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School: Ithaca High School

Project Title: WISE Program

Grade: 12

Project: Students are given the opportunity to propose and pursue a project of their own choosing, pursuing a career field, skill, hobby or research subject of their choice. Each student presents a plan, works with local experts in their fields of interest, and presents a final project including a narrative essay to a panel of judges over the second semester of WISE class. The WISE project gives second-semester seniors the chance to explore a subject of interest while considering their future impacts on the world around them. Many will try to figure out how to do something – and fail, retool the project and come back. Students reflect on their learning through journal entries or blog posts each week. They also work with a faculty member who serves as a mentor.

Field work: Students are expected to spend eight hours a week outside of class on their WISE projects, whether that’s practice, research, or other avenues.

Experts/local connections: Many students work with community members who are experts in their field for assistance with their projects. Community members also serve on year-end panels who evaluate the students’ final projects.