Arlington Tech Capstone Experience

Purpose & Vision

Arlington Tech’s Capstone Experience is the culmination of an Arlington Tech student’s cross-curricular, project-based learning and career development.  Capstone Experience provides the student a gateway to apply and to advance her or his knowledge, technical expertise, and research skills learned in Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses within an authentic real world business and industry setting.

An Integrated Approach

Preparation for the Capstone Experience starts in the 9th grade and continues to build up to the 12th grade:

9th Grade – The Foundation 10th Grade – Exploration 11th Grade – Preparation 12th Grade – Capstone
Students enroll in foundational Career & Technical Education courses and establish an understanding of Project Based Learning. Students begin to narrow down their CTE pathway and periodically participate in work-based learning coordinated activities (example: job shadow day)  Students participate in regular workshops and meetings with the Capstone Coordinator to build their skills and find a Capstone partner mentor Students complete a year-long work-based learning experience and participate in monthly Capstone seminar meetings. Students share their experiences through a mid-year and end-of-year presentation


The Capstone Experience*

In the 12th grade year, students can select one of three options for their Capstone Experience:

Intern at a Job Site* Project Consultant Principal Investigator 
  • Student works directly with a mentor supervisor at a job site
  • Student maintains daily responsibilities and integrates as an employee / team member
  • Student receives professional evaluations on their work, at least quarterly
  • A company or client “hires” the student to provide a good or service
  • The scope / parameters of work, how frequently the student reports to the company / client, compensation (if applicable), and criteria for evaluation are defined in consultancy
  • Student develops their own research question and research proposal in accordance to ISEF guidelines
  • Student works collaboratively with a partner at a university, laboratory, or professional organization
  • Student writes a final thesis

Requirements of All Opportunities

  • Capstone placement is connected to a student selected CTE pathway
  • Opportunity may be paid or unpaid
  • Partnership agreement form is signed and in place before the start of the experience
  • Student keeps a monthly log of their hours, which is verified by their partner mentor monthly
  • Student earns one elective credit for every 280 hours that they work*
  • Student receives support from the Capstone Coordinator (APS employee) and partner mentor (APS or non APS staff)
  • Capstone Experience ends in a culminating presentation

*Note: due to COVID-19, students will only be permitted to participate in virtual Capstone Experiences during the 2020-21 school year. This will likely impact the total number of hours required for them to earn an elective credit. Please check back for more updates as they are available.

Contact Information

Ms. Laura DiNardo
Ms. Laura DiNardo
Capstone Coordinator
laura.dinardo@apsva.us