8th Grade Capstone Project
Every eighth grade student at Portland Jewish Academy has the wonderful opportunity of participating in PJA’s culminating experience, the Capstone Project. The Capstone Project is a multifaceted, interdisciplinary project which addresses our PJA middot (values) and tikkun olam, integrates the curriculum of the Jewish Studies program, and addresses the fundamental skills of the research process and academic writing as taught by the Humanities department. Capstone requires students to design, implement and facilitate a service project. These service projects, which will have a grounding in the historical and textual curriculum studied in 6th, 7th and 8th grade Jewish Studies, will also require the student to incorporate international mindedness.
After identifying an area of interest and an immediate need in their community, students will write a proposal for approval by the Capstone team of faculty members. Once approved, students create an action plan, with a detailed timeline.
After completing their service project, students will choose a related topic, conduct research and undertake the writing of a formal research paper. The Capstone experience concludes with the completion of a Drash, where students will make connections between Jewish history, text, their personal Jewish identity or the PJA middot.
Throughout their Capstone experience, students will document the hours they spend working on their Service projects in a log. Additionally, students will engage in regular reflection, making numerous blog entries to record their progress and their thoughts as they complete their project, their paper and their Drash. In the spring, the entire Capstone experience will conclude in an event where students will share their projects and experiences with their families and the PJA community.