Highlights from June 2016 Shoreline School District Board Meetings: Students, Books, and Courses

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

By Marianne Deal Stephens

In June 2016, the Shoreline School Board reviewed and passed several items relating to classroom academics and student activities. Shoreline students are well supported by generous community organizations which held major fundraisers this spring and made significant donations to Shoreline Schools for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.

New Shorecrest Student Representative Introduced
On June 6, Shorecrest Student Representative to the Board Rachel Semon introduced her successor, Owen Leupold. Owen will participate in School Board meetings either fall or spring semester of 2016-2017, and his Shorewood counterpart will cover the other semester.

Gifts Impacting Student Academics and Activities

  • $40,660 from Shorecrest Boosters for student teams, clubs, and trips, including Viva Voce (choir) trip to Carnegie Hall, Ultimate Frisbee equipment, Art Club SAM membership, ASB assemblies, and Model UN. See detail
  • $24,649 from the Shoreline Public Schools Foundation for Elementary Summer School; 
  • $12,350 from the Shoreline Public Schools Foundation for Secondary Summer School; 
  • $6,000 from the Shoreline Public Schools Foundation for Nonfiction Books in Secondary Libraries;
  • $6,124.50 from Shorewood Boosters for Specific Donations to several groups, including band and cross country;
  • $37,521.02 from Shorewood Boosters for Sports and Clubs including Football, Live Video Production, Special Olympics United Soccer, and Art Attack. 
Approval of Extended Field Trips
  • Shorecrest and Shorewood State Track and Field qualifiers to Tacoma in May 2016;
  • Shorecrest Yearbook Staff to Tacoma for Workshop in July 2016;
  • Shorewood Cross Country to Camp Casey in August 2016;
  • Brookside 6th Graders to Camp Orkila for Outdoor Education in September 2016;
  • Shorewood Cross Country to Portland for Nike Portland XC Meet in September 2016;
  • Shorecrest Drama Students to New York for Training in February 2017;
  • Shorecrest Choir to Carnegie Hall in Spring 2017;
  • Shorecrest Band to Portland for the Portland Starlight Parade in June 2017. 
Revisions to Shorecrest ASB Constitution
On June 20, the Board approved several revisions that Shorecrest ASB Student Leaders researched thoroughly and passed through Shorecrest student government. Student leaders appeared at the meeting along with Accounting and Business Manager Sharon Suver-Jones and Shorecrest Activity Coordinator Johanna Phillips. Many revisions are minor alterations in process, including procedures for visitors at meetings and the timing of the annual constitutional review.

A more significant revision alters the GPA requirement in order to allow students who made mistakes early in their high school years to participate in student leadership.

Source: Shorecrest Activities, Shoreline School District

Another alteration allows students with a compelling reason to miss leadership camp (an annual event attended by both Shorecrest and Shorewood student leaders) held at Cispus Learning Center in Southwest Washington. Ms. Suver-Jones noted that Shorewood Student Leadership will review their constitution next year and present any changes to the Board in 2016-2017.

Community Comment on Shoreline School Schedule
Shorewood High School Junior Loren Stephens spoke to the Board on June 6 about the impact of the school year schedule on students in AP courses. She described how there is a essentially a separate “AP Year” that begins with summer homework and ends with the exams in early May. She described how “there is no way that teachers can teach to adequate depth” and how students must learn units of the curriculum on their own. She noted that the Washington Post recently ranked Shorewood as one of the most rigorous high schools due in large part to high AP participation and that the schedule puts additional pressure on high school students in AP courses at both high schools. She requested that the school year start and finish earlier.

When any school in the District would like to offer a new course, the Program Alignment and Coherence Team (PACT) reviews a petition and grants a one-year pilot. Based on the positive feedback about the following pilot courses, the Board approved them as permanent course offerings starting in 2016-2017. Dr. Teri Poff presented the following courses for approval on June 6, and the Board approved them unanimously. To review course evaluations, see 2015-2016 PACT Pilot Courses Recommended for Approval. Quotations below are taken from this document. 

