The eighth grade Capstone Intensive is a culminating, cross-curricular project that challenges students to apply the skills developed throughout Middle School to addressing a global issue. Students learn about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, connect with a local nonprofit organization doing work to address these goals, and tackle a design challenge to create a product or experience that meets the needs of their nonprofit partner. Throughout the Capstone Intensive, students work collaboratively, problem-solving, researching, writing and reflecting.

The Capstone Intensive has five phases:

Phase 1: Pre-Intensive Capstone Conversations & NGO Fair

Leaading up to the intensive, students engage in a series of conversations to start thinking about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, challenges they see in their local and global communities, and possible solutions. Students read articles, interact with media, and reflect on a range of topics. This phase culminates in a nonprofit fair where we invite all of our Capstone partners to meet the students and share about their work.

Phase 2: Research Phase

After the fair, students are assigned a group and paired with an NGO. They research the work of the NGO, the country in which they serve, and the UN SDGs the work addresses. Students apply their research skills and develop a collaborative research paper and a letter of intent.

Phase 3: Partnership with the NGO

In the first few days of the intensive, students travel to the office of their NGO and meet with key stakeholders to learn about their work and gain insights about its impact. Throughout the intensive, the NGO partners help guide students in their design challenge, whether they create a product or organize a service experience.

Phase 4: The Design Challenge

The culmination of the students’ research and partnership with their NGO is a design challenge. Students partnered with an NGO that engages in international work will create a product that serves a need of the NGO or the community that they serve. Student groups partnered with an NGO that does local work will design and carry out a service project.

Phase 5: Presentation of Work

And finally, students formally present their work to community members at the Capstone Showcase.

The Capstone experience gives students the opportunity to dive deeper into the UPrep mission of global citizenship and explore ways of engaging with their community in positive and enduring ways.