Skip to NEXT STEPS and UPDATES: FALL HIGH SCHOOL SCHEDULE CONVERSATIONS
“Our students live in a dynamic global community. We believe it is our ethical responsibility to prepare ALL our students for the challenges and opportunities of this world. Therefore, we commit to lead a close examination of our students’ current high school experience with the goal of investigating, creating, and implementing the optimal high school experience for ALL students in the Issaquah School District.”
– OHSE Leadership Team
The Leadership Team has developed five belief statements to guide their work toward creating an optimal high school experience:
- ACCESS. Students must have maximum academic access to courses, faculty, programs, and instruction that best meet the needs of those students. Wherever possible, roadblocks and impediments need to be removed to increase accessibility.
- CONNECTIVITY. Students must feel connected to their school. Students must have positive relationships with staff and feel strongly connected to at least one adult in the school setting at all times during their 9th- through 12th-grade school years.
- CITIZENSHIP. Students must have learning opportunities for service allowing students to think beyond themselves while building compassion, understanding, and respect for others.
- RESILIENCY. Students need to be provided with a safe and structured environment which allows them to move out of their comfort zones, to take informed, reasonable risks. From these opportunities, students may experience success and failure while building resilience and humility.
- EXPRESSION. Students must have multiple opportunities for self-expression.
Intentions and goals
Issaquah School District high schools aspire to prepare students not only to compete in our dynamic worldwide economy–but to lead the innovation, no matter what their career path. This requires a strong foundation in core academic subjects, ample opportunities to discover personal passions and interests, competency in emerging technology, and a fine-tuned ethical compass to act as responsible, healthy national and international citizens. Our School Board has defined these essential learning goals in a mission statement and five “Ends” for students.
By most traditional indicators, our high schools currently graduate some of the most accomplished and well-prepared students in the state and nation; however, we realize course offerings, the learning environment, and curricular and extra-curricular opportunities must continually evolve to meet student needs and the requirements of a rapidly evolving job market. Also, support structures need to be in place to ensure that ALL students graduate and graduate meeting the Ends learning goals.
Recognizing this, high school principals and District leadership have joined to form an “Optimal High School Experience” (OHSE) Leadership Team to study the Issaquah School District high school experience from top to bottom. The Leadership Team is ready to think creatively! While everything is on the table–from course offerings to District graduation requirements to bell schedules to online classes to maximizing District-wide resources to mental/physical health resources the intent is to clear obstacles and support students so they can thrive.
The ultimate goal is to produce a philosophy that guides our approach to learning, decision-making, and allocation of resources to shape a quality high school experience to meet our students’ unique needs and prepare them for post-graduation opportunities.
Outcomes and timelines
The Leadership Team will continually meet throughout the school year to discuss their schools' practices in light of the guiding beliefs. They will research and develop community outreach opportunities. While some recommendations of the Leadership Team may be easily implemented-such as changing a policy to allow students greater flexibility in choosing to keep eligible middle-school credits on their high school transcripts-some recommendations may involve greater community involvement before any decision is reached. This is meant to be a fluid, transparent process. The Leadership Team's work has five main components: Close examination of current high schools, investigation and research into best practices, creation of a new philosophy and programs/operations, implementation, and continuous assessment.