Point: Should Schreiber continue to offer honors projects?

openbookphilly.com

Amber Kakkar, Staff Writer

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While Schreiber offers a wide variety of honors classes, there are still some required courses that are only offered at the standard level.  To allow students who are seeking a challenge to still earn higher grades and boost their grade point average (GPA), Schreiber allows students who complete an additional project in some standard-level class to finish the class with honors credit.  

In areas where no honors class is offered, such as Sophomore and Freshman English, Global History I, and Global History II for sophomores who are not taking AP European History, many students choose to participate in these projects so they can still receive honors credit for the classes they are taking.

While some may argue that these projects are not beneficial, the honors project option is a great way for students to be introduced to a heavier workload and gain a new scholastic independence.

These projects allow students to work independently over the course of the school year and meet regularly with their teachers to discuss their essay topics and make sure that they are on track to meet their deadlines.  Aside from these meetings, it is entirely up to the students to plan out their project following the given guidelines. 

The independent nature of the honors project option is a great way to encourage students to not only enhance their education, but also to cultivate their time-management skills.

“Having the opportunity to do an honors project is extremely beneficial to students because we are able to gain honors credit even if there is not an honors version of the class,” said freshman Sarika Israni.  “We can raise our GPA, which is great for college applications, as well as learn to manage more work and have a stronger work ethic than normal without the complete responsibilities of an honors class.” 

The honors projects are great opportunities for students to get a better understanding of the responsibilities that come along with honors classes.  This will then help students decide whether or not they want to take honors courses in the future. 

The honors project is also structured like many of the honors classes that are offered in college.  In anticipation of going to college, where classes and curriculum are not as structured as they are in high school, these classes are a great way for students to prepare for what lies ahead.

Students must maintain a B+ average for the entire year in order to participate in the honors project, which forces them to be proactive and care about their grades.  This allows students to strengthen their work ethic without the stress that accompanies many honors classes.

Additionally, the honors projects teach students valuable lessons about commitment because in order to receive honors credit, the student must stick with the project for the duration of the year.  

Additionally, honors projects in place of honors classes allow for a more academically diverse classroom.  Instead of separating students based on their academic achievement, classes with honors options are full of all different types of students, encouraging a different type of learning than in an honors class.

“We’ve always done honors projects here, traditionally the main advantage is this way, the ninth grade classes stay heterogenous or a mix which can be very advantageous for students and teachers alike.  And working with students that want to do it allows us to delve deeper into things and for the project this year, they’re reading historical books and they get to do an analysis of said books.  You can do more things than simply have an honors class where it’s just one set of work to do,” said Social Studies Department Chair Mr. Lawrence Schultz.

Lastly, by mandating the reading of an additional book of the topic, honors projects promote in-depth learning of the topic by outside work of the student.  The program provides students with the freedom to explore new topics in depth throughout various regions of the course.  If learning is driven by questions, traditional curricula narrows the scope of questions to be asked.

The honors projects additionally open new lines of inquiry for the hungry mind.  It introduces students to intensive research, foreclosing the idea that there is a whole vast set of things to learn.  Honors projects are an insight into the future, and stimulate the curiosity of young minds yearning to be fed with information.  

“The honors projects are very beneficial in further development of the student’s knowledge in the corresponding subject. They allow students to reflect upon and cultivate a greater understanding of what is being taught it class. They give students a greater exposure to the curriculum and offer an opportunity to develop one’s writing skill, which is used in the real world,” said freshman Diana Benedicto-Jimenez.

Replacing honors projects with honors classes would be detrimental to the overall learning experience of numerous students, as it would take away from the diversity in Regents-level classes. Unlike junior and senior year, where rigor is usually emphasized, it is very important in a student’s freshman and sophomore years to be exposed to a variety of people, who may learn at different levels.

Honors projects in place of honors classes allow for a more academically diverse classroom.  Instead of separating students based on their academic achievement, classes with honors options are complete with all different types of peers, encouraging a different type of learning than in an honors class.  This allows for every student to participate in valuable high-level discussions, even if they aren’t at the top of their class. However, top students are still given the opportunity to excel and expand upon the curriculum by electing to participate in an honors project.

Some may argue whether or not students would benefit more from the honors project or an honors class, and regarding this debate, it is essential to acknowledge that for those who do not follow the path of an honors class, an honors project is equally fulfilling.

At Schreiber, students have the opportunity to go above and beyond in all of their classes, especially since for subjects that do not have the honors option, their corresponding honors projects are able to satisfy students’ academic desire for perfection.

Many Schreiber students decide to take on these h honors projects, so clearly there is a large demand for the program to be continued .Thus, Schreiber should continue to offer honors projects so students can continue to strive for excellence while in a diverse environment during their high school years.

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