In 2019, our district partnered with Joint Base Lewis-McChord on a program aimed at giving students the most rigorous and innovative math and science education possible.
NMSI, a college readiness program that is being offered at all three of Bethel’s comprehensive high schools, has components for both teachers and students. The original $727,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense has been supplemented this year with an additional $100,000.
Before the pandemic, some of the grant paid for a number of our middle and high school teachers to travel to Texas to learn how to improve student achievement through programs that consistently produce measurable and lasting results. Now, trainings like that are available online. But teachers aren’t the only ones benefiting.
In a recent article, John Prosser, who currently oversees the NMSI program at Bethel High School said, “The pandemic exposed inequities within remote instruction. Our partnership with NMSI has helped address some of those inequities.”
NMSI’s focus on equity is drawing rave reviews from Bethel educators.
“Throughout our partnership we are really thinking about ways we can impact students who are furthest from opportunities,” said Graham-Kapowsin High School Principal Matt Yarkoski.
“Equity isn’t an add-on, it is the lens through which we make instructional and systemic decisions,” said Prosser.
As part of that equity focus, NMSI pays extra attention to the children of military service members. According to the organization, students of military families attend six to nine different school systems during their K-12 careers, making consistent access to high-quality education an ongoing concern.
When the partnership between Bethel and JBLM was announced in December of 2019, Colonel Skye Duncan said the goal was to bring Bethel high schools to new academic heights.
“Your teachers’ commitment, your curriculum, and your academic rigor and research have taken you from the ordinary. We’ll take you now into the extraordinary,” Duncan said.
Bethel is only the second school district in Washington state to have all of it’s comprehensive high schools working with NMSI.