More SPS Stories

  • Pacific Islander clubs promote community and culture

    Posted by Communications Staff on 5/23/2022

    Rogers Islander Organization

    When students returned to in-person learning in 2021, Ferris junior Catherine Loeak noticed something in her fellow Marshallese students.

    “Everyone was just slacking, especially at showing our culture out in the community,” she said.

    Loeak knew she needed to change that for the wellbeing of her fellow Marshallese students and all Pacific Islanders at Ferris. So, she created the Ferris Islander Club to build community, become more of a family, and promote their culture.

    Since creating the club, Loeak’s seen a change in her classmates.

    “Some were getting into trouble and I’m like the mom of the group, just telling them, ‘You need to stop skipping and focus more on school,’” she said. “They look at school differently, so I thought, ‘How could I make them excited to come to school? How could I make them want to come to school?’ I figured them having their own place at school would help that process. Once I started the Islander Club, I saw them be more serious about coming to school and being more excited about coming to school.”

    Loeak’s brother helps lead the Rogers Islander Organization (RIO) at Rogers High School. That group started in 2018 and continues today.

    “They had the idea after noticing some of the Marshallese were kind of splitting off into their own groups, so they wanted to have everybody be with each other just to share our culture,” said senior Nathanael Hermios, the RIO leader.

    The goal of the RIO is simple: “To spread our culture to other places so other people can see us and learn from our culture,” said junior Malachi Ankien.

    Ankien, who transferred to Rogers recently, said the club helped him meet new people and be involved.

    Much like the Ferris Islander Club, the RIO promotes community and holds members accountable.

    “We meet after school to update on grades. We’re not only about community but trying to raise the generation for next year without having trouble,” Hermios said. “A couple people might struggle here and there but we just want everyone to be their own person and not live for anybody else.”

    Pacific Islander Graduation The RIO is involved with an event in June that will bring together Pacific Islander groups and clubs from other SPS schools and across Spokane County to play games and meet each other. Some senior SPS Pacific Islander students also attended the first-ever Asian/Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Graduation Celebration on May 1, which kicked off Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

    Similar clubs are present in other SPS high schools, and all of them promote community and the Pacific Islander culture—one that is abundant in the Spokane region.

    Loeak understands she and her classmates only have four years to make high school memories. Starting the Ferris Islander Club was one way to make do that and make a difference in the lives of her fellow classmates.

    “I wanted this to be a pivotal moment in their life as well, a moment to remember.”

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  • Indian Trail honors late teacher with memorial fun run, Little Free Library

    Posted by Communications Staff on 5/16/2022

    Indian Trail Horse Course

    They came for a fun run—dubbed the Indian Trail Horse Course—but the real reason hundreds of Indian Trail Elementary students, parents and staff put on their running shoes last Friday was to honor Jennifer Johnston, a teacher who passed away unexpectedly last year due to complications following a minor surgery.

    It was a festival atmosphere, with music, shaved ice, face painting, a bubble machine, a fog machine and raffle prizes galore. Participants young and old wore race bibs, and trophies were handed out to the winners in each age group. The Spokane Indians’ mascots were there to encourage the runners.

    Flowers And then there was the flower arrangement sitting under the sun near the face painting and the raffle prizes. The arrangement honored Johnston and an accompanying message shared her passion for reading.

    Her love of reading is reflected in a Little Free Library constructed in her honor by Indian Trail parents Devin and Stephanie Berend. The race day raffle and donations from local businesses funded the library and will help provide for continued maintenance.

    Andy Johnston, Jennifer’s husband, was there alongside their three daughters and other extended family members. Andy shared his thanks and astonishment at the outpouring of support.Indian Trail Little Free Library

    “This gesture is not only a testimony to who Jen was and what she meant to your lives, but also a testament to how much each and every one of you meant to her,” he told the crowd. “This school, this staff, the kiddos and PTO were like a family to Jen. Please make no mistake that she absolutely loved each and every one of you.”

    The Little Free Library is full of children’s books and shares this quote from Dr. Seuss, one of Jennifer Johnston’s favorite authors:

    The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.

    “I’ve made it a point to focus on the good memories that I was fortunate enough to have and make with her, trying not to focus on the fact that she is no longer physically here with us, but instead that she’ll continue to live on through our memories and constantly in our hearts,” Andy said.

    Jennifer Johnston’s legacy will surely live on thanks to the Little Free Library at Indian Trail.

