Here’s how we run Signature.
Students apply to the program when they sign up for new courses, in spring semester. If they have an interesting idea that comes from an existing passion, and if they have a mentor on campus to work with them, and if they have the time to work on the project, they are generally accepted. Signature students are usually eleventh or twelfth graders.
Accepted students are enrolled in a special course, called Signature Projects (EWS-400). This class gives them credit for their work. Their primary responsibilities for this course are to create and maintain a blog as they complete their project.
Signature managers monitor the work of our students, giving them helpful feedback during the entire process. We currently have three managers for thirty-six students, and will likely have more next year, perhaps one for each academic department. This will be useful as our program grows in size, as we expect that it will.
Students have a milestone for each month of the year. This includes critical activities and deadlines to keep students on track to finish their work and be ready to present in April. For example, the first milestone has students create a blog and identify a key product (critical evidence that the project is attainable and on track).
Most communication between students and adults occurs within Schoology, our school’s Learning Management System. This blog is another great place to see what is going on, primarily via the student blogs.
Being in our second pilot year, we are still working on the best way to run our program. Judging by the work that we are seeing now, things are going well this year!