A Senior Capstone project for us all: How the Department of English Capstone Project will affect next year’s seniors

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Briana Murphy, Staff Writer

Almost every year,  the LFA curriculum undergoes many changes  to improve and adjust the students’ educational experience. The changes range from altering the book choices in different courses to revising the list of courses offered. Next year’s modifications to the senior curriculum will include making all classes year-long and getting rid of semester-long courses. 

 

The most noteworthy change being the institution of the Department of English capstone projects or the  “Dcap” projects which will take place within the English curriculum. 

 

The program is designed for seniors and has been added to the English curriculum because it’s the only subject LFA students are required to take all four years at the Academy, ensuring that all seniors will be included in the experience. “Dcap” is not the official name for the project as of yet because the coining of the new edition to the senior curriculum being discussed however the student will know sometime before next year. 

 

Dr. Finnessy explained the program’s intentions in the context of the four-year LFA English experience; “As Freshman we introduce them [the students] to the individual in society the emphasis being getting to the the self sophomore year it was looking at the individual in American society and Junior year it’s the individual in the world Senior year is intended to have a lot more choice and we want a student to demonstrate what they’ve learned in our course of study”

 

The Dcap projects are a way for seniors to show that they’ve grown from a novice to a master in regards to the concepts they’ve learned in English throughout their years at the academy. The students are encouraged to be creative with their projects. They will discuss what they wish to produce with their English Teacher and begin planning what they’ll showcase at the end of the year. If the student is taking two English courses their senior year, then they will work with both their teachers two teachers to discuss how they can integrate the skills they’ve gained from both classes into a great project. 

 

The projects won’t take away from the in-class curriculum (if it does wind up using some class time, this will constitute a day or two at the beginning of the year) because the projects are to be worked on outside of class, gradually throughout the year. 

 

In this sense, the Dcap curriculum is supposed to mimic a minor in college, whereas the student’s English class will function like a major. The project is meant to be a culminating body of work by showcasing all that students have learned in the past four years at LFA..

 

To clarify the purpose of the Dcap projects Dr.Finnessy said “As Freshman they’re novices and just at the beginning as sophomores we’re looking for competency that they’ve picked up what they were taught in freshman year and they’re looking forward The idea of junior year is proficiency  and senior year we’re trying to see through the DCap that they’ve reached mastery in their own right.”

 

  Each project will be completed using a different medium depending on the course the student takes and what they feel will best showcase their knowledge and growth. Then the projects will be shown to the entire faculty and student body, so that the senior will be recognized for their work.

 The way  in which the project will be showcased to the school will be decided on later due to the creative freedom the seniors will be allocated, it’s difficult to find a way for all mediums to be showcased. Several aspects of the projects are still being deliberated such as how the projects will be graded, when exactly the exhibition of the projects will take place, and what the restrictions on the project will be.

 

Partly due to the newness of the program, next year’s seniors are somewhat unsure about the changes to the curriculum because it adds another of uncertainty to their senior year and they’re worried about the stress of major projects on top of college applications. They see it as another obstacle put on the track towards college and are worried about how it will be graded. Some students see it as a positive thing because it provides students with a creative outlet and gives them a glimpse of what college will be in terms of a college minor or major. 

 

when asked about their thoughts on the DCap projects the current juniors next year’s seniors shared the 

following thoughts: 

 

Christina Franco said, “I think that it’s going to be adding a lot onto seniors’ plates because we’re going to be dealing with college applications at this time and it’ll add a lot of unnecessary stress and I feel like the system we had before was a good system” 

 

Abby Dandrow commented that, “if they give us the freedom to do what we want people will come up with a lot of cool things but if there are a lot of restrictions then I feel like people will do whatever they feel will get them good grades” 

 

Vivi Torres said,“Personally for shy people like me I’m being forced to publicize myself and while I understand that it’s for our growth I don’t appreciate the way that I have to present to the whole school ”

 

Joanne Kang felt as if the project topics were too broad “since everyone has different strengths and the practical applications of English have such broad choices in regard to the media’s in which we could use people could end up being confused on what to do and end up doing very similar projects enforcing normality” 

 

Simone Cathey said, “I think that the Dcap project will be a great chance for students to express themselves, show the knowledge they gained, and it will be a good opportunity to apply what we have learned and connect it to what we will do in the future.“