Summary: In Seattle public schools, advanced learning services are changing so that every student has access to advanced learning options.
Science in SPS high school is “going further” than ever
In Seattle Public Schools (SPS), advanced learning services are changing so that every student has access to advanced learning options. An example of these changes can be seen in high school science.
While most students thrive on the core science curriculum, others find the excitement an additional challenge – known in some schools as “going further.” Students who choose to “go further” have the opportunity to take their studies to the next level with more complex activities.
“I’m a big supporter of ‘all children have to struggle with content,'” said Leah Van Moore, a science teacher at Jane Adams High School. “You have to fight and struggle with content and process to develop these sustainability skills within your education.”
“Let’s go further” includes additional aspects of the project that support the student’s work to a higher standard. From increasing technical writing and computer skills to individual, more rigorous tests and assignments, students are given access to advanced learning options.
Although part of Van More’s curriculum from around 2016, SPS has officially started providing examples of work – which includes ideas on how to get students to delve deeper into a subject – for all high school science teachers in the academic year 2021-22. .
Before “going further” was an option, students in primary education automatically switched to high school-level science courses in high school. This was done to meet their advanced learning needs, but in the end it became apparent that students were not prepared for the course work at the high school level.
“This was problematic because the students did not get the basic science they needed in the beginning [school]”Said Alicia Taylor, SPS Science Curriculum Specialist. “By the time they got to seventh grade, they were studying chemistry and physics in high school and they just weren’t ready.”
The program also failed to provide access to fair education for every student at SPS High School.
This prompted Advanced Learning to partner with SPS Science to transform the previous system to maintain the brilliance of each student. The new type of science education in secondary school is flexible enough to provide advanced lessons where appropriate, while addressing the student’s need for class-level support in other areas.
The learning model also acts as a bridge to higher-level science courses and provides opportunities for extended learning at a level that is more appropriate for high school students.
“I want every student in Seattle – with a special focus on children who are furthest from educational justice, our black boys and teenagers – to have access to everything that is amazing that our teachers and schools can bring to children right now. “Said Deanny Berry, SPS Advanced Learning Program Manager. “They deserve it, and we have a moral imperative to ensure that in every school in the area.”
Currently, high school science teachers meet monthly to share tools and resources and discuss new ideas and types of learning that take into account the needs of the whole child. This will ensure equal access to advanced learning opportunities for every student.
Advanced Learning also plans to hold a summer institute in 2022, in which teachers will immerse themselves deeply in new teaching concepts.
As changes take place, it is important to note that extended learning is not disappearing, but getting better.
“By going further, every student has the opportunity to learn more about science more thoroughly and rigorously,” Taylor said.
Transitions in science in high school are an important part of the new model of providing SPS advanced learning services. The shift will ensure that every high school science student receives sufficient training at the class level – and that advanced learning services are accessible to all.