Southland High School Senior Seminar
Advice for Seniors
"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you
Overview of Senior Seminar
To the Southland Senior- Senior Seminar gives you the opportunity to think outside the box while pushing yourself to attain the biggest learning stretch ever. Senior Seminar gives you the chance to put all the pieces of the puzzle together and to reach new horizons; you are never done learning!
Senior Seminar was implemented in 2011 as a final graduation requirement for Southland students. This class takes place the spring semester of a student’s senior year, and must be completed to graduate with a Southland diploma. Over the years, Senior Seminar has been modified and is in a continual development stage to ensure that Southland students leave Southland with a well-rounded experience and completely prepared for the future that lies ahead of them as it is our wish to have our students competitive in whatever their next endeavor may be. There are three major portions of this capstone class and they are as follows:
The Senior Project
Students are introduced to Senior Seminar at the end of their junior year, usually after the current seniors complete their Senior Boards. During this introduction, the students learn about the pre-approval process for their project, expectations, and get an overview of the entire course. Any time after this, students are encouraged to begin their journey towards picking a project and getting it officially pre-approved by the course instructors. It is suggested that students are pre-approved by the end of the fall semester of their senior year and to do this the students must complete the pre-approval packet, and bring a typed Task Analysis, signed by their parent/guardian, to their pre-approval meeting (set up by correspondence with the instructors). There are many opportunities for the pre-approval meetings, including the last few days of the school year, a couple of summer time days, and any time during the fall semester. The project must be a minimum of 20 hours that the student dedicates to something new causing the student to be stretched. The project could be a new hobby, be some type of career exploration, or be the completion of some other type of hands on activity or newly learned skill. There are ideas on the website of things that have been done in the past; however, there are many other things that have been done and students are not limited by this list and some of the projects have had other special requirements that are not listed. For example, if job shadowing an EMT for a portion of their hours, the student would also need to complete some type of additional piece such as being certified in CPR or First Aid as just a job shadow itself does not meet the full requirement. The final requirements for each project are determined in the pre-approval process and guided by the instructors and what may be acceptable for one student may not be enough of a stretch for another depending on each student’s prior experiences and knowledge.
The Senior Seminar Class
Students are automatically enrolled in this class in the spring semester of their senior year and will first begin the semester by organizing and writing a 6-8 page research paper in MLA style format, including works cited documentation, that is somehow tied to their senior project. As this research paper goes through a minimum of three rounds of editing (two rounds from community/teacher volunteers, and the final round(s) from the senior seminar instructors until it is complete), the students are engaged in other classroom activities and learn from speakers on the following topics: renting/leasing property, scholarship opportunities (local and others), FAFSA (financial aid requirements and basic information on filling out the forms), understanding the importance of credit history and how to develop positive credit, banking (from a local stand point and national chain), taxes (how to file the basics and some things to be aware of), budgeting basics, writing a resume and a learning how to tailor a resume to a specific job, interviewing for success (students actually perform a mock interview with a member from our administrative team/school board/professional from the community), and finally delivering several practice speeches to their peers. Students also gather all of their information attained during the course and organize a portfolio that they will share during Senior Boards.
The final piece for Senior Seminar is the completion of senior boards that have traditionally been held on the Wednesday before graduation and begin late afternoon through the early evening. Seniors are organized in thirty minute time slots in varying rooms around the school and must share an overview of their project and paper to a board consisting of 5-6 administration/teachers/community members. The presentation consists of a 10-15 minute delivery (students are not docked for going longer and many students with bigger, more intense projects, are excited to share many details), with time for question/answer period. Students deliver their speeches by the use visual pieces such as power point, and some students are able to actually bring in their project. Once the presentation is over, the seniors leave the room and the Senior Board members discuss final approval. Should a student be deficit of having fulfilled all the requirements, the senior seminar instructors will work with the student to meet the requirements.
Successful completion of all three portions of this process will be the final obligation for Southland Graduation.
Senior Seminar, although the greatest stretch many of these students have experienced in their lifetime, is that final portion of their high school journey that demonstrates how each individual is important, has explored something relevant to their world, and can use this newly gained confidence to proudly go out into the world and truly be set apart from their peers. Periodically parents/students initially express anxiety about the process, however the instructors work diligently with the students to ensure and encourage them through this experience, and allow the students to spread their wings as they strive towards gaining a strong hold of their independence. Periodically emails are sent to parents of seniors to keep them updated as to what is going on in class.
203 2nd Street NW
Adams, MN 55909
The current instructors for Senior Seminar are:
Ms. Jessica Fraser
Mrs. Paula Mortenson