Seniors Pitch Projects at Inaugural Cougar Tank

Seniors Pitch Projects at Inaugural Cougar Tank

Elaine Loft, Staff Writer

Since 1985, seniors at Derryfield have been offered the opportunity to spend the last few weeks of their high school careers pursuing an outside interest as part of an Independent Senior Project (ISP). The Derryfield ISP experience is an avenue for seniors to explore new ideas, or deepen existing interests. It is a major departure from their academic and other extracurricular activities in scope, character and intensity. ISPs can be: experiential (learning through direct experience, active engagement and reflection); productive (conceiving, planning and developing a tangible or digital product that reflects one’s interests, skills and learning objectives); or skill-building (acquiring, developing, and demonstrating expertise in a particular domain).

This year, ISP coordinators (and Derryfield faculty members) Becky Barsi and Chris Induni devised a new step in the application process. Students were asked to prepare a pitch, in which they presented their proposed ISP to a jury of faculty, staff, and their peers. The first annual “Cougar Tank” took place on January 16. Student presentations were evaluated on the following criteria: How well does the student articulate their ISP plan? Does their ISP sound substantive? Does their ISP sound achievable? The jurors asked follow-up questions of each presenter, to affirm all ISP criteria were met.

All ISP proposals have now been approved, and students will create a schedule for the goals they have set.  The ISP experience begins on April 29 and concludes on May 24. During the four weeks the seniors are off campus, their progress at every stage, from ideation, planning, execution, and reflection, to presentation, is monitored and guided by mentors, who provide feedback and counsel. On June 3, the students will present their projects at ISPalooza, a highly anticipated annual community celebration.

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