The most dramatic example of Anzar's high expectations is the Graduation exhibition program. Exhibitions are not reports. Rather, they are complex issue-based projects that include an extensive research paper, an oral presentation, and a question/answer session. Exhibitions are a chance for students to explore a personal passion or interest in depth, over a semester, examining issues that are multi-dimensional from a variety of perspectives and biases. Students are asked to research and provide evidence and draw intelligent conclusions; in essence, the kind of analysis and synthesis that is required in challenging college courses. Through the exhibition process, students have the opportunity to show that they can use their minds nimbly. The projects are evaluated by a panel of three trained judges (most often community members).
Before earning a diploma from Anzar, each student is required to complete exhibitions in each of the following areas: Language Arts, history, Science, and Post-Graduate Plan/ Service learning. In addition, students must show their competence in their second language, their art medium of choice, and in applied mathematics as a complement to an exhibition. Students combine content areas' exhibitions in ways that make sense according to the issues being examined (i.e. Science and history, Science and math, language Arts and History, etc.)
The exhibitions are a natural extension of the internalization of Anzar Habits of Mind (EPERRs) in the freshmen and sophomore years, in all classes for all students. Exhibitions are then presented by juniors and seniors, developed in an elective course. This semester course can be repeated for credit as needed, and is noted on the transcript as "Graduation Exhibition." The scoring for the exhibitions and the specific combinations of content areas for each student are also noted on transcripts. No matter what the score, completion and passing of exhibitions means that all Anzar graduates have challenged themselves to their full extent in an area of true personal interest before graduating from high school. The ownership and pride that follow are very rewarding, and the practical preparation for college work firmly in place.
Be trained as an Exhibition Judge! Super rewarding!
Advice given by Spring 2016 Period 2 exhibition class to new grad ex students:
- Choose something that you are passionate about! Do your citations right away, as you write.
- Don't procrastinate! Don't forget to include both sides of your topic; you don't want to get called out on being biased!
- Talk to your coach; don't avoid her/him. Use your grad ex class period wisely. Get your drafts done on time and don't stress - you CAN get a grad ex done.
- Stay on task in class and sit away from friends.
- Don't panic when presenting because YOU'RE the teacher! Use your own words, never plagiarize; it's more work. Constantly edit. Turning in drafts is not an option. Do it or your final draft will suffer. Quality over quantity always; quantity will come with good work!