SENIOR PROJECT PACKET - Class of 2019 - El Molino High School

                                      SENIOR PROJECT PACKET
                                            Class of 2019

                                                      TABLE OF CONTENTS

         Timeline ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2
         Introductory Letter to Students ------------------------------------------------------------------------------3
         Letter of Intent Format----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------4
         PHASE I- Project of 30 hours work with a Mentor ------------------------------------------------------5
         PHASE II- Research Paper-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------6
         PHASE III Portfolio- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------7
         PHASE IV Presentation & Demonstration ----------------------------------------------------------------8
         Time Log / Journal / Project Update Information ---------------------------------------------------------9
         Mentor Letter Information Form ---------------------------------------------------------------------------11
         Time Log Template ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------12
         Mentor Responsibilities and Contract---------------------------------------------------------------------14
         Letter to Parents ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 15

                                                  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The El Molino Senior Project provides every student with the opportunity to pursue an issue or topic that is of personal interest to him
or her. Every senior will demonstrate the acquisition of new knowledge, experience and skill by writing a research paper, compiling a
professional-level portfolio, and delivering a presentation before a community panel. Students are expected to take appropriate risks
and stretch their learning so as to grow both intellectually and emotionally. Students are encouraged to take on a project that will ben-
efit themselves and the community they are about to enter. IMPORTANT NOTE: All projects must be “approved” by the Senior Eng-
lish teachers. Projects may be denied approval if they do not fulfill the service, career and/or skill requirement or if projects are
deemed inappropriate or dangerous.

A quality project will:

    •    have a career, service or skill goal (or academic goal if in AP English)
    •    include at least 30 hours of hands-on or field work
    •    be a learning stretch
    •    be supported by a mentor
    •    include a research paper about a debatable issue that can be researched using credible sources
    •    include an interview with an expert (a professional who can provide insight about the research)
    •    include a professional portfolio providing extensive evidence of work completed
    •    include a presentation to a panel of community members
Timeline - Class of 2018

While all senior English classes will address important due dates and provide some in-class time for research
and development of the Senior Project, it is the student’s individual responsibility to complete specific sec-
tions of the project and research according to the timeline.

Date:                                Due:

THURSDAY              9/6            BACK TO SCHOOL - Letter to Parents/Guardians distributed

TUES/WED              9/13-14        Parent/Guardian Signature on Letter

MONDAY                9/24           Letter of Intent - Google Doc Submission

MONDAY                10/15          1st Journal / Time-log check (with signatures)
                                     Discussion Check-In (in class)

MONDAY                11/5           Mentor Contract & Signature on Letter of Intent

THANKSGIVING BREAK                    Return Monday, 11/26

FINALS DAY12/17-20                   Project Update (Reflective Essay)

WINTER BREAK           12/21         Return Tuesday, 1/8

MONDAY                1/28           2nd Journal / Time-log check (with signatures)

MONDAY                2/25           Expert Interview completed and submitted for credit

MONDAY                3/11           Research Paper Final Draft (w/all drafts, revisions, etc.)

SPRING BREAK          3/18           Return Tuesday, 3/26

MONDAY                4/8            Mentor Letter (signed)
                                     3rd Journal / Time-log check (with signatures)

MONDAY                5/6            Professional Portfolio

THURSDAY              TBA            OPEN HOUSE - 7:00 - Portfolio Exhibition
                                     El Molino Library

TUESDAY               5/28           Panel Presentations (from 5:00 to 8:30)

TO:              The Senior Class of 2018

FROM:            Paige Greco, Steve Sumner, Lana McNamara, English Teachers
                 Matt Dunkle, Principal; Dani Barese, Vice-Principal

RE:              The Senior Project and Letter of Intent Criteria

Dear Students:

This year will mark some of the most meaningful work you will produce in all your high school years: the
Senior Project. The project is a requirement for graduation at El Molino High School. Done well, the Senior
Project is an opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and your community, to master a skill, to create
a unique product, to volunteer for community service.

