Academics at SAMi
At SAMI- we believe in the collective. We believe in the value of community and use the resources of our community for learning. We are situated in a 702 -acre park on the Puget Sound with a living history museum, old growth forest, vibrant waterways, historic gardens and an award winning zoo and aquarium. To support student thinking and developing dreams for after high school, we offer two pathways; natural sciences and physical sciences so the classroom is the park itself. Moving forward as a community, is what SAMI is all about.
How do we grow together as a community? Lots of opportunities in math and science to help our students explore their passions and very carefully sequenced classes to develop empathy and balance as they work together in multi-age classes. Mentor Group (Wednesday mornings from 10:00 – 12:00) is at the heart of all we do. The Mentor Group is a four-year, multi-age class where students learn four outcomes through our pillars the younger students learning from the older ones and their Mentor. Mentor Group aims to provide mastery of: articulating a clear post-high plan connected to passions and dreams, reflection and articulation of on-track graduation status, reflection on mastery of standards in all classes and understanding of regular attendance. In partnership with the family, the Mentor guides their mentee from 9th grade to graduation through goal setting and Performance Review at conferences at least twice per year. Mentees learn together. Our Strong Start, TIME and BRIDGE classes use this model as students prepare for their Next Move Internship junior through to senior year. These classes teach our students how to work with their peers and create success for their junior year when they will intern in the community. Performance Review (reflection on evidence) helps students take charge of their education just as they took charge as 8th graders coming to Information Nights and the Community Conversation saying “I choose to be part of this community! I see myself as a scientist or mathematician (and here is why)!”
Central to our mission and vision are developing career-ready skills to support Internship. These standards reflect our deep commitment to every student growing as full members of our Tacoma community. For this reason, all students participate in Next Move Internship in junior and senior year (no room for Running Start). The Next Move Department offers a course of study that supports graduates as they develop their professional selves by working with mentors and coaches through independent and group activities guided by the following standards. SAMI Students are:
· Verbalizing professional aspirations including a tangible path forward.
· Demonstrating confidence when approaching strangers professionally with intentional goals.
· Traveling beyond the school environment with limited support from an adult using public transportations.
· Responding to professional writing prompts in a timely fashion.
· Tracking professional contributions to a group using my resume to express skills and experiences.
For the science/math pathways, our courses are heavy in math and science or science integrated opportunities. In the regular term a student will select 8 classes (6 if they want an early release for sports at their neighborhood high school). In their junior and senior year, our SAMI students may opt to take advanced art courses at SOTA or engineering courses at IDEA (they may take up to 2 classes per semester) Likewise, students at our sister schools may take advanced mathematics and science classes. We offer classes taught by professional Adjunct Instructors who come from industry. They are denoted in italics though we expand our adjunct offerings based on student interest surveys.
Our fully inclusive community supports learning for all and for each of our students. We work towards balance with lots of time – 90 -120 minute class periods to create opportunities for interest and deep learning. We do not track students, the opposite in fact. We hope students who choose to come to SAMI get to explore lots of science and math classes that get them closer, each year, to their post high plan- what they are passionate about. Eight classes in the regular term along with our January or Mini-term of one interdisciplinary class all day for 15-17 days (or possibly a Service and Study Tour to a different country!) gives our students lots of opportunities to develop this passion, learn who they are, put down deep roots in a caring learning community and get them excited for their future. Choosing a natural or physical science pathway, similar to choosing SAMI or another school puts our students in the driver’s seat- they choose their future, but flexibly. We learn together through our pillars: community, empathy, thinking and balance. We strive for SAMI be a safe learning space for our students to make mistakes, reflect, grow together and enjoy school!