Sophomores to show off capstone projects

By: Brendan Losinski | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published February 19, 2018

 Bloomfield Hills High School students were scheduled to show off their Middle Years Programme projects at a presentation Feb. 15. Sophomores at Bloomfield Hills High School work for months on their projects.

Bloomfield Hills High School students were scheduled to show off their Middle Years Programme projects at a presentation Feb. 15. Sophomores at Bloomfield Hills High School work for months on their projects.

Photo provided by Lauren Diamond

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — The students of Bloomfield Hills High School are showing off their annual Middle Years Programme projects, a highlight for all students who progress through the International Baccaluareate program in Bloomfield Hills Schools.

The Middle Years Programme is an initiative that is part of the IB organization, which is dedicated to developing an education that creates a better world.

“The personal project is a culmination of a student’s MYP experience,” explained Tracy Hall, the administrator for IB and postsecondary programs at BHHS. “Tenth-grade students select a personal area of interest for (their project). It is a BHHS graduation requirement.”

As part of the IB program students take special tests and take on smaller projects that students work on throughout their time in the district. Additionally, they have the option to take college-level IB courses in the 11th and 12th grades.

“It’s part of the IB program, which starts at pre-K in the district,” explained Dr. Robert Glass, superintendent of Bloomfield Hills Schools. “This is a capstone program for their time in the program. The IB has three main portions: the elementary program, the Middle Years Programme and a diploma program. The middle portion lasts from middle school through the 10th grade. (These projects are) all integrated into the students’ normal curriculum, and they are assigned a teacher who supports their program.”

The students choose an area of interest and create a project around that program to show what they’ve learned and what they would like to teach others about the subject.

“There are a variety of projects — over 300,” said Hall. “I don’t work individually with students — that’s done through their 10th-grade interdisciplinary course — but I am aware that students have done work with therapy dogs, fitness, cooking, etc. The personal project was started at the former Lahser and Andover high schools, and ... it continued when the two schools consolidated in 2011.”

The students planned to show off their projects at Personal Project Celebration Night, which was scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Feb. 15 throughout the BHHS gym and commons.

“This is a culminating project the students have been exploring throughout the year that allows them to dive deep into a topic or a project that is of great importance to them personally,” said Glass. “Because of that, it allows them to share what they have learned publically. For anyone who has ever attended one of these presentations, it is so inspiring. We have had students display everything from patents they have created to explorations to the arts to innovations for the community.”

School administrators said that this project is a crucial step for every student in the Bloomfield Hills Schools district and provides them with valuable experience in their academic careers.

“The personal project gives students the opportunity to participate in a sustained, self-directed inquiry within a global context; generate creative new insights and develop deeper understandings through in-depth investigation; demonstrate the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to complete a project over an extended period of time; communicate effectively in a variety of situations; demonstrate responsible action through, or as a result of, learning; and appreciate the process of learning and take pride in their accomplishments,” said Hall. “All members of the Bloomfield Hills Schools community should take notice of it as one of the numerous endeavors our students pursue in order to expand their thinking.”

Glass said that seeing the projects the students have created is a remarkable feeling.

“The purpose of their education is to learn content, but to also have students go beyond the content and find the drive behind that, it is so important,” remarked Glass. “It’s so inspiring.”