Medical Lake School District: Every Student, Every Day

Educators in Medical Lake School District have clear motto that focuses their work in helping their students reach high expectations.

“Students need to be a part of their education. It’s something done with them, not something done to them,” said Kim Headrick, director of teaching and learning at Medical Lake School District. “Our motto is every student, every day. So we’re going to do everything in our power to make sure every student, every day receives the quality education that they deserve.”

Medical Lake teachers from each grade level work together to build a curriculum to set up their students for success. The district’s testing scores from spring 2015 were far above the state averages in math and English languages arts in most grades.

“I would say the shift to … these standards has truly put an intentional focus on the teaching and the learning and the instructional opportunities we’re offering our students every single day,” said Enid Coffell, an English language arts teacher at Medical Lake High School. “My school and district have been phenomenal in providing support and resources for the Common Core. … they support attending training, having time to work together, to brainstorm ideas and communicate across grade levels.”

Medical Lake SD features two elementary schools, including one on Fairchild Air Force Base. Like many school districts in Washington, Medical Lake consistently sees new students who move there with their military families from all over the United States. ​

“Transitions are difficult for students no matter when or where they occur, or how often,” Headrick said. “And this gives us a real opportunity to be on a similar playing field for all students.”

Medical Lake Middle School math teacher Carey Schwarzer agreed: “One advantage for our large military population is with Common Core standards, they are basically nationwide, so when a student moves from Kansas or Texas to here, they should be working on the same standards, the same things that they were working on at their old school.”

Tessa Delbridge, a ninth grade English teacher at Medical Lake High School, said the move to Common Core has been positive, but also misunderstood by many in the media and the public.

“The thing I like about Common Core is that it’s research based,” she said. “The standards aren’t new, the standards are just more specific than they use to be. Right now we’re battling a lot in the media and in perception, but as we see the data start to come in, I think that’s when it will start picking up steam and being more accepted.”