Capstones have been a memorable part of senior year since 2005. English teacher Tamsie West first began the capstone project in her senior English class where she had difficulty “combating senioritis.” Her solution was to establish a yearlong project that required lots of time and work outside of class.
“When they got through, they had some new experiences… (But) they hated it at the time,” West said.
In the 2006- 2007 school year, OHS received a grant for developing a school re-design that “re-imagined how secondary education works.”
To fulfill the requirements of the grant, OHS decided to require that all seniors complete capstones. Capstones were also moved out of English classes and into SMART teams. West believes it lost the consistency it once had because there were several teachers overseeing the projects rather than just English teachers.
“There were many years (capstones) were very successful,” West said. “I think it’s going to be a shame that a lot of students will miss this opportunity.”
However, West believes “if you’re doing it poorly, don’t do it.”
English IV teacher Peter Pinnow has taught at OHS since the capstones began in the 2005- 2006 school year. Pinnow says he brought up the idea to cancel capstones for AP English IV students as a way to “help encourage” students to take AP classes.
Pinnow also wanted to get rid of required capstones because of the class time spent on it, rather than focusing on the AP exam.
“A lot of the AP students thought it was a waste of time because they knew they were staying away from the test preparation they needed,” Pinnow said.
At a meeting with the senior activity team teachers, Pinnow brought up the idea of canceling capstones and nobody disagreed.
Although Pinnow “enjoys doing capstones,” he disliked the time it took away from focusing on the AP exam.
However, he feels that it will remain in regular English IV for a long time to come.