Good Things Happening In Seattle Public Schools

A round-up from all over (thanks to Maureen for this story from the My Ballard blog):

Ballard High School students are learning how to handle oil spills. On Thursday, students in the school’s Maritime Academy conducted an “oil spill drill” as part of their Sophomore Maritime Survey. The fictitious spill took place off Port Angeles where one oil tanker collided with another vessel.

“The students had to demonstrate their familiarity with different types of spill response equipment (containment boom, skimmers, etc.), nautical charts, NOAA oil spill response software, tide tables and federal guidelines for spill response.,” Foster tells us. “Within an hour the teams were able to locate the spill, predict its trajectory for the next three days, organize and stage equipment to respond, and set up a decontamination station for effected personnel and animals.” If you’re not familiar with the Ballard Maritime Academy, it is a three-year program at Ballard High School with a hands-on curriculum that focuses on introducing students to the maritime industry and marine sciences.

That's hands-on learning about science, teamwork, communications - great job, BHS Maritime Academy!

Ballard is also in the news for being one of 15 schools to have an experiment on the next space shuttle flight on Feb. 27th.

The Ballard experiment was designed by students in the school’s Biotechnology and Astronomy programs. Once in orbit, a population of dormant non-pathenogenic E. Coli will be inserted into a liquid growth medium. After the flight, students will recover and freeze a population of well-traveled cells grown in microgravity that many subsequent students can compare to the same strain of stay-at-home E. Coli. The students can observe changes, such as mutations, plasmid uptake ability, and growth rate.

From the SPS Schoolbeat e-newsletter:

The Family Support Workers program at SPS received the 2011 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Award on January 15th. The ELL program also received a nomination along with awards to students from McClure, Interagency and Cleveland.

Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative Director Mariko Lockhart and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn presented each winner with $100 and their award. All nominees received a certificate honoring their work.

(Note: isn't this the same program the district wants to cut? Yup. Luckily, it is still in the upcoming city levy, Families and Education.

Garfield High Schools took second place in the Overall division at the Puget Sound Computer Science Teachers Association's biannual programming competition in the December held at UW. Engineering lecturer Stuart Reges described Fermat’s Little Theorem and its role in cryptography before the three-hour problem-solving marathon. During the competition, students worked in teams of up to three to solve computational tasks ranging from determining whether a set of points describe a right triangle to validating URLs.

Here's a description of the event from GHS computer science teacher, Helene Martin. I love these quotes:

"This was the best day," exclaimed Alex Fu, a senior at Garfield high school, "I got to spend it writing code and eating food!"

“I can't wait for college; if we learned that much in one hour, I can't imagine how much we'll learn in 4 years,” said Michael Rosenberg, a sophomore at Garfield high school, following the RSA lecture.

After the competition, many students talked to the judges -- volunteers from, Gist, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo, thePlatform and VivaKi -- about their careers and their day-to-day activities.

The district now has 227 Board-certified teachers which is an increase over more than 40% over last year. The National Board noted that Seattle Public Schools is among the nation’s top 20 districts in terms of the number of teachers who achieved national certification in 2010, ranking sixth.

Yay teachers!

Under the category "Small but Mighty", a shout-out to the third graders in Ms. Hunter's third grade class at Hawthorne Elementary who raised $54 for the Rainier Valley community food bank.


Maureen said…
Under the category of "Yay Teachers!" TOPS K-8 staff and families are gearing up for the culminating Planting the Seeds project for the Class of 2011. In mid February the entire class will spend three days immersed in service learning. The staff dedicates an incredible amount of energy to this cornerstone project, none of which is part of any SPS alignment or performance metric.
anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jet City mom said…
can I say the new website makes me want to poke my eyes out.
The drop down menus are distracting & I can't find the agenda for this weeks board meeting.
Anonymous said…
go team!!

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