The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Schools explore community based learning concept


December 27, 2018

By Diana Zimmerman

Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors heard about career development, student field trips, and plans for an orchard and garden expansion when they met December 18.

Wahkiakum High School Principal Stephanie Leitz and Graduation Specialist Renea Freeman gave an overview on career development programs offered at the school, including JAG WA, Gear up, and Workforce.

“We want to help a kid identify their pathway, make the most of their experience in high school, and write a high school and beyond plan, that has pieces that are going to benefit their future,” Leitz said later.

Leitz also talked to the board about a community based learning plan that was being developed.

“How do we use all these amazing people in our community who have retired and had all these types of careers and have students have access to them and different projects?” she asked. “I think there are a lot of things that students learn from actually being out in the field and working. If we can offer them credit for things they are doing, and get that on their transcript and show they have competency in that area, I think that would be beneficial.”

Superintendent Brent Freeman presented an updated procedure, agreement and fee schedule for use of school facilities to the board, which they approved. The new fee schedule runs from $50 to $300 an hour depending on the facility being rented, and will become effective in July.

“The fee schedule is on par with other school districts in the area,” Freeman said. He also asked the board for permission to use discretion to give a reduced rate when activities benefit staff or kids.

Wahkiakum students have been offered tickets to attend a performance of Dear Evan Hansen in January. Students who were interested in attending the show had to complete a project on mental health in their own time in order to obtain one of the 21 tickets offered. Sixteen decided to participate.

Directors approved an overnight trip and the students will visit college campuses the day before the performance at Paramount Theater in Seattle.

The board also approved a trip to Germany for four students in the German Club with their advisor, teacher Don Cox.

During the superintendent’s report, Freeman reported plans for a garden expansion and an orchard on school grounds.

“They are planning a bigger garden with raised beds at the high school,” Freeman said. “They will grow starts in greenhouse for a production based garden in the future.”

A secondary garden is planned at the elementary school. Shrubbery on school grounds will be replaced with edibles, like blueberries.

They are also planning to plant 20-30 apple trees behind the high school.

“We are going to try to develop an apple based program as we move forward,” Freeman said. “Large enough to have an impact, small enough we can manage it. We’re thinking about more than raw apples. We’re thinking about applesauce, apple cider, apple leather, apple pies.”

There are no plans to use district money for this project.

The board voted to retain Shawn Merz and Paula Culbertson in their positions at chair and vice chair.


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