1. Each school-based experiential learning program must be designed to meet local needs. Effective programs must include parents, teachers, students, administrators, business, labor and social agency leaders in collaborative planning, implementation and ongoing evaluation.

2. Effective programs must ensure access to projects for all students. Experiential learning programs have demonstrated the ability to motivate, challenge and inspire students of all ability levels.

3. Effective programs must provide academic credit for experiential learning. As an integral component of the curriculum, the experiential learning program becomes equal in educational significance to classroom instruction.

4. Effective programs must foster an environment of mutual support, exchange and collaboration. A consortium of diverse participating schools will enable each program to remain sustainable, dynamic and responsive to change.


High school students, under the mentorship of teachers and administrators, design projects that include internships with local community agency members or business people, intensive research, or cultural, artistic, craft, performance based projects.

During the school day, evenings and weekends, students devote significant time to work in their internships, research their topics, maintain written daily journals, discuss their topics with one another and meet with their mentors to explore and reflect upon project issues. Upon completion of the project, students submit their daily journals for evaluation and give oral presentations before a panel of students, teachers and community members.

The topics that can be explored in school-based experiential learning programs are innumerable because of the individualized nature of the projects. However, because of the focus on individual development of students and their project topics, design of a school's experiential program becomes critical. Opportunities must be built-in for shared reflection, mutual support, and community building. Through group interaction, students discover skills, strengths and talents in each other not seen before.

WISE Services, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization staffed by retired teacher-practitioners,
W ISE assists schools in developing a comprehensive academic program tailored to local needs.