Academics » Self-Directed Experiential Learning (SDL) » SDL at a Glance

SDL at a Glance

Self-Directed Experiential Learning (SDL)  


What is Self-Directed Experiential Learning (SDL)?

Self-Directed Experiential Learning is an opportunity for students to explore personal strengths and interests in a real-world context to help them realize their possible future selves.


How will it work?

Students complete a series of interest and strength inventories during grade 9.  Using insights gained through this process, students will determine the purpose, content, and audience for this individualized learning experience. After choosing the focus of the SDL, students will attend additional seminars with Mrs. Keller and Dr. Conlon to support them throughout the process.  See SDL Overview and Timeline for seminar structure and general themes.  The SDL is a requirement for graduation.


What are the SDL choices?

See the SDL Proposal form. 

Choices include:

  • Project-based learning
  • Leadership initiative
  • Internship/Apprenticeship
  • Peer Help Desk initiative
  • Career Mentoring
  • Career Pathways Exploration
  • Co-curricular Experience
  • Competitions and Contests
  • Work Experience
Each of these choices will be explained in detail to students and must meet specific criteria for approval. 


Can students collaborate with an adult mentor as they work through their SDL?

Students will work with a cohort of their peers and attend seminars under the direction of Mrs. Keller and Dr. Conlon. Students are encouraged to utilize adult experts inside or outside of school to enhance their experience.


How will students be assessed and graded?

At the culmination of the experience, students will share their learning through a Press Conference.  In keeping with the unique and highly individualized nature of this experience, there will be no letter grade awarded.  Instead, students will earn Micro-Credentials for mastered competencies and skills they can demonstrate with evidence as a result of their experiences.  Micro-Credentials earned will be listed on student transcripts.  Additionally, students will receive qualitative comments that will serve not only as an assessment of their experience, but also as attributes in letters of recommendation for the student. 


What is a Micro-Credential?

A micro-credential is the acknowledgement that students have attained or can demonstrate certain skills or competencies as they complete their SDL experience.  See the Micro-Credentials form for a list and descriptors of each of the 14 micro-credentials.