Students Engage in New Immersive Courses

On March 12-23, 2017, Northwest students launched into brand new, intensive, all-day learning experiences known as Summits. The 27 new courses were designed by Northwest faculty to lead students in studies rooted in the school's values, history, and mission. The immersive format allowed students to engage in longer labs, take field trips around the state and across the country, and participate in action-oriented and meaningful learning.

"I've really enjoyed how the longer block time allowed us to really lean into the topic," says Zoe T. '19, who took the Summit called Food Justice: Unearthing Connections Between Land Use History, Race, Class, and Environmental Science. "I've learned so much about how social justice intersects with food justice and environmental justice. Summits provided the time for us to dive deeper into subjects that we are really interested in."

During the two-week program, students partook in a wide-range of special opportunities. One Summit studying the Duwamish River had the chance to float down much of river, witnessing first-hand the effects of pollution and the conservation efforts that have taken place. Other students tracked the Civil Rights Movement, traveling to key sites in the South, meeting activists, historians, and current participants of the movement.

Students taking The Nuclear Age Summit measured alpha, beta, and gamma radiations with Geiger counters, and explored the historical context of nuclear power, the Manhattan Project, and took an overnight field trip to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Students spent two weeks learning about the homelessness crisis in Seattle, and participated in building a tiny house for a new tiny house community in Ballard.

"The interdisciplinary experiences allowed all of us, students, teachers, and support faculty, to learn together in new ways," says Assistant Head of School Tuney Kannapell. "Faculty worked hard to create this new program, offering a new avenue for mission-driving learning, and students were flexible, supportive, and enthusiastic in making Summits a success."