Capstone Projects

Capstone courses represent the leading edge of HPA’s drive to become a more discovery-based school. These culminating academic experiences in the 5th, 8th, and 12th grades empower each student to execute a significant independent project, under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

In masonry, capstones are the crowning stones that run across the top of a wall or railing. At HPA, capstone projects allow students to venture into new intellectual territory, fueled by their own interests and imaginations. Through these "crowning" experiences in each school division, HPA students pursue research questions or creative endeavors that can be scientific, artistic, mathematical, social—wherever a student’s interests may lead. By the end of the school year, each student will synthesize his or her discoveries and give a public presentation to the community. Through this inquiry-based approach, HPA students are expected to demonstrate a broad range of academic and personal skills, including problem solving, analytical thinking, creativity, perseverance, and the ability to communicate clearly—on the page and in person.

What is a Capstone?

The HPA Capstone represents the pinnacle of learning experiences achieved by the end of 5th, 8th, and 12th grade. Capstones are multifaceted, long-term projects that take at least a semester to complete and serve as a culminating academic and intellectual experience for students. They emphasize the “4 Cs” of creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking, and are distinguished by the extent to which they are driven by student interest, engagement and design. All capstones include the following phases:

1. Proposal creation
2. Content learning
3. Skillbuilding
4. Research
5. Implementation

The capstone process culminates in a presentation to an authentic audience.

How We Define Projects:

Projects, which are part of every class at HPA, include, supplement, and enhance core skills and content by providing opportunities for students to demonstrate deeper understanding of a topic/question. Projects last less than a semester, are teacher-initiated, and have a pre-set curricular goal. Each project builds specific skills that are necessary for future capstones and culminates in a student-created artifact or performance.

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