Briarwood Elementary honored by county Green Schools Program

January 31, 2012

NEW — 2:30 p.m. Jan. 31, 2012

Part of the Issaquah School District, Briarwood Elementary is one of four area schools honored this week by the King County Green Schools Program.

“Each of these four schools can be proud of how they have involved their students and staff in learning about conservation and improving conservation practices,” said Dale Alekel, King County Green Schools Program manager.

Along with Renton Park Elementary, Briarwood was recognized as a Level One King County Green School.

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Reading Buddy celebrates second generation with second-graders

November 8, 2011

Betty Gering, 76, has been reading to second-graders in the Briarwood Elementary School library for 15 years. By Tom Corrigan

Briarwood Elementary School volunteer looks back on 15 years

“My mother had been a second-grade teacher,” said Betty Gering, who at 76 years of age is entering her 15th year of serving as a Reading Buddy to youngsters at Briarwood Elementary School.

Gering said she continues to act as a sort of in-school tutor to second-graders at Briarwood partly to honor the memory of her mother. But there are other reasons as well.

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District students score above state average on Washington math tests

September 27, 2011

As Issaquah School District students headed back to class Aug. 30, state education officials were releasing the first results of a newly required math test.

The state also put out final numbers on which schools were able, or not able, to meet annual improvement goals set out by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Last spring, Washington students in algebra and geometry classes took a state test immediately at the end of their course work. The system is known as “end of course,” or “EOC” testing. It replaced the standardized math test students formerly took near the end of the school year.

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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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Issaquah School District to request bond in February

June 28, 2011

The Issaquah School Board has agreed to put a bond before voters Feb. 14.

Board members are still reviewing the contents and cost of the bond, but agreed to decide on both by late September, giving community supporters four months to campaign.

A bond is a property tax that pays for school construction and repairs. Money from bonds cannot be used for teacher salaries or for classroom supplies.

The last bond put before voters — a $241.87 million bond in February 2006 — passed with about 68 percent of the vote. All bonds need at least 60 percent approval to pass.

Some of the larger projects on the 2006 bond included the rebuilding of Issaquah High and Briarwood Elementary schools; the expansion of Skyline High School; the addition of Creekside Elementary School; and remodels at Maywood Middle and Liberty High schools.

District administrators had originally planned to ask voters for a bond in 2010, but decided to wait until 2012 because of the recession.

The proposed 2012 bond has projects for all of the district’s 24 schools, but the list has yet to be finalized.

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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.

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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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