Issaquah Schools Foundation awards Kateri Brow enrichment grants

April 10, 2012

Celebrating receiving an Issaquah Schools Foundation Kateri Brow grant at Issaquah Valley Elementary School are (from left) teacher Heidi Jones; Robin Callahan, foundation executive director; Principal Diane Holt; foundation board member Neva Luke; and teacher Julie Ann Enyeart. By Tom Corrigan

Late last month, the Issaquah Schools Foundation awarded $66,505 worth of grants to 17 teachers or groups of teachers at schools throughout the local school district.

Named for a past superintendent of the Issaquah School District, Kateri Brow Big Idea Grants are awarded “for programs that reflect vision and innovation in education,” according to the ISF website.

At Issaquah Valley Elementary School, teachers Julie Ann Enyeart and Heidi Jones received almost $2,000 for their “Buddies, Books and Bags” program. The idea is to increase student access and interest in reading, Enyeart said.

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Issaquah PTSA honors outstanding volunteers at Golden Acorn Awards

April 3, 2012

The primary decorations were orange construction cones and yellow caution tape. Winners were described in terms keeping with that theme, such as construction tools or architects. One winner from the Issaquah School District PTSA Council was described as “the construction glue” that holds the council together.

Gathered in the commons of Pacific Cascade Middle School, the Issaquah PTSA Council held its annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremony March 27.

Not counting the several winners from the districtwide PTSA council, the night honored approximately 75 winners from 23 PTSA units, said Becky Lawrence, vice-president of elementary schools for the PTSA council. A committee of PTSA leaders from each school picked the winners from their individual schools, Lawrence added. As you might expect, criteria included what PTSA members have done for their schools, but also the district and their involvement in the community as a whole.

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Grandparents get a hands-on lesson in salmon’s circle of life

March 27, 2012

Jerry Pearson and his grandson Dylan Pearson, 5, release salmon fry into Issaquah Creek March 21 under the Northwest Sammamish Road crossover with other Issaquah School District classroom students, teachers and parents. By Greg Farrar

Five-year-old Dylan Pearson took extra care as he crept his way across the rocks under the watchful eye of his PeePah to the edge of the creek to release the young salmon fry swimming at the bottom of his plastic cup.

Participating in the life cycle of the salmon was an important lesson that Dylan’s grandfather, Issaquah native Jerry Pearson, wanted to teach his grandson. Pearson can still remember the salmon spawning in Lewis Creek near his home when he was the same age as his grandson.

“Sharing this moment and the lessons we learn about the renewal of life are things that I will never forget,” Jerry Pearson said. “Hopefully, the salmon will inspire Dylan to nurture new life and then set it free.”

The youngster and his grandfather joined third-graders from Apollo Elementary School on March 21 to release more than 230 small coho salmon that were raised from eggs in their classroom into Issaquah Creek behind Pickering Barn. Many students were sad; others cheered as they watched the tiny fish swim away.

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School renovation is another priority for $219 million bond

March 20, 2012

Susan Mundell, Apollo Elementary School principal, checks some deterioration on a two-unit portable classroom dating from 1995, the oldest of three on the school grounds. By Greg Farrar

For Liberty High School, passage of the April 17 Issaquah School District bond would mean completion of the reconstruction and modernization plan now under way thanks to a 2006 voter-approved bond.

At the same time, Apollo and Issaquah Valley elementary schools would receive sizable space additions, making room for 120 additional students at each building. Both schools would benefit from some much-needed maintenance, according to the principals of each school.

Outside of schools being rebuilt or transplanted, Liberty, Apollo and Issaquah Valley are the three individual school facilities that would receive the most attention in terms of dollar value should the district win passage of its current bond proposal.

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$219 million school bond could pick up tab for carpet, construction

March 6, 2012

Voting by mail in the weeks leading up to April 17, roughly 58,000 registered voters in the Issaquah School District will have the chance to decide whether the schools can sell $219 million in bonds to pay for major renovation and maintenance projects throughout the district.

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Issaquah School District to offer free preschool classes

January 17, 2012

The Issaquah School District is offering a chance for parents of preschool-aged children to enroll their youngsters in Early Childhood Education classes at no cost to the families.

The district is looking for typically developing youngsters to be part of Early Education classes that serve children with special needs at Apollo, Discovery and Sunset elementary schools.

Each classroom may have up to 12 children with special needs along with three typically developing peers – who will pay no cost to participate in the preschool program. Research shows that such combined learning opportunities benefit both special-needs and typically developing children. Students must be at least 3 years old by April 15 to participate.

Any interested parent can pick up an application and get more information at the main offices of any of the three elementary schools involved. Applications are due Feb. 10; peer volunteer screening is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Apollo Elementary pulls some strings to host big Red Ribbon Week

October 11, 2011

Local and federal agencies help spread healthy lifestyle,  anti-drug message 

Representatives of the King County Sheriff’s Office greet students outside Apollo Elementary School. By Tom Corrigan

Ultimately, the topic at hand was serious.

But even the adults in the crowd outside Apollo Elementary School on Oct. 5 seemed to be enjoying themselves.

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Press Editorial

October 11, 2011

Complex school bond will challenge voters

The Issaquah School Board has postponed the vote for a school bond from February until April, at the request of the campaign committee. It was the right decision. It will take every minute from now until April to convince voters that this $219 million bond should be approved — or not.

Heading the list of controversies will be the $82 million to rebuild Clark Elementary and Issaquah Middle schools so the two student populations can then switch places. At the same time, Tiger Mountain Community High School, home to about 100 students, will also be relocated — another $3.9 million.

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Education opportunities grow in student gardens

August 23, 2011

Sunny Hills Elementary School first-grader Digant Dash (left) plants flower bulbs in the school’s first-grade garden with fourth-graders Derek Chao and Spencer Bernsten. By Jane Ulrich

Inch by inch, row by row, students are planting lettuce, herbs and broccoli in their school gardens.

This fall, teachers are transforming gardens into outdoor classrooms as students pick up trowels and learn about drip irrigation systems.

Dozens of schools incorporate gardening into their curriculum or have gardening clubs, including Apollo, Cascade Ridge, Challenger, Clark, Creekside, Discovery, Endeavour, Grand Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Maple Hills and Sunny Hills elementary schools; Issaquah and Pine Lake middle schools; and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

“I think the outdoors is just a natural place that kids want to be,” Sunny Hills fourth-grade teacher Jane Ulrich said.

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Past bond ushers in school renovation projects

August 23, 2011

In February 2006, Issaquah School District voters approved a $241.8 million bond issue to fund new construction and renovations around the district.

Maywood Middle School is being expanded and modernized. sky-pix aerial photography

The schools are following the plan laid out to voters with one exception, according to information on the district website.

In early 2007, the district acted to redirect construction dollars originally earmarked to fund construction of a new middle school, the district’s fifth. Because of changed enrollment and other factors, officials decided, rather than build a new school, they would convert the Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus into a full-blown middle school beginning in fall 2010. As a result, the Issaquah and Skyline high school campuses were revamped to include space for new freshmen.

Funded by that 2006 bond issue, here are some of the projects still under way in the district.

“The biggies are all down on the south end this year,” said Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications.

• Planners slated Maywood Middle School in Renton for a modernization and expansion project. According to the latest construction update from the district this month, Maywood’s old administration/commons area and counseling offices are gone, with construction of replacement facilities under way. Demolition of the parking lots and sidewalks are nearing completion with rebuilding scheduled to have already started. Grading of new parking areas has begun.

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