Osher is a former a high school teacher and administrator in Oregon. She and three of her colleagues created the concept of the Senior Project in 1985. She is now the co-owner of Far West Edge, an educational consulting firm. She has made presentations on the subject to faculties of high schools throughout the country.
The Senior Project consists of a research paper, a project, and a presentation to a panel of judges consisting of community members and teachers. The student chooses the topic of the project, although it must be approved by an advisory board. The program requires students to resarch the subject thoroughly through interviews and other sources. Each student also must find an adult mentor to supervise the project.
At Gulf, students in one of the four learning communities participated in the program in the 1999-2000 school year. According to Kathy Norris, the Senior Project coordinator at Gulf High School, in the 2000-2001 school year almost all seniors will participate. The only exceptions this year will be made for certain special education students and students who are taking advanced placement courses. Miss Norris said that the AP exams and the senior projects would have created scheduling conflicts.
Mrs. Osher said she believes the Senior Project, which has been adopted by schools around the country, is making a major difference in education.
In Pasco County, the program has been adopted by Gulf and River Ridge High Schools so far.