Laguna Beach High School’s Authentic Exploratory Research (AER) Program students presented their project proposals during a special class session on October 13, 2021. Teachers and students of the Palo Alto USD’s Advanced Authentic Research (AAR) program and their mentors were invited to join the special class via Zoom to collaborate and offer feedback. Attendees in the hybrid meeting included mentors, AER parents, Superintendent Viloria, and a handful of District staff.
The Authentic Exploratory Research (AER) Program is an independent research course in which students propose their own driving questions in order to explore their passions and career pathways in a variety of fields. Our program is inspired by Palo Alto Unified School Districts highly successful Advanced Authentic Research program.
Students are matched with adult mentors to aid in their research and analysis. Mentors include LBHS staff, Industry experts or leaders, and university-level academics. Students can conduct their projects through various approaches including internships, action projects, and academic research, all of which culminate in an end-of-the-year publication and symposium. Students are expected to spend about 60 hours per semester on coursework, roughly half of which are on the project itself and the other half on instruction, reflection, organization, and other weekly tasks.
Throughout their experience in the AER program, students will learn essential academic skills in preparation for post-secondary education, such as research, argumentation, critical thinking; as well as life and career skills, such as time management, communication, professionalism, and organization.