SPS Podcasts

  • Listen & learn about the people in our SPS community.

  • SPS Friday Five

    Published Aug., 2022 - present

    The SPS Friday 5 poses five questions in about five minutes to an expert on any given topic.

Friday 5: Kitty Hennessey on having a High School & Beyond Plan

For the past 36 years, Kitty Hennessey has served as a counselor at all grade levels within SPS. Here, she outlines the purpose of a High School and Beyond Plan and shares some tips for talking with students who may be anxious when discussing their future.


Friday 5: Jeremy Day on looking toward life after high school

Jeremy Day is the Graduation Assistance Specialist for SPS, working with students who need a little extra aid to make it across the stage and on to postsecondary success. Prior to this, he was a school counselor for 15 years, much of it at Rogers High School. He shares his take on when families and students should begin considering life after high school (hint: it should start earlier than you think), and how parents can approach planning for the future while still letting their kid be a kid.


Friday 5: 2022 graduate Will Merritt on life after high school

Will Merritt is a Class of 2022 Lewis & Clark High School grad who's now at the University of Portland studying biology on a pre-med track. Here, he talks about what helped him plan for postsecondary success, what he'd tell his freshman self, and ways the adults in his life helped him start thinking about life after high school.


Friday 5: Scott Kerwien on helping high schoolers back to class

Before he became the SPS Executive Director of Student Success, Scott Kerwien was a high school counselor for about a decade. He shares his take on how to talk to a teenager, the top three things parents of high schoolers should be doing to prep their student for a successful new year, resources for families, and more.

This is the final of three episodes about preparing students to get back to school.


Friday 5: Mike Stark on back to school prep for middle schoolers

Our second of three episodes around preparing students to get back to school features new Glover Middle School Principal Mike Stark. Mike was a 20-year principal in the Cheney Public Schools district, where middle school consists of grades 6-8. He shares what parents should know about the transition as SPS begins the process of moving up our own sixth grade students to the middle level this year.

He also talks through the top three things parents of middle schoolers should be doing to prepare for the start of a new school year, what traits thriving students have in common, and where families should go to find resources that will make this school year great.


Friday 5: Karin Thompson on back to school prep for younger students

In the first of three episodes focused on preparing students to get back to school, SPS Director of Early Learning Karin Thompson talks through the top three things parents of young children should be doing right now to prepare themselves for the start of a new school year.

She also reveals why it's vital to get to know your kid's teacher, what traits the most successful elementary students have in common, and where families should go to find resources that will make the first day great.

  • Sounds of Learning

    Published Aug., 2021 - present

    In this audio series, SPS brings you into the classroom – or wherever else learning is happening – to provide auditory excerpts from across our district.

New hire orientation introduces teachers, staff to SPS

We visited a new hire orientation this week to speak with fresh SPS teachers and other staff about who they are, what they'll be doing, and why they're excited for the coming school year. 


Shaw student glad to be back on his feet after scary accident

Arthur Wedge suffered serious injuries after he was hit by a car in September of 2021. With the help of his teachers, school counselor and family, he was able to recover and continues to be a model student at Shaw Middle School.

The Community School raises funds for homeless students

Students at The Community School worked with Generation Alive to raise funds for Spokane Public Schools' Homeless Education and Resource Team (HEART) and support their fellow students who may be experiencing homelessness.


Concert gives students a taste of Spokane Symphony

Each year, the Spokane Symphony invites fourth and fifth grade students from across the city to the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.
Last Thursday, 2,500 students from every elementary school in Spokane Public Schools had the chance to see this historical theater and learn about music in a way many of them have never experienced before.


Jefferson Elementary Uke Fair gives students a venue

Jefferson Elementary Music Teacher Tamie King taught fourth and fifth graders how to play chords on a ukulele. She was looking for a way to get them in front of an audience. But, you know, pandemic.

Inspired by the notion of a science fair, she opted to have students write an original song using chords or notes they felt comfortable and successful playing. Seeing that they were committed to the project, she created a venue for them to play in front of their peers.


Faster, higher, stronger at Linwood Elementary

Linwood Elementary Fitness & Health Teacher Fiona Zwiesler has been leading a school-wide Olympics for the past several weeks.

"We as a school have focused on the Olympic motto, 'higher, faster, stronger,' and also on the three values of the Olympics: respect, friendship and excellence," she said. "We made a medal chart outside the gym and every day will be adding the medal count from the olympics for each country."

During the week of Feb. 14, each class chose a country to represent and created flags and other regalia to bring to fitness class for an opening ceremony. Students rotated through stations simulating a range of winter Olympic events, such as curling, slalom, and others. At the end of each class, individuals who best represented the three values and gave it their all were presented with gold, silver and bronze medals.