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  • ‘YMAD’ program helps Shadle students find ways and means to achieve goals

    Posted by Communications Staff on 5/12/2022

    This fall, Natreven Dickerson will head into his senior year as Shadle Park High School’s starting quarterback for the second season in a row. He’s also an accomplished track athlete with plenty of prospects ahead.

    But when Dickerson heard about the Young Men Achieving Destiny (YMAD) program, he saw another kind of opportunity: to better himself and help others.

    “Me personally, I just want to make a living for myself, kind of make a good name for my family as well,” he said. “I thought it would be a good idea just to do it and learn something new and also teach people in the group.”

    Dickerson, who has dreams of playing football beyond high school and college, as well as becoming a real estate agent or motivational speaker, was one of 15 Shadle students to complete this social-emotional program, which helps young men address anger issues and become responsible adults.

    Shon Davis—commonly known as Pastor Shon— runs the program through the SPS Office of Family and Community Engagement. The 15 Shadle students celebrated last week during a lunchtime graduation where they heard from Pastor Shon’s son, former NFL cornerback and Spokane native Will Davis. Each student also received a YMAD diploma and shirt from Shadle administrators.

    The program welcomed all grade levels. Andre Jones is finishing up his freshman year and found himself in the group after an invite from Pastor Shon.

    “The program taught me about how some of the people you surround yourself with can affect your future, and how you need to think before you do,” Jones said. “The things that you do now can affect you in the long run.”

    Before joining YMAD, Jones didn’t feel comfortable speaking to upperclassmen. But after being with them for 10 weeks, he’s connected with juniors and seniors.

    “Now, it feels like I can say anything to them and if I feel down, I can come to them about it,” he said.YMAD Student

    Jones is the kind of person Dickerson wants to help after completing the YMAD program.

    “You know, I got one more year in school and I'm going to miss my young guys. I'll miss them,” he said. “But I want to import something in their heads first before I leave the school so they have those life lessons that I learned from other people that I can bring to them now.”

    Another YMAD graduate, sophomore Jonathan Logan, has dreams of running track at the University of Oregon. While he says he was essentially volun-told to join, “it ended up being very helpful,” he said, adding, “I’m going to try and train harder and make sure all my decisions that I make go toward my goal and not away from it.

    LaVae Tate, who will graduate this June, said choosing to join helped him confront some anger issues.

    “I felt like this program would help me a bit on not letting anger in and not bottling up emotions and being straight up with everything that happens,” he said.

    YMAD helped him focus on the goals he has after getting a diploma.

    “One goal I really set for myself was to stay on task and work every day this summer so that I can literally get to where I want to go, which is own my own home and my own business,” he said. “As soon as I graduate, that’s what I’m going to do.”

    The program also helped Tate and others in the group get vulnerable and share with each other.

    “You know how it’s called like a ‘bro code’ or ‘bro circle’? We made that pact the first day we came in,” he said. “Ever since that day we’ve been able to open up and speak on whatever we wanted to without anyone laughing or any other problems.”

    Instead, Tate, Dickerson, Jones, and Logan found a new group of brothers to rely on and check in with as they make their way toward accomplishing their goals.

    YMAD Group

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  • Students lead way in mental health awareness and discussion

    Posted by Communications Staff on 5/6/2022

    NC Wellness Club Leaders

    SPS students are doing their part when it comes to addressing the mental health of themselves and their peers. At both Lewis & Clark and North Central high schools, student-led clubs are tackling the issue in a variety of ways.

    In October, LC senior Will Merritt and his classmates created the Uplift Club, which promotes positive mental health within the LC community.

    “It's always been kind of a passion of mine,” Merritt said of mental health advocacy. “It's something that isn’t talked about enough in our schools and something that’s not talked about enough within groups of friends.”

    To get the conversation started, the Uplift Club handed out 200 Airheads candies to attendees of the club’s first meeting. Students were asked to find someone in the school they’d never spoken with and give them an Airhead. It was an opportunity to have a positive interaction with someone new and invite them to the next Uplift Club meeting.

    The Uplift Club finds unique topics that have an impact on mental health. For example, the club discussed how a student’s sleep habits impact anxiety and depression. Merritt and his classmates make sure these discussions include an element of fun, so during the sleep discussion, students played Pictionary related to the lesson.

    The club also created five-minute videos shown once a week during the school’s advisory periods that focus on a different aspect of mental health, like gaslighting, bullying and more.

    “If we can make an impact in one person's life from any of our events, any of our activities, in any of our meetings, then it's worth it,” Merritt said. “And I believe that the feedback I've heard from other students and teachers and is that our goal is always to make an impact in one person's life.”

