Tuesday, February 2, 2021

AMPED in West Valley - Math Should be Useable

Amped Teachers Highlighted in Newsletter

Teachers Jed Watters and Patrick Murphey were highlighted in this week's Construction Math and AMPED Newsletter.  Read below and go to the AMPED website to learn more about Math in Context. 


Geometry in Construction & AMPED Newsletter




Hello Jedediah,


Welcome to 2021! Hope it has started positive with a bright future. This is the 2nd of 4 newsletters this year and it is full of ideas for the classroom/shop. You can read about:

·    Two schools adaption of AMPED on Algebra during the Pandemic

·    Tools, gadgets, and curriculum enhancements to improve reaching and teaching kids in both Geometry in Construction and AMPED

·    Information about this summer's in-person and virtual workshops

·    Media stories about GIC/AMPED programs from across the country

Yakima WA AMPED students working on their 3D car lab




Adaptations for AMPED on Algebra

During Covid

The AMPED on Algebra curriculum is based on students running a manufacturing business of some type. The business can be anything from CNC signs, apparel manufacture, metal working, laser engraved promotional materials, etc. Here is what one school did to keep their manufacturing business afloat during Covid times. This also demonstrates how AMPED can adjust on the fly to whatever circumstances present themselves.


With t-shirt orders at a minimum during remote/hybrid learning, we pivoted to selling custom COVID-19 related stickers and signage (see samples on the left). Students design, produce and install these "signs of the time".


As a CTE class, we are able to bring in small groups of students at specific times during the school day. Students volunteer to come in and work and it is amazing how many students can/really want to come into the production lab to work. Not all students can come but all of them participate in the financial/algebra/business/design side of maintaining a profitable business.



Yakima WA Teachers' Success During a Pandemic

West Valley Junior High in Yakima, Washington offers AMPED to 7th and 8th grade students. The class is team taught by Patrick Murphy - algebra teacher and Jedediah Watters – engineering teacher.

Typically, students start the year by designing and making plexiglass desk nameplates (shown at left) using ShopBot CNC routers. Since students were remote, they were unable to use the computer program Vcarve which is on school computers. However students were able to use the program Easel by Inventables on their Chromebooks. It was a great way for students to design and see a simulation of their nameplate while not at school and able to actually operate the routers. (Upon returning from Christmas break students were able to start making their nameplates on the CNC routers). Throughout the activity we are continued to try combining the skills and abilities that are being picked up through the engineering projects with math concepts. With the nameplate project, students were asked to complete a cost analysis of their product. They compared the costs involved in creating the nameplate, both fixed and variable, before identifying a realistic price point for the project. Using the values that were discovered through this process, students were introduced to the idea of linear functions and, later, to solving systems of linear equations.

 Students learned about the engineering process and CAD through flipped classroom lessons. We used the CAD program Onshape as it works well on Chromebooks. They used the CNC router to make about 200 plastic barriers for the school district that were used in classrooms to keep students safe.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Vision and the Mission of the West Valley Innovation Center

 The design of the West Valley Innovation Center begins with the individual needs of each individual student.  As the design of the Innovation Center moves forward, the Vision and Mission of the building will be kept at the center of all decisions.


Learning real world skills TODAY to be the leaders of TOMORROW


We will empower each learner to discover their fullest potential by:

  • Personalized Learning - Using each learner’s voice and choice to pursue their personalized learning goals.

  • Full Inclusion - Understanding their unique learning needs in an inclusive learning environment.

  • Post Secondary Success - Pursuing their own pathway for Career, College, and Life success.

Goals of the Innovation Center 

The vision and mission are both meant to communicate student centered decision making and the belief that all students can learn.  Instructional design is built around enabling each student to set an career, college, and life goal and the educational plan to help them meet that goal.

A big focus of the innovation center is keeping a focus on full inclusion.  As students work to achieve their personal learning goals, we want the educational model diversified in such as way to meet each student's individual learning needs.  

We are excited about the Innovation Center as the work moves forward.  

Thursday, January 14, 2021

West Valley Innovation Center - Mission and Vision

 West Valley Innovation Center

Mission and Vision for our Learners

The last couple of weeks have moved us forward in bettering serving our students.  As of today, West Valley JH Principal, Russ Tuman, has been named as the 2021-22 Principal of the West Valley Innovation Center and we are ready to begin the real work  We will use the Career Connected Learning Blog as a way to keep our community informed in the development of the Innovation Center. 

Some of the work ahead of us includes hiring our teachers, adopting curriculum, and approving our new school platform.  Ahead of us there is a lot of work but before any of that work can begin, we need to ground ourselves in a Mission and Vision of the West Valley Innovation Center.  

Core Values

We have some core values already identified which are non-negotiable in educational practice which are good for kids.

  • Full Inclusion Educational Model
  • Career Pathways and Post Secondary Connections
  • Competency Based Learning / Mastery Learning 
  • Project Based Learning 
  • Students will have Voice and Choice in showing how they have mastered standards
From this base we feel confident in the development of a model that will best serve our students.  

