JST occurs during the three weeks after first semester examinations in January. During that time, regular classes are suspended while both students and faculty participate in intensive projects designed to provide students an opportunity to delve into a subject of particular personal interest. This is a time for exploring career interests, learning a new skill or strengthening an old one, participating in a service project, or trying out an area of interest for which there has never been time.
Since the development of independence is a key feature of Roycemore’s goals for its students, all are required to participate in JST each year. Projects may be academic or non-academic, individual or part of a faculty sponsored group. Although some group projects have prerequisites and out-of-school projects have age or insurance limitations, there are an unlimited variety of projects possible.
Group projects sponsored by faculty members usually present activities not offered during the school year, like Museum Madness, Healthy Bodies Yoga, Livin’ Green, Just Do Poetry, Agricultural Science, Ancient Engineering or French Cooking. Projects take advantage of the rich resources in the Chicago area to enhance a subject through field trips. Overseas cultural trips may also be offered.
Career projects may be structured to enable students to learn as much as possible about a field while providing the project director with volunteer help.
Each student produces a JST portfolio, comprised of a daily journal and a digital artifact. The portfolio is reviewed by the student’s advisor, project director and JST coordinator. Portfolios are returned to students with written comments—grades and credits are not part of the JST philosophy of learning for learning’s sake. The project director’s evaluation becomes a permanent part of the student’s file and is often used in preparation of college recommendations, since it may illustrate intangible qualities such as initiative, attitude, responsibility and enthusiasm.
JST allows our Upper School students to explore their passions while standing out in the college application process.