    North Central students created the Wellness Club five years ago, which current students continue to lead. The COVID-19 pandemic led to virtual activities and meetings, but once students came back to in-person learning in the spring of 2021, the Wellness Club was there to greet them.

    “We created welcome back bags and continued certain activities for youth to get involved in our school and educate them about their own personal wellness and how they can take care of themselves and each other,” said senior Alexis Schallock, one of the club’s leaders.

    The welcome back idea was something Schallock and her fellow Wellness Club leader, senior Jacob Gannon, enjoyed when they were new to NC.

    “The idea was to get the freshman and sophomores and especially the new seventh graders in our IST program reinvigorated in the community and make them feel at home like we had when we first came to the school,” he said.

    NC’s Wellness Club wants students to know they’re not alone in whatever it is they’re dealing with. In the fall, students were asked to fill out forms indicating whether they’d been impacted by drug or alcohol addiction. The anonymous answers were put on red brick images and displayed at the school and was known as the Red Brick Wall Activity.

    “It was more of a symbol of solidarity that we put down in the commons area,” Gannon said. “People could walk by and see that they’re not alone in facing these issues.”

    Since the pandemic put mental health at the forefront, both Schallock and Gannon have seen more people talk more candidly about the issues impacting their lives.

    “I think coming out of the pandemic and the struggles we’ve all faced together, students and faculty in general are more open to discussing these issues that we’ve experienced and also that we can be there for each other,” Schallock said.

    But there’s more to be done.

    “We’ve made some progress toward being open to talking about it, but we’re still lacking a lot of the methods and training to teach people how to deal with these issues and feel safe knowing that everybody is dealing with them,” Gannon said. “I still think we need more openness about talking about it from the entire community.”

    Students like Merritt at LC and Schallock and Gannon at NC are proof that students have a major role in leading the way for mental health awareness in Spokane Public Schools.

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  • The Community School raises funds for students experiencing homelessness

    Posted by Communications Staff on 5/2/2022



    TCS Student At The Community School, students gathered on April 22 to learn how much money they raised to support Spokane Public Schools’ Homeless Education And Resources Team, commonly known as HEART.

    The fundraiser was part of the school’s “Spring into Action” campaign, a celebration of giving back to the community. This year, students worked with Generation Alive’s Illuminate Program to raise funds for students experiencing homelessness. In the end, the students raised $3,284.85.

    “The idea behind the HEART program specifically was that we felt that a lot of students could get behind a lot of what they were doing,” said David Goldbloom, a student at The Community School. “So the HEART program aims to help students who are experiencing homelessness within the district. And so, if a student, for example, that doesn't come from a means of money can't afford a prom ticket, the HEART program would step in and help with that. And we felt that a lot of students could be sympathetic toward that cause, like, ‘Oh, that person can't do a lot of the things that I can do. So like, this is a really good cause to put money towards and support.’”

    Cassandra Williams is the program coordinator at Generation Alive. She was the liaison to the students and introduced the Illuminate Program.

    “The Illuminate program focuses on the need of homelessness,” she said. “We’ll bring the program into the school, share with students about homelessness, the complexities of it, what it looks like in our community, and kind of break it down. Then students do the fundraisers.”

    The students took the Illuminate Program and ran with it. They organized online fundraisers, an Easter egg hunt, spaghetti feeds, classroom competitions, and even received a $500 Give Grant from the United Way.

    “I was part of the group that helped with connecting with Generation Alive. They do a lot of this sort of thing already,” student Timothy Blake said. “So they had expertise in setting up this sort of thing and then following through with it that we just didn't have. So they really helped us in that way.”

    “They allowed us to pick whatever we wanted to support and who we wanted to help,” added Lydia Schlazer. “So they just helped us do that.”

    Elizabeth Day, also a student at The Community School, learned a lot about students experiencing homelessness.

    “Homelessness can be in multiple different ways. It's not just someone out on the street,” she said. “I didn't realize that some students can be living at, like, their friend's home, and that will be considered homeless because they're not living at their actual home with their family. So I didn't realize that until now.”

    “Having students understand why we're doing something and why it's a big deal in our community is probably the big first step that people need to take to, you know, get something like this going,” Goldbloom said. “We wouldn't be able to get a fundraiser at this size going if we just didn't inform anyone, like essentially why this was a problem. So that's the big first step that we took and I think that's what other people need to do as well.”TCS Students

    On April 29, The Community School celebrated Spring into Action by planting trees with the Lands Council, clearing litter from the banks of the Spokane River, working with the Downtown Spokane Partnership to help clean parts of downtown, and more. They also packed more than 500 care kits for the HEART Program using the money they raised.

