Academic News

The Middle School is back!  On Monday, Oct. 5, the 6th graders returned to in-person classes.  Then the next day, the 7th and 8th grade students returned for several days of in-person lessons in a variety of Middle and Upper School classrooms.  See a Photo Gallery of them getting dropped off on Oct. 6 with Golden Tickets in hand.

In each grade, some students are continuing to join their classmates online via MS Teams.  See photo galleries of the 6th Graders in Brad Kirsch's and Kristie Slattengren's classes, the 7th Graders in Spanish and science classes, and the 8th Graders learning their social studies, math and Spanish lessons.

Starting this week, look for highlights of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme in the SGS weekly news.  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).  (Please refer to our IB webpage and to the IB Resources page in Powerschool Learning for detailed IB information.)  
Weekly Highlights:
• EE: Seniors spend a year researching and writing a 4000-word essay on a topic of their choice. We will highlight one per week, with student permission.  
• CAS Project: Our full diploma students complete CAS projects that follow an 18-month portfolio, full of reflections. We will highlight one per week, with student permission.  
• CAS Experiences: All of our Upper School students, pre-IB (grades 9-10), full diploma candidates and course candidates complete CAS experiences with reflections.
• Weekly Question: Please email with any IB questions you may have, otherwise she will pick one to answer each week.
EE Highlight:  One of our seniors, Gabi Cunningham, has picked an Extended Essay to complete in Spanish.  Her Topic is "Reclamation of Indigenous Figures".  Her research question is:  How does Malinche by Laura Esquivel use symbolism to explore Malinche's feminine and indigenous identity?
CAS Project Highlight:  Gabi also completed her CAS project last May.  She made and assembled birdhouses for local kids who no longer had school.  She created kits and delivered them to families in the area.  "Since coming to SGS, CAS has encouraged me to both seek out and create my own opportunities to better myself and my community," Gabi says.  She hoped to develop organization, woodworking, and communication skills through this project.  Some of her goals included: 
• Give something for younger children to do and be excited about in a time of confusion and no school; 
• Help parents out by giving them something to occupy their children with;
• Provide a safe place for birds to build their nests.
CAS Experiences Highlights: CAS experiences for all of our Upper School Students this week included baking pumpkin bread, planting trees with the Lands Council, creating ASB videos for the Lower School, creating a self-care menu, making an egg yolk cake for the Chinese mid-Autumn festival, designing for the Spokane flag, attending an Equity and Inclusion state-wide conference, drone photography, visiting a vineyard, making homemade pet food and cooking dinner.
IB Question of the Week:  Who is a course candidate and who is a full Diploma candidate?  
A full Diploma Candidate is a student who is trying to earn the full IB Diploma and will complete all requirements to do so.  A course candidate is a student who is enrolled in IB Diploma courses, but not all components of the full IB Diploma.  The course candidate takes the IB exams in May of senior year and hopes to gain college credits for specific courses by earning IB certificates.  The course candidate has reduced CAS requirements and does not take TOK or complete the EE. 

The next phase of Saint George's re-opening will be with Middle Schoolers.  Beginning with 6th graders on Monday, Oct. 5, students will return to campus in a staggered approach.  Sixth-grade students may attend classes Monday through Thursday this week as we shift to a Hybrid of in-person and distance learning.  (There are no classes on Friday, Oct. 9 for a teacher Professional Development Day.)

The 7th and 8th graders may return for in-person classes on Tuesday, October 6 and Wednesday, October 7, then have a Distance Learning day on Thursday, October 8.  Because Middle School classes do not operate solely in a cohort, logistical considerations are involved as students change classes during the day and the 7th and 8th grade students will have some classes (choir, art, etc.) together at times.  While we are able to maintain the social distancing and facial covers throughout the day, we must be mindful of the additional interactions that take place. Seventh and 8th grade students will continue to have Distance Learning on 8 period days, which are typically on Mondays, as well as on “Special Schedule” days.  Parents should refer to Joelle Neiwert's letter for more details, and additional information from Ryan Peplinski, COVID Coordinator.

Friday, Oct. 9 is a Professional Development Day for SGS faculty, so there will be no classes that day for grades K-12.  Then there will also be no school K-12 on Monday, Oct. 12 to give students and faculty a break.  Classes will resume on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Six SGS seniors who scored in the top 2.5% of PSAT/NMSQT test takers and live in a rural area or small town have been identified as College Board National Recognition Program Scholars.  The recognition helps highlight their outstanding educational achievements to top colleges and universities.  Congratulations to Alec Bunn, Gabi Cunningham, John DeForest, Chaitanya Nalluri, Winnie Wu, and Henry Xu!

Seniors returned to campus over two days to work on their Extended Essays, a requirement for the International Baccalaureate Diploma.  SGS seniors are working on essay topics as diverse as the effect on climate change on Hawaiian coral reefs, the impact of Italian immigration on Argentina, how RSA encryption uses math to secure information, and the diet preferences of turkey vultures!  See a Photo Gallery of them writing drafts of their essays and talking with advisors.  A 3,000-word draft is due soon!  

Tuesday, Sept. 29 marked the first day for students in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades to return for in-person classes.  See photo galleries of the 3rd Graders, the 4th Graders, and the 5th Graders on their first day back, as well as of several students in each class that will continue distance learning.

