Laguna Beach High School students present authentic research proposals

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Laguna Beach High School student Jackson Flemming presents his research proposal to Authentic Exploratory Research mentors, staff, and classmates on Oct. 13. Courtesy of Laguna Beach Unified School District

Laguna Beach High School’s Authentic Exploratory Research (AER) Program students presented their project proposals during a special class session on Oct. 13.

Teachers and students of the Palo Alto Unified School District’s Advanced Authentic Research program and their mentors joined the class via Zoom to collaborate and offer feedback.

High school students gave a two-minute elevator pitch of their projects. This unique opportunity allowed the students to give feedback that helped streamline their research questions.

“Throughout their experience in the AER program, students will learn essential academic skills in preparation for post-secondary education, such as research, argumentation, and critical thinking; as well as life and career skills, such as time management, communication, professionalism, and organization,” the district said in a press release.

Laguna Beach High student Abby Roedersheimer presented two questions she will be researching:

1. Which topics and forms of news stories create a political divide in America and why?

2. How does the polarization caused by these stories affect political elections and elected officials’ votes?

“I was really excited to present my questions,” Abby said in a press release. “Hopefully my study will be able to help reunite the country again and bring trust back into the media.”

Gallup has identified having an experienced mentor as one of the six factors for students’ success in preparing for college and careers, according to a district press release.

“I am delightfully in awe of the students and the way they all put a piece of themselves into their projects, ” said Jun Shen, a Laguna Beach High School teacher coordinating the AER program.

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