Adopted Spring1999

Revised Fall 2003

Spring 2006

September 2007


Antietam Middle-Senior High School

100 Antietam Road

Reading, Pennsylvania 19606-1018

Telephone: (610) 779-3545

Fax: (610) 779-0378

Dr. James W. SnyderMr. Jason Deane

Principal Assistant Principal

Dear Parent/Guardian and Student:

The State of Pennsylvania adopted a comprehensive graduation project requirement for all public school students. The requirement is described as follows:

In order to graduate from high school, a student shall complete a project in one or more areas of concentrated study under the guidance and direction of the high school faculty. The purpose of the project, which may include research, writing, or some other appropriate form of demonstration, is to assure that the student is able to apply, analyze, synthesize and evaluate information and communicate significant knowledge and understanding. Individual students or groups of students may undertake projects. (Chapter V, Section 5.214, Pennsylvania Bulletin, July 24, 1993).

The development of a format for the graduation project at the Antietam Middle-Senior High School was a joint venture involving faculty, staff, administration and students. The purpose of the team was to develop a graduate project program that enhances the educational experience of each student and supports students in completing their projects. The graduation project program permits various options for students to complete this requirement. These options are outlined in the Graduation Project Manual. It is the hope of the team that students in our school will find the project to be an opportunity for extended educational research, exploration, and discovery. The program also seeks to permit accomplishment of the requirement through projects already embedded in the curriculum.

A graduation project commences when the Graduation Project Proposal Form is completed by the student and approved by his or her mentor. Please be aware that a graduation project is not complete until all signatures, including my own, are on the Graduation Project Completion Form.

Please take some time to carefully read the Graduation Project Manual. After doing so, please complete the Parental Notification Form and return it to school with your son/daughter to his or her homeroom teacher.


James W. Snyder, Ed.D.

In adopting what had become known as the ‘graduation’ project, the Department of Education permitted a wide variety of possibilities by specifying very little in its requirements. As a result, the school is able to permit creativity on the part of students and mentors in development of educational experience that are closely tailored to the individual student. The following is a list of possible areas that a student or group of students may complete for this requirement. Topics included are not all-inclusive.


Students with an interest in a specific area may designate research/study in that field as the focus of their project. An approach of this manner permits students to explore areas of personal interest and becomes more valuable to the student as an individual. Further, the study done in this manner can be used later in the education of the student during post secondary education. Below are some possibilities that you may wish to consider.

Research one’s own genealogy/family history

Research a historically famous person with ties to the community

Research a local author, poet, artist, or musician

Research the history of your township or borough

Research a particular field of study of interest – i.e. psychology, musicology


A student who wishes may develop and implement a community service project. Projects of this nature will encompass research of the existing condition in terms of history, permits, and summary of the accomplishments. All community service projects must include 30 hours of logged time. Below are some possibilities you may wish to consider.

Complete community service at a local establishment such as Manor Care, Reading Hospital, Reading Rehab, Salvation Army, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Women in Crisis, or your local church

Landscape and maintain an area of the school district or your community

Serve as a bi-lingual or academic tutor

Serve at a local soup kitchen, fund raiser, etc.

Volunteer at any of the local day care centers

Volunteer at a local camp during the summer

Animal shelters and veterinary hospitals need volunteers as walkers and kennel keepers


A student may wish to explore personal or career interests. Projects of this nature encourage exploration in a concentrated area of study that is personally worthwhile to the student. Below are some possibilities that you may wish to consider.

Complete a career search including a shadow day, interviews, research, etc.

Produce a play, talent show, musical piece, video, or multimedia presentation

Write and perform a piece of music

Write a book of poetry or prose with illustrations

Keep a detailed journal or diary with reflections of a trip or experience

Restore, refinish, refurbish or create a piece of furniture or school equipment or church item or home space

Rebuild or restore a car, boat, mower, tractor, etc.

Build a park bench, picnic table, or recreational facility item


A variety of classroom projects and experiences already in place in our school meet the minimum requirements of the graduation project. A student who desires to designate one of these projects will follow the same guidelines associated with the other projects and complete his/her final documentation for approval by his/her mentor. The department chairperson of the academic department for which the project is completed must approve all curriculum projects.

