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moses lake school district

A SECOND HIGH SCHOOL

A new opportunity for students

real world academy icon

Real World Academy

Our new high school will accommodate educational models that foster innovation: technology, hands-on learning, collaboration, trade and professional development.
the work ahead icon

The work ahead

After a very long process, we are excited to present these updated plans and to move forward with implementing the bond.
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Background

There has been significant research, thought and community- and expert-input behind the decisions that have brought us to this point of moving forward with the Real World Academy.
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Frequently asked questions

Get all the facts about the new high school and how it will benefit our community.

Real World Academy

Preparing our students for the real world is a priority. Our new high school will accommodate educational models that foster innovation: technology, hands-on learning, collaboration, trade and professional development. Real World Academy will offer different educational options than are currently available at Moses Lake High School in an effort to connect to a wider range of students’ post-graduation goals. Whether that’s entering the workforce, attending college or a university or going on to study a trade, Real World Academy will help set students up for success.

While this will be a new educational model for our district, several districts in Washington and throughout the country have implemented similar models with great success. Below are some highlights of the Real World Academy.

Collaborative & Project Based Learning

  • Focus on collaboration skills for future careers
  • Emphasizes communication and people skills
  • Projects enable students to follow interests and passions
  • Educators act as guides, with students taking charge of their learning
  • Community members act as extensions of educators
  • Alternative pathways to credit acquisition and graduation requirements
  • Spaces for students and staff to work in various group sizes
  • Community education spaces
collaborative and project based learning
Students BUILD knowledge rather than DIGEST information.
Tacoma students and community members are finding success with project-based learning.

Meeting the needs of students

  • Prepare kids for their best future
    Innovative programs for the real world
  • Help students meet their goals: local workforce, college, or studying a trade
  • Improve our graduation rates
  • Technology, collaborative learning spaces and hands-on technical training
students on laptops
aerial view of new school rendering

One campus

  • Real World Academy will be built adjacent to MLHS and CB Tech
  • Students have access to programs and facilities at all three schools
  • Unified athletics program
  • Costs are reduced by not duplicating infrastructure expenses
  • There is room to grow, both physically with additional land around the campus and in enrollment

What teachers and experts say

The work ahead

After a very long process, we are excited to present these updated plans and to move forward with implementing the bond. Our community has a lot of passion behind education. We applaud that passion and ask you to join us in supporting a comprehensive plan that benefit the most students and while allowing us to be good stewards of our resources.

Timeline

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Spring 2019

Committee review of final high school of the future recommendation

Spring 2019 - Summer 2021

Undertake detailed program definition for learning spaces that will be available to support new approaches and outcomes

summer 2019

Board decision of placement for new school

summer 2019 - winter 2019

Educational specifications for spaces—both the new high school as well as renovation/renewal at Moses Lake High School

winter 2019 - winter 2020

Project design and construction bids

winter 2020 - summer 2020

Construction

fall 2022

New school opens and Moses Lake High School renovations completed

Measuring success

  • Tracking enrollment
  • Remain on budget and time
  • Community feedback
  • Graduation rates
  • Campus/off campus enrollment
  • Student satisfaction surveys
  • Increased workforce development and advisory board input
  • Increased student planning
  • Increased enrollment in secondary education
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Long term investment

  • New school facility will meet enrollment needs for 20years
  • MLSD is eligible for $64 million in state construction dollars by 2028 to renovate and update MLHS. Additional state construction dollars will be available for updating elementary and middle schools
  • Allows for creation of two new elementary schools
  • Efficiencies of one campus allow us to save on costs like transportation, security, facilities, etc.

Long term investment

  • New school facility will meet enrollment needs for 20years
  • MLSD is eligible for $64 million in state construction dollars by 2028 to renovate and update MLHS. Additional state construction dollars will be available for updating elementary and middle schools
  • Allows for creation of two new elementary schools
  • Efficiencies of one campus allow us to save on costs like transportation, security, facilities, etc.

Next steps

01

Launch educational specifications process in late July

02

SELECT ARCHITECTURAL SERVICES BY EARLY FALL

Background

We all want schools that prepare our kids for the future. The updates to the 2017 bond implementation plan were necessary to make sure the Moses Lake School District put public dollars to the best use. There has been significant research, thought and community- and expert-input behind the decisions that have brought us to this point of moving forward with the Real World Academy.

2017 Bond

Initial vision

Since the passage of the 2017 construction bond, work has been underway to provide a plan for a second high school in our district. The initial vision was for a 1,600-person high school designed to offer a nearly identical education model and class offerings as our existing high school, built in a location across town. The need for this size high school was based on a combination of enrollment data and birth rate trends.

RESEARCH AND HELP FROM EDUCATION EXPERTS

With resources from the 2017 bond, we brought in external resources to analyze our district’s facility needs and begin initial planning for the implementation of this bond. These experts work exclusively with school districts using comprehensive research, data collection and best-practices to inform long-range planning.

