“The purpose of the Jefferson Scholar Program is to teach ordinary students how to become scholars, and to teach scholars how to learn beautifully.”
~ A.B., JSP Scholar
Some students, when confronted with a traditional, presentation-based classroom setting, find themselves yearning for a deeper kind of learning. The Jefferson Scholar Program is designed to meet those needs and more.
The Jefferson Scholar Program is a plan to help scholars complete specific high school credits quickly and in an inspired way, so they can move on to studying topics they want to study. Unlike a traditional classroom, the mentors who coordinate the Jefferson Scholar Program do not present information in a lecture. Instead, the scholars are responsible for working through a portfolio guide themselves, creating a compilation of notes, annotated articles, and assessments called a portfolio. Scholars are encouraged to finish this portfolio during the first half of the semester. For the remainder of the semester, scholars complete a plan for studying any topic they want and then follow their plan. This method stimulates growth in a unique way, teaching various study skills through experience and application.
The Jefferson Scholar Program is for high schoolers – 9th through 12th graders – who wish to “own” their education. It is an alternative seminar class, and scholars are expected to attend. Scholars will spend this class time working through the portfolio, including doing research, optional workshops to help scholars with specific topics, asking for and getting feedback for their projects, giving their assessments, and getting one-on-one guidance from mentors. As such, scholars who apply should be motivated and mature enough to manage themselves.
In the process of completing their portfolio, a scholar will have several assignments developed to help them learn valuable skills that will help them through high school, college, and life. Scholars are expected to research their way through a bullet-point list, then present what they learned in one of three ways. They may teach a small, five-person group of scholars and mentors over the course of 45 to 60 minutes; write an in-class, timed essay using their notes; or have a personal interview with a JSP mentor, in which they answer questions and show that they are learning. In addition, scholars write a capstone semester paper, which they present orally during the spring semester, and give an oral test to fulfill the requirements for Paradigm High School.
The application process to JSP is simple. After scheduling a time with Mrs. Mauer, scholars will meet with her in an interview. The interview isn’t meant to keep people out; instead, it’s designed to help the mentor get to know the applicant, as well as help the future scholar discover for themselves if they are ready for JSP.
The Jefferson Scholar Program is a tool for scholars who feel they are ready for more to move more quickly and deepen their educations. The world is changing – it’s not about what information you have, as most everyone has access to the internet, it’s about what you do with that information. The scholars that learn the indispensable skills of information parsing and presentation will be the leaders of tomorrow.
Now interviewing for Fall Semester 2019.
Paradigm High School’s vision of learning includes helping scholars become responsible for their own education, and the Jefferson Scholar Program aims to bolster that concept. At Paradigm, students are called scholars, indicating that they are seekers of knowledge instead of simply receivers. Similarly, teachers are called mentors, in that they are learning with the scholars, and guide them along a path of learning instead of beckoning from the end.
Paradigm High School combines several credits into one class, called Seminar. This class follows a scholar throughout their high school career, fulfilling different high school credits in different grades.
Instead of traditional tests in which the scholar answers questions posed by the mentor, the Jefferson Scholar Program generally uses assessments, in which the scholar presents the information they’ve gathered to the mentor in varying ways. The exception to this is for the Language Arts and Government credits, which do use the traditional format to expose the scholar to the test-taking techniques they will use in most colleges and universities.
There are three types of assessments that a scholar can choose between to demonstrate their learning in Geography, World Civilizations, U.S. History, and the topics of their choice:
You have to enroll at Paradigm, but you can just take the single seminar class for JSP. Thus, this option is open to those attending Paradigm full-time and homeschooled students who are willing to attend at least one class. Unfortunately, as you cannot be enrolled in two different high schools at the same time, the JSP is currently closed to students going to a different high school full-time.
Those wishing to participate in the Jefferson Scholar Program must schedule an interview with Mrs. Mauer (firstname.lastname@example.org). The interview isn’t meant to keep scholars out, it’s meant to help them recognize if they are ready for the class. The Jefferson Scholar Program is a higher way of thinking, and the interview will help prove that the scholar is responsible.
Please bring the following to the interview:
Scholars are encouraged to complete their credit coursework within the first half of the semester. During the second half, they are then given the freedom to study and present on any topic they choose. In the past, there have been a wide variety of topics chosen by scholars:
Topics are approved by a mentor before they are delved into, and may be expanded or narrowed during the approval process to ensure adequate material to study.
No, mentors are there to help their scholars every step of the way. They are available for questions about the topic, presenting, writing, or anything else a scholar might need additional guidance for.
In addition, various workshops taught by mentors will be available to attend, if a scholar so chooses.
As students of Paradigm High School, scholars participating in the Jefferson Scholar Program will need to comply with Paradigm’s dress code each day. They are expected to respect the rules of basic etiquette as well. The academic expectations are as follows:
I love Paradigm. My children have never been happier, and have found a love of learning that was missing in their previous education!Julia H.
I went to Paradigm all through high school. Best experience ever. Not only did it help me focus on my strengths, but it also prepared me for college with its challenging curriculum that makes you think outside the box. The mentors there care about each of their students individually, and want nothing more than the students’ success.Jennifer L.