Richland, Wash. - It's a testament to how excited kids in the Tri-Cities are about a new challenge. More than 300 students participated in a lottery for a chance to enroll in Delta High, a new public school in Richland, Washington. Open to all incoming freshmen from Richland, Kennewick and Pasco, Delta's focus on project-based learning in science, technology, engineering and math struck a chord with the region.
Celebrating its first full school year in 2010, Delta High School enrolled around 100 students and will add a new incoming class each year for four years until it's fully enrolled with 400 students in 2012.
As participants in a new school model, everyone at Delta is learning together. Supported in their journey with resources and professional development, teachers are developing multidiscipline programs of study which may integrate—for example—math, engineering, social studies, technology, engineering and language arts. Students combine robust academics with hands-on learning, working in parallel and partnership with scientists, engineers and mathematicians who help prepare them for the real world.
Delta High School is an innovator in a region where innovation abounds, and this Foundation grant lets Delta students make academic and professional connections that will help propel them into successful careers.
Delta High's first outgoing freshman class say:
"My favorite project was the Rube Goldberg assignment. We had to create devices that take combinations of six simple machines (i.e. lever, wheel and axle, pulley, inclined plan, wedge, screw) along with anything else we could come up with in order to achieve a very simple task like closing a book, and have 10 energy transfers before it was completed. It's fun to build these projects; eventually I want to get an engineering job, so I hope the math- and science-based programs will help me with that."
- Levi Steel
"I chose Delta because I love science, math, and technology, and I was looking for something different than traditional high school. It turned into the best school year I've ever had, which is pretty amazing."
- Ilse Martinez
"The teachers are one of the best things about Delta. They're willing to help and provide lots of feedback, which helps my learning. My reading skills have improved greatly, too!"
- Zachary Smith
"I chose this school because my dream is to either be a doctor or a chemist, so attending Delta is a priority to help reach my goals. My classes are challenging, which I love because it forces me to learn and ask more questions."
- Nate Gomez
"I'm interested in the medical field, and I want to gain a lot of experience by being at Delta. I want to do internships in 12th grade, so I can make contacts in the medical and science professions."
- Janhvi Rana
"The atmosphere here is like one big family. We look out for each other and are respectful of each other and our differences and learning capabilities. We lift each other up...we're all friends here."
- Krystal Reitan
"Before Delta opened, one comment frequently heard was that its STEM focus would attract only highly motivated, academically gifted students. Nothing could be further from the truth. Students came to Delta for at least four very different reasons. Some came for STEM, and they do well in math, science, and engineering. The humanities, however, are challenging for them. Some came because it was small and personal. Some came because it was new, something unique, an adventure they wanted to be a part of. And some came because it was an alternative to a traditional education model, a model in which they were failing. In short, Delta's demographic is the same as any comprehensive high school, and with admission based on a lottery system, it will likely remain that way."
- Linda Stairet, Delta Humanities/English Language Arts teacher