Collegiate Launches 4th Grade Capstone Pilot Program

Collegiate School introduced a capstone program for the 4th Grade this week, called Envision Collegiate, to build upon the existing capstones for 8th Grade (Envision Richmond) and 12th Grade (Envision Your World). All three programs bring to life students’ classroom learning in a real-world context.
“Capstones in each division are guided by the School’s commitment to Responsible Citizenship, which empowers engaged, contributing citizens by nurturing students’ compassion, creativity and purpose,” said Clare Sisisky, Collegiate’s Director of Responsible Citizenship. “The capstone programs in the final year of each division embody this vision – creating space, opportunity and challenge for students to help prepare them for their futures.”

The 4th Grade pilot, centered around the Responsible Citizenship pillar of sustainability, will use the Lower School garden as its focus to help students learn about collaborative design and develop their communication and leadership skills.

At the program launch this morning in Burke Hall, Susan Droke, Academic Dean, explained the design thinking process that students would use over the next three days to create a solution to a challenge. She told them the five-stage process was created at Stanford University and involves discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation and communication. She showed them a chair used in the Upper School that was created using the design thinking process.

Mrs. Sisisky then revealed to the students their challenge: How might we design a learning garden for our school community?

“There is no right answer and no wrong answer,” she said. “There are infinite answers.”

On Monday, students ventured to Richmond-area learning garden sites, including several at elementary schools and businesses, to get ideas for re-inventing the Lower School garden. The next day, they will interview teachers, students and administrators about the current garden, brainstorm and create prototypes based on the information they have gathered.

On Wednesday, students will present their designs to a panel and the community and receive feedback on their work.
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