You will spend a lot of time on this. Therefore, choose something that is a good match for you, something you
want to learn more about as well as something that is unique and challenging for you. As a first step, you will
submit a Letter of Intent to your English teacher. Letters must conform to the highest standards of excellence
in form, mechanics and clarity of content before they will be considered for acceptance by the
advisory board. The Letter of Intent format template is provided on page 4.

The purpose of your letter is to share how you intend to spend your 30 hours and the debatable issue you in-
tend to research. The Letter of Intent content should include the following:

Paragraph 1: Your 30 Hours
Identify your project and give a general overview of what you expect to accomplish.
        • Categorize the project as career, service and/or skill oriented.
        • Describe your work. What will you do for your 30 hours?
        • Explain why you chose this as your focus for your Senior Project.

Paragraph 2: Your Research
Identify the debatable question you will answer in your research paper (must be related to your project topic).
You must research the pros and cons of an issue that is related to your 30 hours of work.
        • Why is it an important question to research and answer? For you? For the reader?
        • What are the pros and cons of the issue? Why do you care about this issue?

Paragraph 3: Plagiarism
Copy the anti-plagiarism commitment found on page 4.

Your letter will be signed by yourself, your parent/guardian, your mentor, and members of the advisory board.

______________________          _________________________           _______________________
Paige Greco                     Steve Sumner                        Lana McNamara
______________________          _________________________
Matt Dunkle                     Dani Barese

Letter Of Intent – Business Memo Format Template

Please recreate the Business Memo Format that follows EXACTLY:
• Times or Times New Roman 12 point Font
• Block paragraphs (no indentation of paragraphs)
• Single spacing within paragraphs
• Double spacing between paragraphs
• Lines and Titles for 6 signatures as shown below.

TO:            English Teacher’s Name – correctly spelled

FROM:          Student’s Name

RE:            Letter of Intent - Senior Project

DATE:          Submission date - Deadline is: 9/24/18

Dear English teacher’s name:

1st Paragraph (on your 30 hours) - See Page 3 for detailed content. [Paragraphs are single spaced, no indent,
double space between each paragraph.]

2nd Paragraph (on your Research) - See Page 3 for detailed content. [Paragraphs are single spaced, no indent,
double space between each paragraph.]

3rd Paragraph- (on avoiding Plagiarism) - Please copy the following paragraph exactly as written:
Plagiarism is a serious offense. If I take information that other people have written or expressed
without giving them credit, I am stealing their work. Plagiarism, as well as academic dishonesty
or cheating, will jeopardize my grade and my graduation. I will not place my graduation or my
personal honor in jeopardy.


___________________________________                  _________________________________
Student Signature                                    English Teacher Signature

_____________________________________                _________________________________
Parent Signature                                     English Teacher Signature

_____________________________________                _________________________________
Mentor Signature                                     English Teacher Signature

Phase I: PROJECT with a PRODUCT and a MENTOR
El Molino High School expects its students to connect their research and personal interests with either service to
the community or a potential career goal. As students are preparing their Senior Projects, they are required to
go beyond the classroom in order to learn a new skill with job-market usefulness, or to apply their efforts to the
immediate concerns and issues facing the community. These efforts will be documented through journal writ-
ing, a project update reflective essay, photos of your process, and a presentation. All submissions of your work
must be word processed, then submitted through Google Docs.

Ultimately, the Senior Project reflects how the student’s education stretches far beyond the usual subjects and
skills taught in school.

The PRODUCT - what you have to show for your 30 hours:

   •   should be a challenge to complete
   •   may be learning a new skill
   •   may be creating something new
   •   may be job shadowing for a career
   •   may benefit others as well as the student doing the work, such as volunteering/community service
   •   requires a 30 hour commitment

For support and expert assistance to complete the 30 hours, students are expected to work with a mentor.


