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Advanced Authentic Research

Palo Alto Unified School District, Palo Alto, California
Palo Alto Unified School District
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In 2014-15, Palo Alto leaders created the Advanced Authentic Research Program to get high school students thinking about their future careers.

Students are faced with real-world problems and must persevere through ambiguity—common adult experiences.

The program is built on three elements: personalized learning, knowledge and process integration, and communication of research projects, while striving to nurture curiosity, creativity and resiliency through real-world, hands-on research.

Volunteer mentors, who are experts, are matched with students to guide them in the reality of their future profession.

To start your own, keep in mind:

  • Curriculum and related resources shared on aar.pausd .org/projects to adapt a similar program.
  • Form external partnerships with local agencies, such as the local Chamber of Commerce, and a partnership with the high school Social Justice Pathway three-year program, which blends curriculum with community action to empower students to make positive changes.
  • Seek additional resources. Palo Also’s resources are outlined in two peer-reviewed publications about AAR, which educators and administrators can access. In one manuscript to be published, “Cultivating Innovation and Inclusiveness through Partnerships,” describes a collaboration between Palo Alto USD’s Advanced Authentic Research program, Social Justice Pathway and DreamCatchers.