Shaw Middle School's 2-4-3 Project

Adam Gangelhoff's 2-4-3 project at Shaw Middle School promotes love and is a way for students to be seen, heard and cared for.


High schoolers, 3rd graders create community of kindness

Students at Shadle Park High School have been connecting with a Westview Elementary third grade class to read books, collaborate on projects, and create a community of kindness at both schools.


Frances L.N. Scott Family speaks with students

Frances L.N. Scott Elementary celebrated its new name on October 22, 2021. Prior to a dedication ceremony, select students had a chance to attend a Q&A session with members of the Scott family, including her daughter, son, grandchildren, and son-in-law.

Our gratitude to the Scott family for their willingness to share. Watch some highlights of the event.


Students learn sport designed for vision impaired

Students at Garfield Elementary School put on eyeshades and perked up their ears this week to learn goalball, a team sport designed specifically for athletes with a vision impairment.


Libby Spanish Immersion students recreate "El Grito" for Hispanic Heritage Month

For Hispanic Heritage Month, 3rd grade students from Libby Center's Spanish Immersion program learned about "El Grito", a battle cry that commemorates Mexico's battle for independence and democracy.


Phonograph sends summer campers back to 1900s

Before streaming services, MP3s, CDs or even records, there was the cylinder. SPS Paraeducator Phil Saunders recently brought his Edison phonograph cylinder player to Audubon Elementary for some show, tell, and listen. 

  • Community Partners

    Published April, 2021 - present
    In this monthly podcast series, SPS is highlighting the local community organizations that partner with our district and work to provide equitable opportunities for students to succeed inside and outside the classroom, no matter their background. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Outreach Center

Published April 29, 2021
This series’s first episode is about the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Outreach Center in East Central Spokane. The center has been around for over 40 years and has left an indelible legacy as a regionally recognized community social service center providing comprehensive education, social services and cultural enrichment programs for children and families. To learn more about the MLK Family Outreach Center, go to mlkspokane.org.



NATIVE Project

Published May 25, 2021
In this episode, we’re featuring the NATIVE Project, which offers health, wellness and behavioral health services for Natives and non-Natives in the greater Spokane area with an emphasis on Indian Health. Looking out for and supporting our area's native students has been a priority of the NATIVE Project since its early years. If you’d like to learn more about the NATIVE Project and the services they provide, head to nativeproject.org.


The ZoNE

Published June 25, 2021
This June, we’re featuring The ZoNE – a community initiative that’s for people from Northeast Spokane, by people from Northeast Spokane. The ZoNE has a hand in helping so many different causes around Northeast Spokane – from expanded learning, to help with employment and healthcare, to access to healthy food. Their reach is bigger than most people probably realize. If you’d like to learn more about The ZoNE and how they help in the NE, head to thezonespokane.org.


Spark Central

Published July 29, 2021
This month, we’re featuring Spark Central – a nonprofit that sparks the creativity, innovation, and imagination that allows people to carve the path to their best future. They partner with our schools in the West Central neighborhood by offering kids a welcoming space to engage in fun, hands-on programs and access to innovative technology at no cost to their families. If you’d like to learn more about Spark Central and the opportunities they have to offer, head to spark-central.org


College Success Foundation

Published Aug. 25
In this episode, we’re featuring College Success Foundation – a non-profit that empowers students, families, and communities with the resources they need to ensure students are prepared for college, or any other post-high school academic endeavor, and complete their degree.

CSF has advisors at three SPS middle schools and at our five largest comprehensive high schools, helping eleventh- and twelfth graders prepare for a successful post-high school experience.

If you’d like to learn more about College Success Foundation and their student programs, head to collegesuccessfoundation.org


Communities in Schools of Spokane County

Published Sept. 20
This month, we’re featuring Communities in Schools of Spokane County – a non-profit whose mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. 

CIS has been an incredible partner to our district, and we are grateful for how they’ve been able to help countless SPS students through the years.

If you’d like to learn more about Communities in Schools of Spokane County, head to spokane.ciswa.org

  • Mental Health Awareness

    Published Dec. 9, 2020 - Jan. 8, 2021
    In SPS's first podcast series, members of our communications staff talked with some of the district’s mental health therapists to help shed light on the mental struggles we’re probably all experiencing during the pandemic and what we can do to help us or our loved ones feel a little bit better.

Jenny Keenan, Willard Elementary


Brittany Haugen, Salk Middle School


Michelle Owen & Tara Brown, Map Middle & High School


Kati Kelsey, North Central High School


Natalie Sarria-Wiley, Rogers High School


Kristi Mathistad, SPS Chemical Dependency Professional


Danielle Allen, Adams Elementary


Dr. David Crump, Director of SPS Mental Health Services