   •   should be a person who has some expertise in the field of the project focus.
   •   should meet with the student and communicate face to face, in emails or via phone at least five (5)
   •   should be able to verify the student’s 30 hours of work on the project.
   •   should not be an immediate family member.
   •   must write a letter about the student’s process and product and learning stretch.

PROJECT EXAMPLES (partial list):

   •   Volunteering (animal shelter, food bank, teen clinic, fire department, school, church)
   •   Teacher assisting in preschool, elementary, or middle school
   •   Tutoring / Mentoring / Aiding younger students
   •   Job shadowing for a Career (realtor, CPA, journalist, deejay, stylist, physical therapy…)
   •   Building / Construction / Design (website, musical instrument, shelter, blueprints…)
   •   Learning a new skill (sewing, welding, carpentry, gardening, cooking, photography, film
   •   Creating or practicing design, décor, advertising, programming, IT work, instrument, language, CPR…)
   •   Interning with a professional (law, medicine, engineering, government, science…)
   •   Coaching, leading, or organizing at an after school program, club, activity, or workshop
   •   Writing and producing music, screenplay, editorials, blogs for performance or public viewing

Phase II: RESEARCH PAPER that focuses on controversial or de-
batable issue related to project topic.
The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate that seniors can engage in focused research and can produce a so-
phisticated, persuasive paper which meets the California Common Core Standards preparing students for neces-
sary career and/or college skills. Through completing the paper, students will learn the various rules of written
etiquette, including proper formatting, citing of sources, organization, etc.

• CONTENT REQUIREMENTS: While each individual Senior English Teacher will provide specific guide-
lines and requirements for each class, the following are general requirements for a properly written and format-
ted Research Paper.
    • Introduction “hooks” readers; includes a clear definition of topic and debatable issue
    • Clear, issue-based thesis idea or focus of the investigation and research
    • Well-developed body paragraphs with topic sentences
    • Written in the third person and does not use personal pronouns to address the reader
    • Incorporates and cites evidence from various sources, including a Personal Interview
    • Provides ample commentary that explains, analyzes and evaluates the evidence
    • Transitions smoothly; Includes appropriate diction and varied syntax
    • Conclusion reflects on and synthesizes all evidence and ideas; asserts emphatic closing tone
    • List of Works Cited attached
    • All drafts and revisions as well as peer responses attached
    • Expert Interview attached
    • Typed Outline attached

   • 12 pt. font; Times or Times New Roman; one (1) inch margins on all sides
   • All lines double-spaced (no single or double-double spaced lines)
   • Heading with student’s name, teacher’s name, course title & period, date submitted
   • Header 1/2 inch from top right corner with student’s last name and page number
   • Title centered with important words capitalized (Do not underline, italicize or change font size)
   • Parenthetical citations of texts, paraphrases, interviews and other people’s ideas
   • List of Works Cited properly formatted
   • Interview with at least one expert or authority (this may or may not be the student’s mentor)
   • Credible, scholarly sources required- provides many good “hard”, .net, .edu,
     or .org are generally credible sources but .com must be verified by
     teacher. NOTE: “Wikipedia” and other wiki sources are not acceptable.

Phase III: PORTFOLIO with all documents and evidence of comple-
tion of 30 hours work
The student must compile and organize the following items in a portfolio. The Portfolio must be
arranged in the following order and should be neatly organized and displayed:


   •   Cover Page (on front of binder - with your Project title and complete MLA Heading)
   •   Title Page (inside binder - 1st page - with your Project title and complete MLA Heading)
   •   Preface introducing readers to process and the finished “product”
   •   Table of Contents with page numbers
   •   Letter of Intent
   •   Mentor Contract
   •   Mentor Letter
   •   3 Journal Entries
   •   Time Sheets typed and signed documenting at least 30 hours and 5 mentor meetings
   •   Project Update Reflective Essay - originals graded (and revised, if necessary)
   •   Research Paper including graded original final draft with list of works cited, outline and Expert Inter-
   •   REQUIRED: Additional Documentation which includes ABUNDANT EVIDENCE such as
                   * REQUIRED: photos of everything you do for the entire time span of your project
                   work samples (of your own, of students)
                   receipts for materials
                   correspondence (emails) with mentor
                   interview notes
                   anything you make to use in your 30 hours work
                   attendance rolls

