Graduation Project
Options for Completing the Project

Service Learning Option

What is Service-Learning?

Service-learning as a graduation project combines service to the community - local, state, national or international - with student learning in a way that improves both the student and the community. According to the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, service-learning:

  • Is a method whereby students learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service that is conducted in and meets the needs of communities;
  • Is coordinated with a school or community service program and the community;
  • Helps foster civic responsibility;
  • Is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum of the student;
  • Provides structured time for the student to reflect on the service experience.

Service-learning projects provide authentic learning experiences in which the student learns and applies academic content and skills in a real-life, real-world context and the student develops citizenship, responsibility, and many other positive character virtues. Service-learning as a graduation project blends a student's service and the school's learning goals in a culminating project that enriches the community, school, and, more importantly, the student. Service-learning is not a new idea. John Dewey wrote that actions directed toward the welfare of others stimulate academic and social development. William Kirkpatrick, in the 1930s "Project Method," argued that learning should take place in a setting outside of school and involve efforts to meet real community needs. A resurgence of community service, and especially community service tied to the existing school curricula, began in the early 1990's as a result of national legislation.

Click here for Service Learning opportunities in the Charlotte area.

Advanced Placement Options

Advanced Placement (AP)

Advanced placement classes provide essential skills that could assist students with the graduation project. Students taking AP courses should consider how to capitalize on what is being learned in class and use it to assist with the graduation project.

In many eleventh grade English classes, students work on research papers that are comparable to the research paper required for the graduation project. Because of this, students should consider determining a research topic and developing a research paper that can meet the requirements for both the eleventh grade English class as well as the graduation project.

Furthermore, AP classes provide great opportunities to maximize skills that could assist in the development of the graduation project. Learning and mastering a language other than your native language (e.g., Chinese I- AP Chinese), then using what was learned to help others, would allow for the demonstration of every stage of the project from inception to completion through the portfolio, paper, product, and presentation. The same concept could be applied to other AP classes such as, but not limited to, Environmental Science or Psychology.

International Baccalaureate Options

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program

As Part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma program, Baccalaureate students complete several assignments similar to components of the graduation project. Yet, unlike the graduation project, these assignments are not related to each other. Therefore, meeting the requirements of the IB Diploma program does not necessarily equate to completion of a NC Graduation Project. IB Diploma program directors and teachers are encouraged to explore ways to help students build one or more of the assignments below into a culminating experience that fulfills the NC Graduation Project guidelines.

IB Extended Essay (40 hours of research and writing are expected)

  • 4000 words (10-12 pages)
  • A researched argument on one of 26 topics
    Student is assigned a mentor from the faculty

Theory of Knowledge (ToK) Essay on a prescribed title

  • Generic questions about knowledge; cross-disciplinary in nature
  • 1,200-1,600 words
  • ToK teacher evaluates essay and then sends it to an IB examiner.

Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS) Requirement (150 hours divided equally among the three)

  • Creativity involves learning over time where students are mastering something new.
  • Action involves either a sport or interaction with the community.
  • Service involves helping others in the community.

English Al Presentation—Students are evaluated on a required presentation of literary criticism (10-15 minutes).

Theory of Knowledge (ToK)—Students are evaluated on a required presentation on topics relevant to ToK. (10 minute minimum). Students prepare a written self-evaluation report.

Group 4 Project—Students work collaboratively on a science project and present their findings in a presentation (5-10 minutes).

The areas given here, along with thoughtful reflection, planning, and guidance from parents, teachers, and other advisors can potentially emerge into a project topic, thereby satisfying the graduation project requirements.

Advanced Studies/Career and Technical Education Options

Advanced Studies (Career and Technical Education)

Advanced Studies is the culminating course focusing on an essential question in a selected career cluster containing three technical credits in a program area. Two credits are to be a first and second level course and one is an enhancement course. The course is applicable to all Career and Technical Education program areas. A student may choose to use one of several listed alternatives in Career and Technical Education to complete the NC Graduation Project requirements. The student may choose from one of the following:

  • Career and Technical Education Advanced Studies
  • Career and Technical Education Internships
  • Career and Technical Education Apprenticeships
  • Career and Technical Education Student Organizations' Competitive Events, Service Project or Leadership Activity

Sample Topics

Topic: Comparison of Growth Rates of Common Fescue Varieties
Project: Develop a variety of trials to compare growth rates

Topic: Use of garlic as an alternative method of fly control in cattle
Project: Develop a trial to compare use of garlic vs. traditional fly control projects

Topic: Comparison of Alternative Energy Source Engines
Project: Develop an alternative energy engine prototype

Topic: A Study of Marketing Strategies for Alternative Crops
Project: Develop a student activity for Alternative Crop Growers

Business Education

Topic: Emerging Technology
Project: Analyze and test the capabilities of using a virtual reality browser

Topic: Computers and Security
Project: Compare/contrast two websites dedicated to identifying viruses and hoaxes. Example: McAfee and Symantec

Topic: Comparison of Small Business Accounting Systems
Project: Customize an accounting system for a small business

Topic: Comparison of Computer Network Systems
Project: Customize a network system for a small busines

Family and Consumer Sciences Education

Topic: Comparison of history of fashion in relationship to changes in the economy
Project: Make five different garments representing different time frames in history and our economy

Topic: Comparison of the Dietary Needs of the Elderly
Project: Develop a student activity on dietary needs of the elderly

Topic: Comparison of Community After-School Care Programs
Project: Develop an after-school care business plan

Health Occupations Education

Topic: Neurosurgery
Project: Engage in work based learning -job-shadowing neurosurgery

Topic: Mammography
Project: Engage in work based learning -job-shadowing mammography technician

Topic: Dentistry/Orthodontics
Project: Engage in work based learning -job-shadowing with a dentist/orthodontist

Topic: Play Therapy
Project: Develop a toy individualized for specific disability

Topic: Organ Transplants
Project: Create a public relations campaign on being an organ donor