Mission of Capstone
Laurel School’s Capstone Experience, by design, will cultivate purpose, relationships and leadership using one of four lenses— Civic Engagement, Entrepreneurship, Global Studies, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics). Capstone Candidates will explore issues through guided research, intellectual discussion, relevant internships and purposeful travel. Using expert guidance from mentors and support from cohort peers, each Capstone Candidate will create a Research Focus based on her individual interests and agency. This innovative program provides committed, interested students with opportunities to approach real-world issues with interdisciplinary, experiential and community-based strategies while building mentor and peer relationships. In developing a sense of purpose, meaningful mentor and peer relationships, and skills of leadership, Capstone prepares a Laurel girl “to fulfill her promise and to better the world.”
The Four Capstone Categories
Through an interdisciplinary, experiential and community-based approach, Candidates in the Civic Engagement category will explore what it means to be an engaged citizen working to improve her community, her state, her nation and her world.
Through an interdisciplinary, experiential and community-based approach, Candidates in the Entrepreneurship category will explore issues related to business across different stages, sizes, industries and markets and apply that learning to their own initiatives.
Through an interdisciplinary, experiential and community-based approach, Candidates in the Global Studies category will explore global issues by identifying and analyzing a multitude of perspectives, including one’s own and those of others.
Through an interdisciplinary, experiential and community-based approach, Candidates in the STEAM category will explore many intersections of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics in order to understand and to apply multi-disciplinary strategies to an endeavor.
Capstone Requirements Timeline
- January of Ninth Grade: Complete the Capstone application.
- February/March of Ninth Grade: Selections of Capstone Candidates announced
- March of Ninth Grade: Each cohort begins to meet bi-weekly for student-led discussions.
- May Immersion Week of Ninth Grade: Cohort activities focusing on leadership skill development and peer bonding at Laurel’s Butler Campus and in Cleveland.
- First Semester of Tenth Grade: Bi-weekly, student-led discussions in each cohort; planning for March cohort trips.
- December of Tenth Grade: Students may exit or enter the program depending on what is best for individual students.
- Second Semester of Tenth Grade: Bi-weekly, student-led discussions in each cohort; planning for March cohort trips.
- March of Tenth Grade: Student-planned cohort trips to a city of the group’s choice. In past years, cohorts have traveled to Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
- April of Tenth Grade: Using the lens of her Capstone category, each Candidate designs a Research Focus and is assigned a Capstone Mentor.
- May Immersion Week of Tenth Grade: Each Candidate works on her Research Focus.
- Eleventh Grade Year: Each Candidate, guided by her Mentor, works on her Research Focus; bi-weekly cohort meetings continue and serve as peer-review sessions for progress of each Research Focus.
- May Immersion Week of Eleventh Grade: Each Candidate works on her Research Focus.
- Summer of Eleventh Grade: Each Candidate works to complete a draft of her Research Focus.
- Fall of Twelfth Grade: No work on Capstone as the focus is on the college process—though a student’s Capstone Experience certainly could serve to highlight college applications.
- January through March of Twelfth Grade: Candidates complete final draft of their Research Focus.
- April and May of Twelfth Grade: Candidates make oral defense of Research Focus to Mentor and Capstone committee.
- Capstone Banquet: Capstone Candidates receive special designation, becoming Capstone Scholars.
Capstone Candidate: a participant in Capstone
Capstone Scholar: a designation for completing the Capstone Experience
Cohort: a small group of grade-level students in a particular Capstone category
Research Focus: a research-based paper or equivalent project designed by each Candidate with guidance from her mentor
Common Questions About Capstone
Click a question to reveal its answer.
While knowledge, research, and a level of expertise in one of the categories certainly will happen for a student, the goal of Laurel School’s Capstone Experience is to provide a greater sense of purpose as well as to develop skills of leadership, collaboration and relationship—qualities Laurel believes will serve a student for a lifetime in any endeavor.
Yes. To participate in Capstone, a student’s family will pay $550 per year, which includes all components of the experience, including the trips.
Yes, for families who are eligible for financial aid from Laurel School.
No. A student will be evaluated on a pass/fail basis; grades will not be assigned.
No. Each cohort will accept a limited number of students.
Does a student need to have previously developed interests or experience in a Capstone category to be a good applicant?
No. While some students may have relevant prior experiences or interests, Capstone wants students who are curious and passionate about collaboratively exploring topics in experiential and interdisciplinary ways.
No. The Capstone application process strives to identify students who want to develop leadership skills, relationship and collaboration skills, and some level of knowledge and expertise in a particular lens.
Will Capstone prevent a student from taking particular classes or from participating in sports or extracurricular activities?
No. Capstone will be scheduled to avoid as many academic and athletic/extracurricular commitments as possible.
No. Many trip offerings certainly would serve the objectives of the Capstone program. While the Capstone cohort trips in the Tenth Grade will be covered by cost of the Capstone Experience, Passport trips offered through Laurel will not be covered by the $500 per year Capstone price.
Further questions about Laurel’s Capstone Experience?
Contact Trey Wilson, Director of Strategic Partnerships
tWilson@LaurelSchool.org or 216-455-3019