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February 8, 2016

First ever MYP personal project presentations a resounding success

After more than two years of planning and a lot of hard work on the part of students and staff, the first ever Middle Years Programme (MYP) personal project presentations, held Feb. 4, were inspiring and important learning opportunities.The personal project is a significant student-directed inquiry produced over an extended period and completed during year five of the MYP (tenth grade). The personal project allows students to:

  • Engage in personal inquiry on issues that are relevant to themselves

  • Demonstrate the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to complete a project over an extended period of time

  • Reflect on their learning and knowledge (on their own and with others)

  • Move toward thoughtful and positive action

  • Develop confidence as lifelong learners.

“We modeled authentic learning for our students today,” said Principal Brian Bartalo. “We showed our students that we value them and their independent learning by having them share their journey with these personal projects they created. We gave our time to them to watch and to listen and to learn.  We completely altered our regular school day today to do this, and that is unprecedented in my time at the High School, and it speaks volumes about who we are and what we value.”

The topics that the students selected for their projects were as varied as the students themselves. Some of the topics included healthy treatment alternatives for mental illness, gluten-free recipes, building a sailboat trailer for a bicycle, poverty awareness, leadership and music production, just to name a few.

Students could also choose the methods they wanted to use to report and present. To help support them throughout the process, “IB Days” were created that gave students opportunities to meet with their faculty supervisor.

On presentation day, grades 11 and 12 were dismissed early, and freshmen stayed so that they could observe the presentations, along with staff members, parents and community members. The purpose of having the freshmen observe was to provide them with models for their own personal projects and give them the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. The presentations were scheduled in 15-minute blocks throughout the building.

“The personal projects had our students engage in meaningful work that included independence, choice, reading, writing, researching, reflecting, and presenting to peers and adults,” said Bartalo. “These are the skills that will propel them toward their junior and senior years of high school, college and/or career.”

Look for a video to be posted soon for a closer look at the MYP personal project, along with student, staff and parent perspectives.