Thursday, September 24, 2020

Guest column: Forging new foundations for the future

by By Moses Lake School District
| January 30, 2020 12:13 AM

Real World Academy leads Moses Lake School District

M​oses Lake community member Matt Paluch recently voiced his concerns regarding the plans for the new Moses Lake High School in his editorial “There is a better option than Real World Academy.”

He provided a brief outline for an alternate plan to create a network of small schools offering career-focused programs in addition to core curriculums. Paluch believes “small schools of choice” with “flexible learning space” would improve dropout rates and provide better discipline.

We value and respect the concerns of our community members. There are, however, numerous flaws to address with Paluch’s proposal – as well as a few aspects that meet, and surpass, his criteria.

First, Paluch’s plan relies on data from an article by the MDRC, published over 20 years ago. Education programs have significantly evolved over the past two decades. That’s why our support of the Real World Academy program is based on the district’s current and future needs and comprehensive research.

For example, recent data collected from OSPI (w​​) notates no direct correlation on school size and graduation outcomes. Schools of all sizes have high, low, and average on-time graduation rates, indicating that many factors impact a school’s success rate.

Real World Academy is an educational program offering different learning options than those currently available at Moses Lake High School with a focus on collaboration and project-based learning. This education model enables students to follow their interests and passions while offering alternative routes and pathways to graduation for increased graduation rates.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, “This type of learning (competency-based or personalized learning) leads to better student engagement because the content is relevant to each student and tailored to their unique needs. It also leads to better student outcomes because the pace of learning is customized to each student.”

Additionally, project-based learning motivates students by allowing them to take charge of their futures. The new school will offer innovative technologies and hands-on experience, as well as involvement from community members to serve as an extension of their education.

Furthermore, the Real World Academy – with capacity slated at 700-900 students – will function in network capacity. It will be built on the same campus as MLHS and CB Tech, allowing students to access programs and facilities at all three schools. With adaptable teaching and learning spaces, our students have the option to work in different group sizes, and access supervised areas outside of direct instructional time. Additionally, Real World Academy will possess flexible furniture, community access, and co-use of collaboration space with local businesses.

Moses Lake School District strives to keep the best interests of our community, students and staff our top priority. We’re thrilled to move forward with an innovative new high school that prepares our students with bright and exciting futures.

For more information, visit​.