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Washington Middle School

Academics

Academics at Washington Middle School

Academics at Washington Middle School include:

  • Integrated Language Arts and Social Studies (Humanities) classes
  • High school credit-bearing Spanish (1A and 1B)
  • Science
  • Integrated Library and Media Center
  • Integrated Mathematics (6, 7, and 8)
  • Multilingual/ELL Program
  • Advanced Learning Opportunities, including HCC
  • Special Education Services
  • Award-winning Art Program
  • Award-winning Concert Band, String Orchestra, Choir, and Jazz Band

Humanities

Humanities 6, 7, 8 (Language Arts and Social Studies)
As Washington Middle School moves to make our curricula more culturally relevant for students living in the 21st century, we continue to make changes. We are implementing a project-based learning model in many of our core content courses. We encourage students to think critically about current issues, work collaboratively with peers, and build knowledge transferable to the real world. Desegregating our classes to ensure that our anti-racist classrooms look like life after high school is of the utmost importance. The move to Humanities is part of that shift. Rather than splitting coursework into Language Arts and Social Studies in middle school, Washington will learn many texts within historical contexts:

The move to Humanities is part of that shift. Rather than splitting coursework into Language Arts and Social Studies in middle school, Washington will learn many texts within historical contexts:

  • 6th grade focuses on Ancient and Medieval World History
  • 7th grade focuses on Washington State History
  • 8th grade focuses on American History

Students will be learning about many events and ideas in history as they relate to our world today. Students will be learning about social studies and history through what they are reading and writing about. State standards for Language Arts and Social Studies move students toward reading more nonfiction than fiction, especially as they move to high school and post-secondary work. Differentiation is a hallmark of project-based learning. The teacher facilitates learning rather than being the know-it-all. Serving as the facilitator of learning allows all students to reach their potential through differentiated instruction and puts students back in charge of their education.

FAQs

What homework can be expected? 
Students should be reading about 30-50 pages a night of their independent reading book. This should equate to about 30 minutes of reading a night. The most significant indicator of student success in reading and writing is volume. Besides that, students will often be responsible for working on writing they are workshopping in class. This may include responding to reading through art, writing, or talking to students on Teams or another medium of their choosing. More work is not an indicator of capability or inability when it comes to student learning. At Washington, we believe that depth is far more important than the breadth of knowledge.

What is differentiated instruction? 
Differentiated instruction is defined as a way of teaching in which teachers anticipate and respond to various student needs in the classroom. To meet students’ needs, teachers may differentiate by modifying one or more of the following:

  • Content (what is being taught)
  • Process (how it is taught)
  • Product (how students demonstrate their learning)

In a differentiated classroom, the teacher is constantly doing quick, formative assessments to determine the ongoing needs of students. Teachers then design learning experiences based on student understandings and needs.

Differentiation can be structured in a variety of ways, including:

  • Whole group
  • Small group
  • Individual instruction

What support is given to Washington teachers as instruction is more integrated? 
Teachers plan and facilitate lessons using a grade-level curriculum. Analysis of preassessment and formative assessment data is critical. This data will guide a teacher’s instructional plan for all students, including those designated as Highly Capable or Advanced Learners by the District.

At any time, teachers can use professional judgment to access and construct lessons or materials to meet the needs of our diverse learning community. Resources available to support the work of teachers serving all students including those receiving special education, ELL, highly capable, and/or advanced learning services include:

  • Curriculum Resources – Often, standard grade-level curriculum includes unit and/or lesson level enrichment and extensions.
  • Instructional Coaching – Instructional coaches are available to support teachers as they differentiate their instruction. Coaching helps ensure all students grow and have an educational experience based on their story, strength, and need.
  • Reading and Writing Learning Progressions – Available to teachers, Learning Progressions are a tool illustrating how skill acquisition in reading and writing unfolds predictably. The progressions allow for a teacher to intentionally select skills for students that increase in complexity and sophistication. Progressions are available for both reading and writing. In the content area of reading, teachers can access progressions for narrative and informational reading. Teachers also have access to progressions for informational writing, opinion writing, narrative writing, and the writing process.

Questions about Humanities at WMS can be addressed to Evin Shinn etshinn@seattleschools.org, Interim Humanities Subject Matter Specialist and Literacy Coach


Math

As Washington Middle School moves to make our curricula more culturally relevant for students living in the 21st century, we continue to make changes. Because we encourage students to think critically about current issues, work collaboratively with peers, and build knowledge transferable to the real world we are implementing a project-based learning model in many of our core content courses. Desegregating our classes to ensure that our anti-racist classrooms look like life after high school is of the utmost importance.

