The Island School Seminar class began in the Fall semester of 2016. It was the brainchild of Chris Maxey, Ashley Waldorf, and Peter Zdrojeuski, and now serves as a capstone course in our curriculum as it guides students through projects and reflections that stem from the guiding question, How can we live well in a place? The course has multiple parts that each serve a common purpose. First, students choose an apprenticeship on campus to take on over the course of the semester. They choose between working in the Kitchen, the Boathouse, the Early Learning Center, the Center for Sustainable Design, or the Farm. This opportunity allows them to build real world skills and to understand how this campus is run in practice (not just in theory), but more importantly, it allows them a chance to build relationships with members of our community who they may not have interacted with otherwise.
The second part of this course affords each student the chance to process, reflect on, and share his or her own journey at The Island School. The art of storytelling is an important skill to develop, as we use it and interact with it on a daily basis in the twenty-first century through media, including social media. Whether we are telling our own story or somebody else’s, the media with which to do it are plentiful. Video is becoming a standard for storytelling in the twenty-first century. It is extremely accessible, as it provides the most amount of information in the shortest amount of time. Providing our students with the resources to learn this invaluable skill, that they will be able to use throughout their education and for years to come, is part of what makes Seminar class at The Island School so unique.
This opportunity to build meaningful relationships, learn valuable skills, reflect on experiences, and share stories with one another is rare in high school curriculums, and is made even more distinctive by the fact that there are no grades. Students are evaluated on skills such as adaptability, initiative, ethical decision-making, creative thinking, and more. Seminar class serves to reinforce the values that The Island School works to instill in our students each day.