Teaching & Learning
How will the academy model impact teaching and learning?
The academy model will contribute to learning themes and collaboration amongst academics, career and technical, and community partners, creating relevant curriculum, activities, and project-based options. Recommendations for professional development in project-based learning, engagement, work-based learning, ‘Profile of a Graduate’ interdisciplinary projects, and teaching in a block have been suggested by Taskforce members. As stakeholder input continues around the academy design, collaborative time for academy planning and content area planning will be defined.
What components will be included in capstone projects?
Capstone project guidelines have not been finalized. The following elements were reviewed by the Action Task Force and instructional coaches at the March 2022 convening for feedback. A subcommittee will be formed during the fall of 2022 to finalize the elements. This will allow for teacher input from curricular areas, seeking options for efficiency and relevance in the process.
• Portfolio: A student portfolio is a collection of documents, pictures, videos, work samples, and other artifacts that chronicle the capstone project experience.
• Capstone Project:
o Research Paper: The research component enables the learner to study the topic of their project in-depth to gain additional skills and knowledge necessary to complete the project. A final paper is expected to serve as a written culmination of the capstone experience.
o Project: The product will represent the learner’s skills and knowledge specific to the capstone project. Work will be completed with guidance and support from appropriate teachers and industry representatives. Products may be models, websites, innovative updates to existing products, movies, software applications (apps), entrepreneurial businesses (virtual or brick and mortar), inventions, manuals, etc.
o Presentation: Learners will present their Capstone Project to an authentic audience demonstrating evidence of their knowledge and skills learned, highlighting POG, as well as career and college connections.
Currently, the capstone is not required for graduation, but is identified as an Essential Skill for Choice Ready preparation. Under the West Fargo academy timeline, all seniors graduating in year 2026-2027 will complete a capstone project using the final defined element requirements.
Will we continue to focus on "Profile of a Graduate" in the academy model?
Yes. Collaboration, communication, compassion, creativity, critical thinking, reflection, and resilience are transferable skills for success in high school, work, college, or the military. Curriculum discussions will continue around integration, student reflection, and strategies to measure growth and proficiency.
What can we expect for interdisciplinary units?
The academy foundation is based on a career and college-connected philosophy for relevant learning. Projects between disciplines may emerge organically, circularly, or as partnerships evolve. Interdisciplinary activities may align around Profile of a Graduate dispositions, capstone experiences, or Career Ready Practice categories.
Is moving to the academy model and changing to a block schedule too much at one time?
Instruction and delivery go hand-in-hand. Instruction is the “what” and the academy model is our “how.” Both are critical components for implementing the West Fargo instructional model at the high school level. Strategies for planning, student engagement, and instruction in the block will occur in the first two years. Training related to professional learning communities will continue, along with effective teaming sessions to focus on academy and content collaboration for integrated or thematic activities.