Wide variety of tech activities offers alternatives to traditional core curriculum
September 28, 2023
The Wahkiakum School District Board of Directors started their meeting with a presentation from
Apollo Solutions, which looks for ways to reduce energy consumptions in buildings, and has been helping Wahkiakum in the background find ways to address their aging facilities.
Scott Lewis gave a recap and provided a timeline for what comes next with the $5 million grant the district was recently awarded.
He said a $35,000 had been approved for an engineer to determine project costs, and that information will be sent to the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Ron Wright, who has been a mentor and coach for the schools robotics program, gave a presentation on why the district should consider moving away from the traditional model of learning that focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic as a way to homogenize students and was once used to prepare student for factory work. He believes the district should move to a more flexible model which focused diversity and project based learning and creativity to give students critical thinking and problem solving skills.
“We started putting patches on our system, like special education,” Wright said. “Our kids weren’t good enough for the system. That’s not true. The system wasn’t good enough for our kids.”
Instead, the focus turns to encouraging each child’s natural abilities.
Taking advantage of the natural resources in the county and combining that with high tech could allow students to stay in the community as they continue their careers, according to Wright.
The district is already moving in this direction with their robotics program, which Wright described as one club with many teams. They have robotics classes for K-5, the middle school, and the high school, as well as a 4-H Robo Rascals club. Students are participating in FTC and
SkillsUSA, which are tech challenges, community projects, the International SeaPerch competition, the KM Cup which has robotics teams from Wahkiakum and Naselle competing against each other, am outreach team that organizes fundraisers, demonstrations, writes articles, and promotes club activities, and a mentoring team where high school students assist elementary teachers in the classroom learning about robotics and engineering.
Wright talked about opportunities that were offered to students who participated in a SkillsUSA
event in Atlana in June, when there were offers of education and more for at least one of them, by a potential employer.
“What’s going on in Wahkiakum?” Wright said. “That’s what I want to hear people saying about us.”
Superintendent Brent Freeman talked about covid-19 protocols.
The school has been given new health guidance, which can be found on the school’s website and there is no requirement for masks for vaccines.
He said students were pretty healthy, but a family did test positive for covid-19 last week, though they didn’t expose anyone at the school.
They are just telling people that if they are sick, to stay home, regardless of what it is.