The Capstone Program at Collegiate School brings to life students’ classroom learning in a real-world context and is guided by our School’s commitment to Responsible Citizenship, which empowers engaged, contributing citizens by nurturing students’ compassion, creativity and purpose.
The Capstone Program is offered in the final year of each division of the School — 4th Grade, 8th Grade and 12th Grade — and creates opportunities and challenges for our students that help prepare them for the future.

12th Grade: Envision Your World

CHALLENGE | Students engage in authentic opportunities to connect with and contribute to the world at large in a senior Capstone class, a one-semester graduation requirement. The senior Capstone experiences foster compassionate leadership and a growth mindset.
COMMUNITY | All senior Capstones emphasize collaboration through partnerships beyond the Collegiate community, several of which connect with partner schools around the globe. Students can choose from a variety of Capstone experiences, each with a curricular focus on one or more of the pillars of Responsible Citizenship: Global Engagement, Inclusion, Economic Literacy, Entrepreneurship, Service Learning, Civic Engagement, Ethics and Service Learning.
DESIGN THINKING JOURNEY | Each Capstone has at its core an essential question or challenge that empowers 12th Graders to use their cumulative learning to engage with the challenge. Examples of past Capstone essential questions include:

Createathon On Campus | 
How can creativity and strategic thinking help Richmond area nonprofits succeed?
International Emerging Leaders: Global Conference | How can a truly global collaboration challenge me to grow as a leader?  
Sustainable Solutions to the Future of Food | How can we ensure that people have access to safe, healthy, affordable food in a way that can be both environmentally and economically sustainable?
PUBLIC SHARING | Team solutions are shared with audiences of individuals whose daily lives are part of, or impacted by, the Capstone essential question.

CONTINUING THE JOURNEY | As just one example, in the spring of 2018, Sustainable Solutions to the Future of Food Capstone students recommended that Collegiate leverage land adjacent to the existing outdoor classroom on Pagebrook Road for sustainable farming. They suggested that lessons related to farming at that location could be integrated into the JK-12 curriculum and allow for after-school and summer student opportunities in partnership with a local farmer. The possibilities are being explored with local partners with the intent to implement the student plan in the near future.

8th Grade: Envision Richmond

CHALLENGE | Students connect with organizations and leaders leveraging design thinking to identify and address challenges in the Richmond region. Envision Richmond fosters collaboration, empathy, creativity, communication and problem-solving techniques so students feel better equipped to improve the city around them.
COMMUNITY | The Capstone experience immerses the entire 8th Grade student body in the local community with an intensive leadership and civic engagement curriculum.
DESIGN THINKING JOURNEY | For one week in the fall, students leave the traditional classroom to visit Richmond sites, wrestle with a variety of issues and work in teams to develop a viable solution to the problems they identify. Examples of past topics explored during Envision Richmond include food insecurity, foster care, first responders and the military.
PUBLIC SHARING | Team solutions are presented to community leaders whose daily lives are part of, or impacted by, the challenge identified and addressed by the students.

CONTINUING THE JOURNEY |  Student teams continue to work throughout the school year, and in the spring design an outreach project for their organization that targets an immediate need.

4th Grade: Envision Collegiate

CHALLENGE | Students collaborate to identify and meet a need within the Collegiate community. Envision Collegiate fosters a broader understanding of the Collegiate community, problem-solving, empathy building and leadership development.
COMMUNITY | The Capstone experience immerses the entire 4th Grade student body in the inner workings of Collegiate’s campus, where students work to identify opportunities for growth and change for departments.
DESIGN THINKING JOURNEY | On their yearlong journey to envisioning a stronger Collegiate, 4th Graders are presented an essential question or challenge that empowers them to develop and hone skills including creative thinking, questioning, interviewing and public speaking. Examples of past Envision Collegiate essential questions include: “How might we design a learning garden for our school community?” and "How might we use technology to improve Collegiate by 2026?"
PUBLIC PRESENTATION | The year culminates with group presentations in which students bring together the skills they have learned and present as a team their innovative ideas for making Collegiate the best it can be.

CONTINUING THE JOURNEY | Growing from seeds of ideas planted during the inaugural year, faculty and staff created joint work sessions with students who participated in 2017 Envision Collegiate, Kindergarten students, Upper School robotics students and students enrolled in the senior Capstone class, Food in America, to design and build the Lower School garden’s raised beds.

"We believe wholeheartedly that young people yearn to engage meaningfully with their communities as responsible citizens - listening deeply, observing openly, and questioning what might be; we dedicate ourselves to making space for that critical work by intentionally crafting curricular opportunities to expand their circles. Our JK-12 Capstone program empowers students to envision the future of Collegiate, the future of Richmond and, ultimately, our world - building upon the knowledge, skills and dispositions students develop over the course of their journeys through each division."
Rhiannon Boyd
Director, JK-12 Capstones
In addition to distinct developmentally appropriate components, each divisional Capstone shares some common elements:
  • Responsible Citizenship Curriculum Focus
  • Collaborative Learning
  • Leadership Development
  • Design Thinking Skill Building
  • Experiential Learning
  • Public Sharing/Presentations