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Downingtown West High School

Graduation Project Information


The Downingtown Area School District Graduation Project provides each student with the opportunity to go beyond the traditional educational program.  By transferring learned skills to self-selected area of physical, intellectual, or artistic interest, students will:

·       Expand their personal knowledge

·       Apply learning to practical, real-life situations

·       Explore career paths

·       Become lifelong learners


Project Form:

Projects should represent a significant effort on the students’ part.  Community service projects require a minimum of 40 hours participation, including planning time.  Other projects should also involve at least 40 hours of time and effort, with students documenting activities involved in accomplishing the projects.

Projects may take the form of:

·       A Community Service Experience:

Work at WIC, women’s shelter, homeless shelter, DARE, DARC, soup kitchen, Adult Care of Chester County, Bryn Mawr Rehad, Brandywine Hospital, Chester County Hospital, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, service to churches, local agencies, and elementary and middle schools.

·       An Extended and Focused Study:

Explore a particular topic such as world hunger, health care, aging, social organizations, environmental issues, racial harmony, education, labor relations, industry, business, crime, technology of future, a particular period of time, or a particular invention, discovery or contribution.

·       An Original Research Effort:

Design and conduct a scientifically controlled experiment, conduct case student research, conduct an active participant school or community study, or conduct an ethnographic study.

·       A Creative Production:

Design and present a dance performance, oral history performance, classroom museum, an art exhibit, a fashion show, a sculpture exhibit, write historical fiction, drama, children’s literature, a volume of poetry, create and perform original music compositions, or create a video. 

·       A Scientific Investigation:

Replicate and validate an experiment, conduct an investigation on an original question. 

·       A Practical Application:

Build a playground, construct a greenhouse, complete auto body design and repair, develop new or applied tools, organize a cooperative effort such as a toy drive, fundraiser, etc. 

·       A Career Exploration:

Plan and implement a career discovery process built upon one’s interest, and intern or shadow experiences at multiple work locations in the chosen field at various career points.

·       Other Student-Initiated Proposal:

Teaching aides, peer or after-school tutoring, career fairs, or political investigation. 

Most projects will be individually developed.  However, occasionally, group projects may be more appropriate.  In the projects, each person’s role and product must contribute to the project and stand alone for assessment purposes.

Project Components:

All projects must include the following:

·       A formal, written student proposal with written parental approval and support.

·       An information sheet signed by the project mentor.  (The project mentor is NOT the student’s guidance counselor).

·       Approval signature from a West Graduation project team member obtained no later than November 15 of the junior year.

·       A timeline including project conclusion date occurring before the student’s final semester of the senior year.  (Will be listed on the Graduation Project Proposal Forms).

·       Student-generated documentation of the project’s development and implementation, appropriate to the approved project.  (Work Journal)

·       A student-generated assessment of the quality of the project and the personal value of the project experience.  (Self Evaluation)

·       A completed product for the project consisting of a formal presentation to an assigned Graduation Team.  (Presentation)

Project Assessment:

Assessments will be conducted by a panel of two or more graduation team members in the manner as submitted in the graduation project proposal.  All students will be required to make a presentation to their assigned graduation team, which at a minimum describes the project as a whole.  Projects will be assessed as: “PASS” or “INCOMPLETE.”  Students receiving an “Incomplete” will be asked to make modifications and resubmit for a second assessment.  Students will continue to make modifications and improvements until submitted projects meet all criteria at a satisfactory level. 


Graduation Project Procedures:

Submitting Proposal and Mentor Information:

·       Fill out your PROPOSAL FORM and ask your project mentor to fill out the MENTOR FORM.  Please submit the completed forms 1 of 2 ways:

1.     Scan copies of both forms and email to Mr. Hassel at

2.     Drop completed copies off in the main office in Mr. Hassel’s mailbox.  (please include a legible email address which will be used for returning signed copies of your forms).

·       A signed copy of the completed forms will be returned to you via email in a timely manner.

·       Once you have received your approvals, you may begin working on your Graduation Project. 

Scheduling a Graduation Project Proposal:

·       Email Mr. Hassel at so that you can be assigned to a graduation project team.  It will be your responsibility to schedule a date and time to present your Graduation Project with your assigned Graduation Project Team.

·       Complete the Self Evaluation form.

·       You will be required to bring your completed SELF EVALUATION and LOG of HOURS with you on your scheduled day.  Make sure your paperwork is completed prior to arriving for your presentation. 

·       If you will be using any type of technology to make your presentation, please bring it with you on your scheduled date and time (this will help guarantee that you can open appropriate files).


SENIORS: Graduation projects must be completed/presented to be eligible for Parking Permits your SENIOR year.
JUNIORS: Graduation projects must be proposed by end of Sophomore year to be eligible for Parking Permits your JUNIOR Year.