Regular one-on-one meetings between a student and a member of the teaching staff (each teaching staff member has 10-11 advisees). Students learn to articulate their goals and are provided feedback on how to best utilize PSCS.
The group of 10-11 students who share the same advisor. Usually multi-aged, Advisories come together three times/week to discuss larger community issues in smaller group setting.
Affinity Spaces are regular gatherings where folks of different identities (cultural, racial, gender, access), share joy, challenges, and experiences; learn about each other, recognize privilege and positionality, get creative, be honest, and take action.
In the beginning of each school year students and staff prioritize time to check in and agree on the Affinity Spaces we want in the school in the coming year. This makes them more responsive, and also wonderfully imperfect. Affinity Spaces
All School Service
When staff and students leave campus for the day to offer service to an area non-profit. Past and present service projects have included Seattle Tilth, Rainier Valley Urban Farm and Wetland, Danny Woo Gardens, Kubota Gardens, and more.
Check-in & Check-out
Our school’s most enduring traditions, Check-in and Check-out, are the anchors for opening and closing each school day with intention. Both morning Check-in and afternoon Check-out are student-led and include community and course announcements, volunteer opportunities, social requests, and Appreciations: a core theme of our program, intentional expressions of gratitude that elevate us individually and collectively. Sometimes Check In/Check Out is also used to process emergent issues or current events. Consistent, on time, participation in Check In and Check Out strengthens our entire community.
Classes at PSCS are offered by staff, volunteers, and students. Students work with Advisors to identify classes and activities you need, want, or see as important in your next steps after high school, whatever those steps may be. Prior to the start of each Term, class descriptions are added to the current PSCS Class Blog* and families are asked to look it over with students before prioritizing their choices.
The Class Blog is like a college course catalog and for each offering, the facilitator will list the class goals and description, how often the class will meet, and the amount of Outside of Class Work expected as well.
The PSCS Class Blog is archived after each term’s Schedule Mapping Process is done (see Schedule Mapping, below).
All time students spend on campus during the school day is called Community Hours. The PSCS Attendance System tracks the number of hours accrued over time, which must be 1,000 hours by the end of the school year (this is state law). Students are responsible for paying attention to their hours.
Every student earns Hours simply by being present on campus and engaged in classes or activities. Students earn Hours when they participate in school-approved off-site projects (service, field trips) and Independent Study.
Each year, PSCS students must complete one or two Service Project for another community. Students in grades 6-8 are required to complete one Service Project and one Written Reflection; students in grades 9-12, two Service Projects and two Written Reflections. Each are meant to be flexible and to allow students to define the parameters in collaboration with their Advisor.
Credit is earned and transcripted through a minimum of attendance (70%) and completion of coursework to the satisfaction and discretion of each facilitator. When a student has not completed the coursework and met the attendance minimum for a class, No Credit (NC) will appear on their transcript.
PSCS staff often offer courses and activities that take us out into the community during a class slot (Danny Woo Garden, Rainier Valley Food Bank, Street Art, Soccer, Gym, etc). If a student is leaving with their class and facilitator, you still need to check out using the Attendance System, but the time will not count toward their Off-site Hours. When PSCS offers an All School Field Trip, that time is also not counted against Off-site.
PSCS will stop regularly scheduled courses and activities and schedule one-off activities for all or part of the school day. Featuring offerings from students, staff, volunteers, alum, etc., these can be either one or two class slots in length, or half or all day. Sometimes Flex Day offerings become classes in later terms.
During Foundations students and staff create opportunities for connection in both small and whole group settings. Advisors also meet with students individually, and we start to learn more about the PSCS Core Commitments, our emphasis on attendance and Check in/Check out, the privilege of Off-site Hours, phone use, what it means to be both compassionate and accountable, and the expectations of courses, Seminars, as well as self- and community-care. We will all practice and apply the skills of self-study, collaboration, and community engagement and work on the most foundational academic and executive function practice we offer at PSCS: Schedule Mapping (below).
Intensives at PSCS are a week-long, facilitated, in-depth investigation into a theme or topic that takes place all day over a period of several days. Some past intensives include Snowshoeing, Mask Making, Digital Music, Ceramics, Foraging, Studio Recording, Trail Hiking, Film Studies, and many others.
Intensives ideas are culled from students, staff, and volunteers, and an online sign up form is sent out for students to rank their choices about 2-weeks prior to the next Intensives Week.
Every student starts each school year with a number of Independent Study (IS) hours—based on the amount of years they've been at PSCS. In order to have IS time transcripted and not impact Off-site time, students need to plan and propose their idea/activity, including how they will present to the community, at least 2-weeks prior. Final proposal must be presented to and approved by their Advisor, and then signed off by their parents/guardians and the Director of Program. The process is meant to be taken on by students and is outlined here.
In addition to the 1,000 Community Hours each student must accumulate, 120 additional hours are available in a school year. You may use these 120 Off-site Hours for
- appointments, family trips and needs, (planned absences, like medical appointments, should be pre-set in the Attendance System).
- unplanned off-campus activities, absences, and late arrivals/early departures that are not pre-approved Independent Study, including days taken off due to illness.
Students at PSCS are given the opportunity to register and create your own schedule for classes and activities. We also encourage you to leave a few Open Slots in your schedule to do Outside of Class Work and practice while at school. Once these have been attended to, Open Slots are also for community engagement and relationship building with peers.
Outside of Class Work
Outside Work is at the discretion of each course, Seminar, or activity’s facilitator—whether they are PSCS staff, volunteer, or student. Facilitators will always do their best to characterize the expectations of a course in a given term’s Class Blog. However, in order to maximize your choice, opportunities for leadership, and cross-age learning and discussion, facilitators reserve the right to make responsive requests for Outside Work based on who registers and the ultimate makeup of the class.
All Outside of Class work should be turned in on the date and time it is due. Late work and work that is not turned in could result in No Credit for the class, Seminar, or activity. Extensions may be permitted with approval from the facilitator.
Three times per school year, students and staff collaborate to create the coming term’s course schedule. Students strategize, advocate, and build individual class schedules that work for themselves and others at PSCS. This multi-step process takes into account all student preferences, priorities, and needs and Student Leadership and staff work to eliminate as many schedule conflicts as possible. Schedule Mapping culminates in open sessions of the whole school to improve the schedule.
Various supports are available for all students through this process, which can be challenging. Advisors are present to support you through this core function at PSCS, and new students get extra support during this process from returning student buddies.
Weekly meeting for students who are at similar stages of development, designed to help them learn and benefit from their experiences at school. Facilitated by members of the staff, seminars take place for new students, middle school-ers, juniors, and seniors. More on Seminars
Walk Alone Privileges
PSCS extends Walk Alone Privileges to all students, so they may engage in the community outside our windows and explore all the C-Id has to offer when not in class or community activities. Walk Alone time means young people have permission to leave the building on occasion during the school day, signing out of the Attendance System, and using their Off-site Hours. Students are responsible for keeping track of Off-site Hours.