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✔  Find out more about Chautauqua Elementary School, grades K-5 (click)

✔  Find out more about McMurray Middle School, grades 6-8 (click)




VHS Awarded Washington Achievement Award

WA Award

For the second year in a row, Vashon High School is a Washington Achievement Award winner. Based on student test scores, Vashon High School placed in the top 5% of all high schools in the state, earning an ‘Overall Excellence’ rating for 2014. Due to a very narrow gap between typically under served students and white students, Vashon High School also earned the ‘High Progress’ award; making us one of just three schools in the state to be singled out for both Overall Excellence and High Progress. Additionally, we earned an award for our Extended Graduation Rate for achieving a graduation rate that is among the best in the state. These extraordinary accomplishments are a direct reflection of the hard work of our students, the dedication of our teachers, and the support and guidance of our parents.

The Washington State Board of Education and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction sponsor the Washington State Achievement awards. The awards celebrate Washington’s top-performing schools and recognize achievement in many categories. This highly selective award is based on our school’s performance on the Washington State Achievement Index. The Washington Achievement Award is given in six categories: overall excellence, high progress, reading growth, math growth, graduation rate (high and comprehensive schools only), and English language acquisition. To learn more, visit the OSPI Washington Achievement awards site.

Letters from Superintendent Michael Soltman regarding state standards and upcoming tests

Posted 3/26/15

What are Common Core State Standards?

Common Core State Standards are a set of expectations for what every student should know and be able to do in math and English language arts at each grade level.  The standards, now adopted by 46 states, were created by K-12 and higher education experts across the country to ensure that all students, regardless of location or background, acquire a strong, shared foundation in math and English. The new standards, regarded as much more rigorous than Washington State’s essential learning standards adopted in the mid-90s, reflect what students will need to know to be college and career ready.  A recent editorial in the Seattle Times  provides a clear rationale for the benefits of the common core in our state.

What does college and career ready mean?

Being “college ready” means that a high school graduate has the knowledge and  skills necessary to qualify for and succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing college  courses without the need for remedial coursework. 

Being “career ready” means that a high school graduate has the knowledge and  skills needed to qualify and succeed in postsecondary job training and/or education  necessary for their chosen career: community college, technical/vocational programs, apprenticeship or significant on-the-job training. 

Ultimately, college and career readiness demands that students know more than  just content, but demonstrate that they know how to learn and build upon that content to solve problems and think critically.

How do the Smarter Balanced assessments more accurately measure being college and career ready?

The new assessments emphasize how students apply the math and English they are learning to real world problems and rely less on memorization of facts. Taken entirely on the computer (except for 3rd grade this first year), Smarter Balanced exams are interactive and responsive to a student’s responses. Questions become harder or easier based on performance.

Students will be asked to explain their reasoning, show their work and some  questions will have more than one correct response. Students will be writing more, asked to think critically and defend their ideas. It won’t be possible to just skim and answer questions, the new assessments call for careful reading and providing evidence from that reading to support their answer. 

The objective of the test is to adapt to each student’s ability, giving teachers and  parents better information to help students succeed and graduate ready for college or career preparation.

You can experience some sample test items and performance talks by clicking here.  

The March 14, 2015 edition of The Seattle Times ran a story (Tough new exams state test students’ math, reading skills, by Leah Todd) about the new  Balanced assessments that provides another perspective. Click here to read the story.  

How do the Smarter Balanced assessments create a personalized pathway for students to be college ready?

The Common Core standards help ensure students are college- and career-ready.  The Smarter Balanced assessments help teachers and parents measure a student’s progress toward that goal. This timely information can help inform the student’s High School & Beyond Plan, which is designed to bring parents/guardians, educators, and students together to develop the student’s personalized pathway toward college- and career-readiness. Each student maintains a plan that outlines education and career goals, and the courses, exams, and experiences necessary to get them there.

If you are interested in more information about state testing and graduation requirements, click here.