With a dedicated, highly trained staff and the resource-rich Columbia Gorge just outside its door, Skamania School has found a natural focus on STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
Skamania students work on real-world problems in their own back yard. Classroom and schoolwide project-based learning activities provide integrated, career-connected, locally relevant and field-focused opportunities.
A Lighthouse district
In fall 2018, Skamania School was recognized by the state for its innovative practices and its ability to inspire students to study STEM. The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) named Skamania a STEM Lighthouse school and awarded it a $20,000 grant for the 2018-19 school year—one of only six in the state.
While integrating STEM-related studies throughout the school’s curriculum, Skamania staff are sharing strategies to support other small, rural schools statewide.
Future plans include transforming a 38-acre tract of undeveloped land owned by the school district into an outdoor learning lab and possible outdoor school.
Partner agencies have provided invaluable support and include U.S. Fish & Wildlife, Southwest Washington STEM Network, Pacific Education Institute and the Department of Natural Resources.
There are many small rural schools in Washington, and these places have a lot to offer students in terms of STEM studies. Skamania is looking for opportunities to partner with them and develop this special niche.
Z., Third grade
“Usually doing science means having a fun time with your friends making stuff—and you can make new friends!”
K., Sixth grade
“Science is my most favorite thing.”
B., Seventh grade
“It was fun when our group was working together. Making the model heart was interesting.”
“I want to be a biologist because I’m really interested in animals and plants,” says Ariel, a fourth-grade student at Skamania Grade School. Ashlyn, also a fourth-grade student at Skamania Grade School, said she was excited about...
“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” —British horticulturist, Gertrude Jekyll Now in its second year, the Skamania School garden—a joint project with the PTO—has...
Skamania’s motto is “The Gorge is our classroom,” but this spring the fifth and sixth graders ventured all the way to the Coast for a three-day “outdoor school.” OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and Skamania School staff, and parent volunteers accompanied...
Photo and Video Gallery
Skamania’s 4th, 5th and 6th graders releasing the salmon to the river at Beacon Rock
Skamania’s fifth and sixth graders explore seaside ecosystems with Outdoor School
Fifth and sixth graders studied the impacts of air pressure. One of the special opportunities at smaller schools like Skamania is that students from different grades work and learn together.
A student explains the how the heart model works.