Tumwater School District

Continuous Student Learning in a Caring, Engaging Environment

Continuous Student Learning in a Caring, Engaging Environment

Welcome to Student Learning!

In 2005, the Tumwater School District began a journey focused on truly living our mission statement:  “Continuous learning in a caring, engaging environment.”  While research shows that the single best predictor of school-level achievement is the poverty level of the school, there are schools that have defied these predictors and attained extremely high levels (approaching 100%) of students meeting standards despite extremely high (approaching 100%) levels of students living in poverty.  These high-performing schools share the following nine characteristics:

·            Clear and Shared Focus. Everybody knows where they are going and why.

·         High Standards and Expectations for All Students. Teachers and staff believe that all stu­dents can learn and meet high standards.

·         Effective School Leadership. Effective instructional and administrative leadership is re­quired to implement change processes.

·         High Levels of Collaboration and Communication. There is strong teamwork among teach­ers across all grades and with other staff.

·         Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Aligned with Standards. What is planned, taught, and tested is aligned with the essential academic learning requirements (EALRs).

·         Frequent Monitoring of Learning and Teaching. A steady cycle of different assessments identify students who need help.

·         Focused Professional Development. A strong emphasis is placed on training staff in areas of most need.

·         Supportive Learning Environment. The school has a safe, civil, healthy and intellectually stimulating learning environment.

·         High Levels of Family and Community Involvement. There is a sense that all have a responsibility to educate students, not just teachers and school staff.

In the Tumwater School District, we have been using the four essential questions of teaching and learning to frame the work on several of these characteristics:


1.      What do we want our students to know and be able to do?

·     Be proficient or above standard on all Common Core State Standards

·     We also utilize curriculum maps that break each standard down into learning targets, outline pacing, and cite potential teaching strategies and resources


2.      How will we know if they’ve learned it? 

          We need to be constantly monitoring student learning, to ensure that learning holes are filled and that students don’t have to repeat learning they’ve already mastered.  In addition to classroom monitoring as teaching happens, we do this through:

·         Common formative assessments  

·         Benchmark assessments

·         State assessments (SBA, MSP, CBA, CBPA)


3.      What will we do if they haven’t?

·    Interventions at the classroom and school level fill the identified learning gaps by varying instructional strategies and adding time when necessary


4.      What will we do if they already know it?

·    Enrichment ensures that students who have mastered the standards have opportunities to go more deeply into the learning