Academic News

IB Alumni Highlight:  Nico Morales graduated last year and is attending Occidental College in California.  He had a fall break and came back to school to visit some teachers and coaches.  We were able to ask him how college is going and if he had any thoughts on how the IB has helped him in his classes.  He said, "the IB of course helped with the admissions process but also preparing me for the level of writing that was expected at college. Our first major writing assignment was an 8-page paper that I had no issue finishing in less than a week while some of my classmates were struggling to even write an outline. That’s when I really felt like all the hours working on the IAs and EEs paid off."

Extended Essay Highlight:  Senior Maggie McLaughlin is doing her EE in English A Literature.  Her research question is:  To what extent does John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In challenge contemporary views through the use of a child vampire?  She will explore the deviancy of the child vampire, Eli, in Lindqvist’s novel.  The novel analyses the contemporary perspectives society has on childrens’ innocence and their agency and compares it to the characterization of Eli within the text.  It also analyses gender and sexuality, specifically with queer children, due to Eli’s non-binary identity.  She chose this topic because vampire lore’s construction and broader connection to society has always been of interest to her.  The portrayal of monsters in literature allows for analysis of what society deems transgressive.  Let the Right One In is a Swedish vampire novel recommended by Chad Rigsby. 

CAS Experience Highlights:  CAS experiences for all of our Upper School Students this week included helping with Lower School cross country, helping with Middle School cross country, rock climbing, verbally transcribing an essay, horseback riding, painting pumpkins, helping at a county fair, and performing at a coffee house.

IB Question of the Week:  What are IB subject briefs?  
IB provides short, two-page summaries of many of their most popular subjects including an overview of the topics, a teaching hours distribution and a sample assessment question or two. While not intended to provide a complete picture of the course, they do give some insight to the teaching philosophy and structure of both SL and HL versions of the course. Complete subject guides for actual teaching of every course are available to authorized and candidate IB schools. There are also many other resources available to IB Diploma course teachers; both online and in training sessions. Check this link for the available Subject Briefs.

For detailed IB information, please refer to the International Baccalaureate page on the SGS website and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning.  As an overview, the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE).  

The seniors spent time in the library doing college prep work while the rest of the Upper School was taking the PSAT test on Oct. 13.  See a Photo Gallery of them working on college applications and essays.

PSAT Day Testing Photos

October 18, 2021

The 8th through 11th graders completed the PSAT test on Oct. 13.  See a Photo Gallery of them filling out the test, which could qualify the juniors for National Merit Scholarships.

The 6th graders rode their bikes along the Centennial Trail in the Spokane Valley, stopping to test the water quality of the Spokane River and enjoy lunch together outside.  See a Photo Gallery of their activities on a beautiful fall day.

The 2nd graders finished their unit on geology by building sand volcanoes and then using vinegar and baking soda to make them erupt!  See a Photo Gallery of their creations on the Lower School playground.

For the latest news from the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools this semester, be sure to read the Division Head letters on PowerSchool Learning.  Here are links to letters from Rick Petrini (Lower School), Joelle Neiwert (Middle School), and Francesca Mulazzi (Upper School).

PSAT Testing on Oct. 13

October 11, 2021

The 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th graders all take the PSAT test on Wednesday morning, Oct. 13.  Students should check for room assignments, start time, and what to bring to the test.  Afterwards each class will have an afternoon activity to celebrate completing the test.  High scores on the PSAT can qualify juniors for National Merit Scholarships, and SGS also uses the test results to track the academic progress of students in each of these grades. 

Head of Upper School Francesca Mulazzi and Head of Middle School Joelle Neiwert are making two minor changes to the schedule for grades 6-12.  Starting on Monday, Oct. 4, the US Advisory period will be held on Mondays from 9:50-10:15am, between B and C block, to take advantage of the slightly longer time available.  They also have added a passing period before the blocks after lunch on Tuesday through Friday.  C/G blocks will start at 12:15 and end at 1:40pm.  D/H blocks are unchanged.  View the revised Secondary School Schedule 21-22 to see all periods and times.

CAS Project Highlight:  Finley Wolff and Ethan Wu organized a clean-up float on the Little Spokane River on Saturday, Sept. 25.   Melanie Mildrew reported that 17 people gathered 1.5 tons of junk, including 9 tires, 301 golf balls, and an entire basketball backboard/hoop and pole.  They first had to contact the private property owners on the stretch of the river above SGS to get their permission to float down it for the clean up.  See a Photo Gallery of the clean-up effort and some of the results.  Congratulations to Finley and Ethan for helping to keep our beautiful valley clean!
Extended Essay Highlight:  Tariq Ravasia is doing his EE in Spanish on the topic: Identity and existentialism in Borges' El Jardín de Senderos que Bifurcan.  He writes that he wants his EE to focus on the role that Borges' understanding of the labyrinth within El Jardin de Senderos que Bifurcan illustrates a broader understanding of time and space, which influences the primary story's events.  Tariq will likely update his research question as he finishes the story.  He aims to connect it to magic realism in Spanish literature more broadly, satisfying the requirement for a Category 3 essay.  Further research beyond reading the book will likely focus on Borges' influence on other Spanish-language authors and how his complication of inexorable progressions like time and space would pave the way for future magical realist literature in the Spanish-speaking world.
IB Question of the Week:  How many schools worldwide offer the IB program?  
As of August 2021, there were over 7,500 programmes being offered worldwide, across over 5,500 schools in 159 countries.  For more information follow this link.
Please refer to the International Baccalaureate page on the SGS website and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  As an overview, the Diploma Programme (DP) curriculum for grades 11-12 is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge (TOK), creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay (EE).  
• CAS Experiences: All of our Upper School students, pre-IB (grades 9-10), full diploma candidates and course candidates, complete CAS experiences with reflections.
• CAS Project: Our full diploma students complete CAS projects that follow an 18-month portfolio, full of reflections. 
• EE: Seniors spend a year researching and writing a 4000-word extended essay on a topic of their choice.  

Senior Parent Night, this Wednesday, September 29 from 6:00 to 7:30pm in the US Library, is where parents of seniors can learn where their student should be in their admissions and financial aid process, as well as have time for Q&A.  While this meeting is mainly for parents of seniors, all parents are welcome to come and learn what to expect for their younger students by the fall of their senior year.  See you there!

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