Summary: In Seattle Public Schools, advanced learning services are evolving so that every student has access to advanced learning options.
SPS college science ‘goes further’ than ever before
At Seattle Public Schools (SPS), advanced learning services are evolving so that every student has access to advanced learning options. An example of these changes can be seen in middle school science.
While most students thrive on the traditional science curriculum, others find excitement in an added challenge – known in some schools as “going further”. Students who choose to “Go Further” have the opportunity to take their learning to the next level with more complex activities.
“I’m a big believer in ‘all kids should have to struggle with content,'” said Jane Addams Middle School science teacher Leah Van More. “You have to wrestle and wrestle with content and process in order to build those resilience skills within your education.”
“Go Further” includes additional aspects of a project that keep a student’s work at a higher level. From improving technical writing and computer skills to separate and more rigorous tests and assignments, students have the opportunity to access advanced learning options.
Although it’s been part of Van More’s curriculum since around 2016, SPS has officially started providing sample work – which includes ideas on how to get students to go deeper into a topic – for all middle school science teachers. during the 2021-22 school year. .
Before “go deeper” was an option, elementary students in advanced learning science automatically transitioned into high school science courses in middle school. This was done to meet their advanced learning needs, but it eventually became apparent that some students were unprepared for high school level courses.
The program also failed to provide access to equitable learning experiences for every student at SPS College.
This led Advanced Learning to partner with the SPS Science department to transform the previous system to support excellence in every student. The new type of teaching for middle school science is flexible enough to provide advanced courses where needed and, at the same time, meet a student’s needs for academic support in other areas.
The learning model also serves as a gateway to higher level science courses and provides opportunities for advanced learning at a level more suited to high school students.
“I want every student in Seattle — with a particular focus on the children furthest from educational justice, our black boys and teens — to have access to all the amazing things our teachers and schools can bring to kids in right now,” Deenie Berry said. , head of the SPS Advanced Learning program. “They deserve it, and we have a moral imperative to provide that in every school in the district.”
Currently, middle school science teachers meet monthly to share tools and resources, and to discuss new ideas and new types of teaching that take into account the needs of the whole child. This will ensure equitable access to advanced learning opportunities for every student.
Advanced Learning also plans to hold a 2022 summer institute for teachers to immerse themselves in new teaching concepts.
As changes are made, it is important to note that advanced learning does not go away, it improves.
“With ‘go further’, every student has the opportunity to learn science in a deeper and more rigorous way,” said Alisha Taylor, SPS Science Program Specialist.
College science transitions are an important part of SPS’s new advanced learning service delivery model. The change will ensure that every middle school science student receives sufficient instruction at grade level – and that advanced learning services are accessible to all.