Reposted from MindShift:
“When Sam Levin was a junior at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, he realized that two things were in short supply at his school: engagement and mastery. He also noticed that he and his peers were learning plenty of information, but not much about how to gather or create their own data. And he noticed that students were unhappy. So he took it upon himself to design a school where students would feel fully engaged, have an opportunity to develop expertise in something, and learn how to learn.
“He came up with a plan where the core areas could still be studied, but in a way where students were more of the driving force,” explains guidance counselor Mike Powell. The administration decided to take a chance on a semester-long pilot project, and The Independent Project debuted in the fall of 2010.
The pilot involved eight students — sophomores, juniors and seniors — chosen on the basis of written applications and interviews. “The idea was that it was for students who could manage their time well, were looking for something more than the traditional program, and had a passion for learning,” says Powell, who served as the group’s primary adviser. Academic performance didn’t matter — the group included straight-A students as well as students who were failing many of their classes. The group was fairly diverse in other ways, too, with the students hailing from a range of blue-collar and white-collar family backgrounds.”