EPIC – Senior Year Alternative

EPIC (Experiential, Project-based, Innovative Capstone) is a year-long course that offers BHS seniors a new way of taking charge of their learning by independently pursuing, in a supportive environment, topics they are passionate about. Co-teachers Stephanie McAllister and Ben Berman guide students through the process of reading and researching, engaging with experts in the field, designing, revising, executing and presenting their personal passion projects. This course serves as an alternative to the second semester of senior English and replaces the English Senior Paper.

There are three pathways for students in this course: in-depth academic research, project design and creation, and an experiential, internship path. A student might choreograph a hip-hop ballet, write a book, research fractals in nature, launch a business, or volunteer in the community. One student in EPIC’s first year built his own skis; one started and coached a rugby team; one learned about marketing and advertising; one volunteered at a nursing home; and one studied race relations at BHS. Each project reflected its creator’s unique interests and learning style.

The mindsets required for experiential learning can be difficult to master. Students must push themselves to move beyond their comfort zones, persevere through setbacks, reflect deeply, and hold themselves accountable. McAllister and Berman are now teaching EPIC for the second year, having refined the curriculum based on feedback received after year one.