What would you do if you could explore or create anything you wanted?
Our seniors answer this question for themselves through their Senior Signature Projects. Their SSP is the capstone to their high school experience and puts their design-thinking skills into practice. In a required yearlong course, we give our seniors the opportunity to demonstrate qualities highlighted in The Bay School’s philosophy.
We ask them:
- to become intellectual entrepreneurs
- to generate solutions to real-world problems
- to take risks and respond gracefully to setbacks
- to become engaged citizens
Whether they do a deep dive into an academic area of study or create a radio show, students begin to envision themselves as practitioners, with the responsibilities and rewards that brings, as they pursue their goal with purpose and intent.
Read more about the SSP experience from instructor Craig Butz.
The Design Thinking Arc
Guided by our SSP instructors, students organize and plan their projects, reach out to potential mentors—experts who provide guidance and feedback throughout the process—track and document their progress, and work through project-specific challenges as they arise. They gain resilience and skills in project planning and management, as well as experience working with experts in relevant fields.
In keeping with Bay’s emphasis on connecting learning to the real world, students work with a community beyond the walls of the school. Their mentors are an important link to information and context, and students must learn to understand themselves as social and civic actors. In the end, the students will be able to answer the questions of how they considered the needs of others and how that community benefited from their work.
SSPs require students to put into practice the skills they've absorbed over their time at Bay.
SSPs are remarkable for their range and creativity.
Successful projects have three essential traits:
- They embody the core tenets of Bay’s academic program, including depth over breadth, innovative thinking, mindful self-reflection, and sustained effort over time.
- They are ambitious enough that they provide many opportunities to make mistakes, learn from them, and grow.
- They benefit specific target audiences or communities beyond the students themselves.