Dear SGS Community,
Happy October 1!  The first month of school has been successful and obviously different.  However, it has been gratifying to have three quarters of our Lower School students return to campus, while still offering a Distance Learning (DL) option for students at home.  The teachers have done a great job navigating this new environment and learning from one another and outside resources as we go.  Parents have also been super supportive and attentive to all the details related to drop-off, pick-up and safety precautions.  Thank you!
We were also able to introduce an afterschool conditioning program for small groups of high school students.  This has also been a carefully planned and executed addition for our older students, as we maintain the health precautions to mitigate COVID transmission.  This program is open to all Upper School Students and addresses the physical, social, and emotional needs of our students.
This week, there have been several reports of COVID cases at schools in Spokane County and a continued spike across the county resulting from Labor Day activities.  These cases have been brought to the respective campuses, but according to the SRHD tracing protocols there has not been a case of student to student transmission at this time.  However, the presence of COVID and precautionary measures of quarantining students has led to large numbers of students relegated to Distance Learning at those schools that were offering a hybrid (In-person and Distance Learning) model for students.  Part of our strategy for the older students has been the implementation of our block days to limit the movement during the day. Our Middle School and Upper School teachers have done a great job of implementing the lessons learned from last year while in Distance Learning.
No Classes on October 9 and October 12
The first month has been a mentally and emotionally taxing one for students and teachers adjusting to the new “abnormal.”  Next Friday, we have the Professional Development Day that has been on the published calendar.  In addition, we will not have school on Monday, October 12, in an attempt to provide everyone a break away from screens and as a mental health day.  
Middle School Phased Re-opening Is Up Next!
Our next phase of re-opening will be with our Middle Schoolers.  This will be done in a staggered approach starting with our 6th graders on Monday, October 5.   Sixth-grade students may attend in-person classes all days of the week (8 period and block days). 
The 7th and 8th graders may return for in-person classes on Tuesday, October 6 and Wednesday, October 7, then have a DL day on Thursday, October 8.    The logistics are different with our Middle School, because these classes do not operate solely in a cohort, so additional considerations are involved as students change classes during the day and the 7th and 8th grade students will have some classes (choir, art, etc.) together at times.  While we are able to maintain the social distancing and facial covers throughout the day, we must be mindful of the additional interactions that take place. 7th and 8th grade students will continue to have DL on 8 period days, which are typically on Mondays, as well as on “Special Schedule” days.
Joelle Neiwert will be sending out a letter to the Middle School Parents with more details, and Ryan Peplinski, COVID Coordinator, will also send them additional information related to this next phase of re-opening.
Upper School Re-opening Planning
We have been talking with Dr. Lutz and his team at SRHD about the Upper School return as well.  We have “penciled” in plans for a possible return as soon as the week of October 19.  Our plans outline an alternating model to start.  Mondays will be DL for all US students, Tuesday and Wednesday will be one group of students on campus and the others in DL, then on Thursday and Friday the students that were in DL will be on campus and the other group will be DL.  We feel this methodical process will give us the best opportunity to bring our students back to campus in the safest manner.
Upcoming Dates:
October 9 Professional Development Day (No School for students)
October 12 No School K-12
Thank you for your flexibility as we continue to move forward.  Go Dragons!
Jamie Tender
Head of School

SGS College Counselor Kerry Clark invites senior parents to attend Senior Parent College Night from 5:30 to 7:00pm on Wednesday, Sept. 30.  The meeting will take place on Microsoft Teams, so look for an email from Kerry with the link to the meeting.  Learn how you can support your senior in their college application and decision process!  Contact Kerry with any questions.

Saint George's is pleased to report that the Spokane Regional Health District has approved our plans to bring grades 3, 4, and 5 back to in-person classes beginning Tuesday, Sept. 29.  Some students in grade 3-5 will continue to learn from home, so these classes will enter what is called a "Hybrid" model of instruction.  Please see Head of Lower School Kathy Johnson's Letter for more details and review the attached campus map for drop off and pick up locations for each of the Lower School grades.
The K-12 plan for the week of Sept. 28-Oct. 2 will be:
- Grades K-2 will have Hybrid Learning Mon., Sept. 28 through Thu., Oct. 1, with no school on Fri. Oct. 2;
- Grades 3-5 will have Distance Learning (asynchronous) on Mon., Sept. 28, then Hybrid Learning on Tue., Sept. 29 through Thu., Oct. 1, with no school on Fri., Oct. 2;
- Grades 6-8 will have Distance Learning (asynchronous) on Mon., Sept. 28, then Distance Learning on Tue., Sept. 29 through Fri. Oct. 2;
- Grades 9-12 will have Distance Learning on Mon., Sept. 28 through Fri. Oct. 2.
The SGS return to campus plan is built in stages to accommodate additional students, and for the SGS team to review procedures, plan logistics, and make additional changes as needed.  The Hybrid model has more moving parts than the current Distance Learning 2.0 model in terms of technology, staffing, daily schedules, movement around campus, and usage of facilities.  
"I want to recognize that this situation impacts everyone differently based on their family situation," says Head of School Jamie Tender, "and we are sensitive to the variety of ways this plays out at school.  We ask all of our community members to continue to maintain precautionary measures to stay safe and limit the spread of the virus."  

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