SPS: Still Learning

  • We miss you, students! (Round 2)

    Posted by Community Relations staff on 4/4/2020

    Last week, we shared three compilation videos of SPS teachers and staff members sharing encouraging words for their students. Well, enjoy two more videos of SPSers telling their students how much they love and miss them!

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  • Libby & Odyssey students make learning fun

    Posted by Community Relations staff on 4/3/2020

    Learning doesn’t have to include a pencil and paper, or a computer. Sometimes learning can include chalk, or even a brain-shaped cake.

    Thank you Libby students Ava and Tekiya and Odyssey student Max for giving us a peek at what learning from home means to you.

    Ava, second grade, Language Immersion Program

    Tekiya, second grade, Language Immersion Program

    Max, 7th grade, Odyssey. After studying the brain he made a cake model. Looks ... delicious?

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  • Brave, kind, smart & loved

    Posted by Community Relations staff on 4/3/2020

    Jefferson Elementary staff created this special message for their students, but we'd like to extend the sentiment to every SPS student:

    jefferson message

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  • TCS springs into action during COVID closure

    Posted by Community Relations staff on 4/2/2020

    How do we effectively support our community in times of crisis?

    Seems like a daunting question, but the folks at The Community School think they can find the answer.

    This week, we spoke with TCS facilitator Nate Seaburg about a new all-school project where students will come up with ways to support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Community Relations: Tell us about this project that TCS is launching.

    Nate Seaburg: You know, we wanted to put together a project that could mirror how we do education at TCS, something that's project based, but also we obviously needed to take into account some of the constraints of distant learning. We debated initially about launching a project that didn't address the reality of what we're living in, so maybe something that would be more of a diversion. But then we decided instead to steer right into it. We're starting by examining past crises, and specifically the way in which people contributed on the home front.

    So not only like the big ones, the World War I, World War II, the last global pandemic, but also looking at things like the Mount St. Helens eruption and things that were a little bit closer to home. We'll start by looking at those crises, doing some online discussion posts about it, and then moving into asking the question, "What can we learn from what they did, and apply that to our present reality?" We're going to end by students taking the lead on making a real difference within their community, helping their neighbors, helping Spokane in whatever way makes sense based on that research.

    CR: Who was the brainchild behind this project?

    NS: It was totally collaborative. You know, in other projects we really try to involve kids in the conceptualization of them, but this all happened so quickly. It was actually our last meeting together as a staff that Monday when we were done. We kind of had a real quick conversation of what could we do. And it was definitely collaborative as we kind of thought through how we could possibly run a project when everybody has to maintain social distancing. Everything we do is so collaborative that it's been a real shift to kind of slide into doing this from home. But it was definitely a team effort.

    CR: Have you heard from any of your students since you guys launched this project?

    NS: I've heard from a lot of our students and the response has been actually really overwhelming with how many kids jumped in on that first day. We're going to reach out to every student in the school and kind of push them to get involved if they'd like. I haven't heard a no yet, actually.

    CR: Anything else you want to add?

    NS: I think just that I'm so proud of our students. I'm just proud of the way in which they're not using this as an excuse. They're using this as an opportunity to learn in a new way…None of these students are signing up because they're point grubbing or they're chasing. Honestly, I think there's a lot of fear and I think they want to be a boon to their family and to their society and to their community and this makes me really proud of our TCS students and the staff also.<?p>

    I'm so excited to see what they come up with. Next week we'll enter this phase of okay, we've learned about the past. What do we do now? Because so much of what we're going to see, it's not going to work in social distancing. But what happens if a victory garden is taken online? In WWII they did tin drives and were kind of collecting scrap metal. What's our version of that? Are we making masks? Are we raiding earthquake kits for N95 masks for medical people, or are there other needs that we haven't thought about? I'm really excited because they consistently surprise me.

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  • Watch me now: Teaching on YouTube

    Posted by Community Relations staff on 4/1/2020


    Now that we’re in our second week of learning from home, teachers are using all kinds of resources to stay connected with their students. Some use texting and email, some use Zoom video conferencing, and others like David Montecucco from Shadle Park and Thomas Coghlan from Montessori are using YouTube.

    Mr. Montecucco – or Monte for short – makes videos that are part of his 20/20/20 series: 20 lessons over 20 days for 20 minutes.

    “The focus is real-world geometry and then on Friday, Saturday and Sunday we come up with inspirational ideas the kiddos can do at home!”

    So far, inspirational lessons have included building your own monopoly board and making gifts for loved ones out of recycled materials they find around the house.

    With the snap of his fingers, Mr. Coghlan takes his Montessori 4th-6th graders through the history of the world with this “Day in History” YouTube series.

    So far, his students have learned about the opening of the Eiffel Tower and the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the 1970s. Each video contains a big idea Coghlan hopes the kids take away from the lessons.

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  • Team teaching with Mother Nature

    Posted by Community Relations staff on 3/31/2020


    Longfellow sixth grader Alijah and kindergartener Gavin made ecospheres from the Spokane River. They are recording their observations daily.

    We love the kind of learning that gets your hands dirty! 

    creating ecospheres

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  • Virtual Recess

    Posted by Community Relations staff on 3/31/2020

    virtual recess Westview 3rd grade teacher Tiffiny Santos knows how much energy is inside a 3rd grader. So when she bought it up to her son Donnie, who owns a gym in Spokane Valley, he had a great solution: virtual recess.

    At noon on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, Donnie and his team at Gas House Fitness & Performance are holding virtual recess via Zoom video conferencing. It’s free of charge and consists of “45 minutes of energy-burning fitness games and challenges. There’s no equipment necessary and you can do recess inside or outside.

    Tiffiny said Donnie’s first virtual recess was for her own 3rd grade class.

    “Others joined and it was a hit for kids and parents," she said. "We decided to open it up to anyone who wanted to join.”

    Find information on virtual recess at Gas House’s Facebook page or by emailing teamgashouse@gmail.com.

    virtual recess

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  • Table talk

    Posted by Community Relations staff on 3/30/2020

    Making the most of their time together, Ferris freshman Aurora H. asked her dad to open a "quarantine woodshop" and teach her how to make a table. According to her mom, Aurora "enjoyed it from drawing it, all the way to staining it. The end result was awesome!" 


    We totally agree. Mom Jacki added, "Get out of the box and learn. There is so much out there." Thanks for the Monday inspiration! 

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  • Music teachers turn to song in stressful times

    Posted by Kristy Mylroie on 3/28/2020

    There’s a saying that music is the medicine of the mind. In times like these, music really can put our minds at ease.

    Enter four Spokane-area music teachers: Sara Carroll from LC, Stacia Cammarano from Shadle Park, Renee Honn from Shiloh Hills ES in Mead and Anna Frisch from Cd’A school district. 

    On Wednesday, these four songstresses – who are calling themselves the “Quaran-tet” – recorded a unique rendition of the Enya song, “May It Be.” Using the Acapella app, the four teachers were able to harmonize from the comforts of their own homes. 

    “We’re just trying to spark whatever joy we can these days,” said Carroll via Instagram.

    You can watch their entire music video here.

    music teachers   T-L: Stacia Camaranno, T-R: Renee Honn, B-R: Anna Frisch, B-L: Sara Carroll

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    Posted by Community Relations staff on 3/27/2020

    The last couple of weeks have been difficult for our students and families, and it’s been hard for our teachers and staff as well. They truly miss seeing their students’ smiling faces every day. Earlier this week, we asked teachers and staff from across SPS to send us a short video message for their students. We've received so many that we decided to do a series, which we will share here over the coming days and weeks. Check out the first three videos:



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