Hewitt’s Extended Inquiry (EI) program invites students in grades 9-12 to engage in authentic and purposeful learning that expands and deepens their understanding of subject material through independent research and exploration. EI projects are student-led and offer high schoolers the opportunity to take a deep dive into specific academic interests that are personally meaningful to them. Students who participate in the Extended Inquiry program receive feedback, guidance, and standards-based assessments from their teachers throughout the year, and an “honors” designation on their transcript for each course in which an EI project was completed.
This year, each Hewitt senior developed a unique Extended Inquiry project addressing a significant real-world problem or question that has emerged in her classes. Some students proposed projects that honed in on an area of interest in one course, while others took an interdisciplinary approach, incorporating learning from several different courses in order to address a single essential question. One senior noted, “My project allowed me to merge my interests in politics and my campaign internship experiences outside of school with a year-long research project in school. I enjoyed being able to delve deeper into a field that I was already passionate about and that connected with four of my Hewitt classes.”
Throughout the fall and winter, each senior conducted research, engaged in critical reading and writing, and synthesized their learning. This spring, they presented their projects — which included investigations into a range of topics such as climate change, mental health, epic literature, and Gothic film — to an audience of upper school peers and members of Hewitt’s professional community. Through the Extended Inquiry program, students immerse themselves in the kind of self-directed learning that they will put to use long after their time at Hewitt. In the words of another senior, “I think my Extended Inquiry project was good training for how I will use my research and presentation skills beyond high school. The process felt similar to what I will experience in college because I was studying on my own and my advisor was there to help me when I needed it.”
To see highlights from a few of this year’s senior EI presentations, please watch the video below.