MSB Capstone Program
A Core Curriculum Performance Event
Missouri School for the Blind is pleased to offer the MSB Capstone Project: A Core Curriculum Performance Event. MSB's Capstone Project is a year-long experiential project designed to help students develop skills to complete a multi-step, long-term project. It is designed to transfer complex, abstract core concepts taught in the classroom to the world beyond school. During the MSB Capstone Project each student or group of students will select and research a topic. Students then design a project to be completed over the course of the school term. Capstone provides students with the opportunity to conduct an in-depth exploration into a topic of personal interest. Students apply grade-level core curriculum and Expanded Core Curriculum for the Blind and Visually Impaired objectives beyond the academic classroom. Capstone focuses on educational content and showcases skills and abilities that will be expected of successful students, employees and citizens. The Capstone Project addresses proficiency in core content knowledge, applied learning skills and support systems for all students. MSB staff review assessment data and Missouri Learning Standards to identify challenging and specific objectives for each year’s Capstone Projects. Staff will identify regular checkpoints throughout the year to help students evaluate their progress, facilitate formative evaluation and provide feedback. Teachers use re-teaching, re-direction, direct instruction, and work samples as needed. The implementation of Capstone recognizes the need to insure that all students successfully complete a rigorous high school diploma program. Diplomas gives students access to college or post-secondary training, whether immediately following high school or later if they choose.
Projects by Year
- 2016 - Birth of a Nation
- 2017 - Destination Geology: Exploring Our Environment
- 2018 - Explorations in Culture & Conflict: Native American Studies
- 2019 - Author Studies: Lives, Works and Influence
Each year, administrators select a broad Capstonetopic to serve as the umbrella for all student projects. All individual projects will fall under the broad topic. MSB Capstone Projects have three major components:
- Research –Preparatory Phase: students are introduced to the broad topic and given opportunities to consider topics for their project. Students will complete projects in small group first, then complete individual projects as approved by the MSB Capstone Coordinator. All projects must be approved by the MSB Capstone Project Coordinator.
- Logistics: Each month during the first semester students will be introduced, through lecture, to a sub-topic relevant to our umbrella topic. For example: In September students will be introduced to the early explorers and conquerors with an emphasis on their relationship with the Native Americans. All students will use PUNS (Palmatier’s Unified Note-taking System) to take notes on the lectures. Once students have been introduced to the sub-topic they will be broken into rotating groups to create a video presentation of an assigned portion of the information they learned during the lecture component. For example: In September one group might present information regarding Colombo, another Ponce de Leon and another Cortez. The video presentations will combined into a web-based timeline.
- The monthly schedule (note – the number of sessions may vary depending calendar/activity overlap.)
- September – February:
- Sessions 1-3: Lecture and note-taking;
- Session 3: Students draw sticks for groups and Capstone staff;
- Sessions 4-6: Students groups prepare presentations (each student will have a job within the group ~ jobs will be defined when the groups are formed and may differ from month to month. Example: Presenter, Graphics Coordinator, Production Coordinator). Presentations and group work will be both self-evaluated by the group and formally evaluated by MSB Capstone staff and peer groups;
- Sessions 7-8: Students video-blog presentations for on-line timeline
- Writing Assignment (February – March): Students will choose a topic relevant to the current and continued conflict between some Euro-Americans and Native Americans and write a position paper. Students will research, organize and outline their viewpoint on the issue in a logical manner using supporting arguments and background research to demonstrate their command of the issues and the research behind their position. Students will write their position to formally identify and refine their viewpoint on their chosen issue.
- Oral Presentations (April – May): Students will formally present their position paper in the form of an oratory to their peers and MSB Staff. Student oratories may be an impassioned argument but should also be both research-based and logical. Students should let their passion for their subject be demonstrated in the force of their argument rather than in emotional terms. Following the oratory students will be challenged by a moderator and given an opportunity to defend their position.
May: Capstone On-Site Trip – People to People Experiential Education Component: MSB students and staff will travel to New Mexico where they will experience the Native American culture, values, life-style and societal structure. Students will meet a variety of Native American people and discuss the topics in both the current and historical relationship between Native and Euro-Americans.
June: Position Paper Review and Reconsideration. After participating in the People to People Experiential Education component of the Capstone, students will review their position paper and write a one-page Review and Reconsideration of their previous position. Students will note examples from their experiences as well as information they gained while meeting with our Native American guides.