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Cougar Mountain teacher earns GeekWire AwardCongratulations to Cougar Mountain Middle School science teacher Kim Williams on being selected as a winner of GeekWire’s STEM Educator of the Year award!Now in its 13th year, the GeekWire Awards is one of the most hotly-anticipated events in the Seattle tech community, bringing together more than 1,000 geeks to celebrate innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. Williams was selected for the award after a month-long nomination and judging process and recognizing innovative educators in the Pacific Northwest.Williams said she’s extremely honored to receive the award.“The past year has seen significant changes in everyone's lives,” she said. “During this time, the intersection of education and technology has risen to the forefront of discussions about how we can best use tech in our classrooms to enhance student learning. We are teaching future engineers, innovators, and business leaders in our classrooms right now, so it's important to give them the opportunity to interact with technology in a purposeful way, and prepare them to be able to better adapt to the evolving technology they will see in their future."The online awards ceremony will take place May 20.
Teachers create a safe space for students during middle school AdvisoryWhat is one thing you would most like to change about the world?That’s a big question for anyone to answer. Now imagine you’re one of a group of “half-asleep, hungry, hormonal, sassy middle school students at eight in the morning.”Liberty Middle school Advisory teacher Makayla Henry described her class that way, but said none of those obstacles stopped her amazing group of kids from diving right into a very in-depth conversation.“They were sharing with each other the need for more musical education, the acceptance of any person — and belief in every person’s humanity, the need to care for our planet, the need to stop hating on someone based on a difference of opinion,” said Henry. “These are thoughts that were deeply personal to my students, and they had found a space to believe that their thoughts were worth hearing, sharing, and developing as they posed them to their class. If that isn’t success in any class, I don’t know what is.”Creating that safe space for students is part of the middle school Advisory program. Even in a non-pandemic year, middle school students are already going through a lot of changes.“Their sense of self changes, their relationships to friends, family, and teachers change. Not to mention the academic side of school,” said Henry.
Special Education teachers get creative during pandemic
The shift to distance learning was challenging for everyone, but it was especially difficult for special needs students, who often rely on hands-on instruction.When the pandemic closed our schools, our Special Education teachers rolled up their sleeves and got to work finding ways to help their students, even when they couldn’t be in the same room with them.Angela Martin has been teaching for more than 20 years, and she has spent the last year and a half working with Special Education students at Centennial Elementary.Martin said many families went into “survival mode” last year when COVID-19 forced schools around the world to quickly move from in-person to virtual learning. She immediately began brainstorming creative ways to teach online, including delivering writing and art through stop-motion animation, leading virtual field trips to the Egyptian pyramids, and answering math problems while working with Legos.
Student success remains primary goal in secondary special programs
Even during a global pandemic, we know that a student’s high school experience is about more than just reading, writing and arithmetic. In order to stay competitive with their peers, high schoolers on our district have access to a host of special programs that offer job training and a head start on college courses.
Cambridge Program at BHS
The Cambridge Assessment International Education Program, which is hosted at Bethel High School, offers an international pre-university curriculum and examination system that emphasizes the value of a broad and balanced education for academically able students.
This unique program is part of the prestigious University of Cambridge in England and is one of the most demanding and rigorous college preparatory programs in the world.