In 1973 the Scarsdale Alternative School began its Internship Program in order to make the overall curriculum reflect the philosophy that students learn in different ways and that experiential learning can be a powerful experience for students. The Internship Program is a direct response to one of the original educational challenges set for the school: to make the school less isolated from and more responsive to the larger community. SAS sets aside the month of January during the school year for the Internship Program. Over the years SAS students have aided teachers, lawyers, doctors, journalists, administrators, architects, lab researchers, bankers, television cameramen and directors, publishers, United States senators and other politicians, accountants, businessmen, and others. They have interned locally, in the wider NY metropolitan area, in various places in the United States, and even abroad.
The Internship Program runs through the month of January. With a few exceptions, A-School classes stop during this time. When the Internship Program began, A-School students took all their classes in the A-School, so students were completely freed from academic responsibilities during the month of internship and were expected to replace the 35 hours normally spent in school each week with 35 hours of work. Today, however, most students take classes in the high school as well, and they must continue to attend these classes in January. We have therefore devised a formula to reduce the number of work hours based on the number of hours that students spend in class or doing homework: for every period of class students subtract one hour from the internship time, plus one half-hour for homework. (So, for example, if a student has a class that meets four times per week, he subtracts six hours, four for the class periods and four half-hours of homework time.) Any student who has less than four hours of time available for internship, as determined by this formula, is excused from participation in the program. Extracurricular activities like sports, drama, paid employment, etc. do not decrease the number of internship hours.
The Scarsdale Alternative School’s Senior Project is designed to allow graduating seniors an opportunity to demonstrate ways that they have become active and self-directed learners, capable of designing their own course of study, of pursuing this work independently in consultation with faculty and other expert “coaches,” and of displaying their mastery of new skills and knowledge in an open exhibition before the whole community. The project is intended to create an engaging and meaningful end to the senior year that allows students to finish their high school education on a high note, with a feeling of pride in what they have accomplished.
Although project planning begins in early February, the A-School Senior Project experience itself provides a four and a half week opportunity in May and early June that enables students to do just about anything that they can imagine. For some, this will be a once in a lifetime chance to explore a passion that they may otherwise never get the chance to pursue. It may also enable them to explore a future career possibility or a bridge experience to future collegiate academic endeavors.
Because A-Schoolers usually have completed at least two or three internships by February of their final year of high school, they are welcome to create a project that is more self-directed; however, it must be approached with rigor and discipline. It must also involve an adult mentor, teacher, or expert for consultation or supervision for at least ten hours of the required time allotment.
Guidelines and Calendar are available by clicking on the "forms" header, found in the bar on the left.