    Cassandra Williams, at Generation Alive, was happy to work with The Community School and came away impressed with the students’ tenacity in helping their peers who may be experiencing homelessness.

    “I think the biggest thing is the uniqueness of their school,” she said. “Our whole mission is to empower students to serve their community, and so it’s really cool to see these kids from The Community School. Not only are they serving their community, but they’re also being empowered to kind of run the program on their own. I’m more of a support than anything else and I think that’s really special.”

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  • Artists consider, “Why should students learn about the Holocaust?”

    Posted by Ryan Lancaster on 4/18/2022 5:00:00 AM

    First place high school award winner Najahna Smith, grade 12, On Track Academy, works on a stained glass piece.

    Each year, the Spokane Community Observance of the Holocaust committee challenges Inland Northwest middle and high school students to study credible sources on the genocide of Jews and others during World War II, then show their learning via an artwork and writing contest.

    While there’s still time to submit written works – the deadline is May 1, find details here – winners of the art competition were recently released (full list below).

    On Track Academy senior Najahna Smith won first place in the high school division for her stained-glass work, “Faded,” which was inspired by Birkenau – as in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau – a German word that means “birch grove.” 

    Hayden Brewer artwork. “People see birch trees and see beauty, strength, hope, peace – all opposite of what the Nazis hid behind them,” she wrote in an explanatory narrative. “The birch trees in my piece begin as bright and colorful and then fade to clear – by the time the eye gets to the left side of my piece the textures in the clear glass tell the story: People’s memories and knowledge of what happened behind those trees are fading…We must study the Holocaust so no one forgets and repeats the mistakes.”

    Spokane Virtual Academy 7th grader Hayden Brewer’s first place drawing “I’m Still Here” was inspired by the 2013 documentary of the same name, which was told through the diaries of Jewish teens.

    “I made the main theme about cracks to show that the Holocaust had many horrible moments that occurred during this time, making people’s lives crack, in some cases falling apart because of all theZariya Alexander artwork. cracks,” Hayden wrote.

    “Learning about the Holocaust has really inspired me to think about all the amazing, brave people,” shared Teagan Schroeder, an 8th grader at Salk Middle School who won second in that division. “But it has also made me ponder how so many people could do such horrible things.”

    “We need to continue fighting for one another and standing up for each other despTeagan Schroeder artwork. ite our various differences,” wrote third place winner Zariya Alexander, also a Salk 8th grader. “As long as the world keeps spinning and as long as all people continue to have a voice, the Holocaust should always be remembered to prevent the hatred and devastation from repeating in the future.” 

    First place art will be featured in the Spokesman-Review’s Voice section on April 28 and all winners will be displayed through the end of May at the Spokane Public Library’s Liberty Park branch, 402 S. Pittsburg St.


    High school division winners 

    First: Najahna Smith, grade 12, On Track Academy           

    Second: Anna Francesca Quintero-Castenada, grade 10, University High School 

    Third: Ethan Smith, grade 12, University High School

    Honorable mentions: 

    Gauge Bedow, grade 12, East Valley High School               

    Stephanie Thornton, grade 12, East Valley High School               

    Rachel Barney, grade 12, Central Valley High School

    Middle school division winners 

    First: Hayden Brewer, grade 7, Spokane Virtual Academy       

    Second: Teagan Schroeder, grade 8, Salk Middle School       

    Third: Zariya Alexander, grade 8, Salk

    Honorable mentions: 

    Alivia Ross, grade 8, Salk

    Yaretzy Juarez-Rodriguez, grade 8, Salk

    Garrett Collins, grade 8, Salk

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  • Elementary students learning advanced technology in ‘the everything place’

    Posted by Communications Staff on 4/18/2022 5:00:00 AM

    Children in Grant library

    Walk into any SPS elementary school library and you’ll notice the traditional array of books for all grades. But you might also see kids using technology to inspire learning for the 21st century.

    At Woodridge, for example, fourth graders are using computer-aided design (CAD) software to design boats. Regal students are creating stop-motion animation videos using Legos, while first graders at Grant are creating electrical currents using Squishy Circuits (pictured above).

    That’s life in the modern-day library, and Jeremy Klingback at Woodridge Elementary is taking advantage. Klingback, the school’s library information specialist, lights up when talking about the cool things happening in his domain.

