E Connections 2014-2015  

2020 Vision Spotlight Video | Students' aerospace dreams take flight

At Islander Middle School, students are learning the science of flight in their aerospace elective class. First they learn about the principles of density and buoyancy and then they apply those principles, building different types of aircraft throughout the course.
 
Last month, about 100 members of the Mercer Island High School band, along with parents, teachers, and administrators, took their talents to Australia to compete with other bands in the Australian National Band Championships.
 

Of all the questions students asked Prakash Sharma, who is one of several national directors of Splash, an organization that helps provide clean water in impoverished schools throughout the world, what struck him most was the question that wasn't asked. Why water?
 

Video | Passion for videography leads to student-made video

Mercer Island High School senior Jason McRuer has many passions. On a recent MIHS band trip to Australia, he capitalized on his passion for videography to by interviewing fellow students about the experience, and incorporating performance video and photos into the wonderful video below. Watch the video...
 
Teacher Patrick Zanders initiated a new course called Career Readiness that helps Crest students prepare for life after high school, increasing their skills and confidence. Over time, he realized that outside expert input could make even more of an impact.
 
Language is interactive. It is shared, read, and absorbed. Stories are delivered, adapted, and retold. When Mercer Island High School poetry students chose to share their appreciation for language, they chose to deliver an interactive experience to their community.
 
Wednesday, April 22 is Earth Day. But students at West Mercer Elementary have made sustainability a year-round learning experience.
 

Students learn career skills as they prepare for Crest Plant Sale in May

When you visit the beautiful Crest greenhouse and nurseries on 86th Avenue Southeast, you'll find prize-winning heirloom tomatoes, a variety of herbs, flowers, squash, and vegetables. You'll see sustainable practices in action, from re-used plastic pots, instead of treating pots that would wind up in a landfill, to the absence of inorganic chemicals that would wind up in Lake Washington. More importantly, you'll find Mercer Island students in the Crest Urban Horticulture class developing skills for their careers in a personalized learning environment.
 
On Wednesday, April 1, West Mercer Elementary will hold its annual science fair. In preparation, students from Jamie Cooke's MIHS Biotechnology Research and Ethics classes traveled to West Mercer to spend time mentoring fourth graders in Sherry Isaac's and Denise DiPrima's classes on their science fair projects.
 
Mercer Island High School recently held its first ever Biology Open House, featuring presentations from high school biology students on research projects they conducted over several weeks.
 
Mercer Island High School sophomores Jordano Mark and Nadja Li saw some of their favorite musicians supporting a local nonprofit for homeless youth and decided they could - and would - make a difference, too.

 
This winter, MIHS sophomore Mitchell Meade led an effort to create the high school’s first unified basketball team. Unified sports are a collaboration of schools and Special Olympics Washington, dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences, for people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team.
 
Students in Larry Bencivengo’s science classes were asked to look into the future. They identified a technology available today that helps solve environmental problems, researched it, and envisioned what it could look like in 20 years. Four of Bencivengo’s sophomore biology students focused on a medical technology rather than an environmental one. Their vision is to create a better prosthetic experience for amputees.
 
When Mercer Island senior Jason McRuer saw extra school supplies donated by students' parents that were not being used in the classroom, he saw the opportunity to enrich the school experiences of students in Sierra Leone.
 

This winter, Island Park students in several classrooms and in several grades have partnered with the Washington Native Plant Society and the Mercer Island Parks Department to adopt an acre of Island Crest Park behind the school. They are planting new trees and removing invasive plant species from the park.
 

At Mercer Island High School, students use technology to harness their passions and personalize learning. Juniors Kelsey and Jasmine came up with an idea for an iPad app called "BOLT" in their marketing class and continued to develop a plan for it through advanced economics and DECA. Now they are working with a developer at the high school to build a prototype for a competition in January 2015. Watch the video...
 
At Mercer Island High School, the College & Career Readiness (CCR) program exposes students to training for and insight into college and career pathways, industry certifications, practical life skills, innovative technology and design, and team work.
 
Retired Islander Middle School teacher Ramona Behnke has a passion for students and for poetry – so much so that she came back to IMS as a volunteer to help students engage with poetry and language arts. 
 
In this two-minute video, take a look at how West Mercer Elementary kindergarten teacher Veronica Golden personalizes language learning through sign language and music and helps her kindergarten students develop their social intelligence, citizenship and responsible decision-making skills. Watch the video...
 
Before last week, Mercer Island High School social studies students like ninth grader Aidan Dobson only had to think about how a lack of clean drinking water would impact ancient civilizations and areas around the world without access to clean drinking water. Read more...
 

Using critical thinking and problem solving to create a school motto

In 2013, MIHS Principal Vicki Puckett proposed that the school create a motto that captured the spirit of what the high school represents. This week's E-Connections feature demonstrates how Mercer Island High School students worked collaboratively to create a meaningful school motto. Read more...