   •   Self-Evaluation – Please complete the form your teacher will give you. It can also be found at www.el-

       * REMINDER: Photographs are required.
       Students must collect any relevant physical evidence (videos, letters, artwork, drawings, schedules, etc.)
       which will help document progress. Additional documentary evidence MUST be included and the evi-
       dence must span the entire project (beginning, middle and end). SAVE EVERYTHING!

Phase IV: Project Presentation and Demonstration
On Tuesday, May 22, 2018 students will present all of what they have done and learned during the Senior
Project Presentation. Each student will have 7 - 10 minutes to present to a panel composed of community mem-

The following applies to the Senior Project presentation:
  • Students must arrive 30 minutes prior to their assigned presentation time. Students who are late will
    miss their assigned presentation slot; no make-ups will be given without prior arrangement with the Eng-
    lish Teacher and the El Molino High School Principal.
  • Students should dress for success - “Interview formal” is the standard. No shorts, jeans, t-shirts, etc.
  • Oral presentations must be 5-7 minutes with questions afterwards. No student will be allowed to ex-
    ceed 10 minutes total, including panelists’ questions. A slideshow of at least 5 slides will be presented with
    the oral presentation.
  • A graded portfolio and research paper must be available for the panel to review. No portfolio? No
  • Every student must first deliver the presentation to her/his English class. This is so that each student
    has the opportunity to receive coaching/feedback from peers and teachers.


   I. Introduction. Begin with a story, anecdote, personal history that leads to telling what you did for your
        30 hours and your research thesis. (1 – 1 ½ minutes)
   II. 30 Hours Work. Tell what you did for your 30 hours. Why did you choose it? Explain any personal in-
        terest or background which might give a sense of you as a person. Include your mentor’s name, qualifi-
        cations and what your mentor did to help you. What did you learn from him/her? What steps were in-
        volved in completing your work? Describe the practical skills and useful knowledge you acquired
        through your work. What problems did you encounter? How did you overcome them? If you could do it
        over, would you change anything? Why or why not? (2 – 2 ½ minutes)
   III. Research. Tell about your research. Why this issue? What did you learn? What did you find out from
        your expert interview? What did you conclude? (2 – 2 ½ minutes)
   IV. Conclusion. Tell about your feelings for your entire project (work and research). Were you changed by
        this project in any way? What was the most challenging, rewarding, exciting, and/or interesting part and
        why? (1 – 1 ½ minutes)


Your slideshow of 5 - 10 slides should cover each of the main sections of your speech. The font, background,
and images should be easy for audiences to read and see. Generally, each slide should have a title or label, text
of 10 words or less, and a photo or photos of the student engaged in the project.

The Time Log
You  are required to complete a Time Log about your work and experiences. It must be signed by a parent,
mentor or teacher who can verify your efforts. Time spent with mentor must be signed by the mentor only. Use
the blank Time Log on pages 12-13. You may create your own electronically, but you must have signatures on a
hard copy that you will submit with each Journal Entry. If you need more Time Logs, you can print extras post-
ed on the SENIOR PAGE of the El Molino website:

Sample Time Log Entries
Date:       Time:              What/Where:                                 Who / Signatures:
11/03/18    1.5 hours          Drew first sketches for storyboard                 Parent/Guardian
11/07/18    1 hour             First meeting– planned schedule; shared ideas      Mentor
11/15/18    1 hour             Improved perspective on storyboard images          Parent/Guardian

To successfully complete the Senior Project time commitment, your time log must document a total of at least
30 hours. Your time will be totaled in your Portfolio.

