Meeting the 21st century career and college readiness needs of students means providing opportunities and educating the whole child. It means showing students a world of opportunity, often times within the confines of the school. That can be even more difficult if your world is a town of 1500 and surrounded by wheat fields. Those wheat fields–as beautiful and bountiful as they maybe–can isolate students from the many possibilities that exist. As educators in a small town, we have to bring the world to our students, and one way we do this at Davenport High School is through our course offerings.
Davenport School District serves about 570 students across grades K-12. At the high school there are almost 200 students. Now, if you have ever been included in the process of building a high school class schedule, you know this enrollment number usually means limited course offerings. What happens though when numbers do not drive that schedule? What if the schedule puts what is good for students first, and the numbers second?
My goal in sharing Davenport’s course offerings is to attest that even small schools can provide extensive career and college readiness opportunities for their students. Below is a list of courses students can choose.
4 Core and College Credit
|English 9||Algebra||Physical Science||World Geography/PNW|
|English 10||Geometry||Biology||World History|
|Junior Comp and Rhetoric||Algebra II||AP Environmental Science||American History|
|Junior AP*||Pre-Calculus||Chemistry/AP Chem||AP American History*|
|Bridge to College||Calculus*||Anatomy||CGAP*|
|Senior AP*||Bridge to College||Physics||Civics/CWP|
* Course is offered as College in the High School through either CWU or EWU. There could be more in the years to come.
Other Requirements and Elective Offerings
|Spanish I and II||Band||Landscape Architecture||Intro to Bio-Science||Personal Finance|
|Art and Advanced Art||Choir||Welding||CAD/Engineering||Broadcasting|
|Creative Writing||PE 9 and 10||Ag Mechanics||AP Computer Sci||Marketing|
|Film Studies*||Weight Lifting||Civil Engineering/ Architecture||Graphic Design||Journalism|
|SBA Support||Health||Accounting||Intro to Business and Gorilla Ink||Jobs for WA Grads|
|Culminating||Personal Finance||CNA Certification||Accounting I and II||Construction Trades|
The above are only the high school offerings. The middle school is now offering courses like Green Architecture and Intro to Bio-Medicine which help provide a transition to the similar high school coursework.
Sustaining and Funding
Meeting students’ career and college readiness needs takes an exceptional amount of work and money. Most teachers at the high school level have 5 different classes for which they prepare, some have six. In addition, seven teachers are shared with other buildings. Music and art teachers are in all three buildings and four teachers have classes at the middle school level. It is hard work, but the staff are passionate about their fields of study and dedicated to student success.
In order to help sustain some of these programs, the district has a PLTW grant that covers some of the costs of the science courses across all grade levels. Additionally, the nursing and construction trade classes are funded in conjunction with the Spokane Public Schools’ Skills Center. The partnerships are necessarily in making programs feasible for a small school.
More students are earning their degrees on time from Davenport High School. Both the class of 2016 and 2017 had a 96-97% graduation rate. While there are several other support programs that promote student success, such as our RTI program and after school studies, having relevant, rigorous courses is an important piece of the puzzle.
As small schools continue improving the education of citizens, they will show that their programs are as rich as those offered in larger districts, and that the graduating students have the skills necessary to pursue whatever they choose in their town or in the world beyond.
I enjoy working with teachers to pool our collective ideas and talents.To fill my teaching bucket in this way, I participate in the ESD 101 ELA Fellows, lead a community of practice for Bridge to College and enjoy working with the CorelaborateWa teachers.
I am in my twelfth year teaching; two doors down the hall, my husband is in his second year as an AgEd teacher and FFA adviser . Our two young daughters, 8 and 5, keep us crazy-- I mean busy--as we juggle 4-H, dance, basketball, t-ball and more.
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