INSIGHT: Experiential Days at EPS

From Paul Hagen, Dean of Students

A lot of amazing learning happens in class. Students are engaged in hands-on science experiments, lively Harkness discussions, and interesting art projects. Students practice speaking Spanish, master math skills, and develop healthy study habits. But what happens when students break from their regular classes in order to engage in grade-level activities? What happens when students are involved in experiences through Education Beyond the Classroom?

On Wednesday, learning happened outside the traditional classroom structure. Instead of participating in their regular classes, students from 5th through 12th grade engaged in grade-level experiences designed to enhance, enrich, and elevate their learning. This allowed each grade level to pursue experiences and tasks that don’t fit neatly within the regular school day. Each Grade Level Coordinator worked with their team of advisors and the Division Heads to create diverse experiences for students or to complete important tasks. Students engaged in service in the community, took the PSAT, explored Seattle, worked on college applications, and learned how to use the tools in the Maker Space. Our juniors prepared for the college fair that they will attend next week, while our 9th graders listened to an informative panel discussion by seniors. The 5th grade sorted food at Northwest Harvest, while the 7th graders participated in environmental service with King Conservation District. Students pulled weeds, wrote college essays, learned about sustainable farming, used laser-cutters, and practiced taking standardized tests.

In the end, the day was a success not because it was without any glitches, but because students were actively engaged in unique projects while pursuing the EPS mission and vision together. As one 5th grader gushed at the end of the long day of service, “I wish every day of school was like this!”