The Class of 2016 Enters the Spring Semester With a Change to the Annual SIP Project

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After the announcement was made, mixed emotions from joy and relief to concern and frustration filled the senior hallway. They had just learned that they would not have to complete the end-of-the-year Senior Integration Project. This meant that unlike previous grades, they were free from having to spend many hours of their final months at WCA in research. However, while many were relieved, some seniors had been looking forward to SIP.

“It is a unique expeirience when you get a chance to research, argue, and present any topic with friends,” said Zach Shultz, senior.

In past years, during their final semester of high school, all seniors have been required to complete SIP. For this capstone project, students formed groups of four and choose a specific topic of their choice to research. In the past, a variety of topics such as Renaissance art, movies of the 80’s, and Pixar have been researched and examined through a Biblical worldview. Groups then prepared a lengthy paper and presentation on their topic of choice. Each group also chose a few teacher advisors to monitor their work and give insight. Historically, SIP has been a major grade in each senior’s Worldviews class. Due to the extensive amount of time and research invovled with the project, seniors have not taken second semester finals in their regular classes.

When Noah Brink started his first year at Westminster as Assistant Head of School, he seemed to not only hear about the importance of SIP but also the frustration it has caused parents, students, and teachers throughout the school.

So, at the beginning of this year, Mr. Brink and the Worldviews Bible teachers saw that it was necessary to take a step back and reexamine the purpose of SIP.

“In some aspects, SIP has drifted away from its original mission, due to the fact that most if not all of the creators of SIP have left Westminster by now. However, the Bible teachers have done their best trying to lead a project they did not create,” said Brink.

It was decided that a change was needed. Now the administration and teachers are working to refine the program. Meanwhile, SIP will not be in full effect for this year’s current seniors. Instead, the semester project will be scaled down to an end-of-the-year Bible assignment, a smaller task that does not involve outside teachers.

As for future classes, the school is in the process of redesigning the SIP project. They are likely to keep certain aspects of the previous assignment, such as researching topics through a Biblical mindset and receiving the help of other teachers in the school. However, they want to shift the focus of research from broad subjects to specific topics, ones that students have already been exposed to in their time at WCA. They also would like seniors to receive help from teachers who have specific knowledge pertaining to their topic.

“We want students to go deeper into an area of study, something that they have learned in the past. We want it to to be about their academic passion,” said Brink.

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