WISE serves as a bridge for seniors from high school to college, work and lifelong learning.
A WISE program enables high school seniors of all ability levels to design an individualized, passion-driven project. Projects can include, but are not limited to, internships, independent research, self-improvement, community service or cultural, artistic and performance-based activities. The topics students can explore in school-based, experiential learning programs are limitless. As a result, students discover in themselves and in one another skills, strengths and talents they had not realized were present. All students receive academic credit upon successful completion of their WISE project.
As part of the process of developing and completing their WISE projects, students select a staff mentor, maintain a reflective and research-supported journal and make a public presentation. During the school day, as well as in the evenings and on weekends, students devote significant time to work on their projects—they research their topics, maintain written daily journals, meet with their mentors to explore and reflect upon project issues, and discuss their topics with one another. Upon completion of the project, each student gives a public presentation assessed by a panel of students, teachers and community members, all of whom have read the journal.
Student projects provide parents and community members with real engagement in the life of the school; they offer teacher-mentors a chance to see their students apply academic skills in a real-world setting.
All WISE programs are designed, run and supported by a collaborative task force of teachers, students, administrators, parents and community members (and, in schools with long-standing programs, WISE graduates). Staff, students and community coordinators manage the day-to-day activities of their WISE program.
For 40 years, WISE seniors of all ability levels have created individualized real-world experiences (WISE projects), exploring their passions outside the traditional classroom. Over 40,000 WISE graduates at over 100 high schools have learned to collaborate and to work independently, developing organizational, research, writing, and presentation skills as they ignite a lifetime of personal growth. WISE also offers local community agencies and businesses the opportunity to tap the diverse talents and energy of their high school seniors. WISE Services (WISE Individualized Senior Experience, Inc.) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization established in 1991 to assist schools in developing WISE programs tailored to their own local needs.