Supporters meet fundraising goal for science curriculum

June 21, 2011

After 47 days of fundraising at McDonald’s and Zeeks Pizza, and in various school parking lots, the Issaquah Schools Foundation and the Issaquah PTSA Council have raised enough money for a new elementary school science curriculum this fall.

The current elementary school science curriculum, last updated in 2003, does not meet state standards.

The fundraising campaign began April 29, the day after the foundation’s annual luncheon. There, foundation community representative Leigh Stokes explained that the district had initially set money aside for the curriculum update, but after the Legislature cut $1.45 million from the district’s budget midyear, the district could no longer afford the curriculum update on its own.

The district committed $700,000 to the elementary school science update, and the foundation and PTSAs partnered to raise the remaining $500,000.

Recently, district administrators negotiated with the curricula vendors and bargained for a better price. Originally, the update was supposed to cost $1.2 million, but after the negotiation, the price tag dropped to $1.1 million. The district is also saving money by developing a specific curriculum of its own, which has a price tag of $50,000.

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After-school program makes ‘hard’ math and reading fun,

June 21, 2011

Ella Bosancu (left) and Shannon Bergin work together at Briarwood’s ASAP program, which has dramatically raised math and reading test scores. By Drew Terry

Jacob Lovgren did not like math.

The Briarwood Elementary School fourth-grader called the subject “horrible” and his math scores showed it. When his teacher recommended he try Briarwood’s new After School Assistance Program in March, he got only 52 percent of the pretest math questions right.

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Gold Star

June 21, 2011

Briarwood students donate books

Briarwood Elementary School students

Briarwood Elementary School’s Student Council collected 32 boxes of books for First Place School in Seattle.

The students donated books as part of their Spring Community Project, from May 18 to June 3.

First Place is a school and social service agency devoted to helping children and families in transition, crisis or homelessness. First Place School educates children from preschool to sixth grade, and offers case management and mental health services to children and families in need of help.

Supporters meet fundraising goal for science curriculum

June 14, 2011

Kasten Donahoe and Abigail Serna participate in the effort to raise money for updated science curriculum. By Lynn Juniel

NEW — 3:45 p.m. June 14, 2011

After 47 days of fundraising at McDonald’s, Zeek’s Pizza and in school parking lots, the Issaquah Schools Foundation and the Issaquah PTSA Council have raised enough money for a new elementary science curriculum this fall.

The current elementary science curriculum, last updated in 2003, does not meet state standards.

Read more

Top volunteers honored at Golden Acorn Awards

April 5, 2011

For every strong school, there are strong volunteers who organize cultural fairs, chaperone field trips, coordinate family fun nights, photocopy assignments and hold bank days for student deposits.

The Issaquah PTSA Council awarded 73 volunteers from 23 schools with Golden Acorn Awards at the 2011 Recognizing Our All-Stars reception March 29.

Boy Scout Troop Pack 636 started the function with a flag salute, and Issaquah PTSA Council President Janine Kotan welcomed the crowd.

The ceremony had a sports theme, with presenters dressed in their favorite sports garb and giving speeches about how volunteers had wowed their fans and hit home runs for their schools.

Jennifer Good, a parent volunteer at Challenger Elementary School, said she began volunteering to meet people and promote education. She organized an ice cream social at the beginning of the year, while Ruth Steck, another parent volunteer, regularly snaps photos of students for the Challenger yearbook.

Both women said they appreciated the Golden Acorn Awards, though, “You don’t do it to be recognized,” Good said.

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Change is coming soon to many schools

March 22, 2011

Carpenter Alfredo Arreola vacuums dust as he grinds and finishes concrete steps in the seating area of Issaquah High School’s new Performing Arts Center. By Greg Farrar

The voter-approved $241.8 million construction bond from 2006 is in full swing, sending two-story buildings high into the sky and installing sewer systems deep into the ground.

Several schools across the Issaquah School District are receiving money for construction updates or remodels. Four projects are slated to begin construction June 20, after school gets out:

• Briarwood Elementary School will get a new building, slated for completion in fall 2012.

• Liberty High School will undergo a partial modernization and expansion, with most areas complete by August 2012, and final completion by spring 2013.

• Maywood Middle School will be modernized and expanded with new classrooms and science labs with completion in August 2012.

• Challenger Elementary School will be modernized with a relocated central office, improved heating and air controls and separate bus and car traffic areas.

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Schools learned lessons from Nisqually earthquake

February 22, 2011

Kathy Connally remembers sitting at her classroom desk, looking out the window at the students playing during recess, when the earth started shaking 10 years ago.

Her Discovery Elementary School second-grade students were in music class with a teacher who was eighth months pregnant.

“My first through was, ‘Oh my gosh, my kids are out in a portable at music where there are no desks,’” Connally said.

Issaquah High School students waited for more than an hour on the school's football field Feb. 28, 2001, after the Nisqually earthquake. File

She took cover under her desk, and then ran to the portable, where “My students were all safe and sound. They had stopped, dropped and covered.”

The entire school headed away from the building toward the field, where teachers released students if their parents had come to collect them, and then released the rest at the regular bell time.

“One of my students came back and said, ‘Was that a drill or was that for real?’” Connally said.

At Liberty High School, the earthquake happened during lunch, when some upperclassmen were off campus eating at restaurants. After the quake, students reported to their first period class on football field where teaches took attendance.

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Issaquah schools showed mixed testing results

October 5, 2010

Last spring, thousands of Issaquah students took either the Measurement of Student Progress or the High School Proficiency Exam. Their results were as mixed as their peers from across the state.

“There’s no real perfect pattern,” Issaquah School District Assessment Director Sharon Manion said. “We have some schools up and some schools down in almost every category.”

Both the HSPE and the MSP had fewer questions than their predecessor, the Washington Assessment of Student Learning exam, known as the WASL. But fewer questions on the new tests caused each one to count more.

“It’s just like any other test the kids might take in the classroom,” Manion said. “When there’s 100 points on a test, the kids might miss some and still do well. When there is 20 points on the test, the kids can’t miss as many.”

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Press Editorial

September 14, 2010

No Child Left Behind needs rewriting

Another year has come and gone and test results related to No Child Left Behind have been released. Seven schools in the Issaquah School District are now considered “failing” — Issaquah Valley Elementary, Grand Ridge Elementary, Briarwood Elementary, Beaver Lake Middle, Issaquah Middle, Issaquah High and Liberty High. But before you consider moving your child to a different school, or your family to a new district, consider this.

The distinction is virtually meaningless. Read more

County adds safety features near Briarwood, Pacific Cascade

September 14, 2010

King County crews completed pedestrian-safety projects near Briarwood Elementary School and Pacific Cascade Middle School in time for students to return to campus.

The county Road Services Division installed electronic speed limit signs along 168th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 314th Street near Briarwood. The signs use solar power to operate. Read more

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