ACTUAL CAPACITY NEEDS

Additional data showed our capacity needs differently than what our enrollment numbers alone were telling us. Given the diversity of high school program options, such as Running Start and online learning, a significant number of enrolled students, nearly 400 are off campus for their education. Meaning they are not physically present at Moses Lake High School.
So while our enrollment numbers showed a capacity concern, actual physical capacity concerns are not as significant as previously understood.

Initial Vision

Since the passage of the 2017 construction bond, work has been underway to provide a plan for a second high school in our district. The initial vision was for a 1,600-person high school designed to offer a nearly identical education model and class offerings as our existing high school, built in a location across town. The need for this size high school was based on a combination of enrollment data and birth rate trends.

initial vision graphic
research and help from education experts graphic

Research and help from education experts

With resources from the 2017 bond, we brought in external resources to analyze our district’s facility needs and begin initial planning for the implementation of this bond. These experts work exclusively with school districts using comprehensive research, data collection and best-practices to inform long-range planning.

actual capacity needs

Additional data showed our capacity needs differently than what our enrollment numbers alone were telling us. Given the diversity of high school program options, such as Running Start and online learning, a significant number of enrolled students, nearly 400 are off campus for their education. Meaning they are not physically present at Moses Lake High School.

actual capacity needs graphic
So while our enrollment numbers showed a capacity concern, actual physical capacity concerns are not as significant as previously understood.

Implications

So while our enrollment numbers showed a capacity concern, actual physical capacity concerns are not as significant as previously understood. If the district were to build another 1600-person high school, our capacity would be greater than our actual need, and we would subsequently be ineligible for a significant portion of future state construction match funds to update the current Moses Lake High School.

2018 resolution

  • Given the new information, in August 2018, the Board officially adopted the Bond-Change Resolution which paved the way for:
  • A new, efficiently-sized high school
  • Two elementary schools
  • Safety and security improvements to school facilities across the district
  • Renovations to MLHS through greater state match funding.
new high school aerial rendering

State matching funds

With the new plan of an efficiently-sized high school, MLSD will receive an additional $34,135,953 in state match dollars over what we would have been eligible for with the initial vision. The state match funds, totalling $63.5M, allows us to build two new elementary schools immediately and have $51M available in 2028 as modernization money for MLHS.

$34,135,953

ADDITIONAL STATE MATCH DOLLARS VS INITIAL VISION

$63.5

STATE MATCH DOLLARS

$51M

AVAILABLE IN 2028 MODERNIZATION MONEY FOR MLHS

$63.5

STATE MATCH DOLLARS

The committee

After the 2018 Bond-Change Resolution was approved by the Board, a committee was formed to create a vision for the second high school that would meet our students’ needs and best prepare them for their various futures.

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Community members

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Educators

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District employees

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External education experts

Community members

Educators

District employees

External education experts

Goal of the committee

To create a vision of High Schools for Moses Lake that is forward-looking, future-oriented and which can serve as a model for defining and designing the new secondary-level school building as well as redesigning Moses Lake High School to best serve and prepare all students.

Committee recommendations

After the 2018 Bond-Change Resolution was approved by the Board, a committee was formed to create a vision for the second high school that would meet our students’ needs and best prepare them for their various futures.

Collaborative Learning

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Project and competency-based learning

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Flexible teaching and learning spaces

Schools that mirror the real world

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Schools as the center of the community

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meeting the needs of traditional programs and skillicons

Meeting the needs of traditional programs and skills

the community is a partner in teaching and learning icon

The community is a partner in teaching and learning

Collaborative learning

Project and competency-based learning

Flexible teaching and learning spaces

Schools that mirror the real world

Schools as the center of the community

Project and competency-based learning

Meeting the needs of traditional programs and skills

The community is a partner in teaching and learning

Frequently asked questions

Why did plans for a new high school change from the original 2017 bond change?

When the bond passed in 2017, we thought we needed a 1,600-person high school. In the time since voters approved that bond several things have changed. The District engaged Teater-Crocker, Inc., an expert in school planning to help us implement the bond. They pulled together a lot of data and research to construct a more comprehensive picture of our enrollment, growth trend lines and capacity needs. They used this data to then analyze our existing facilities and identify gaps for future needs. While our original recommendations for how best to allocate the bond dollars were based on the best data the district had at the time, the comprehensive, data-driven process facilitated by Teater-Crocker helped us realize our initial recommendations were based on incomplete information and not only did we not need to build a 1600 person second high school, doing so would have cost our district future state construction matching dollars that will fund renovations at existing schools in our district.

Why can’t we just build the 1,600-student high school that was included in the original bond proposal?

If we built a school of this size it would be significantly underutilized based on our district’s actual capacity needs. Not only would that be inefficient and a waste of tax payer resources, it create long-term problems for the district. Construction of the originally planned school would leave the district ineligible for millions of dollars in state construction funds, given that the funding is based on school capacity. Simply put, we don’t have enough students to fill that school now, nor will we in the coming years. The current plan allows for a sustainable and responsible growth plan that meets our needs for over 20 years.