    “It’s the everything place. When I think of libraries and when I first came here, I kind of had that traditional model where it was books, it was reading, checking out a book and go home,” Klingback said. “I think that served a purpose for a while, but things have changed. Technology is a more important part of our lives and a bigger part of our lives. Having a space where you have access to those resources and those materials and training is just another part of what a library should be.” child in Woodridge library

    Klingback understands that kids nowadays know how to use various forms of technology at greater ease than many of their parents and grandparents. It’s a sign that introducing technology like video editing and CAD can be effective in creating 21st century learners.

    “People talk about learning a second language. I tried to do it when I was older and it was really hard,” Klingback said. “These kids are doing it while they’re young and their brains are very malleable and like sponges, they can just absorb the new language and it’s easy for them. Technology is kind of the same thing, it’s a new language. When they’re young and exposed to these things responsibly, they suck it right in. It’s amazing.”

    Klingback said he started the year planning to just teach tech to sixth graders. But once he realized the students were mastering it so quickly, he decided to introduce the technology to fifth graders. Then, the same thing happened, so he introduced it to fourth graders, with some students going home and creating things on their own. He’ll soon begin teaching the basics of CAD to third graders, who are already learning video editing skills.

    Klingback mirrors the work in his library to what the students are learning in their classroom.

    When sixth graders were learning about ancient Greek history in their classroom. Klingback had them research ancient Greek art and artifacts. Then they used CAD software to design their own ancient Greek architecture.

    Woodridge green screen Another class was completing a science unit on climate. In the library, they researched different regions of the world and created video presentations using a green screen.

    “Instead of holding up a piece of paper and reading an essay, they were able to create this awesome video that gathers people’s attention, and they can get across everything they want in such a unique way,” Klingback said. “These are the things they’ll need to know later on. A lot of them might get into jobs like this, so the fact that we can expose this to them at a young age, like a new language, is just going to help them as they get older.”

    Fourth graders were learning about the Lewis & Clark journey, so they researched different modes of transportation from that era and designed wooden boats using CAD software.

    The library will always be a place for reading, literacy and discovery, but Klingback and his colleagues are transforming library time to meet the needs of a 21st century workforce.

    “They can come in and read books, they can do their research, and they can also come here and have a whole new world opened up,” Klingback said. “When I say it should be the everything place, it’s where they can take their learning in the classroom and bring it here and go deeper.”

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  • Project Lift Up comes to the aid of students' mental health

    Posted by Communications Staff on 4/4/2022

    Project Lift Up

    Angella Southerly describes herself as “a caregiver at heart,” which is fitting given her background in the health care field.

    In 2014, she created the nonprofit Light a Lamp, which recognizes groups and individuals who have shown that caregiver work ethic. One of Light a Lamp’s acts of service is creating and delivering gift baskets to those individuals to let them know they’re appreciated and noticed.

    Gift Box Items Earlier this year, the Light a Lamp board met to discuss ideas for where else they wanted to serve. That’s when Project Lift Up was born.

    In Project Lift Up, Light a Lamp creates and delivers gift boxes to middle and high school counselors to give to students who are struggling with feelings of hopelessness.

    “It was my vice president Staci (Borup) and my marketing coordinator Kristine (Songhurst) that both said, ‘Man, we just really need to serve these struggling teens,’” Southerly said. “Kristine already had the name all in her head, and we just said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’ I’ve been working my tush off to make this happen.”

    Light a Lamp already has partnerships with Rogers, North Central and Shadle Park high schools, where it provides five luminary gift boxes each month that include:

    • Drawstring bag
    • Inspirational pen
    • Card inscribed with “You’re Not Alone”
    • $5 Froyo Earth gift card
    • Journal
    • Inspirational bookmark
    • Tumbler
    • Gum, candy
    • Bracelet

    “Since the pandemic, we’ve seen such an increase in mental health issues,” Southerly said. “This box is for the counselors to have on hand, and they can confidentially decide who they provide it to. When the child sees this the hope is that they go, ‘Wow, there are people out there that don’t know me but really care. They care about my life.’ We want to just hold them in that moment.”

    Students have been grateful while receiving the boxes. One SPS counselor said a student “was so thankful and said that it brightened her day.” She’s heard from the other counselors that it has been very inspirational for students.

    Moments like that validate Light a Lamp’s purpose in addressing mental health issues for today’s students. Project Lift Up is one way the community rallies around SPS students.

    “We’re here to support them,” Southerly said. “It’s just a gift box, sure, but with anything Light a Lamp does, the gift is just a conduit that brings that feeling of comfort and to let them know they’re not alone. It’s that tangible item that brings the ultimate goal of letting them know they’re seen and heard.”

