Cheney Free Press -

By Al Stover
Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake school brings common core to curriculum


Brittani Montecucco/Cheney Free Press

Schools across the United States, including Medical Lake, have made changes to their curriculum to prepare for Common Core standards.

The Medical Lake School District will continue to implement elements of the new Common Core standards into their curriculum.

Medical Lake High School principal John McSmith and vice principal Chris Spring gave a PowerPoint presentation at the March 25 school board meeting on what the district ­- specifically the high school - has done so far to implement Common Core State Standards into the curriculum and what they plan to do in the future.

McSmith said the district has spent the last three years examining and "unpacking" the Common Core standards for each grade level and working on rigor and relevance, creating schoolwork designed for understanding and real world situations.

Last year, the school began looking at performance tasks that students could apply in the real world, such as husbandry and robotics.

For this year, McSmith said the district has included more nonfiction reading into the curriculum. By the time students are seniors, 70 percent of the things they read and write will be nonfictional and technical reading. McSmith said this will help students read materials with high text complexity such as operational manuals for machines. When they do read fiction, students will supplement the text with historical research relating to the material.

McSmith said every discipline would be responsible for teaching or supporting every standard.

"History classes will be doing reading and writing, along with science and P.E.," McSmith said. "The entire school will be responsible for supporting (the standards)."

The assessment testing requirements for students graduating with a high school diploma will also change. While the class of 2014 had to pass their reading and writing High School Proficiency Exams along with algebra or geometry, the classes of 2015 and 2016 will have to pass the English Language Arts (ELA) exit exam. They will have the same mathematics requirements, but those classes will be based around the Common Core. They will also have to pass their biology end of course exam.

The class of 2019 - who are currently in seventh grade - will take the Smarter Balanced ELA test in their junior year in order to graduate. If they do not pass it, they will have to make up that test. The district will also be introducing the New Generation Science Standards.

"There's a ton of stuff coming fast and we're excited for it," McSmith said.

During the presentation McSmith complimented Superintendent Dr. Pam Veltri on her involvement in the school district and said he was going to "miss her."

In action items the board approved three policies: Procedure 5011P - Sexual Harassment (first and second reading), Policy 1630 Evaluation of the Superintendent Board Policy (first and second reading) and Board Policy 1630 - Required Observances for Veterans Day, Constitution Day, Temperance Day and Good Citizenship Day as holidays (first reading). The policy also requires the district to recognize October as Disability History Month.

The board also approved the Drug-Free Workplace Notice of Compliance and "Draft B" for the 2014/2015 school year calendar. This draft is the same as the previous scalendar.

The board approved the increase of breakfast and lunch prices for the next school year. Lunch prices will increase by 5 cents while breakfast prices will be raised 10 cents for elementary and 5 cents for high school.

The board received presentations from the Jensen Youth Ranch and students from Hallett Elementary regarding robotics and PowerPoint projects.

Al Stover can be reached at


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