Middle School Students Become Civic Ready through Virtual Capstone Project
Published on 8/26/21
District News Clary Middle School Grant Middle School Syracuse STEM @ Blodgett
SCSD middle school students participating in the virtual summer school program had a unique opportunity to develop their academic skills while becoming civic ready, thanks to a creative capstone project.
Presented with three interdisciplinary options, the students spent their summer learning time engaging with a project of their choosing. At the conclusion of summer school, the students presented their completed projects to their summer school teachers, as well as Mayor Walsh, through a Teams meeting.
The students were invited to create a presentation to educate community members on the COVID-19 vaccine’s effectiveness and how getting a vaccine can have a direct impact on their community; a plan to raise awareness of recycling among the Syracuse community; a plan to embrace and celebrate the many cultures represented in Syracuse; or create a student-led organization for their school focused on a subject they are interested in.
Syracuse STEM at Blodgett Science teacher Brittney Sgambellone said that because students had experience with hybrid learning last school year, both the quality of their work and their time management were better than anticipated.
“The kids are doing better working virtually now,” Ms. Sgambellone said. “They really liked checking in and then having the freedom and ability to work independently. Our kids are so smart – so giving them guidelines and then letting them do what they want has been great. They oftentimes come up with better ideas when it comes to these important issues than we would as adults!”
Other teachers expressed that the projects were especially relevant this year, timed perfectly with the new New York State civic readiness pathway, allowing students to become familiar with the idea that they can create change within their own community.