To ensure that all students receive instruction in the foundational K-8 math standards that lay the groundwork for algebra and higher level math courses that students will take in high school, all students in Seattle public Schools are be enrolled in the next math course in the sequence based on their previous year’s math course enrollment. Please note that skipping over a course or taking a course independently is not an approved acceleration progression in SPS middle schools. More information about math course sequence.

This year, the SPS and Washington Middle School partnership with STEMbyTAF rolls-up to include our 6th and 7th grade students and teachers. Students in these grades experience integrated math classrooms where teachers utilize differentiated instruction to meet the needs of students scheduled into classes with grade-level-peers who may be enrolled in a different-level math course. Our 8th grade students will continue to be scheduled into separate math classes according to course content.

Our 6th and 7th grade student’s math classes are comprised of students enrolled in the following courses:

  • 6th grade – Math 6 and Math 8
  • 7th grade – Math 7/8 Compacted and Algebra I

Visit the math department at SPS for more information about these courses.

Our 6th and 7th grade math teachers differentiate their instruction and apply a project-based learning model to utilize the same district-wide course-level curricula present in other SPS schools that has been approved through the district’s math curriculum adoption process. Differentiation is a hallmark of strong teaching and of project-based learning. The teacher facilitates learning rather than being the sole holder of knowledge. Serving as the facilitator of learning allows each student to deepen and extend their understandings to reach their potential through differentiated instruction and puts students back in charge of their education.

FAQs

What is differentiated instruction? 
Differentiated instruction is defined as a way of teaching in which teachers anticipate and respond to various student needs in the classroom. To meet students’ needs, teachers may differentiate by modifying one or more of the following:

  • Content (what is being taught)
  • Process (how it is taught)
  • Product (how students demonstrate their learning)

In a differentiated classroom, the teacher is constantly doing quick, formative assessments to determine the ongoing needs of students. Teachers then design learning experiences based on student understandings and needs.

Differentiation can be structured in a variety of ways, including:

  • Whole group
  • Small group
  • Individual instruction

What support is given to Washington math teachers as instruction is more integrated? 
Each 6th and 7th grade math teacher is partnered with a Student Support Specialist. Together they plan, analyze student performance, strategize approaches for each lesson, and support student learning.

Teachers plan and facilitate lessons using a course-level curriculum. Analysis of preassessment and formative assessment data is critical. This data will guide a teacher’s instructional plan for all students, including those designated as Highly Capable or Advanced Learners by the District.

At any time, teachers can use professional judgment to access and construct lessons or materials to meet the needs of our diverse learning community. Resources available to support the work of teachers serving all students including those receiving special education, ELL, highly capable, and/or advanced learning services include:

  • Curriculum Resources– Often, standard district-wide course-level curriculum includes unit and/or lesson level enrichment and extensions.
  • District Resources – We are partnering with Seattle Public Schools to support teaching and learning through the Talent Development Institute, Professional Development focused on differentiation and planning, and partnering with the Department of Curriculum Assessment and Instruction for ongoing support.
  • Instructional Coaching – Instructional coaches are available to support teachers as they differentiate their instruction. Coaching helps ensure all students grow and have an educational experience based on their story, strength, and need.

Questions about the Math program at WMS can be addressed to Kiyana Wilkins, Math Subject Matter Specialist at  kdwilkins@seattleschools.org. 

Science

At each grade, our goal is to produce scientifically literate student, who understands basic science concepts, how to use the scientific method to solve problems and how scientists work. Our Science teachers use the hands-on inquiry approach with our students.  Students take Science each year at Washington Middle School. At each grade level, FLASH(Family Life and Sexual Health) and HIV/AIDS is taught, as part of the Science curriculum.

Seattle School District currently uses hands-on science kits for middle school science curriculum.  Each grade level is assigned integrated science concepts to be taught using “hands-on” kit-based activities.  Teachers enrich our science curriculum by adding current science events, projects and research activities to their grade level science program.  At this time the science topics for each grade level are pre-selected for middle schools.

Seattle School District Science Kits for 6th Grade:
Major units of study are Solutions and PollutionDiversity of Life, Magnets and Motors, and Truth about Science, which is an inquiry-based approach that teaches the science processes & skills using the Scientific method.  This is also the model that is used to teach the requirements for the SPS District Middle School Science Fair to mandate participation in the District’s Middle School Science Fair.  FLASH (Family Life and Sexual Health) and HIV/AIDS will be taught as part of Science.

