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WE – Wednesday Electives

Overview of WE (WE = Wednesdays at Eckstein)

The dual pandemic has exacerbated challenges of place, race, and resources, and a year of remote learning has strained student wellbeing. As recent Eckstein graduates on the Eli’s Park Project Teen Advisory Team shared in their school board testimony regarding the Outdoor and Community Education Proposal:

”Everyone is talking about equity, but we’re not talking enough about change. Now is the time to be creative. Now is the time to be courageous. Our generation will be tasked with healing generational trauma of our
people and our planet. We have to have knowledge of and a connection to nature and each other to do this work.”

Thus, in the 20-21 school year, The FORCE (Friends of Outdoor Relevant Community Education) was formed to create change, form coalition with community-based organizations and partners, and submit a pilot program proposal to the Seattle School District. For the 21-22 school year, a group of staff continued some of those tenants towards a unique return to school schedule in order to support the development of individual student talents and interests while building school culture and relationships.

WE Objectives

Wednesdays at Eckstein (WE) will promote:

  • The rightful presence of HUSOC/BIPOC in our school community (to practice social emotional principles in an authentic format).
  • Healthy student/teacher/staff/family/administration relationships.
  • Student self-exploration and leadership through authentic experiences.

What is WE?

  • WE supports Eckstein’s current SEL curriculum which staff will deliver during one of the M/T/Th/F homeroom days by providing a space within the Wednesday school day for enrichment clubs.
  • During 1st semester, there will be meaningful time among staff, students, and the community to develop school culture, plan logistics, and listen to students, staff, and the community as WE come together.
  • Starting Wednesday, Feb. 16th, WE Clubs meet every Wednesday from 1:30-2:30 and allow students to finish the school day doing something they love and enjoy.
  • There will be a process for staff and students to propose club ideas and be approved, for students to sign-up for clubs in an equitable way, and for the entire Eckstein community to give thoughtful feedback.
  • Students will get an opportunity to try a new club every quarter.
  • Students who want to lead clubs will have a club application process and be hosted by a teacher.

WE Schedule begins Wednesday Feb. 16th

WE club creation and selection process

  1. Students were shown this video in homeroom and asked to fill out an interest survey on Sept. 30th or Oct. 1st . (Note: students should be able to watch the video with their school accounts because it is hosted on Microsoft Office 365’s Stream app for privacy purposes.)
  2. Students who identified they were interested in leading a club were contacted and asked to fill out the WE Club Application. Student club leaders will have a teacher facilitator who will help but the primary responsibility will be on that student leader.
  3. Clubs were decided and students filled out a survey with their top 3 interests.
  4. In December and January, members of the WE team met with student leaders to help learn how to lead clubs and classes.
  5. The district and union met to approve WE clubs.
  6. Toward the end of each quarter in homeroom, students will fill out a form with their top choices for the next round of clubs.

WE Club Dates

Quarter 3: 2/16 – 4/8/222
WE club days: 2/16, 3/2, 3/9, 3/16, 3/22, 3/30, 4/8 (7 sessions)

Quarter 4: 4/11/22 – 6/17/22
WE club days: 4/20, 4/27, 5/4, 5/11, 5/18, 5/25, 6/1, 6/8 (8 sessions)

Volunteers and Donations

WE would LOVE to have adult volunteers and materials donations! If you have a particular interest, skill set, or materials to donate, please reach out to the WE team (contact information below).

Thank you so much to all the families who donated supplies to WE clubs! WE are so lucky to have such a supportive group of Eckstein families. We are still accepting donations and there are a few items that student leaders have identified they could use in case you happen to have any of these items lying around needing a new home! 

