Academic News

IB Question of the Week: Can you explain CAS (creativity, activity and service) for a full diploma candidate, including the learning outcomes?
CAS is organized around the three strands of creativity, activity and service defined as follows: 
• Creativity — exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance; 
• Activity — physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle;
• Service — collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need.
The CAS program formally begins at the start of the Diploma Programme and continues regularly for at least 18 months with a reasonable balance between creativity, activity and service.  Typically, students’ service experiences involve the following stages: 
• Investigation, preparation and action that meets an identified need; 
• Reflection on significant experiences throughout to inform problem-solving and choices; 
• Demonstration allowing for sharing of what has taken place.
All CAS students are expected to maintain and complete a CAS portfolio as evidence of their engagement with CAS. The CAS portfolio is a collection of evidence that showcases CAS experiences and student reflections; it is not formally assessed. Completion of CAS is based on student achievement of the seven CAS learning outcomes: 
• Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth;
• Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process;
• Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience;
• Show commitment to, and perseverance in, CAS experiences;
• Demonstrate the skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively;
• Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance;
• Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions.
Through their CAS portfolio, students provide the school with evidence demonstrating achievement of each learning outcome. Some learning outcomes may be achieved many times, while others may be achieved less frequently. In their CAS portfolio, students provide the school with evidence of having achieved each learning outcome at least once through their CAS program.
Please refer to this Two-Page Brief on CAS for more information. 

The Junior Parent College Night has been rescheduled for Wednesday, January 27 from 6-7 p.m.  Here is information about the event:

This month, SGS college counselors Happy Avery and Kerry Clark will start working with 11th grade students on next year’s college admissions cycle.  They know that junior parents have many questions and concerns regarding the college admissions process as well.  Please join them on MS Teams to learn more about the process overall and priorities for this spring and summer. 

This meeting is designed for parents of current juniors who are preparing to apply to college next fall, but all Saint George’s parents are welcome and encouraged to attend, as it’s never too early to plan and gather information.  If you didn't receive an email from Happy or Kerry, contact them at or for the MS Teams link.  And if you can’t attend, they will record the meeting and follow up with a link to share. 

The PSAT test day for grades 8-11 is Tuesday, January 26. SGS will have a normal school start time of 8:20 a.m. and students will be dismissed when their testing session is completed, roughly at 12:30 p.m.  Please wait along the curb, as usual for pick-up.  The 9th and 10 grade students were given classroom assignments last Friday, including rosters showing the room number where they will go on the morning of the test.  All 11th graders will report to the US library for the test.  Students should report to their assigned room by 8:20 a.m. when they get to school on Tuesday, as testing will begin promptly. 
Students need to bring two sharpened #2 pencils (not mechanical) and an approved calculator that they are familiar with.  Students will need to leave their phones, bags, snacks, water bottles, etc., outside of the testing room in the hallway or at their locker.  There will be breaks between tests for drinks and snacks.  Student PSAT guides have been placed in each student's school mailbox with test tips and practice questions.  See College Counselor Kerry Clark's Email from 1-21-21 to parents and students for details on approved calculators, what to bring and not bring to the testing room, and links to the College Board’s PSAT website and Test day checklist.

NOTE: 12th graders will spend the morning of Jan. 26 in the Founders Theater working on IB projects (Individual Assessment, Extended Essay, and TOK essay).  Then from 12-3pm they will be in teacher classrooms working on IAs and other work they need to complete.

While grades 8-11 are taking the PSAT on Tuesday morning, Jan. 26, the 6th and 7th graders will have Dragon Fun Day activities to choose from.  These include an Outdoor activity (snow sports, game, hike) depending on the weather (wear outdoor clothing and bring a water bottle and snack), a Racket Sports tournament (either pickleball or badminton) in ESAC, a Virtual Game that distance learning and in-person students can join, or a Study Hall for students to get work done before the end of the semester.  Students will have time to participate in two of these activities before being dismissed from school at Noon.  Refer to a parent email from MS Head Joelle Neiwert for more details.  Go MS Dragons!

Semester 1 ends this Thursday, January 28.  All Upper School students' CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service) experiences should be recorded and submitted to their advisors by Thursday.  Friday, Jan. 29 is a Teacher In-Service Day, so there are no classes for grades K-12.  Students can enjoy a long weekend!

Mr. Hutchinson's 7th grade Science class spent time learning to read the contour lines and details on USGS section maps of the Saint George's and Nine Mile Falls areas.  See a Photo Gallery of the students in his class, and learning from home, finding locations on the maps and recording them on their tablets.