Seattle School District Science Kits for 7th Grade:
Major units of study are Human Body Systems: Structure & Function; Cell Processes and Diseases; Youth Take Heart Kit; UWEB Biotechnology Kits and Catastrophic Events.

Seattle School District Science Kits for 8th Grade:
Major units of study are Properties of Matter, Ecology and Evolution, Earth in Space. FLASH (Family Life and Sexual Health) and HIV/AIDS will be taught as part of Science. The 8th grade WCAS (Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science) is given during spring quarter.  Science inquiry skills and activities to prepare students for the WCAS are embedded throughout the Science curriculum at each grade level.

Questions about Science at WMS can be addressed to Sarah Yeider Science Subject Matter Specialist at swyeider@seattleschools.org 


Art and Technology

Beginning Visual Art 7
This is a semester exploratory art class designed to introduce students to the elements of art and principles of design.  In this class we will use a range of methods and materials to create a body of work based on modern and traditional techniques.  Students will create drawings, paintings, pottery and sculptures, collages, and other multimedia art.

Intermediate Visual Art 8
This class is an elective for students who have some art experience and who are interested in improving their technical skills and creating high quality pieces of art.  Projects in this class will focus on using color, shape, line, texture, contrast, emphasis, balance, and repetition to create art that says something about youth experience and culture.  Students will explore ways in which art can be used as a communication tool to reflect emotional content, personal opinion and to influence the larger community.

Technology 1 & 2

Course for 6th graders:
This course is offered to 6th graders for one academic semester.  Tech 1 provides students with an opportunity to learn the basics of several different computer applications through project based learning.  Students will explore CAD (computer aided design),Rhino(three dimensional solid modeling), GIMP (graphic image manipulation), Photo Story (digital animation), and other software applications.

Course for 8th Graders:
This course is for 8th graders who would like to learn the basics of computer applications through hands-on independent learning and group challenges.  Students will learn the fundamentals of digital photography as well as CAD (computer aided design) with the semester being divided between these two disciplines.  In addition to the above, time will be devoted to the proper use of the internet as a research tool.

Questions about Technology at WMS can be addressed to Micheal Sundt, Fine Arts Subject Matter Specialist at mjsundt@seattleschools.org

Physical Education

6th, 7th, and 8th Grades:
We believe that every student shall be physically educated; they shall develop the knowledge and skills necessary to perform a variety of physical activities, maintain physical fitness, regularly participate and understand the short-term and long-term benefits of physical activity, and value and enjoy it as an ongoing part of a healthful lifestyle.

The goals in physical education are to provide the student with a wide variety of activities to participate in, to encourage students to strive for their personal best, to foster cooperation, to encourage individual and team responsibility, and to enhance self-esteem through success-oriented, life long activities. We offer various activities (units) including but not limited to volleyball, weightlifting/conditioning, circus arts, inline skating, aerobics, lacrosse, softball, fencing, wrestling, and floor hockey.

Questions about Physical Education at WMS can be addressed to Katherine Schwenoha at ksschwenoha@seattleschools.org


Music

Beginning Band
Instruction in woodwind, brass and percussion instrumental music for those with little or no previous experience. This group may collaborate with the Beginning Strings class for a “full orchestra” experience in the spring. This group performs in the school’s winter and spring concert. Class meets daily and no audition is required.

Intermediate Band
Instruction in concert band music for those with at least one year of experience on their chosen instrument. Class meets daily and includes basic instrumental instruction, tuning and rehearsal discipline. This class may collaborate with the Intermediate Orchestra class for a “full orchestra” experience in the spring. This group performs in the school’s winter and spring concerts. Admission is by audition in the spring of the previous year with Mr. Sundt.

Junior Band
Transitional instruction in concert-band music. Students will work on tuning, rhythm, tone, and performance discipline. This group will collaborate with Junior Orchestra for a “full orchestra” experience throughout the school year. This group performs in the school’s winter and spring concerts. This band may enter a regional competition in the spring. Admission is by audition in the spring with Mr. Sundt. Class meets daily.

Senior Band
Advanced instruction for those with requisite skills and training. Students learn and perform a variety of challenging concert-band music. This group will collaborate with Senior Orchestra for a “full orchestra” experience throughout the year. This group performs in the school’s winter and spring concerts. This band may enter a national competition in the spring at an estimated cost of approximately $700 per student (scholarships available). Admission is by audition in the spring with Mr. Sundt.

Junior Jazz Band (after-school group)
Transitional instruction in jazz. Group meets twice a week during the school year. This group performs in the school’s winter and spring concert. Admission by audition.

