Westtown School deeply values student-driven inquiry and seeks to provide myriad opportunities for students to customize their learning. Advanced Independent Seminar is one such opportunity, and provides motivated students a unique opportunity to deeply explore a topic of interest, to focus on a creative project, or to follow a passion within their academic program. Students who enroll in Independent Seminar engage in individual research and in-depth exploration of areas of interest under the guidance of Westtown faculty and a mentor expert in the field.
Open to students in grades 10 to 12, those interested in this seminar write a proposal describing their intended area of focus, their non-Westtown mentors, and how they will demonstrate their learning and/or the end results of their research or project. Once approved, students meet with mentors and regularly blog about their projects. At the end of each semester, students write an extended self-reflection and exhibit their learning. Examples of these demonstrations have included presentations to the Upper School student body, a large scale mural, individual student art shows, scholarly literature reviews, short stories or novels, or computer applications.
Over 60 students have pursued a diverse set of projects which you can read about on the Independent Seminar Blog. Whether it’s exploring the intersections of astrophysics and music, game theory and implicit bias, creating an app to help people manage their health, writing short stories, constructing a campus field guide, understanding the impact of mental illness on families, or painting Minwha (to name just a few) these projects reflect the diversity subject areas our students have elected to study.