                                        The 3 Journal Entries
In your Google Doc Journal Entries, you will be expected to describe the steps that you’ve taken in order to
complete your project; you should also include your thoughts and reflections on how your
project is progressing.

All 3 journal entries should word processed on Google Docs, MLA format, with title (e.g. Journal #1). All en-
tries must reflect quality in content and mechanics. Entries must be thorough, thoughtful, and detailed. All en-
tries must be submitted on time. A minimum of three (3) one page entries must be completed by the time you
complete your Senior Project.

JOURNAL ENTRY Guiding Questions: These questions are to give you some ideas as to what you may write
in a journal. You may not answer every question in every Journal. However, using these questions as a guide
will help you to be thorough in your writing. IMPORTANT! If you have finished your hours, you must still ad-
dress these questions, and find a way to reflect on your experience.

• What have you done?                                  • What have you learned about yourself?
• What skills have you employed?                       • What have you learned (hands-on/books)?
• In what ways has your mentor contributed?            • Do you have any new ideas?
• What have you and your mentor talked about?          • Is there anything you are concerned about?
• What are your next steps?                            • How do you FEEL about your work so far?
• What have others said about your project?            • Has your experience enabled you to help others?

Students should note the intellectual and emotional challenges and successes they encounter during the course
of their efforts. The portfolio will include at least 3 pages of original journals written in real time, as the events
occur throughout the year. IMPORTANT! Don’t lose any Journals. Organize your Google Docs so you can find
them easily. They are needed to earn full credit in the Portfolio.

The Project Update Reflective Essay - First Semester Final
The project update reflective essay is intended to fully inform each student’s English teacher on the student’s
progress. The essay serves as another opportunity for students to reflect on their achievements, challenges, and
learning while completing the project.

You are required to submit your Project Update Reflective Essay to your English teacher during your 1st se-
mester English class Final. The essay should be a 1 - 2 page Google Document, MLA format (single-spaced
this time), and it must cover the following areas of your 30 hours completed so far:

• actual work completed (include specific details)
• skills employed and/or learned
• reflection on how you feel the project is progressing - rewards, obstacles, problems? Explain.
• work yet to be completed (include specific details)
• future steps - What questions do you still have about your topic? Are your expectations met or surpassed?
• contacts made with mentor/community members
• learning stretch reflections - personal and intellectual growth

The Project Update will be included in your portfolio; each student must be sure to submit it to his/her teacher,
and earn comments and a grade. Do not lose this document. It is needed to earn full credit in the portfolio.

Mentor Letter - to be written UPON COMPLETION of the student’s project
The mentor letter must be written by your mentor and should clearly explain that you have
completed your project. Students may give the following form to their mentor to assist her/him in writing the
letter. Fill in your information below:

Student’s Name                                       English Teacher’s Name

Senior Project Description

In the letter, the mentor should:

• briefly describe her/his area of expertise
• explain what your project was
• explain how he or she assisted you
• verify the amount of time you spent on it
• comment on your effort, interest, and enthusiasm for the project

The letter does not need to be long; one page is more than sufficient.

STUDENTS ARE RESPONSIBLE for seeing that the Mentor Letter gets to their English teachers by the
portfolio deadline – not your mentor. If there are any problems in this area – please meet with your English
teacher before the deadline: Monday, 4/8/2019.

NAME:                                                                 TOPIC:

                                                                                                 PARENT or MEN-
 DATE   # OF    DESCRIPTION OF HOW TIME WAS SPENT (e.g. observation, activity, interview, dis-   TOR
                cussion, shadowing, etc.) BE SPECIFIC.
        HOURS                                                                                    SIGNATURE

                  Reminder: Collect documentation, take photos!

NAME:                                                                         TOPIC:

 DATE       # OF        DESCRIPTION OF HOW TIME WAS SPENT (e.g. observation, activity, interview, dis-   PARENT or MEN-
            HOURS       cussion, shadowing, etc.) BE SPECIFIC.

