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Senior Honors Symposium


The Senior Honors Project (SHP) and the annual SHP Symposium, which is the culminating event of the SHP, represent perhaps one of the most exciting evolutions of community based education at SFIS.
Envisioned by SFIS education stakeholders, including The Leadership Institute at SFIS, SHP began as a community based research project requirement for all seniors in Advanced Placement (AP) English classes in 2002. SHP quickly developed as a graduation requirement for all seniors. Through interdisciplinary coordination between the senior English teacher, the senior social studies teacher, and SHP Coordinator and SHP faculty team, the SHP is now a required, dedicated course.
SHP provides students with guidance through a year-long and thorough process of topic identification and development, serious academic research experience requiring contact and mentoring with community members and SFIS faculty, and development of communications and presentation skills, culminating in the annual SHP Symposium, which is attended by underclassmen, parents, community members and leaders in a multi-venue forum.
To date, hundreds of SFIS students have been, or are currently involved in the SHP research process. Each year, SHP students will receive research, technology training, and collaboration skills to enhance the effectiveness of their communications.


The SHP course is designed to improve students’ research, writing, and presentation skills through various projects that address real concerns in today’s global and local Indigenous communities. Students will use a variety of media and software programs to design professional-quality presentations that consider critical issues from multiple perspectives, within broader historical and global contexts.
The culmination of the course is the Senior Honors Symposium, during which students showcase their research findings and multimedia projects for family, students, staff, school board members, and tribal officials. Students will also complete a community action project of their own design, related to their research and designed to improve the short- and/or long-term health of the community.

SHP Goals

  • To examine historical and current events, as well as issues pertinent to the future of Indigenous communities, from multiple perspectives
  • To develop critical thinking and problem solving skills by defining questions and posing solutions to challenges related to the sustainability of indigenous cultures
  • To use appropriate technology and multimedia approaches to design professional-quality presentations
  • To present to large audiences with increasing confidence, accuracy, and enthusiasm

SHP Objectives

  • To design, participate in and reflect on community service activities designed to improve the health and development of their communities
  • To learn about various resources available to researchers and will use them effectively to find information
  • To use a research manual to find and apply information about the requirements of formal college-level research writing
  • To collect, analyze, and synthesize information from informal interviews, professional interviews, and community surveys
  • To use presentation software, video equipment, video editing software, and other media of their choosing to create 30-minute presentations related to a specific research topic
  • To deliver a multimedia presentation that synthesizes and presents the results of their research to an audience of peers and community members at the Senior Honors Symposium
There is also a college credit option. Students who qualify for and opt for college credit will complete and earn an 80% or higher on a 10-15 page research paper synthesizing their research and drawing viable conclusions about possible solutions/app