Bonney Lake High School named one of 22 Innovative Schools

Bonney Lake High School - Courtesy Sumner School District
Bonney Lake High School
— image credit: Courtesy Sumner School District

Staff and students at Bonney Lake High School have another reason to be proud of their school as it is being praised by state officials as one of the 22 most innovative schools in Washington.

Cited for its use of the High School That Work model since it was opened in 2005, the home of the Panthers was on of six schools in Pierce County named to the list by Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn.

This is the first list of its kind in Washington state. It was created earlier this year as part of a pair of bills passed by the Washington State Legislature.

According to OSPI Communications manager Nathan Olson, the bills were designed to combat criticism that Washington schools are not innovative because there are no charter schools.

"Washington has a long history of creating and supporting innovative schools," Dorn said in a press release, "and it's time we celebrate that."

Dorn said the 22 chosen schools should serve as an example to other schools.

According to the selection announcement, Bonney Lake High School was chosen because its use of the High Schools That Work model in its design and operation.

The teaming model for grades 9–10 connects math, English, and science instruction with grade-level administrators, counselors, and learning specialists.

The advisory program, based on HSTW practices, uses innovative curriculum and structure to nurture student growth personally and academically.

The advisory program also includes post-graduate planning and embedded Response to Intervention time which matches students with peer tutors and mentor teachers.

The student leadership model has created innovative programs such as Winter Wishes which grants as many need-based student "wishes" as possible each year. The school-wide student mentor program pairs every freshman and new student with 2–3 upperclassmen to help them transition into high school.

In an email, Interim Superintendent Craig Spencer citied the school's "teaming" approach as critical to its success.

"Most students in ninth and 10th grades have a teacher-team for their core classes. These two teachers share the same students and meet regularly to discuss student achievement, to look at data and to identify strategies to improve student performance," Spencer explained. "When the teacher-team collaborates, our students are more successful."

For more information or a list of all of the designated schools, visit

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