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Capstone students in Rockford Public Schools learn by doing

It’s crunch time for Capstone projects in the Rockford Public Schools.

The Capstone combines theory and practice to demonstrate a high level of scholarship and readiness for college and careers. For the last couple of years, both Auburn High School and Roosevelt Alternative High School have piloted Capstone projects.

At Auburn, the Capstone is an elective class. The final step for the top projects is a showcase round of presentations before a panel of RPS 205 administrators. The showcase requires students to boil down months of research into a short multimedia presentation. This year, the showcase is April 30.

Auburn teacher John Rauh, who teaches the senior seminar (Capstone) class, is helping guide the 22 Auburn students’ projects. It would be hard to top the rigor of last year’s presentations, which ran the gamut from a celestial view of what drives art to original music compositions. But Rauh said this year’s projects are just as impressively ambitious.

Among them:

Cesar Martinez has used the Robin Hood mobile app to track his stock holdings.

Cesar Martinez has used the Robin Hood mobile app to track his stock holdings.

–Cesar Martinez has always been interested in the way money flows and the behavior of investors. He has invested $150 in the stock market for his Capstone. He wants to see if he can reach a sweet spot between market optimism and pessimism. He has been studying the lessons of Benjamin Graham, Warren Buffett’s mentor. He’s also reading the Wall Street Journal and the Economist magazine. It’s one thing to learn the material, Martinez said, but you have to practice it through actual buying and selling.

–Lily Li is trying to change the negative perception many Rockford residents have of their city. With the help of the RPS 205 Improvement and Innovation Department, Li has surveyed nearly 400 students in district after-school programs to determine what they think is beautiful in their city. Li will then take pictures of the favorite spots to reach a new perspective through the art of photography. She believes strongly that people should look on the bright side. By middle school, Li had moved many times between China and the United States; she now sees the relocations as positive. “You experience different cultures, learn different languages, you make new friends,” she said.

Later this week, a blog post will explore Alignment Rockford’s contribution to Capstone projects at Roosevelt.

Mary Kaull is communications coordinator for the Rockford Public Schools. Click here to subscribe to this blog. Also, please like RPS 205 on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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