Senior Jazz Band
Advanced instruction in jazz performance, including improvisation. Class meets daily. This group requires a significant time commitment. The band competes in at least two regional and three national festivals throughout the year, participates in WMS music events and are invited to play at many community events. Estimated cost for travel is $1,200 per student (includes cost of senior band trip, scholarships available). Admission by audition.

Questions about Band at WMS can be addressed to Mr. Sundt at mjsundt@seattleschools.org. Auditions are held in the spring each year – contact the main office for information.

Beginning Strings
Instruction on bowed stringed instruments (violin, viola, cello, bass) and harp for those with little or no previous experience. This group may collaborate with the Beginning Instruments class for a “full orchestra” experience in the spring. This group performs in the school’s winter and spring concert. Class meets daily and no audition is required.

Intermediate Orchestra
Instruction in basic string ensemble music for those with at least one year of experience on their chosen stringed instrument. Class meets daily and includes basic instrumental instruction, tuning, and rehearsal discipline. This class may collaborate with the Intermediate Band class for a “full orchestra” experience in the spring. This group performs in the school’s winter and spring concerts. Admission is by audition in the spring of the previous year with Ms. Gorham.

Junior Orchestra
Transitional instruction in orchestral music. Students will work on tuning, rhythm, tone, and performance discipline. Students will also collaborate with Jr. Band in the preparation of music for Full Orchestra. This group performs in the school’s winter and spring concerts. This class may participate in a regional competition in the spring. Admission is by audition in the spring with Ms. Gorham. Class meets daily.

Senior Orchestra
Advanced instruction for those with requisite skills and training. Students learn and perform a variety of challenging Full and String Orchestra music. This group will collaborate with Sr. Band throughout the year. This group performs in the school’s winter and spring concerts and at various regional competitions/ festivals. This ensemble may enter a national competition in the spring at an estimated cost of approximately $700 per student (scholarships available). Admission is by audition in the spring with Ms. Gorham. Class meets daily.

Junior Choir
The WMS Junior Choir is a non-auditioned ensemble and is open to students in all grades. A range of different musical skills will be covered including note reading, rhythmic and melodic dictation, and sight singing. Students will prepare a diverse repertoire for performance at both the winter and spring concerts, and possibly a regional field trip, or collaboration with singers from other schools. Class meets daily.

Senior Choir
The WMS Senior Choir is an audition-only choir that is open to students in all grades. A range of different advanced musical skills and musical styles will be covered including music theory, diction, and sight singing. Students will prepare a diverse repertoire for performance at the winter and spring concerts. This ensemble may enter a national competition in the spring at an estimated cost of approximately $700 per student (scholarships available).

Questions about Choir & Orchestra at WMS can be addressed to Hannah Gorham hrgorham@seattleschools.org.


World Language

Spanish 1A and 1B—8th grade
In this year-long class, taught immersion-style, students are encouraged to think and respond creatively with language that reflects their real worlds. In the space of one year, a foundation of beginning Spanish will be covered and expanded upon—following theSenderos textbook adopted by the district.  At the same time, Latin America (and Spain) and our connections with/to Latin America will be explored through literature, through the lens of exquisite films and through the sounds of world music.  Furthermore, we will examine the current events that profoundly affect and unite us, especially the border. After successful completion of Spanish 1A/1B, students will receive one unit of high school credit and will eligible to continue in high school in second-year Spanish.

Questions about Spanish can be addressed to Yaneth Martinez Lopez at ygmartinezlo@seattleschools.org 


Special Education

The Special Education program at Washington provides specially designed instruction to qualified students with Individualized Educational Programs  (IEPs) in the areas of reading, written expression, mathematics, study skills, daily living skills, behavior, speech and language, and occupational therapy.

These classes present a modified curriculum with specific attention to developing skills needed for successful re-integration into the general education curriculum.  Classes are determined by the IEP team and may include self-contained, rotation and/or inclusion model services.

Students may also be in mainstream classes for varying numbers of periods per day.   Speech and OT/PT services are provided for qualifying students who require either articulation and language processing therapy or have physical disabilities or related health needs.

Questions about SPED can be addressed to Martha Steven at mlstevens@seattleschools.org 


English Language Development (ELD)

The ELD program at Washington provides Content Based Instruction to English Language Learners. The students are assigned to proficiency based grade level classes at the Basic, Intermediate and Advanced levels. Students receive their Reading and Language Arts instruction within the ELD department. These classes present the district adopted INSIDE Language, Literacy and Content curriculum. Specific attention is given to accelerating academic language proficiency. ELL students are in mainstream classes throughout the remainder of their school day.

Questions about ELD can be addressed to Thomas Townsend at tmtownsend@seattleschools.org.