Commitment to contribute

by Participating in Projects that are Meaningful

What it sounds like:

  • Student: I have a voice and I know how to use my voice to take/make positive change
  • Parent: My student is curious about activities/issues in the community and is empowered to get involved and make a difference
  • Staff: Our students care about and engage in our community. They are self-motivated to extend/apply their learning beyond school to benefit community

Citizen Science: Biology Students from Vashon Island High School

Each spring, biology students participate in citizen scientists projects about the Vashon Island ecosystem. They work alongside local scientists and in partnership with the Vashon Nature Center. Below you will find links to the project findings from the Spring of 2019.

by Alison Marrow, King 5 News

A group of third-graders at a Vashon Island school are raising awareness about the struggling Southern Resident orcas and the salmon they depend on for food.

by Elizabeth Shepherd, Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber

Artworks call on their viewers to step up to protect the fragile ecosystems of the Salish Sea.

Citizen Science: 6th Grade Students from McMurray Middle School

Each fall, 6th graders at McMurray Middle School study invertebrates here on the island. Vashon Nature Center (VNC) visits several streams on the island and collects stream invertebrate samples for the King County Groundwater Protection Committee. The students participate in part of this field collection. While most of the samples are sent directly to a lab for analysis, two samples are reserved for classroom lab work. The science students presort the samples into insect order for the lab. Ultimately, all of the sample information is entered into a regional database that helps managers and scientists track stream health.

Volunteer scientists and artists participate alongside the students during the field trip and they visit their classrooms. Students learn important information about watershed health, science monitoring, and what lives in their home creeks while contributing to the larger scientific community. Students also learn about careers in taxonomic identification, biological illustration, and field science.

Students collecting samples from Judd CreekPhoto courtesy of VNC
Students sorting samples in the classroom labPhoto by Susie Fitzhugh, courtesy of VNC
Fluctus Formarum, photo courtesy of VAIS

Vashon Island High School Students

This sculpture was created to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Vashon Artists in Schools (VAIS) program. Fluctus Formarum: A Flood of Forms was created by island artist Ela Lamblin in collaboration with teachers and students at Vashon Island High School. Integrating art and physics, students worked with Ela to imagine the possibilities and come up with a design. The public art has been installed uptown, near Vashon Pharmacy. Official unveiling on September 8, 2018.

". . . a testament to the collaborative power and creativity of students, teachers, and artists on Vashon, as well as the community partners that make our program so strong." Kaycie Alanis, VAIS Program Manager

Each year, a group of our 5th graders raise salmon at school to be released into local streams. In 2019-20, we are expanding the project in partnership with the Vashon Nature Center.

The students from McMurray Middle School's Executive Council decided to raise community awareness around plastics and other contaminants polluting our oceans, our earth...and ourselves. On Earth Day, April 22, 2016, the students realized their intention and hosted a school district-wide event, inviting key environmental specialists and demonstrating a solid commitment from their generation to clean our planet home. Now, watch a recap of that special day.

The Chautauqua Elementary garden: outdoor learning space