An SGS senior has used the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to explore, in Spanish, the feminine and indigenous identity of a Spanish novel character.
Extended Essay Highlight: Senior Gabi Cunningham is writing her Extended Essay on the topic of the reclamation of indigenous figures.  Her research question is: How does Malinche by Laura Esquivel use symbolism to explore Malinche's feminine and indigenous identity?  Gabi is writing her EE in Spanish!  When asked why she chose this topic, Gabi replied: "Because of my interest in continuing to learn Spanish after High School, in order to have a career in diplomacy, I chose to write my EE in Spanish to better my writing and reading comprehension.  During Spanish class in sophomore year, we learned about several maligned women in Latin American history, and I wanted to learn more.  When selecting which Spanish text I would analyze, Malinche by Laura Esquivel jumped out at me.  I couldn’t help but select the book as a topic the minute I found it."
CAS Project Highlight: Juniors Ethan Wu, Finley Wolff, and Patrick McCarthy have already submitted their CAS project proposal.  It is wonderful that these juniors are thinking ahead to get their project set up and completed before the stress of senior year begins.  They proposed to do a Little Spokane River Clean Up along the stretch of the river from Pine River Park to the SGS campus in the summer of 2021.  The learning outcomes that will be reflected in this project are Collaborative Skills, Ethics of Choices and Actions, Initiative and Planning.
CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include helping with a blood drive, AAU travel basketball, cooking enchiladas, make a Hawaiian kukui nut lei, stacking and moving firewood, participating in Lifetime sports, delivering presents to kids, learning meditation, making churros, skiing, helping a classmate with an EE experiment, writing a novel, creating a pen and ink drawing, cooking dinner for neighbors, fixing a fence, making bracelets, making a family dinner, writing for the Round Table, participating in the SGS mentor program, taking photos, playing soccer, participating in the Jean Ward Debate tournament, doing yoga, “adopting a family” over the holidays, and blogging.
IB Question of the Week: What are 10 reasons why the IB Diploma Program (DP) is ideal for preparation for university? *
1. It increases academic opportunity: Research shows that DP graduates are more likely to be enrolled at top higher education institutions than entrants holding other qualifications.
2. IB students care about more than just results: Through Creativity, action and service (CAS) you learn outside the classroom and develop emotionally and ethically as well as intellectually.
3. It encourages you to become a confident and independent learner: For example, the Extended Essay (EE) requires independent research through an in-depth study.
4. The IB encourages critical thinking: Learn how to analyze and evaluate issues, generate ideas and consider new perspectives.
5. Graduates are globally minded: Language classes encourage an international mindset, key for increasingly globalized societies.
6. It’s an international qualification: The DP is recognized globally by universities and employers.
7. DP students have proven time management skills: Take good study habits and strong time management to further education and the working world.
8. It assesses more than examination techniques: Learn to understand, not just memorize facts or topics and prepare for exams.
9. Subjects are not taught in isolation: Theory of Knowledge (TOK) classes encourage you to make connections between subjects.
10. It encourages breadth and depth of learning:  You are able to choose courses from six subject groups and study subjects at different levels.
IB 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).  Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  

Saint George's will begin bringing students back to the Upper School in a staggered roll-out.  This week (Jan. 11), grades 11 and 12 are invited to learn on campus Tuesday through Friday.  Grades 9 and 10 will learn on campus Thursday and Friday.  Next week (Jan. 19), grades 9-12 are invited to learn from campus on Tuesday through Friday.  See more details on Dr. Francesca Mulazzi's Weekly Letter.

In order to bring students back to campus safely, we have three focus points for students:

Awareness: Be conscientious of the distance between you and your friends; stand and sit on red dots, walk along the yellow arrows.
Breaks: Be aware of your friends and neighbors when you are at your locker and in the hallway; stand on a dot when possible, walk along the yellow arrows; teachers will let students out on breaks in staggered breaks.
Lunch: Sit in one of the eight designated areas: US Courtyard, Library, Theatre Courtyard, or five classrooms designated as lunch zones, sit and eat at a red dot.

Thank you, parents and families, for your patience as we have waited for the right time to move to this next step. 

An SGS senior has used the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme to set up a program to reduce stress in her neighborhood -- with therapy bunnies and tea! 

CAS Project Highlight: Senior Erika Piotrowski has developed a Bunny Outreach Program that she will run for two months.  This will be a neighborhood stress release program with her pet bunnies as therapy animals.  She plans to individually schedule people for the program, then show up wearing a mask and bringing a folding table.  She will set the rabbit and some tea on the table then move six feet back.  The neighbor, who is wearing a mask, will help themselves to refreshments and will be able to interact with the bunny.  In conjunction, they will discuss their day and any other light-hearted topics.  Erika has already discussed this program with some neighbors to gauge interest, and they all seem really enthused by it. 

CAS Experience Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School students (in the US and in China) include cooking clams, delivering cookies, making rings, shadowing a parent at work for a day, skiing, participating in a community night, making dessert, volunteering at 2nd Harvest, making a snowman, solving a Rubik’s cube, and walking dogs.  

EE Highlight: Senior Sophie Yao is doing her Extended Essay on a topic in Economics.  She is discovering the pros and the cons of her EE question: To What extent does passing out coupons to citizens influence the general merchandise industry in Hangzhou, China.  She came up with the idea because Hangzhou’s government was passing out an electronic coupon through a site called Alipay.  Most of the citizens had successfully obtained the coupon, including Sophie’s mother, which sparked her interest in her research topic.

