Student Handbook

Student Handbook Overview

Welcome to Waskowitz Educational Leadership & Service/Puget Sound High School

You are about to embark on a journey of discovery exploring the diversity of people and nature. WELS promises to help you on this journey by creating a path for your success as a scholar and leader. We expect you to be at school every day ready to work, learn, and engage in our- rather your learning community.  WELS is fun and supportive- and hard work.  Be ready for a transformative learning experience- hands on and minds on. Please familiarize yourself with the norms of our school- step one on your journey towards success!

WELS is a commitment to become your best self as a learner and leader.  As you navigate your journey, beware you will be asked to move away from your comfort zone and lean into and embrace your growth zone. Our rules, policies and procedures are to support this move towards your success as a leader and a learner. 

WELS will ask students to return to their neighborhood schools, when student’s behavior has been unsafe or threatening to themselves or others.  Continuation is based on a student’s commitment as shown in behavior and /or though restorative practice.  

Our handbook is aligned with and is in addition to Highline Public Schools Rights & Responsibilities.

Thank you for joining the journey!

Dr. Roberta McFarland and all the WELS Staff and Faculty

Grades & Attendance

The purpose of this program is to learn and develop the skills that will create positive leadership and scholarship qualities in each of us. The primary responsibility of an Environmental Leader is to model appropriate behavior. This is especially important while in residence with the 6th-grade students, and appropriate behavior is expected of you at all times. To do this, it is important that we practice these skills not only with the campers, but with each other as well.

Grades

Credit is issued for each of the courses in which students are enrolled. Grades are based on projects, evaluations, and completed work for Standards-Based classes. At the end of the first quarter, you will present at your student led conference your portfolio of work to your parent or guardian.

Attendance

Due to the experiential nature of our program, WELS maintains a strict attendance policy. Attendance and active participation is the single strongest indicator of success in the WELS program. It is suggested that you miss 0 days (or as few as humanly possible). Leaders are required to inform staff of any absences by leaving a message at the office, (206) 631-7626, and/or by calling a program Instructor on their cell phones. In the event where a student needs to leave early or arrive late, verification from a parent is required, or the student will be marked tardy/truant. In the event of an injury or health-related absence, students will need to provide verification from a physician stating that they are able to return and participate in the program. Regular attendance is defined by being on time for every scheduled class meeting or week at Waskowitz, and staying until you are dismissed. This is necessary in order to receive full credit, as most assignments/activities are experiential in nature.

At Waskowitz

While in residence at Waskowitz, your primary concerns should be with the students, you are assigned. These students will look up to you, and want to be you. They are watching every move you make. We expect you will be a positive role model for them. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Constant supervision of the students in your care;
  • Maintaining order in the cabin and keeping students quiet during programs;
  • Resolving all personal issues/conflicts at appropriate times and away from camp;
  • Modeling a positive and enthusiastic attitude, regardless of the activity or weather.

Being an Environmental Leader at Waskowitz means spending a great deal of time outdoors with 6th graders. You will be asked to assist in a variety of ways, and even take the lead with some lessons. A positive attitude is expected. In addition, we ask you to keep in mind that these students are at Waskowitz for their 6th Grade Outdoor School Experience. A great deal of their experience rests on your shoulders. They will follow your lead in the mood, attitude, and willingness to try new things. Although you may be repeating the same lessons and singing the same songs, they are experiencing everything for the first time. You will get the opportunity to make the following week better; they do not get a second chance at this.

You will also be working with 6th Grade teachers. Your job is to assist them and take the lead for them when asked. A successful leader knows how to be flexible when working with teachers, as each one will be different. One week you may have a teacher who will ask you to do everything from teaching lessons to leading hikes, and the next week you may have a teacher who only needs you to do “behind the scenes” stuff. Whatever the case may be, you are expected to be respectful of them and have a positive, helpful attitude.

Transportation

WELS is a “field-based” school option. Throughout the year, students will be visiting Waskowitz Outdoor School in North Bend, several sites along the Green-Duwamish River for research and service projects, and various other places for one-day and multi-day trips. Please note that during the internship portion of our program, students are responsible for their own transportation.

The following details address most transportation concerns:

  • PSSC (Skills Center) is a short walk down the street, and our class hours coincide with their school-bus schedule. This is the most common way for students to get to and from school.
  • There are 2 metro bus stops (rts. 121, 122, 156, 166) near the WELS school.
  • Students may drive themselves to school, but they should NOT leave their cars in the parking lot during overnights. Student parking is in the LOWER lot only.
  • Students are only allowed to ride with other students (ride home, lunchtime, etc.), if we have written permission from parents (driver and rider) received by our office manager.
  • We have a 9-passenger vehicle approved by the school district meeting requirements for safety. Students also ride the school bus when scheduled for a week at Outdoor School and sometimes for field trips and overnights.
  • Staff often supplement transportation with personal cars. Staff members authorized to drive students, meet district requirements, and have a Level 2 license.
  • Parent chaperones must complete a Volunteer Driver Checklist and Liability form.

If any of the above-mentioned modes of transportation are unacceptable for your child, it is important that you either email or send a written note informing us of your concern.

Childfind

Child Find is a process designed to locate children, birth through age 21, with a suspected disability to evaluate and identify a need for special education and related services.

Highline Public Schools conducts specific activities for the purposes of locating, evaluating and identifying students ages birth to twenty-one with suspected disabilities and who reside within the district’s boundaries. Approximately ten to fifteen percent of all children have a disability which hinders their educational development. Early identification of disabilities assists parents, students and schools in the design of appropriate educational services.

