Independent Studies: NHS’s Best Kept Secret


Senior Milija Grotenhuis works on her art project in Glass and Creative Forms II. (Independent Study).

Sydney Raber, Student of Journalism

Independent studies are available for students to take as a course option at NHS during the school year to spice up their learning.

These studies are self-paced classes in which one or more students can participate. The classes, offered during school hours and led by teachers who are willing to advise, meet daily. Often these classes point students in the direction toward success.

Currently, at the high school, 15 students are actively taking an independent study, according to guidance counselor Mrs. Natalie Shea.

Eight teachers are taking the time and leading these students according to the NHS guidance department. This option for class is not often advertised because a mutual agreement must exist between student and teacher to make it work. It is like a hidden secret in the school.

To make an agreement, a student has to approaches the teacher with interest, or the teacher approaches the student. Once an agreement is made, it has to be passed by the department chair, then it goes to administration to be approved and finally, the guidance department has to sign off on it as a class.

According to Mrs. Emma Santiago (art teacher), the new schedule coming to Neenah next year will be perfect for students who are taking an independent study because it gives enough time to work on projects.

Typically, Santiago likes to guide students’ independent studies: “To keep students on the right track for independent studies I  give them a list of projects that they have to complete and I help them manage their own time. Usually, independent study students are self-motivated and have a lot more fun self-pacing.”

Students find the options of taking an independent study beneficial because they obtain one-on-one time with the teacher, and feel more productive, according to senior Emma Sullivan.

On the Neenah High School Course Description and Program Guide, multiple options for independent studies are featured that students can take, ranging from world language, family and consumer science, and technology and engineering. Not all independent studies are listed and require inquiry.

Finding these independent studies are like a hidden treasure among the course description guide. Students must get consent from the department chair and have prior course work in the area of interest according to The Course Description and Program Guide.

This course guide is presented to all students in December when signing up for their classes next year’s classes.