Category Archives: Expeditions

Independent Learning explores different interests

By Ellen Hu and Diego Quintero-Serrano

Staff Writers

Students have many different interests, but sometimes they aren’t able to build these skills through classes. Summit’s Independent Learning course is the exception, allowing students to explore their interests through internships and independent studies.

“I chose this because I love making the school nice,” Denali sophomore Jiapsyh Estrada Tellez said. This year she interned with Expeditions Dean Kalyn Olson as a teacher’s helper.

“We want to make sure that we are offering the time management and planning skills and support for a student to make sure they are mapping out for those 30 hours a week, for those eight weeks,” Ms. Olson said.  Students who are are interested in participating in either internship or independent study next year can visit for more information.

See below for a video about the Independent Learning course:

Featured image (at the top of this post): Denali sophomores Jiapsyh Estrada Tellez and Daisy Diaz Orozco interned with Expeditions Dean Kalyn Olson this school year. PHOTO CREDIT: Diego Quintero-Serrano

Multimedia Political Journalism gives students a chance to explore interesting topics

By Charles Cassel, Jacob Gaylord and Michael Stavintser

Staff Writers

Journalism is a medium that allows students and people from all around the world to learn more about their surroundings. The Multimedia Political Journalism class at Summit Denali expands this topic by illustrating the ideas and current news of political figures, stances and topics.

“I will be back for Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism because I enjoyed the first class, and I would like to pursue it more,” Denali freshman Mark Haiko said.

Advanced Multimedia Political Journalism will be a new course at Summit Denali for the 2019-20 school year. Interested students must have already passed Multimedia Political Journalism (the introductory course) or complete a teacher recommendation form with their independent study paperwork. Interested students should email the journalism adviser, Liz DeOrnellas, at for more information.

“I would say that the work was a little bit harder for me because I don’t like to write, but it was very interesting and that helped me get through the class,” Denali sophomore Kyle Kobetsky said. “Going over topics and covering them was very interesting, but it was challenging.”

See below for a video about the Multimedia Political Journalism course:

Featured image (at the top of this post): Journalism students participate in a Socratic seminar to reflect on their current event lessons. PHOTO CREDIT: Mark Haiko

Students put skills to the test in the new Robot Games

By Kamal Lakisic and Saad Qazi

Staff Writers

As the school year comes to a close, a new style of learning is just beginning. The robotics program at Summit Public Schools is seeing a new development under Sherri Taylor, the Robotics course instructor across four Summit campuses.

Throughout the past year, students have been experiencing an in-depth program meant to develop skills in fluently combining programs — EV3 and Python — with machines made out of Legos in order to complete set tasks. This ability is developed over the course, and, by the end of the year, most students will have developed an aptitude for robotics.

“I think it’s really important that students have the opportunity to use their whole self when they learn something,” Ms. Taylor said.

Denali freshman Ibrahim Ayub said students have learned how to program robots using EV3 software, as well as learning other important programming concepts. “We also learned to never give up,” he added.

Beyond individual skills, students also developed abilities critical to their end goals, such as teamwork. “I like how the students have learned to collaborate better and resolve conflicts … and develop empathy and patience for students … they really want to engineer robots,” Ms. Taylor said.

These students don’t just take these skills home. The Robot Games, an inter-school event created by Ms. Taylor, will test the designing, programming and teamwork abilities of each school. Classes will be grouped into teams and put their robots to the test. “It’s kind of like a take-off of the Olympics … students provide a game that other robots could play … another school could actually recreate their game,” she said.

Demos will measure their robots’ efficiency and effectiveness. Points will be gained based off the success of the robot in a certain game and its ability to be emulated by other schools. “Then the original inventors get points, and the students that do it in the second school also get points,” Ms. Taylor said. Exemplifying the idea of teamwork, this new method hopes to accelerate the robotics program and students’ progress.

Students themselves have also weighed their development, a point made clear by Ayub who discussed the benefits of learning through collaboration. “All of our projects involve teamwork … at first me and my partner didn’t work together, but we learned to share work … When one person builds, and the other programs … that helps,” he said.

The Robot Games competition will build over each successive run, allowing schools to improve on their prior years and effectively compete with other schools’ teams. Signifying a major shift in Expeditions’ impact on students, the establishment and development of Robot Games over the next few years will foster a new perspective on learning through collaboration — a method that could better develop interest in engineering and programming in students throughout coming years.

See below for a video on the Robotics course and the Robot Games:

Intro to Visual Arts allows students to explore artistic techniques

By Jamil Abed and Joseph Gutierrez

Staff Writers

When you walk into the Intro to Visual Arts classroom, pieces around the class provide an energetic atmosphere. The Intro to Visual Arts Expeditions course helps students learn different techniques and tactics in regards to art.

“I chose this class because I love drawing, and I want art to be a part of my career,” Denali sophomore Sara Ditto said.

“I chose to become an art teacher because I am an artist by trait, and I like being able to go over the skills that I learned throughout my art career and giving students a chance to express themselves in different formats is very important to me,” Visual Arts teacher Mathew Scicluna said.

See below for a video about the Intro to Visual Arts course:

Local Wilderness calms student stress

By Brandon Raybon

Staff Writer

The Local Wilderness Expeditions course helps students learn different techniques they can use in the outdoors, including building fires, carving wood and improving their sensory skills. “I enjoyed using my knife skills to learn to cut wood to build fires from scratch,” Denali freshman Thomas Maiello said.

Denali sophomore Alan Rivera said he believes that Summit Denali students spend too much time indoors. “I hope to spend more time outdoors,” he added.

“Nature can help calm you and take your mind off of school,” Denali freshman Justin Casillas explained.

See below for a video about the Local Wilderness course:

Intro to Programming builds self-directed learning skills

By Jacob Jasper

Staff Writer

Coding has become a large part of American culture, especially in the heart of Silicon Valley. Denali students have the chance to build these skills in the Intro to Programming Expeditions course. The course gives students the chance to learn the basics of programming so they can move on to more advanced concepts in later years.

“My favorite part is how how self-directed it is. So you have to look at the resources yourself,” Denali freshman Ella Chen said.

Other students agreed that the freedom they were given was a plus. “I don’t know, just the independence you get. Like you can do whatever you want,” Denali freshman Chase Santaga said about his favorite part of the course.

See below for a video about the Intro to Programming course:

Entrepreneurship gives students a look into business

By Alan Rivera

Staff Writer

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg have all found success through big business. Their examples have encouraged people to follow in their paths through the creation of their own companies, and Denali students are given a first-hand look at the needed skills to do so in the Entrepreneurship Expeditions course, which teaches students how they can start and run businesses while creating their own products.

“We basically learn business stuff: like how to manage your money, and how you hire employees and how you pay the employees like the monthly wages,” Denali sophomore Xavier Eusty said.

Denali sophomore Stevian Arguello said understanding and using gross profit plays a large role in the course. “I can help people when they’re stuck or if they need a certain type of equation to figure out something like gross profit,” he explained.

See below for a video about the Entrepreneurship course:

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