Participation & Full Value Contract

Full Participation

  1. Be here on time—Fully present and ready for activity.
  2. Use your brain—No half-brain answers.
  3. No cell phone use during class—including texting. In case of an emergency, office phone may be used. We will collect cell phones at the beginning of each class. 
  4. Apathy does not equal Leadership. 

Program Promise

WELS/PSHS creates a pathway for students to take control of their future as a Scholar and Leader in service to their community.

WELS philosophy and power to help students grow with new perspectives, attitudes, and academic habits support the community with clearly identified citizenship rules. The full program guidelines and behavior expectations will be reviewed during the first two days of school; at that time, each student will sign a commitment to uphold WELS citizenship standards.

Grounds for curative action, suspension or dis-enrollment from the program:
The following are behavioral indicators that a student is unable to continue in WELS:

  • Unlawful Activities such as Weapons, Tobacco or EVape, Alcohol, Marijuana, Drugs, etc.
  • Violent or threatening behaviors
  • Repeated personal or interpersonal issues and program disruption
  • Relationships that negatively impact the program
  • Putting 6th graders self, or others, at risk – physical or emotional
  • Poor role modeling with 6th graders
  • Inability to resolve issues and work professionally with staff, teachers or students
  • Unreliable attendance and participation 

Our intent is to support the student to stay in the program. On occasion, we have required students to seek counseling or medical attention as a stipulation for reinstatement into the program.

Overarching principles of behavior are embodied in a full value contract that is defined and modified by each WELS group, Waskowitz staff, and the larger community.

Full Value Contract (FVC)
Being part of a full value community means:

  • Participating in all aspects of the program
  • Prioritizing physical and emotional safety
  • Giving and receiving feedback, and being open to change
  • Letting go of inappropriate personal needs and issues
  • Maintaining “positive regard” for others and the program
  • Having fun!!

Behavior Expectations

WELS is an immersion into an educational journey of self-discovery, group work, and harnessing the power of experiences in outdoor residential education and adventure. Consider WELS an exchange program immersing yourself in a new culture exploring new ways of learning and applying these lessons for a successful you.  With this focus, we ask students and families to embrace a culture that shuns electronics and builds intentional community through time together as a cohort during all class time and field experiences.

WELS philosophy and power to help students grow with new perspectives, attitudes, and academic habits support community with clearly identified citizenship rules.
Therefore, the following policies are applied. With this is mind the following are non-negotiables:

  • Electronics (cell phones, iPods or similar) are not permitted during all school hours and activities. While on overnights and serving as a leader, cell phones are collected and stored in a locked location.
  • Classic WELS is a closed campus. Students will remain on campus during lunch. The school cafeteria provides lunch or a refrigerator is available for packed lunches.
  • All students enrolled in the Central program will ride the bus to and from Marine Tech. Private Vehicles are not permitted.
  • Students that drive to school may park in the student parking lot after registering their vehicle and agreeing to abide by the safety rules. Parking privileges are revoked with unsafe behavior.

Full Value Commitment (FVC) Overarching principles of behavior are embodied in a full value contract that is defined and modified by each WELS group, Waskowitz staff, trends in Highline School District Policy, and by the larger community.

Being part of a full value community means:

  • Participating in all aspects of the program
  • Prioritizing physical and emotional safety
  • Giving and receiving feedback and being open to change
  • Letting go of inappropriate personal needs and issues
  • Maintaining “positive regard” for others and the program
  • Having fun

WELS believes in Transparency and providing Clarity of Expectations
Student dis-enrollment from the program if safety of classmates, safety of self, safety of students at Waskowitz or compromised program reputation.

Grounds for curative action, suspension or dis-enrollment from the program:

The following are behavioral indicators that a student is unable to continue in the program:

  • Unlawful Activities
  • Violent or threatening behaviors
  • Repeated personal or interpersonal issues and program disruption
  • Relationships that negatively impact the program
  • Putting 6th graders (or others) at risk – physical or emotional
  • Poor role modeling with 6th graders
  • Inability to resolve issues and work professionally with staff, teachers or other students
  • Unreliable attendance and participation

Examples (but not restricted to): Unlawful Activities

  • Alcohol, Marijuana, Tobacco or other illegal drug possession or use (Must be 21 in WA)
  • ALL smoking is illegal within 2 blocks of a school facility or at a function
  • Clothing with drug, alcohol, or other inappropriate references.
  • Bragging about such activities, especially on social media.

Violent or threatening behaviors

  • Weapons
  • Pushing, hitting, fighting or threats to other leaders, students or staff.
  • Yelling and anger management issues
  • Bullying, hazing or intimidation through text, phone call, or social media.

Repeated personal or interpersonal issues and program disruption

  • Put-downs, bantering and criticism
  • Attention-getting or needy behaviors
  • Gossiping, spreading rumors or talking negatively about others
  • Issues blown out of proportion, not focusing on your group…Drama

Relationships that negatively impact the program

  • All relationships with 6th graders, other leaders, staff and teachers must remain professional
  • Exclusive romantic or sexual relations with other leaders
  • Inappropriate touching

Putting 6th graders (and self or others) at risk – physical or emotional

  • Leaving your students or cabin group unattended
  • Possession of medications, knives (unless provided by Waskowitz during and only during the cookout) or other contraband during Outdoor School
  • Reckless actions (i.e., climbing trees, hanging from tower, hiking off trail, running at night…)
  • Insensitivity to emotions, privacy or confidentiality issues 

Inability to resolve issues and work professionally with staff, teachers or students

  • Swearing, marginal words and “sound-a-likes”
  • Refusal to work with another
  • Not fostering a “positive regard” for others and the program
  • Misleading behaviors, dishonesty, not taking responsibility for action