To complement our emphasis on attendance, attitude and achievement, the Lopez Capstone project provides students with an opportunity for career exploration, hands-on field experience, community service, and independent living skills to prepare them to compete and succeed in life and work after high school. Throughout the process students reflect on their learning, build a portfolio and finally orally present a summary of their Capstone experience before a panel. Students are responsible to personally complete all aspects of the capstone. However, Lopez does offer classes covering the six parts of Capstone to assist students through the program.
In addition to content knowledge students need key skills for the workplace and for lifelong learning. Across all classes Lopez emphasizes 21st century skills which students must show proficiency and document in their capstone binder.
To best prepare for life after high school students learn key aspects of what it takes to live on their own. They cover practical information on housing, cars, finances, taxes, insurance, goals, and interpersonal skills.
Students identify their strengths and interests, explore careers, research education options, build a résumé, request recommendations, and prepare for getting a job.
After identifying a few careers they are interested in pursuing, students take the initiative to contact someone from an industry of interest who is willing to advise them. The student’s goal is to work hands-on with that field advisor for at least eight hours in a job shadow or mentored capacity. Students will conduct the field experience outside of regular school hours and document their experience with photos or video.
After the field experience students reflect on how it went, what they learned, and what does it mean for their future. Their field advisor also evaluates them on their involvement. The reflection and photos become key artifacts in their Capstone binder.
During their time at Lopez students will compile artifacts demonstrating their proficiency in various learning and life skills into a Capstone binder. They will summarize career interests and educational options, prepare a professional job portfolio, document field experience, make an independent living budget, and reflect on how they have matured. Before graduating students present their binder, summarize their learning, and answer questions before a small panel of adults. This concludes their Capstone graduation requirement.
Giving back helps others, bolsters our community and matures our character. Students need to serve for 20 hours. They can complete their service in multiple sessions with a variety of non-profit organizations. We recommend as much hands-on experience as possible, especially in a field of their interest.
Note: All Capstone work must be original. If a student copies another person's words or ideas he or she will be disciplined and will have to redo work. When doing research all sources must be properly cited.
Thank you to Frontier High School in Whittier, CA whose Senior Project served as a model reference when we started to develop the Lopez Capstone program.