It is with great pride that we share in this year’s grand finale of the BASIS Independent Schools’ academic program: Senior Projects, and we rejoice in their culmination: the Senior Showcase!
In their final trimesters as BASIS Independent McLean after seniors have already taken a deep dive into university-level, content-heavy capstone courses and undertaken the demanding college application process, they face their Senior Project—a high-level research project centered around a question or topic of their choosing. This is BASIS Independent McLean’s first year with seniors participating in the Senior Project.
Traditionally, their research concludes with an on-campus Senior Showcase where each senior presents their findings to the community. This year the showcase cannot be held on campus, however our seniors are still proud to present their findings virtually.
What exactly is the Senior Project?
The Senior Project is the culmination of the BASIS Curriculum, and the final challenge our seniors face at the end of their academic journeys—the crown jewel of their high school experience and compilation of everything they have learned throughout their time at BASIS Independent Schools. The program, at its core, is an entirely student-led (though professionally supervised) independent research project.
Since our students meet their graduation requirements by the end of grade 11, they have the opportunity to spend their senior year developing their project, deciding what to study and where, and then working outside of school researching that nuanced topic of their choice. Senior Project subjects are sometimes something our seniors wish to pursue in college or in a career; other times, the topics are something that the students are intellectually curious or passionate about. They conduct their research at a public or private sector institution—for example, they can team up with any national or international company, ranging from big corporations to entrepreneurial endeavors, or a university with an expertise or working laboratory in the area of their interest.
Students work with an internal advisor from their school plus an external mentor from the company or university where they’re doing their research. After first spending the earlier parts of the school year coming up with the focus of their project, honing their thesis, and finding the external research location, they embark on a journey of true academic inquiry with their on-location research in their final trimester of school. Then, after completing their research and determining and writing up their conclusions, students present their findings to their teachers, peers, and others within their community in what is traditionally a rich, vibrant, and academically joyful setting.
The onset of the global pandemic aligned with the start of this year’s projects. With the world around them changing dramatically, our seniors gracefully adapted, shifted their topics, and adjusted their methods and expectations.
Find out the results!
Throughout the process, each student blogged weekly about their experience. This year’s blogs are especially illuminating as the students quickly adjusted to doing their research and working with their advisors all from home. You can read the blogs at https://basisindependent.com/seniorprojects.
With the completion of their research, seniors are now able to show you what they have learned, developed, and implemented through their Senior Showcase presentation. You can view all of their Showcase presentations on YouTube here!
We are so proud of all our seniors! The Class of 2020 will be remembered for their determination, grit, and perseverance, all qualities that will serve them well as they head off to college in the fall.