Had we gone along with that original plan, we would have overbuilt a new high school that would be significantly oversized for the number of students we
have physically on campus in our district. And having a school so far from actual capacity would have cost the
district tens of millions in future state construction funds available to the district in 2028.

Our new plan calls for the bond to cover the cost of constructing a second high school, Real World Academy, based on the district’s actual capacity needs as well as the construction of two additional elementary schools. By doing this, not only is the district being a good steward of tax payers resources by not overbuilding, the district will also be eligible for $34 million in state funding for renovations and expansion needs for existing schools come 2028.

I’ve heard that there are currently 2,400 students at MLHS right now, so how does this new high school solve our problem?

This number is often cited as the student population of MLHS, but it is incorrect. During the 2018-2019 school year the school served 2,037 students on campus. The other enrolled students attend completely off campus programs such as Running Start, Digital, and Open Doors. If you totaled all students enrolled as a high school student in our district, then yes the number is over 2,400 but nearly 400 of those students never step foot on the MLHS campus. This fundamental difference allows for an accurate analysis of school utilization.

How big is the new high school? What makes it different than the current Moses Lake High School?

Real World Academy is planned for 700-900 students and is aimed to supplement the current educational offerings at Moses Lake High School. The new school will offer innovative methods, technologies and other resources to facilitate a project- and competency-based learning model. This approach is proven to better prepare students for the world beyond high school, giving them the tools to succeed in a trade school, the workforce or college.

What is project-based learning and competency-based learning?

This method of teaching and learning uses collaborative projects and other innovative practices to provide a more real-world approach to education. Classes are structured in blocks and are held in facilitates that mirror real-world work spaces, and there’s also a focus on creating and building to learn information rather than simply digesting info in a traditional classroom setting. Project-based learning has been implemented successfully in schools throughout the state and has proven to improve graduation rates and post-graduation preparedness.

How much will it cost?

$75 million.

How was this updated plan developed?

The plan for this second high school was developed by the High School of the Future Committee, which then gave its recommendations to the Superintendent. The committee included a diverse group of community members and district employees who will actually be working on the planning, building, implementation and execution of this new school.

Where is the new high school located and why was this location selected?

The school is set to be constructed on available district land directly adjacent to Moses Lake High School. This site allows for students to use resources and enroll in classes at either school without leaving campus and also keeps our community’s high schoolers unified at one location. The additional open land around the school allows for future growth on the campus in the years to come.

When will the bond begin affecting tax assessment?

The impact on tax assessments resulting from the bond will be seen in the 2019 tax year.

Can a high school student use both of the schools?

Yes. The current plan for Real World Academy does not restrict a student to only the course offering at the school of Moses Lake High school. A student taking AP biology at MLHS could also, for example, study cosmetology at the new school. With the schools next to each other, it will be easy for students to move between campuses. This model will maximize options and choice for our students. Additionally, this allows for our 3 largest high school programs (MLHS, Real World Academy, and CBTech) to be accessed by all students that are interested.

Why does this school not run as a completely separate school?

Our high school enrollment numbers wouldn’t support a completely separate school with all the offerings and opportunities of the current MLHS. Additionally, by sharing a campus it allows the district to maximize taxpayer dollars and not duplicate costs unnecessarily. Additionally, Real World Academy will help us improving educational outcomes and graduation rates in our district, by offering a wider range of curriculum options. This new school will provide an innovative programming options and providing a different model of learning and teaching intended to complement the educational programs at MLHS.

Will they have their own sports programs/bands/cheer squads?

While these details have yet to be officially decided, it’s likely that students at both high schools will participate in athletics as part of Moses Lake High School, in accordance with WIAA guidelines. It’s common for school districts across the state that have a specialized school, like Real World Academy, to keep athletics united at the main high school. This would also apply to bands and other activities. By uniting as one school for athletics, Moses Lake High School would be able to offer more resources and teams (Varsity, Junior Varsity, Freshman, etc.) and also remain more competitive than it would by separating the schools’ athletic programs. However, the new academic programs at the Real World Academy will likely lead to a number of additional extracurricular activities, including athletic opportunities.

How will this new school benefit the community?

We need to provide more students with educational options and learning environments that connect to their post-graduation goals: local or global workforce, college or going on to study a trade. By providing students with the tools they need coming out of school, they’ll be better prepared to contribute to our workforce and help strengthen both our local economy and community.

When will construction begin? When does the school open?

Construction on the new high school will begin in the winter of 2020 and is expected to be completed in time for the 2022 school year.

Is Real World Academy the name of the high school?

This is just a working name for this project. The actual name will come as we get closer to the opening of the school.

Who can we contact if we have more questions?

You can reach out to the Superintendent of the Moses Lake School District Dr. Joshua Meek by emailing him at jmeek@mlsd161.org

moses lake school district