Launching the High School IMPACT Program

The high school is excited to launch a recognition program, called IMPACT, starting in August 2016.  This program has grown out of ASIJ’s three strategic objectives, which aim to help students:

  • Identify problems and use innovation and collaboration to design and evaluate solutions.
  • Take risks, explore passions and pursue personal paths with resilience.
  • Develop the capacity to understand diverse perspectives.

IMPACT is a way for students to be acknowledged for demonstrating these qualities, engaging in deep learning and reflection in an area of personal interest, and sharing their experiences with others.

A special grade 9 and 10 assembly was held this week inviting students to start thinking about potential pathways they might explore through the IMPACT program. At the assembly, several current grade 12 students, who have been engaged in independent and self-directed inquiry, shared stories that reflect the criteria for the program. These examples were intended to help spark ideas for younger students who might be interested in the program next year.

At the end of the assembly students were invited to share ideas that they might like to pursue. It was exciting to see such a diversity of interests represented.

Program structure and supports

The IMPACT program is not an extra class, or an additional research paper or project. The program instead is designed to match a student with an adult who will serve as a spark-coach—helping students develop a learning network, refine their goals or research question and meet various deadlines. The experience will culminate in an activity, enterprise or presentation that is shared with the broader community or applied in an authentic way.

A student’s IMPACT experience may grow out of work they have done in one of ASIJ’s more open-ended research or design courses, such as AP Seminar or AP Research, Bioengineering, Independent Inquiry or one of the Creativity, Innovation and Design (CID) courses. It might also spring from an area of interest a student has been pursuing for a number of years.

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Examples of areas a student might pursue include deep research that culminates in a proposal for real-world change, the composition of a musical, an environmental impact study, the launch of an entrepreneurial activity, or the creation of programs or organizations that focus on specific issues. The possibilities are broad and driven by a student’s interest in becoming self-guided, life-long learners who are aware of the impact their efforts can have on others as well as the impact their learning has on them.

We envision that a student’s IMPACT experience will provide a foundation for students as they continue to chart their path towards college, summer opportunities and internships. Next year, the high school will honor students who complete the program by showcasing their work through opportunities such as public presentations and recognition events. Other ways to recognize students who complete the IMPACT program are currently under consideration and we look forward to sharing updates on the program next year. (Rick Weinland, HS Principal)

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