Following an 18-month stretch of shuttered faculty buildings, distant studying, hybrid lessons, masks mandates and canceled sports activities seasons, the beginning of the 2021-22 faculty yr was by no means going to be utterly “regular” for Camas-Washougal college students.
With that in thoughts, employees at Discovery Excessive Faculty determined to make use of these first couple weeks of the brand new faculty yr to shake issues up and, they hoped, assist college students bond with their friends.
As a substitute of heading straight to their school rooms on the primary few days of faculty, Discovery college students got here collectively for a mixed-grade, schoolwide mission that emphasised college students’ pursuits and distinctive expertise by permitting them to kind scholar golf equipment that may meet all through the college yr, throughout the college students’ common faculty days.
“Along with creating a way of belonging and neighborhood as we return to highschool throughout the pandemic, we’re additionally emphasizing and evaluating collaboration, communication and craftsmanship,” defined Discovery Principal Aaron Smith. “Our youngsters are very engaged within the course of.”
Discovery Excessive science trainer Corinne Lorch stated the college’s management crew knew college students would have a higher must turn out to be a part of a college neighborhood after so many months in distant and hybrid studying. The trick was determining how college students might use mission primarily based studying and design — the core tenet of Camas’ latest highschool — to construct neighborhood, strengthen connections to at least one one other and create new traditions.
The reply? Coming collectively for the primary seven days of faculty to brainstorm concepts for scholar golf equipment, discover different members after which pitch the concept to highschool directors.
“To start out, we had college students replicate and share about their pursuits, strengths, areas of progress and extra,” Lorch stated.
College students got here collectively into teams certain collectively by a love of sports activities, gaming, artwork and different pursuits.
“These teams then collaborated to see the best way to transition these passions and customary pursuits right into a membership thought. After an preliminary membership truthful on the finish of the primary week, golf equipment have been solidified,” Lorch defined.
After the three-day Labor Day vacation weekend, Discovery college students returned for the second week of the schoolwide mission, determining how their golf equipment would possibly contribute to the general faculty neighborhood and creating quick pitch movies to point out to Smith — or to the college’s scholar management crew if college students wished to turn out to be an official Related Pupil Physique supported membership — on the ultimate day of the mission.
On the ultimate day of the mission, Sept. 10, college students pitched their membership concepts to Smith, promoting the principal on all the pieces from a rock-climbing membership that will make the most of the college’s current rock-climbing wall and a billiards membership that hoped to present Discovery Excessive college students an opportunity to study a brand new talent whereas making new pals, to a game-development membership that had attracted a gaggle of freshmen wanting to share their data of open-source gaming software program, and an artwork membership with plans to share wanted artwork provides and possibly even create an artwork mission primarily based on the college’s phoenix mascot.
Smith stated this was the primary time Discovery Excessive has achieved a particular schedule for a mixed-grade, schoolwide mission of this magnitude. That is the primary yr Discovery Excessive, which opened its doorways with a freshman class in 2018 and has added a brand new class yearly since then, has had a full complement of scholars in grades 9 by means of 12.
“Collectively, the mission was a hit,” Lorch stated. “College students have demonstrated collaboration, communication and craftsmanship inside the improvement of every part — pillars of Uncover Excessive’s mission primarily based studying program. I personally witnessed a mixed-grade stage crew work on 5 separate gadgets to good a presentation collectively, an indication of the kind of collaboration expertise particularly embedded and explicitly taught by means of the method.”
Smith added that college leaders hope the mission has given Discovery college students a greater “sense of belonging and neighborhood” following 18 months of distant and hybrid studying.