Students in the Advanced Authentic Research Program present their year-long projects to parents and families, in the Media Arts Center at Palo Alto High School. Photo: Eric Yap
What course should underclassmen take if they are interested in business? Social experiments, or student wellness?
The Advanced Authentic Research Program is a unique opportunity for students in grades 10-12 to engage in original research in a topic of their choosing. Students are paired with volunteer mentors who are experts in the field, according to the AAR hyperlink.
According to one of the organizers of the AAR program, Dr. Jeong Choe, the course lets student discover what they want to study.
“For them to have a say that ‘this is what I want to study’ and ‘this is what I’m going to pursue’, gives them a strong ownership of their learning,” Choe said.
The Palo Alto Unified School District Advanced Authentic Research program won the prestigious Glenn. W Hoffmann Award in early March.
Beginning in 1984, the awards were initiated by the Santa Clara County School Boards Association to provide recognition to successful school programs that have a significant impact on student success in our county.
The award honors Glenn W. Hoffmann, who served as the superintendent of Santa Clara County schools from 1967 to 1984, and believed that leadership is a key factor in educational reform, according to the award Hyperlink.
Each fall, school districts are invited to identify programs they consider worthy of commendations and consistent with a free, public education for all students.
Applications are submitted in any of the 10 categories including professional development, and student leadership.
According to AAR teacher Erin Angell, the community connection from this program was an important aspect.
“You had all the different types of subjects represented , a cross section of students and learners at Paly represented,” Angell said. “There is a high level of community engagement with the learning of students.”