Friday, November 20, 2020

West Valley at AWB Manufacturing Week

 The fall, Innovative Programs has been using COVID to re-evaluate what is best for kids.  One of our projects is how we inspire and excite kids about their futures.  

In October, we were able to participate in the Association of Washington Business, AWB, also known as the Washington State Chamber of Commerce's Manufacturing Week.  W spoke about our Junior High programs and how at a younger age, we can excite students about all of the options their future has in store for them.

Additionally, we spoke about our excellent partnership with AJAC Aerospace and Boeing Core Plus and how these partnerships are the cornerstone to changing student lives.

Watch here: 

West Valley Interview with AWB

2020 Manufacturing Week LIVE - Oct. 2 from Association of WA Business on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Hosting AASA Redefining Ready Virtual Tour


West Valley School District was luck to host the AASA Redefining Ready Virtual Tour today.  

AASA Redefining Ready Cohort members learned about four important topics in how West Valley can best serve our students.  

Learn more about Redefining Ready Here:


Forecast 5

Attendees learned how West Valley is using Student Engagement Data through virtual learning to ensure no student is lost.  Dr. Adam Cibulka showed attendees how Forecast 5 is able to pull engagement data to enable principals to build personal interventions for students.  

Forecast 5 has been instrumental in measuring how we can identify the needs of our students and build interventions aligned to the West Valley Five Steps to Student Success.  

Core Plus Aerospace

Dan Parker from the Boeing Company presented on the highly rigorous statewide program, Core Plus Aerospace.  Students in West Valley begin Core Plus in the seventh grade learning about lean manufacturing principles and material science.  In high school, students learn about aerospace manufacturing principles culminating in a registered apprenticeship with AJAC, the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee,.  

Microsoft Certification with CCI Learning 

All seventh graders can earn their Microsoft Office Specialist certification at West Valley Junior High.  From West Valley's one to one initiative we felt that digital literacy would be absolutely essential for our students.  The Microsoft Imagine Academy certifications were the beset solution to help students meet this new challenge.

In eighth grade, student have the ability to earn their Python coding certification through Microsoft Technology Associate (MTA).  Microsoft certification is one of the career exploration options available to students at West Valley Junior High.

Grow Your Own

Students in their junior year of high school can enroll in West Valley's Para Educator certification program.  Students selected can work toward and be hired as para educators in the West Valley School District.  As part of our larger 'Grow Your Own,' initiative, as paras, students can enrolled in the Para Educator Registered Apprenticeship where they can earn their AA degree at 50% tuition.  Paras with their AA can enroll in the Yakima Valley College, Bachelors of Applied Science of Teacher Education, earning their K8 teaching certification. 

Monday, May 4, 2020

Keeping Kids Engaged with Aerospace

West Valley Junior High's very own Drone and Aviation Manfuacturing teacher, Ben Green, has made it his mission to keep kids building during the statewide COVID 19 shutdown.  

Mr. Green has produces hundreds of cardboard gliders which allow students to apply the principles of flight; lift, force, thrust, and drag, in the real world.  

Gliders are handed out to students during our school lunch directibution with special deliveries made by parent request.  Mr. Green stated, "Our kids and families are dealing with a lot right now, its important I do what I can so they have what they need to learn."

All gliders are produced from sheets of cardboard at West Valley Junior High from designs provided by Flite Test Stem.  

Thursday, April 30, 2020

West Valley Joining PSE Para Educator Registered Apprenticeship

West Valley School District is not a new name in the world of Apprenticeship.  In 2016 we partnered with the Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee, AJAC, to pilot one of the two youth apprenticeship program in Washington State.  Students enrolled in our AJAC Youth Apprenticeship earn a 2000 hr journeyman certification, fifteen college credits, core academic credit, and earn $28,000 while simultaneously enrolled in High School. 

Building hope is the foundational goal of West Valley.  We function off of the mission, "to ensure that all students achieve their highest level of knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to be responsible and productive citizens."

Investing in the future of our students and investing in the future of our staff is not mutually exclusive.  Research is clear, the better trained our staff the better our students perform.  It was a natural decision to blend out commitment to apprenticeship and our commitment to professional development to launch the Para Educator Registered Apprenticeship with state partner, Public Schools Employees (PSE), and local partner, Teamsters Local Union 760.

Currently employed para educators can apply for and be selected to join our Para Educator registered apprenticeship.  Apprentices have two pathways, Para Educator I and Para Educator II, where they work toward an associates degree in para educator through Green River Community College, fully online and as members of the apprenticeship, at 50% tuition. 

Our goal is to connect our paras to newly adopted Bachelor's of Applied Science of Teacher Education degrees newly emerging across Washington State where working paras with associate degrees can earn K-8 Teaching degrees.

If we are committed to connecting our community to better lives then it is important to we think of ourselves as the employers and not just the educators in that mission. 

To learn more about the Para Educator Apprenticeship, click here:

To learn more about the Yakima Valley College BAS-TE program, click here:

To lean more about West Valley Futures Career Pathways, click here:

AMPED in West Valley - Math Should be Useable

Amped Teachers Highlighted in Newsletter Teachers Jed Watters and Patrick Murphey were highlighted in this week's Construction Math and ...