Looking more into Capstone Projects


Erza Ballata, Writer

This 2022-23 school year is the first year that requires students to take capstone along with civics as a graduation requirement. Although civics class has been around for a while, the capstone is a new class DHS now requires students to take. Capstone is a civics project-based class, where students learn and complete assignments based on social issues in Danbury and the rest of the United States. In class, students complete tasks that are typically very similar to topics students learn in civics. Throughout the course, students must do mini-projects about social issues that lead up to the big capstone project. Toward the end of the semester, each capstone teacher presents the big capstone project in which students work as a group to research a social issue topic here in Danbury. According to one of the capstone teachers at DHS, homelessness, mental health, and domestic abuse are the most popular topics students choose to research and base their projects on. In this course, there are six major milestones leading up to the main important project. Each student is required to complete all the milestones but if they don’t, then they automatically fail the capstone and have to retake it.

The first milestone is a group contract & research question. Students are to establish group expectations and ways to contact each other if anyone is absent. They are also supposed to develop an issue and a research question related to it. Milestone 2 is an OPCVL research. OPCVL stands for origin, purpose, content, value, and limitation. Students search for three different sources whether they are from a database or not. Milestone 3 is group research where each group is to make one Google Doc and share three resources, accounting for fifteen sources total. Milestone 4 is the action plan each student is required to create. Some action plans kids do are community services where they might pick up garbage from the streets or donate to local homeless shelters. Kids also create surveys asking specific questions and sharing them around the school.   Milestone 5, is the reflection journal, a document full of questions that reflect the students’ experience working on the project from the beginning. The last and final milestone, Milestone 6, is a digital portfolio that includes slides all about the student, reflection on the attributes of the project and what you created for the civics action project, and a picture of the completed group project.

The final step students complete is a presentation of their project, whether it is to a teacher or the whole class.