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Students Decide on Topics for Independent Study

By Will Bonnel

The school offers a wide variety of curriculum. One option for students is the independent studies program, which allows the student to learn about what they wish, and then present their findings.

The independent studies program is a class that is open to students in the Gifted Program. This class lets students go into a topic that they find interest in.

“The independent studies program is an opportunity to explore things of interest that we don’t have time to go into in the regular curriculum,” Gifted Program advisor and English teacher Beth Anderson said.

There is a great variety of topic because the student designs their own class. The idea is to help the student find what interests them.

“My topic is Music Theory and applying that knowledge to songwriting and guitar playing. I have learned many useful musical concepts and how to apply them to my guitar playing and musical compositions,” senior Joseph Pervall said.

The study does require a lot of work. The student must collaborate with their mentor, and right a research paper at the end of the first semester.

“Throughout the year those enrolled in an independent study must complete 140 hours of work, just like a normal class,” Anderson said.

When they get to the end of the year, the students must show what they learned through a presentation. The presentations will be on May 24 at the courthouse.

“[During my presentation] I will give a brief overview of some of the things I learned and covered in my research paper, then I will present and breakdown the song I wrote,” Pervall said.

These presentations will vary because of the large range of topics. The ability to choose what you study allows a great diversity.

“The presentation is an opportunity for the students to showcase what the student learned. It is usually unique to the study,” Anderson said.

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  • B

    Busola OlanrewajuJun 5, 2012 at 6:08 am

    I love the idea of the Independent Study Program. I think it is a great way to broaden a students idea of education. It also teaches them a whole great deal of responsibility because they are required to do their own work and be able to show what they have learned. I would like to see this sort of program available to wider range of students.

  • F

    Faven ButlerMay 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Independent Study is one of the best classes we have at the school in my opinion. It provides an opportunity for students to look into what they really want to do after highschool. It is a way to stray away from the traditional classroom environment while still being in the realm of a beneficial education.

  • T

    Tasia FaulconMay 28, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    Independent Study is a good way that students can express themselves and learn more about themselves. I think getting outside of a classroom setting and being able to work at your own pace in your own way could be a very refreshing way for students to learn.

  • K

    Kayla BishopMay 24, 2012 at 3:56 am

    I feel like this program will be a great opportunity for students at PGHS. This program will give students a new way of learning and new subjects to learn about. while i do think it will be a great program i still feel like it could have the downfall of the students who join this program being seperated and not getting to know people outside of it. I think that this article overall is a good article.

  • C

    Chloe AlexanderMay 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Being in Independent Study, obviously the perks are amazing. You are not confined to a traditional classroom setting, and by being able to utilize various outside sources, you learn more and better. Participating in Independent Study also helps you learn more about yourself and how you work best, which can be applied to everything no matter the subject. I am glad Will covered this.

  • R

    Rachel PughMay 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Matt had an interesting point—Independent Study gives you the opportunity to break away from school guidelines and learn about something you truly care about. It’s a great program for students who know what they want to do after high school and helps them get a head start on their focus. Today I sat in during Alex Martinez’s presentation on his Computer Programming study. I had no idea what he was saying and honestly left the presentation a little confused, but it was refreshing to see a student be so enthusiastic about learning.

  • J

    John ShumarMay 23, 2012 at 5:58 pm

    I think this class requires individual drive and time management and allows a student to be creative. That sounds like an awesome idea to me, and in some ways I believe school should be modeled towards more studies like this class. If we were all able to be more focused on a study that we wanted to pursue in the future, we would all better serve our nation. I just want to commend the students who presented in the library today, especially the creator of artificial intelligence-he is going to be really rich one day.

  • M

    Matthew SchneckMay 23, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Throughout all the years I have attended Prince George County Schools, I have felt inhibited by state guidelines and by hindered opportunities. With money so tight in the district, it is a shame to see that programs like Anatomy will probably be cancelled with so many aspiring Health Professionals within our school. Even though these opportunities are slowly being taken away from us, the school has a tidbit of light with the independent study program that allows students to explore fields that our school does not offer. Unfortunately in our society, so much time, effort, and money is dedicated to those who are not driven to succeed; this is most likely why America is falling behind as an intellectual power. The school district needs to refocus its resources to helping those who want to succeed. The independent study program is a great indicator of how effective properly allocated funds can be.

  • S

    Stephen BrockwellMay 23, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    Personally, I believe the idea of the independent studies program is a great opportunity for students. It seems rather unorthodox, but encouraging students to learn in fields that interest them is an idea that most schools can learn from. It does a nice job of not only helping students learn in a preferred subject, but it also helps them think differently about it.

  • M

    Megan JonsonMay 21, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Last year, I had the wonderful opportunity of being at the court house when students presented their independent studies. There was a wide range of topics but the one thing that was the same in every presentation was you could feel the passion each student had for their topic. Like the article stated, our school offers many courses, but not everything. I think this program is a wonderful opportunity for those who want to follow their dreams!