What Students are Up To
Students at WELS take one interdisciplinary class at a time that spans 4-6 weeks. This allows us to dive deeply into subject matter and engage in truly authentic project-based learning in service to our community. Check out some of the awesome things our students are accomplishing!
This innovative school model was developed using funds granted by The Safeway Foundation in partnership with our local Burien Safeway. Some of the activities in the expeditions below were made possible by funds granted by the Highline Schools Foundation.
- Expedition 0
- Expedition 1
- Expedition 2
- Expedition 3
- Snowshoe Trip
- Expedition 4
- Expedition 5
- Expedition 6
- Waskowitz Advanced Leadership Institute (WALI)
During the first Expedition of the year all WELS students took our Outdoor Leadership Institute course. This course focused on preparing students to be successful leaders at Waskowitz Outdoor School. We had an all school overnight retreat at Waskowitz, studied different philosophies of education and teaching strategies. In the end students created, practiced and taught lessons related to outdoor school.
Below is a slideshow of the overnight. Enjoy!
In order to promote awareness about climate change problems and solutions, students in “Climate Change and the Media” wrote articles, created podcasts, and designed a website. Students learned how to conduct interviews in a training session from KUOW RadioActive, and we received financial support from donors so that students could utilize their own recording equipment. Lynda Mapes, the environmental writer for Seattle Times, also visited the class to share her experience and advice.
Visit the following link to explore our super cool website and hear the podcasts:
In current events students identified a need for more community voice, especially the voice of youth, in the training of police. After several field trips to newsrooms and after inviting many guest speakers into the classroom, students decided to speak directly to power by giving speeches at the Burien City Council meeting.
Update: there was such an outpouring of support for our students that they will continue their work in February to partner with community stakeholders to make the student-led training of police a reality.
You know how math teachers always say that we have to learn math because it applies to everyday life as an adult? Well, in Financial Fitness we took that to the next level. Students focused on studying the ins and outs of money management and what it will take to keep a balanced budget to afford the life they want to lead.
In order to help the wider Highline community better understand the unique culture of WELS, students created several products using different media -- a video for the website, a brochure for the local high schools, a slide presentation and a music video.
After diving deep into the elements that make up culture, students came to consensus on a coordinated message, met with counselors from the district to get ideas, and then created their products. Check them out below!
In this course students investigated local public health issues from the perspective of an epidemiologist using statistical methods and scientific practices and concepts. Students will investigate how public health-related data is collected and analyzed. With this analysis students will construct evidence-based explanations of health related phenomena. In addition to promoting students’ mastery of math and science content, this course aims to increase health literacy and to promote access to public health career pathways.
Students ruminated on the theme of Resistance and Resilience found in multiple communities throughout history in the United States and the Greater Puget Sound Region. Case studies included the Japanese American Internment, Farm Worker Rights, and Tribal Sovereignty in Washington State. Historical thinking skills focused on the ideas of continuity and change and using the past to make sense of the present.
In the ULEAP course students partnered with Urban Environmental Education (UEE) graduate students from Antioch University to explore the urban environment, how it affects us, and what we can do to improve it. WELS and UEE students developed and implemented community impact projects related to urban animals, vacant lots, nutritional inequities, homelessness, and public parks.
In this course, students investigated the past 200 years in United States history, specifically looking at the ways in which America grappled with questions of expansion and invasion. Through a combination of experiential, hands-on learning and teaching in the Living History program at Waskowitz Outdoor Education Center, and classroom-based learning, students looked at decisions the United States made to invade lands, expand territory, and spread American ideology.
Many students love video games, but how many really understand what it takes to make one? In this coding class we will pull back the veil on Computer Science and reveal to students the underlying fundamental math that makes everything tick. Using an easy to learn block based language, students will learn to create images, animations, and interactive video games that are driven by algebra. Through the process of developing their video games, students will discover how computer programmers use the coordinate plane, functions, and logic to create games.
In this course we will investigate how we consume and utilize energy individually, as a school, in Washington, and globally. We will discuss the costs and benefits of
renewable and non-renewable sources of energy, and we will examine the impacts our society's reliance on energy has on communities and on our climate. In order
to propose solutions and enact change, we will engage with energy and environmental policy at the state level.
In this class students used an interdisciplinary lens to look at topics in Urban Development. Through utilizing skills and concepts from both Geometry and Sociology, students explored the built environment, looked at problems related to the design and development of urban areas, and investigated design solutions to identified problems.
This course develops student literacy and history skills as well as working relationships with the local elementary school. By the end of this course students will individually plan and deliver a 30-minute story time to kindergarten through second grade students. Children’s books will cover topics from environmental justice to historical movements in order to provide students with an anthology to pull from when they are creating their story times. Students will need to tie in knowledge from Teaching Academy in order to understand how to captivate a young audience as well as design developmentally appropriate material.