Plan in the works for juniors to have a grade-level project

Jordan O’Neal

As the year ends, underclassmen are stressing out over has big, class-wide projects. The juniors, however, have managed to escape that stress leaving some people wondering why.

Thus far, only the freshmen and sophomores have a grade-level project where they combine Humanities with a STEM-based class. Even the seniors are tasked with creating a memory book that reflects on their time in school. The juniors have not had a grade-level, cross-curricular project since 2012.

According to science teacher Dr. Grant Storey, the seniors used to have to submit a portfolio before graduating while 11th graders participated in a week-long job shadow.  

Before the Cumulative Health Impacts Analysis (CHIA) project, a team from Cleveland met with community partners with the hope of creating a plan for juniors. After the initial meeting, it was clear the project was better suited for 9th graders. 

According to Michael Shaw, who heads the science department, the juniors no longer have a grade-level project because of the lack of funding and the amount of planning it takes for a project to proceed.

“It has to be the right opportunity that lines up with what the Humanities and the science classes want and what the partners want out of the project,” Shaw said. “It also has to have complete support from the administration and fit the constraints of legality and cannot violate students’ rights.”  

There is a proposal on the table for next year’s juniors. Shaw revealed the possibly of starting the Seattle Flu Project (SFP).

The SFP would potentially take place in the fall and would have students analyzing a strand of the flu virus. This junior class could also offer opportunities that would involve the Qiagen robots, machines that complete the process of multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) which amplifies DNA strands. 

This project would have the same purpose as the sophomores’ Water Project and the 9th graders’ CHIA project: to give more experience than other high schools and prepare students for college and beyond.