Portfolio due date approaching

Kyle Smith, Editor in Chief

The portfolio, the dreaded portfolio, is almost due.

In about a month, seniors will have to have their entire Culminating Project completed and ready for Senior Boards. That means, if you have not completed any of the portfolio, you would have to complete the 20 hours of community service, put together all of the portfolio itself and prepare for the Senior Boards presentation all in one month.

And that is just an approximation of the time seniors have left on their portfolio.

Fortunately, the portfolio is more than doable. So long as you know everything that the assignment requires and set aside time to actually complete it (without procrastinating that is) then it is more than doable. The problem is that the project looks more and more intimidating as time goes on. In the past few years all of the changes to portfolio requirements may have created some confusion if you have not kept up with them, leading to even more dread when it comes to the topic of portfolios.

The first thing to complete for the Culminating Project is the community service. This is probably the most time-consuming portion of the project, since it requires that students spend 20 hours of work outside of school in addition to whatever homework the student may have. Perhaps the easiest way to complete this portion of the Culminating Project, is getting help from staff members at school in finding community service opportunities. After that, it is just a matter of filling out paperwork, a lot of which is meant for the mentor to fill out and just getting the thing done. If you were to do an hour of community service a day, it would take about three weeks, which means that even that portion of the project could theoretically be done within the next month, especially if a student does more than one hour a day.

Once the community service is completed and certificate gained the next (or concurrent) step is to complete the physical portfolio. This portion requires a 3 ringed binder and some time. To complete the portfolio a student must provide works that meet all of the requirements of the Learning, Leading and Living sections. The Leading section will already be done, since it is basically just the community service paperwork presented within the portfolio itself. Unfortunately, the Learning and Leading sections will take more work than that. In the Learning section students must present four pieces of work that demonstrate the four skills of completing a research project, analyzing and solving complex problems, thinking creatively and innovating and communicating and collaborating. Those four works can come from anything you have done since the ninth grade, so the only real work that one needs to do here is collecting the evidences of learning and putting them into the binder. After that, there is a reflective essay that needs to be written about the works presented in the Learning section. Also, be sure to have a transcript and personal essay for this section of the portfolio.

With those completed, all that remains is the Living section, introduction and cover. Almost all of the requirements for the Living section can be completed through the WOIS program online. The password and username information can be gotten from advisers. Most of this section should be easy, considering things like the Post High Plan are things that students should already be thinking about or talking about. This section is just a matter of writing that out. Students must also get a Letter of Recommendation to complete this section.

With all of that completed, the last two bits will be simple. Create a cover sheet that meets the requirements on the Portfolio Rubric and write a letter of introduction that reflects on the whole portfolio. Include any awards or other assignments that seem like a good fit and then you are done with the portfolio. It is important to realize that the portfolio is completely manageable. Even though it seems utterly terrifying and like a lot of work, it can be done.

All of the resources one will need can be found on the school district’s website, under the parents section. There, you will find everything from an overall rubric to specific fillable forms that help you complete the many essays and the post high plan. Of course, adviser’s can answer any more specific questions.