Cold Stream Alternative, Project based assessment materials request

Grant Applicant
Kurt Zapata
School Site
Cold Stream Alternative
Grant Category
Mathematics & Science
Grant Date
Description (10 points)

Cold Stream Alternative School serves high school students both in Tahoe City and in Truckee. Cold Stream offers an innovative program developed to meet the needs of families who want more choices and flexibility in their child's education. We provide small class sizes and personal instruction along with a rigorous, yet flexible schedule that allows students to work from home or while traveling.

Cold Stream offers a project-based, hands-on curriculum. This program gives students the flexibility to design an educational path that works for their needs. Students meet half days on campus Monday-Fridays, so that they can also take classes at Sierra College or at one of TTUSD’s traditional high schools. Our program affords flexibility for students to pursue other interests or to participate in extra-curricular activities or sports. Cold Stream stakeholders are proud of the six-year accreditation the school received in 2017 from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Benefits of Program (10 points)

I believe that many students can benefit from participating in this program. In the Independent Study model, students meet with instructors at least once per week, review concepts previously studied, participate in activities that reinforce understanding, assess mastery of information, activate schema for subsequent assignment and plan the following week's assignment. Students practice metacognitive skills to determine the best course of mastering and demonstrating understanding of academic concepts. This requires a huge commitment on the part of the student but they learn skills that will help them in all aspects of their life. Students learn soft skills (collaboration, self-efficacy), communication skills, time management and most importantly, a deeper understanding of own thought processes. 

The students that will particularly benefit from this program are students at risk of graduation, non-traditional students who are lacking motivation for coming to school and students looking to guide their own learning. This program gives students a degree of autonomy that may students desire.

Success of Program (10 points)

There are multiple metrics that could define the success of this program. These metrics include but are not limited to; reduction in missed days or tardies, making connections to or being motivated in, other classes, a connection to a caring adult in the school setting, increased feelings of self-efficacy or increased GPA.

Implementation (10 points)

Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science and Physical Science classes are currently being offered at Cold Stream Alternative High School. Students have strongly expressed their desire to demonstrate their understanding of the salient concepts through project based assessments particularly skateboard construction. I have ordered and received the Roarockit, table top skateboard press and veneer system and the Chemistry cohort has started constructing boards. Students will complete the construction process, apply graphics, ride the board and analyze the their product. In their analysis, students will explain the choice of wood species and glue using industry specifications, rationale for shape and graphics and overall aesthetic. Students have demonstrated increased motivation to demonstrate mastery of the concepts used in the board construction. I would like to offer this project based assessment to next year's Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Sciences students.

For the Waves Unit- Sound & Light, in Physics, I have previously offered a project based assessment about color. Students design, print and wear Trucker Hats and/or 1" buttons with their own design. They analyze their choice in graphics using an Graphic Design format. Students have expressed their desire to see the return of this project.

Can you share this grant with your grade level or subject team?

This grant would not allow fund enough materials to share with grade level or subject team but would demonstrate the efficacy of the projects.

The current model is not sustainable if materials are consumed without being purchased by the student/student's caregiver/s. I feel as though asking for a donation to the project would be an acceptable model to attempt sustainability but do not want to stigmatize students that may not be in a financial position to make that contribution.
Amount Funded