  • Large plain tote bags
  • Fabric paint
  • White t-shirts
  • Folders
  • Microwaveable bowls
  • Wooden spoons
  • Parchment paper
  • Measuring cups
  • Cookie baking sheets
  • Classic board games: Uno, Sorry, The Game of Life, Trouble
  • Japanese-language picture books
  • Stretchy string for jewelry making
  • Kandi beads 
  • Plastic bead charms

Questions? Contact one of the members of the WE team:

Moc Escobedo, Music teacher: cuescobedo@seattleschools.org
Sara Hoofnagle, 6th grade science teacher: sghoofnagle@seattleschools.org
Jessica Levine, 6th grade science teacher: jclevine@seattleschools.org
Stacey Norman, P.E. teacher: slnorman@seattleschools.org
Erin Sterling, Librarian: emsterling@seattleschools.org

Frequently Asked Questions

Will students be required to promptly attend a club?
YES. Students will go to club and attendance will be taken. We will work out a plan with the admin team and registrar to make sure everyone knows where students are.

How will students be assigned to clubs?
There will be a form sign up, similar to prior activity days, where students will rank their choices.

What if a student doesn’t get their first choice of a club?
Individuals will rank their choices and get a club of their selection. Furthermore, clubs will switch each quarter giving them opportunities.

What is the maximum capacity of a single club?
Only with teacher approval will classes be larger than 30 individuals. If there is enough interest for a certain type of club, there may be 2 options for the same club hosted by different teachers.

Will there be a study hall club?
From an equity standpoint, we want to make sure that students are not forced to go into a study hall club instead of another club for any reason, but some students might find study hall club useful as they learn executive functioning skills and balance their time.

What if a student wants to switch clubs?
With rare exceptions, we will not be able to make club changes. That said, clubs only meet for about 7-8 times per quarter!

Can my student opt out of We Clubs and leave school early?
No. We Day is considered part of the school day.

Is there precedent for this schedule, or examples we can review?
This is not a new idea, and schools around the country have some sort of Flex Day schedule to allow for student voice and choice, as well as academic support. Research articles and example schedules are available upon request from the committee.

Are students graded?
Just like homeroom, students receive a passing grade for their participation.

How will students know what their club is?
They will get an email from their student or teacher leader welcoming to the club. On The Source they will see a class listed as Study Hall with the teacher name and room number. It had to be called Study Hall because we had to pick from a name already in the course catalog.

How do we get meaningful feedback from students, staff, families, and community?
We are intentionally focused on creative solutions that have flexible iterations. Student voice, especially those furthest from educational justice, is paramount. The committee has planned frequent surveys for input, and flexibility.

How do students and teachers propose clubs?
There will be an application process for teachers and students. For students proposing a club, we will have time to review student applications, decide to approve it, and then match with a teacher.

Can I volunteer to help with WE clubs?
Yes. Volunteers must fill out appropriate volunteer paperwork, and CBOs must be vetted through the district in advance. Guest Speakers are welcome. The FORCE determined many eager CBO partners who would like to continue their connections to Eckstein through WE activities.

What is “rightful presence” and how does WE support that?
Rightful presence moves beyond equity and inclusion towards wholistic justice. Affirming that all students, especially those furthest from educational justice have a right to be at school, and take charge of their learning. WE supports student choice and voice, builds relationships, and affirms a rightful presence as we value students as whole beings.

How will this affect students with IEPs who need SDI?
We are working with the SPED staff to make sure it doesn’t disrupt students with IEPs.

How does WE support students furthest from educational justice and how do we respond to any unintended negative consequences for students?

We will be intentional in making sure we are getting voices and input from all students and in particular our BIPOC and students furthest from institutional justice. All kids have interests and passions and we are committed to trying to hear from and specifically recruit the voices of students furthest from educational justice and help them create clubs that would be of interest to them. By switching clubs every quarter, it allows students to try out something and if they don’t like it, try something different the next quarter.

Why change the schedule for it to be on Wednesdays rather than during our current Tues/Thurs homeroom time?
By just changing Wednesday, we disrupt student schedules less. They will only be required to switch schedules on 2 days. If we extended homeroom on Tues/Thur and kept Wed the same it would mean a higher mental load for students. It would also affect when SPED teachers meet with students during homeroom for SDI minutes.

Can an activity carry over the set time, either after school or the next session?
Clubs will not continue after school due to transportation and supervision restrictions, but activities may carry over from one week to the next. There are some teachers who host clubs after school but that is separate from WE.