Advanced Scholar Programs
The Advanced Scholar Programs encourage achievement and accelerated instruction to high-performing students.
Advanced STEM Research Program
The first program to be offered, Advanced STEM Research, will provide a platform to engage in independent research within the fields of biological sciences, physical sciences, behavioral sciences, and engineering. Students with a deep interest in scientific discovery will have the ability to design and implement their own research projects throughout this year-long honors-level course. By engaging in literature research, generating a testable hypothesis, implementing an experiment and analyzing the results, students will develop the mastery to critically think about the scientific world. Formal presentations, or publications, of the results at the end of the year will further develop the students’ communication and critical thinking skills.
Enrolled students must hold an interest in problem-solving and a deep desire to conduct independent research. Depending on the students’ interests, mentorships with regional scientists may be arranged to support the student with expert advice and exposure to a higher level of academic engagement. Placing a special emphasis on research directly related to systems within the Adirondack Park will further develop the relationship between Northwood School and the community and foster with these young scientists a deeper awareness of their living environment.
Advanced Humanities Research Program
The Advanced Humanities Research Program offers Northwood students the opportunity to engage in the highest level of academic inquiry by designing and executing a year-long research project in the humanities or social sciences. The program typifies student-led academic engagement by putting the student’s interest at the center of course design. Capitalizing on the intrinsic motivation that comes from being authentically interested and/or invested in a topic, the course prompts students to ask questions that can be answered by studying history, literature, language, culture, systems, or society. No two courses of study will look the same.
The course begins with an introduction to the principles of scholarly research. During the first term, students will learn about the basic components of a research project—the problem, research questions, literature review, conceptual frameworks, data collection and analysis, and methods—while writing a research proposal and refining a research question. In this first step, students learn how to search scholarly databases, approach scholarly journal articles, and build a bibliography for research. While building college-ready skills, students learn how to “read the field” in order to enter into an academic conversation about their topic of interest. After examining the range of possible approaches to their question, students design a study using field-appropriate methods (for example, documentary methods for a historical inquiry or case study for a sociocultural question). Over the winter term, students will work more independently to collect and analyze artifacts, interviews, documents, or qualitative data. This could mean conducting interviews, scanning historical archives, delving into literature, analyzing news articles, or observing social patterns in the field. During the spring term, students generate assertions and arguments in order to produce a research report (major course paper) and share their findings with the public (presentation at the Hub, local newspaper, Northwood social media, etc.).
The purpose of the course is to give high school students complete curricular freedom, on the one hand, and the tools and structure to do something remarkable, on the other. Combining the student’s investment in the topic with ownership over design will give students pre-college confidence while fostering genuine mastery in the humanities. Engaging in research represents the highest level of thinking in academia; this course offers students a unique opportunity to generate new information and ideas as practicing high-school researchers.