AVID, a year-long elective for Grade 8, focuses on helping students in the academic middle learn to be successful students and deep thinkers. The staff observed increases in both data points (grades, enrollment, attendance rates) and in other qualities like self-advocacy, confidence, connections to peers and to the school, and belief in future possibilities. Students said that the course made them “more determined and more confident” and that the field trips “made me think about my future in a positive way.” There was a great demand for this course at Einstein, where the pilot course was run. It will expand to Kellogg next year, and the staff are hopeful that there could be multiple sections of the course in 8th and 9th grade. AVID courses are offered nationally.

AP Comparative Government and Politics, a one-semester Social Studies/ General Elective for Grades 11-12, appeals to students interested in politics, human rights, and international affairs. Comments in the packet indicate that staff would like to combine this course with Senior Civics: “the class would explode and be a great class for students that are traditional AP and other students wanting to try an AP.” However, the course was passed with the caveat that it does not replace the Senior Civics requirement. The course examines political institutions in six countries. One student commented that “I was given a new worldview” and another that the course “related international issues to domestic ones that affect us in daily life.” For more information, see AP Comparative Government.

AP Computer Science Principles, a year-long CTE/ Occupational Ed/ General Elective for Grades 11-12 is “foundational to understanding how computing, including related political issues, breakthrough technologies, how the internet works, problem solving, programming, and much more.” The course used Code . org curriculum  for the AP Course. A student remarked that the class “progressed upwards so nothing was hard as I could use what I had learned the previous day.” This is a new AP course, and there was not a corresponding AP exam this year, but there will be in 2017. See AP Computer Science Principles.

Advanced Engineering Applications 1, a year-long CTE/ Occupational Ed/ General Elective for Grades 10-12, is a follow-up course to Introduction to Engineering and meets the needs of students interested in STEM fields. The hands-on course encourages students “to focus on and design solutions to problems, with minimal constraints.” Students liked “building and inventing things with my hands,” “being able to build things that apply to real world projects with my own ideas” and how “outside the box thinking is encouraged.”

Dr. Teri Poff presented several recommendations on June 6 and the Board approved them on June 20. The materials have already made it through a rigorous review process by the District Instructional Materials Committee (DIMC). For details on the following materials and how they will be used, see Instructional Materials Recommended for Approval.

Special Education Material
Read Well Spelling and Writing Conventions  for Grades 1-4
Mind Up Curriculum for Grades K-8

English Language Arts Material
The Boy on the Wooden Box for Grade 8
The 3 a.m. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises that Transform Your Fiction for Grade 12. It was noted that some of the prompts “are more adult in nature; teachers’ selection of prompts is advised.”

Source: OSPI Native Education 

The Since Time Immemorial curriculum comes out of a partnership with OSPI, public and private agencies, and several of the 29 federally recognized tribes in Washington State. The OSPI Office of Native Education Logo, designed by Roger Fernandes, of the Lower Elwha Klallam, blends a Coast Salish eagle and a Plateau basket to represent the diversity of tribes in Washington.

Social Studies Material
Social Studies Alive for Grades K-3, 5-6
Washington Adventure/ Washington Our Home for Grade 4
Storypath for Grades K-6
Since Time Immemorial for Grades K-12
Native Americans, Heinemann Paperbacks for Grade 3
Native American Homes for Grade 3
DBQ Project for Grades 5-6

Following Dr. Poff’s presentation, Director Nicholson asked about any violence in The Boy on the Box [the book is a memoir by Leon Leyson, the youngest person on Oskar Schindler’s list]. Dr. Poff replied that the material is age-appropriate. Director Mike Jacobs inquired about TCI, the publisher of the proposed core text Social Studies Alive, to see if they cater to the Boards of Education in certain states. Dr. Poff responded by saying that TCI [Teachers’ Curriculum Institute] is better than any other curriculum she has seen about bringing in perspectives of various groups, something that “we are continually realizing that we need more and more.”


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