Please note: All curriculum projects that are completed to meet the expectations of the graduation project must be completed by the conclusion of the course. All attending graduation project paperwork must completed and submitted no more than 10 school days after the end of the semester during which the curriculum project for example. For example, consider this scenario:

  1. A student chooses to use his or her 11th grade thesis paper project in his 1st semester English class to meet the expectations of the graduation project.
  2. The thesis must be completed during the first semester.
  3. The graduation project paperwork including the Graduation Project Proposal, the Graduation Project Journal, the Project Written Summary Scoring Rubric and the Student Completion Notice must be submitted no later than 10 days into the 2nd semester.
  4. Only under these circumstances would the thesis project satisfy the graduation project expectations.

The same parameters will be followed for any other curricular project. Essentially, the completion of the curriculum project as the means to satisfy the expectations of the graduation project is confined to the semester during which the course is taught.

Assignment Of Mentor

One of the most important elements of the project is the assignment of a mentor from the faculty to each student in the school. The mentor’s purpose is to work directly with the student in development of a project that fulfills the graduation project requirement while providing a stimulating educational experience at a level comparable to the student’s ability.

Assignment of mentors will be done on a random basis. Each full-time professional staff member will be assigned an equal number of students from one of the grade levels in the school and will then follow that group students’ progress from grade 9 to completion of the project. Ideally, no one advisor should expect to have in excess of twelve students assigned at any one time.

Responsibilities of the mentor include the following:

  1. Reviews this project handbook so that each student understands every facet of the project and the procedures necessary to complete the project successfully.
  2. Meets with assigned students individually or as a group at pre-arranged times.
  3. Brainstorms possible project topics based on each student's areas of interest.
  4. Helps the student select and define a project that is appropriate and manageable.
  5. Approves the proposed project
  6. Refers students, if necessary, to members of district staff or community with expertise in their project area.
  7. Tracks student submissions of forms as dictated by the timeline.
  8. Keeps forms in each student's graduation project file.
  9. Informs counselors (who will then notify parents) when students fall behind the established time line.
  10. Reviews assessment forms (rubrics) with each student.
  11. Supports the student as he or she arranges for presentation of the graduation project for evaluation.
  12. Serves as one member of the two-member evaluation panel at the oral presentation.

Career Center Students

B.C.T.C. students may use their shop as the topic for their graduation project and will use their shop instructor as their advisor. They will however have a faculty member from Antietam Middle-Senior High School to monitor their progress.

B.C.T.C. students will do their research paper and presentation at the B.C.T.C. and submit the paper (graded) to their Antietam School District Advisor to receive credit at Antietam Middle-Senior High School.

Antietam/BCTC students must complete their graduation project by the end of the third marking period of their senior year.

Project Approval

Students should seek the advice and counsel of their mentor to determine the project area, scope, and process that they will follow. Once the idea has been developed conceptually, the student will submit the proposed project in writing on a Graduation Project Proposal Form (Appendix B) with the appropriate signatures including those of Department Chairpersons as necessary.

Final approval of the project is the sole responsibility of the mentor. Mentors who have a project submitted that is questionable due to scope, safety, and/or completion may submit the proposal to the department chair committee of the school for review and guidance. Likewise, if a student has his/her project rejected by the mentor, the student may request an appeal to the department head committee. Appeals will be heard by the full committee as presented by the student and a written notification of findings will be presented to the student following the appeal hearing.

Project Journal

All students must maintain a journal of activities related to their work on their project regardless of the type of project they select. The Graduation Project Journal sheets (Appendix C) then become part of the completed project submitted for review by the mentor and reviewer. The Project Journal is worth twenty (20) points.

A fair estimate of time required for a project of this nature is thirty (30) hours. This does not mean that a student who does fewer hours will receive less credit. Rather, this is generally indicative of the minimum anticipated time required to produce a product that will fulfill the requirements.

Project Presentation

Presentation of projects may be done at any time during the student’s 10th grade year but before the last school day of February of the student’s 11th grade year at a time when the mentor and the student agree that a successful project has been accomplished. A student has two options for presentation of his/her project. Students may present orally or submit a written summary of their project. Whether the student presents orally or in writing is at the discretion of the mentor and student.

Students who present orally will make the presentation to a faculty/administration group of no less than two members. (mentor & additional reviewer) Oral presentations are worth forty (40) points of the total project and will be scored on the Project Oral Presentation Scoring Rubric (Appendix D). Oral presentations should be no more than twenty (20) minute in length. Students who present orally must use a visual to support his or her presentation. Examples of visuals may include a videotape, slide show, picture album, charts, or any product of the project, etc.

