Student research program now official class

Palo Alto Unified School District’s Advanced Research Program is set to operate as an official class during the 2016-2017 school year.

The program began in the September as a pilot program. Over 60 students have signed up for the class, with over 50 proposals in fields ranging from music to medicine, according to Palo Alto High School math teacher and AAR director Deanna Chute.

According to the AAR website, the program stresses three key values: personalized learning, integration of knowledge and the process, and communication.  Past projects  have delved into topics such as biofilm quorum sensing, business promotion, computer-based analysis of human-speech, sleep apnea treatment, athletic training and mobile healthcare expansion.

Students can expect to be matched up with mentors in the field of their choice and will formulate a research proposal with the help of their mentor. They will then work on their project for the rest of the year, eventually producing an academic paper to be published and co-written with their mentor, according to Chute.

Chute said that the process to add the program to the official course catalog went smoothly.

“We didn’t really hit many roadblocks getting this from a pilot program to a full fledged class,” Chute said. “We’ve been working behind the scenes for months and months to talk to groups of people in the Palo Alto community to get them to mentor.