IB Question of the Week:  Can you explain a little more the difference between HL and SL courses?

With humor, see the picture below:

But seriously, follow this link to see the brief on HL and SL courses:

“It is essential for any pre-university education to equip students with the depth of discipline-specific knowledge and skills that they will need for their chosen academic and career paths. However, this must be balanced with the breadth needed to develop well-rounded students who can draw connections between the different disciplines. 

"As such, the philosophy of the IB DP is that students should engage with a range of subjects while being able to explore specific areas of personal interest in greater depth. SL courses ensure students are exposed to a range of disciplines that they might otherwise opt out of, and HL courses allow students to spend more time with subjects they are more interested in by exploring options in addition to the SL core curriculum. In this sense, all DP courses, regardless of whether they are SL or HL, are integral to the programme.”

IB 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).  Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in PowerSchool Learning for detailed IB information.  

Dear SGS Community,
I am sure you are all excited to see 2021, vaccines, and a progression to a return of normalcy for ourselves and children.  The events of yesterday in Washington D.C. were a gut punch that left me saddened as a citizen.  I can only hope our nation and our elected officials are able to get back on track to unite and come together to resurrect hope and confidence going forward.  
Over the break there were several developments that took place regarding guidance for schools from the Governor, DOH and SRHD.  The Governor introduced the new regional plans for re-opening and the SRHD has updated their guidance, process, and metrics for schools.  The good news is the focus is now on re-opening secondary schools.  As a smaller independent school, we are already further ahead, both in terms of in-school instruction K-12 and limited COVID activity in school. Our planning, execution and parental diligence have all been successful.  We are still on track for adding grades 9-12 to four days a week in our hybrid model (students in-school and DL by choice).  Our plan has changed slightly, but we feel more confident with this model as it provides a graduated approach allowing us to make quick adjustments and maintaining our proven risk mitigation efforts.   
The week of January 11, our K-8 schedule will remain in place at this time. 
• Grades 11 and 12 will be able to attend Tuesday thru Friday.
• Grades 9 – 10 will be able to attend Thursday and Friday.  (This will be the first two days of all four grades attending classes in-school.)
The week of January 18, (No School on Monday, January 18 in observance of MLK Jr. Holiday)
• Grades K-8 schedule will remain unchanged.
• Grades 9-12 will attend Tuesday- Friday if they choose.  The Hybrid model for students learning from home will remain in place.
Timing Rationale:
- There is an ongoing concern related to mental health and engagement while students are out of school.
- Data continues to show low transmission in schools when safety precautions (masks, physical distancing, cleaning, etc.) are in use.
- This will provide a 12-day period from New Year’s Day to when grades 9-12 would be together. 
- Based on our enrollment and facilities, we are able to maintain the physical distancing requirements, cleaning regiments and face coverings.  Many of the larger schools will find it difficult to meet the physical distancing requirements in the classrooms. 
Ryan Peplinski continues the contact tracing protocols and maintaining our COVID Dashboard.  Our parents have done an outstanding job of erring on the side of caution with their students and in turn, this benefits the entire community.  Thank you!!  
Thank you and continue to take care of yourselves.
Jamie Tender
Head of School
Regulatory Oversight Update: 
Governor’s Office:  The Governor released the Healthy Washington – Roadmap to Recovery and shared the goal for a return for secondary school students.
The Spokane Regional Health District: The SRHD has updated their guidelines and processes related to schools.  This is in accordance with new guidance from the Governor and the Washington DOH.  Additionally, the SRHD is also reviewing protocols for other activities, including choir and orchestra.
Additional COVID related meetings and resources:
Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA): Announced new timeline and planning for High School Athletics and Activities starting February 1.  This was just announced yesterday, and further details are forthcoming.
Calendar Update:
Proposed Calendar for January 11 – January 22: (Parenthetical days are for MS/US schedules)


Operational Issues Update:
Busses: There remains reluctance with the bus model at this time since we have K-12 students typically using the same bus.  If there are two occurrences of COVID within a class during a two-week period, that would lead to a class-wide quarantine.  We continue to work with the SRHD for guidance in this area and have developed several models that may limit this risk when confidence in transportation is higher, this would reduce the overall bus availability for families closer to school.
Since the school year began, Ryan Peplinski, COVID-19 Coordinator, has been communicating with families that have been impacted by COVID-19 in their family and then working with the SRHD team to assist with contact tracing.  
Items that could impact plans: 
1. COVID Activity metrics in the region.
2. Outbreak of 2 more students in a grade level during a 14-day period.
3. Inability to meet the state’s COVID updated requirements.
Contact Tracing - The SGS families have been very cooperative and proactive in notifying the school if they have come in close contact or if a family member has tested positive.  This community effort strengthens our risk mitigation protocols in reducing the spread of COVID-19 if we have a case on campus.  


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