Students who present in writing will submit a document no less than 8-10 double spaced pages to his or her mentor. While the content of the summary is the key element of this part of the project, students will be expected to submit the summary typed and conforming to the MLA standards. The written summary may be the actual product of a curriculum project, a reflective journal of a career or personal interest experience or community service project. The written project summary has a total project value of forty (40) points and will be reviewed by the mentor and one additional staff member (reviewer) according to the Project Written Summary Scoring Rubric (Appendix E).

Student Completion Notice

Following a successful oral or written presentation, the mentor and additional staff member (reviewer) will complete a Student Completion Notice (appendix F) and submit the form to the high school principal. The form will then become part of the documentation in the student’s cumulative folder for graduation.

Failed Attempts

While the project is designed for success, a student who varies greatly from the agreed upon approach with his/her mentor may find that the presentation is unacceptable. In these situations, the mentor and reviewer will complete a Project Presentation Failure Notice (appendix F-1) and submit copies to the student, principal, and parent/guardian.

By instituting new guidelines, there may be a need to withhold activities for not completing the project in a timely manner. Possible penalties could include, but not limited to:

  1. Prom
  2. Senior Class Trip
  3. Carsonia Lake Project
  4. Homecoming Activities
  5. Senior Exam Exemptions
  6. Parking Privileges

When the project has been completed and the paperwork has been filed in the office, reinstitution of activities will take place.


At any time during the process or review of materials a student feels that he/she has been judged inappropriately or disagrees with the findings of the mentor or review team, the student may request mediation. Mediation will be conducted by the building principal in a three-way conference with the student and mentor. If the mediation fails to correct the problem, the dispute will be presented to the department chair committee who will then act to render a final decision on the dispute. Recommendations by this group may include but are not limited to: upholding the opinion of the mentor, finding for the student, recommendation for a change in mentor, or assuming the advisement of the student as a body.

Timeline for Completion

This timeline provides a guideline for the completion of the graduation project. Students are encouraged to work efficiently and may complete the project in a more timely fashion than is stated below. Benchmarks in bold print must be attained by the months indicated.

Grade 9

Students are assigned to mentors

Mentors meet with students during IST or time designated within the school day to discuss project options

Mentors meet individually with students as needed

Grade 10

First Meeting

Mentors meet with students during IST or time designated within the school day to discuss project options

Second Meeting

Mentors meet individually with students as needed to develop proposals

Work on proposals

Third Meeting

  • *Proposal is completed and approved
  • Students continue work on project independently and during scheduled IST meetings with mentors or as needed

Fourth Meeting

  • Students continue work on project independently and during scheduled IST meetings with mentors or as needed

Grade 11

First Meeting

*1st Summary of Progress is completed and approved

Students continue work of project independently and during scheduled IST meetings with mentors or as needed

Second Meeting

*2nd Summary of Progress is completed and approved

Students continue work of project independently and during scheduled IST meetings with mentors or as needed

Students are to schedule presentation

Third Meeting

Students continue work of project independently and during scheduled IST meetings with mentors or as needed

Student projects and presentations are to be completed by MEMORIAL DAY.

* Indicates critical date. Parent Notification Form (appendix G) sent out for deficient students at the points in time when documentation is not provided.

Appendix A

Parental Notification Form

Dear Parent/Guardian:

Your son/daughter has received a copy of the Antietam Middle-Senior High School Graduation Project Handbook. In this handbook is a brief description of the procedure and assessment guidelines necessary for the graduation project your child must complete in order to graduate. Also included are copies of all necessary forms for submission throughout the process as well as sample letters you may receive as warranted.

The graduation project process begins in grade 9 and continues until completion in grade 11. It is important for you and your child to carefully examine the handbook so that you are aware of the responsibilities.

Please review the manual with your child and sign below to indicate you have read the manual and understand its contents. Return this form to your child’s graduation project mentor.

Thank you.

Parent’s Signature: Date:

Student’s Signature: Date:

Mentor’s Signature: Date:

Appendix B


Student: Mentor:

Project Area:

  1. Specifically state the nature of the proposed project:
  1. Identify what elements of this project involve more than one academic discipline:
  1. Tell how the project meets the intended State regulations in terms of application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation:

Student Signature:Date:

Parent/Guardian Signature:Date:

Mentor use only

  1. Does the proposed project meet the basic component of the scope as defined? YN
  2. Has the project been developed in consultation with you?YN
  3. Is the proposed project within the ability level of the student?YN
  4. As mentor, is it your opinion that the project proposal meets the requirement?YN
  5. Project is:ApprovedDisapproved (comments required)