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  • Studying history through art in two SPS high schools

    Posted by Communications Staff on 3/31/2022

    Art projects

    Studying history the traditional way might involve examining the key figures and moments of our past, the good times and the bad, and the battles won and lost.

    Another way to study history, though, is through art.

    Paula Korus teaches AP Art History at North Central High School, a course for sophomores, juniors and seniors that fulfills a world history credit. The course is also available at Lewis and Clark High School.

    Korus lights up when talking about her course.

    art on wall “Every culture around the world is recognized and we start at the very beginning from about 100,000 BCE to the modern-day art in 2011,” she said. “It’s everything from the Shiva Lord of the Dance to Mao Zedong’s propaganda posters for the cultural revolution in the 1960s. There’s an astounding amount of history associated with these things. This is the most robust history course I think a student could have.”

    Students study art in architecture, political posters, sculptures, and more. They learn how political powers used art to their advantage, and how different cultures and religions incorporate art into their teachings. Students debate different art pieces and interpret what the artist was trying to convey.

    “Currently in the study of Asia, they’re learning the transmission of culture along the water and land routes of trade,” Korus said. “So, the spread of Hinduism to Southeast Asia, the spread of Buddhism up into the Silk Road across to Korea, across to Japan, and then how political powers would use these to their advantage. It’s an incredible history theme they’ve learned through the eyes of temples or massive statues that are built.”

    Korus has 60 students across two AP Art History classes, and the students are as diverse as the art lining the walls of her classroom.

    “There are a variety of students from all walks of the school. From athletes to artsy band kids,” she said.

    Korus enjoys that the course gives students another perspective on on wall

    “I think students who take this class are interested in learning about something other than wars and battles, and how they can see the world from a different lens. It’s a complete retelling of history. I’m so excited to be teaching it because it’s so diverse.”

    John Hagney, who retired from Lewis and Clark in 2020, created the first AP Art History course 20 years ago and believes teaching history through art gets students engaged.

    “Remembering historical events and personas by referencing dates and names only does not fully engage the brain,” he said. “Just as we often recall events in our own lives by association to specific sensory recollections, history is better remembered when illustrated by the power of art.”

    The course follows the AP Art History guide from College Board. At the end of the year, students can take the AP test, which involves a one-hour, 80-question test, then six essay prompts to be completed in two hours. A successful AP test score can fulfill a humanities credit in college.

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  • College heads to the classroom, giving students an edge

    Posted by Communications Staff on 3/28/2022

    Aubrey Smith teaching at Shadle Students looking to get a head start on college credits have plenty of options at SPS high schools.

    Advanced Placement (AP) allows students to take college-level courses, and if they score well enough on an end-of-year test, they can gain college credit. Students in the Running Start program take college courses at Spokane Community College, Spokane Falls Community College, or Eastern Washington University (EWU), and can earn their associate degree by the time they graduate high school.

    But another option is relatively new: College in the High School, which brings courses offered at local colleges and universities to the high school classroom. These courses are taught by high school teachers with oversight by college faculty and staff. Whereas students in AP classes only earn college credit based on an end-of-year AP test, students in the College in the High School courses give students college credit based on their performance in class, which is largely determined by their grades on the unit tests and the final exam.

    One such course is Aubrey Smith’s Math 107 at Shadle Park High School. Smith started teaching Math 107 in 2018 and enjoys how the course is embedded with real-life applications. Smith’s class learn topics like logic, probability, statistics, and finance—subjects used in all walks of life.

    “Students become truly engaged in the material when they can see how applicable the math can be to their everyday lives,” she said. “Our class conversations are valuable. Since the students enjoy learning, they dive deeper into our material and ask profound and connecting questions.”Shadle student

    College in the High School students can earn both high school and college credit. Smith’s particular class is designed for students pursuing post-secondary education that doesn’t involve math.

    “In theory, if a student earns high school and college credit simultaneously, this is the last math class that they would ever need to take,” she said. “But even if a student does not view themselves as a mathematician, this class often hooks student interest and sometimes changes their career paths to something more math focused.”

    Smith’s course is overseen by professors at EWU, and it is truly a partnership.

    “I really enjoy working with the professors from EWU,” Smith said. “We share pedagogical methods and really strive to improve student learning.”

    College in High School is available in the five comprehensive SPS high schools and courses are mostly taken by juniors and seniors. Contact your local high school for specific information.

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