  Have you finished your hours? Remember to ask your mentor to write your letter. See page 11 for details.

Mentor Responsibilities And Contract
Each Senior Project student should choose a mentor who has some level of expertise with the student’s project
topic. Mentors will primarily be responsible for guiding the physical product/fieldwork phase of this Senior
Project requirement. This portion requires students to complete at least thirty (30) hours working on a hands-on
activity /fieldwork directly related to their chosen topics.

The student must contact the mentor and discuss the mentor’s responsibilities. While mentors are not required to
be present for all thirty (30) hours, they should be readily available to advise the student, answer questions, offer
guidance, and check on the progress of the project a MINIMUM of five (5) times which must be documented on
the student’s time log. Upon completion of the project, mentors will be asked to write a letter verifying the stu-
dent’s work.

Mentors should also be willing to share their knowledge, ideas, and opinions for the student’s research paper.
Students are required to interview an expert in their field of study and may ask you to help them fulfill that re-

The role of the mentor in the Senior Project process is invaluable. While it is neither overly time-consuming
nor arduous, the mentor’s involvement does help each student push their education well beyond the walls of El
Molino. Each mentor contributes to helping our graduates become more thoughtful and involved members of
the community. We appreciate your essential involvement                                         in our program.


Student’s Name                                             English Teacher’s Name

Senior Project Description

    •    I am willing to serve as a mentor for this student, visiting with him/her a minimum of 5 times. I
        have experience with his/her chosen topic, and I understand the definition of the role of mentor as
        it is outlined above.

Please Print:
Mentor’s Name ______________________________________ Phone#
Address ____________________________________________ Email

Mentor Signature

To Parents/Guardians: Please read and sign below.

    •   I have spoken with                                             (mentor’s name) and I approve of him/
        her as a mentor for my son/daughter. I realize that the mentor will be working closely with my son/
        daughter to provide support and encouragement on the senior project. I also know that the mentor cannot
        be a family member.

Parent/Guardian Signature

TO:            Parents of Seniors

FROM:          Steve Sumner, Paige Greco, and Lana McNamara, English Teachers
               Matt Dunkle, Principal; Dani Barese, Vice-Principal

RE:            The Senior Project

Dear Parents/Guardians of Seniors:

Senior year is underway and it is time for students to begin work on their Senior Project. In the coming weeks,
seniors will embark upon a four-phase program, facilitated by their English teachers. In it they will: spend 30
hours working on a career, service or skill oriented project with the aid of a mentor, write a research paper,
compile a professional portfolio documenting the process, and deliver a presentation to a panel of community
members. The project is a requirement for all seniors. Seniors who fail to meet deadlines, who produce sub-
standard work, or who skip any of the four phases, may not pass English, and therefore, may not

Your role in Senior Project is two-fold. First, we ask that you look over the packet and talk with your senior
about possible project ideas. As part of this conversation, think about your network of friends and business as-
sociates – often a good mentor can be found here. Immediate family members are not allowed to serve as men-
tors. If you do know someone who has some expertise in your student’s area of interest, we ask that you refrain
from contacting him or her. Instead, have your student take that step.

Secondly, we ask that one or more family members volunteer to serve on a community panel Tuesday, May 28,
2019. It involves one evening of evaluating Senior Project presentations. If you are not available, perhaps a
grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, or sibling (they must be two years out of high school) can serve on a panel.
Each student is required to provide one panelist. We will be asking students for panelist names in April.

We will be going over all of this at back to school night and would very much like to see you there and answer
any questions you may have. Please sign and return this letter to school with your student.

____________________          ______________________ _____________________
Paige Greco                    Steve Sumner          Lana McNamara

______________________ ______________________
Matt Dunkle            Dani Barese

Student’s Name_________________________________________________________________

Parent’s Name Printed________________________Signature____________________________

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