studies. He also felt that it was important for the school to be focused on methods rather than specific topics, having students work like actual scientists, mathematicians, or writers.

Eight students were accepted into the pilot program of the school, which ran for one semester and is now complete. The school, dubbed The Independent Project, is now in the stage of redesign and replication.

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