In Eden Prairie Schools, we believe strongly in the importance of inspiring students to explore their interests. That mission lies at the heart of our Pathways program, which offers a guided course and cocurricular progression that prepares students for college or career pursuits in one of five career interest areas.
Meet Lucy Rogers, an ambitious Eden Prairie High School 12th grader whose academic path has been more than just a series of courses intended to fulfill state requirements. Rather, Lucy’s experience at EPHS is a true Inspired Journey – a path of discovering talents and interests, exploring opportunities, and pursuing passions and goals. Lucy’s interest in business was sparked by her older sister, Sophie Rogers (EPHS ‘18), who studied business in college. Hearing Sophie talk about collaboratively developing a marketing campaign, Lucy realized “I just wanted to do that.” So she did: throughout her journey, Lucy has explored her love of collaboration and problem-solving in classes that build on those skills. “I’m excited that [Eden Prairie Schools] started the Pathways and Capstones, because I am really interested in studying business in college,” Lucy shared, “and the new offerings, like Business Writing and the [Integrated Marketing & Analytics] Capstone, are all just a great way to help me get ready for college and figure out what I do and don’t like about them.”
Building a foundation for success
Leading up to her Capstone, Lucy has been building a solid foundation for her future in business through a number of Advanced Placement (AP) classes like AP Economics, AP Statistics, and AP Calculus, as well as business-centered core classes and electives. One of those is Honors Business Writing, taught by Dr. Kate Fullmer. She says Lucy is developing a well-rounded skill set, meaning “she understands that being successful in business isn’t only about marketing, or having an entrepreneurship mind-set, or selling something; it’s about communicating, which is part of what Business Writing is about.”
Beyond the classroom: marketing for the 100 Year campaign
For their Integrated Marketing & Analytics Capstone, Lucy and a team of her peers have been working in partnership with the district’s Marketing & Communications team “to research, design, and propose a campaign to increase community awareness and engagement in the 100 Year celebration,” explains Ms. Margot Cowing, Lucy’s Capstone teacher. Working on this authentic marketing project, Lucy and her team have navigated real-world challenges like dividing responsibilities, delegating tasks to maximize efficiency, and working around schedule conflicts. Despite the challenges, Lucy says she’s enjoyed “working with others, bouncing ideas off them, and when we have a good idea, it is satisfying when it all clicks.”
Tools for the journey
Lucy’s Capstone teacher, Ms. Cowing, emphasizes that "student voice and choice [are] integral to any Capstone experience,” and that in many ways, “students are driving their Capstone learning.” In the case of the Integrated Marketing & Analytics Capstone, student teams were invited to choose the project they were most interested in. Ultimately, Capstone experiences empower students to guide their own learning, so they can continue to do so beyond their time in Eden Prairie Schools.
Lucy’s experience in the Capstone course has not only enhanced her academic foundation — it has also enhanced her understanding of herself. Reflecting on her Capstone experience, Lucy realizes she has gained skills she might not have otherwise, because “you’re getting used to working with others on a project and figuring out your strengths and weaknesses.” While Lucy’s track record shows her dedication to the business path, she says the Capstone experience “reinforced my desire to study business in college and continue that career path.”
Why take a Capstone?
"It’s worth the effort, and no matter what you’re studying in college, there's a Capstone or Pathway that will go along with that. It just gives you skills you might not learn in a normal class, because you’re working with other people, you’re working with a real example and diving right in and getting a lot of skills. And also the group part of it—you’re getting used to working with others on a project and figuring out your strengths and weaknesses. "
- Lucy Rogers
"Many of the projects students complete serve as excellent resume builders, portfolio artifacts, or examples for experiential interview questions or essay prompts. Capstones offer different experiences across the Pathways, but all include interaction and support from industry partners from our local community. The relationship with professionals in the field ensures students are working on projects that reflect tasks authentic to the careers that align to the Pathway or Capstone. As a result, students have a clearer picture of various career opportunities and how they match their skills and interests."
- Ms. Margot Cowing
"Just take it! School is about learning and exploring. I think what is special about the [Capstone] is that it gives a real-world application to the skills we are already teaching."
- Dr. Kate Fullmer