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

Girl Scouts host open houses

September 7, 2010

Local Girl Scout troops are hosting informational meetings or open houses. Learn more by calling 641-1126. Middle and high school troops are welcoming new girls as well. All events are from 7-8 p.m.

Information meetings (all take place in school multipurpose rooms)

-Newcastle Elementary — Sept. 23

-Clark and Issaquah Valley elementary — Sept. 27, Clark multipurpose room

-Apollo Elementary — Sept. 28

-Cougar Ridge and Sunset elementary — Sept. 29, Cougar Ridge multipurpose room

-Briarwood and Maple Hills elementary — Sept. 30, Briarwood multipurpose room Read more

County adds safety features near Briarwood, Pacific Cascade campuses

September 2, 2010

NEW — 1:30 p.m. Sept. 2, 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.

Near Pacific Cascade, the Road Services Division added curb, gutter and sidewalk to Southeast Issaquah-Fall City Road, plus electronic speed limit signs.

Classes started Tuesday in the Issaquah School District.

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Parents face choice after Issaquah Valley Elementary School falls short

August 31, 2010

Issaquah Valley Elementary School fell just shy of meeting standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act and is being sanctioned for not meeting standards in low-income reading.

This is Issaquah Valley’s second year in a row of not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress standards in low-income reading.

At a presentation Aug. 30, Issaquah Valley Principal Diane Holt said students had made progress in many areas, including third- and fourth-grade reading, but missed making standard for low-income reading by less than a 2 percent index.

Third-, fourth- and fifth-graders are judged together, and while low-income third- and fourth-graders met standard on the reading test, low-income fifth-graders did not.

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Parents face choice after Issaquah Valley Elementary School falls short

August 27, 2010

UPDATED — 3:40 p.m. Aug. 27, 2010

Issaquah Valley Elementary School fell just shy of meeting standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act and is being sanctioned for not meeting standards in low-income reading.

This is Issaquah Valley’s second year in a row of not meeting Adequate Yearly Progress standards in low-income reading.

If a subgroup of students fails in reading or math, then the school or district does not meet AYP. Schools that do not meet AYP in a subgroup for two consecutive years face sanctions if they receive federal Title I dollars.

In the sanctions leveled against Issaquah Valley, the school will have to notify parents, give families the opportunity to send their children to another elementary school and pay for that transportation.

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Volunteers sought for VOICE mentor program

August 24, 2010

Paula Cockerham earned Cs and Ds in her high school classes until her biology teacher pulled her aside and said, “You’re smarter than this.”

Cockerham began spending more time on homework and studying harder, transforming herself into an A student. Now, she works at The Boeing Co. as an environmental chemist.

“It just took having someone tell you, ‘You can do this’, and ‘I believe you can do this,’” she said.

In 2006, Cockerham decided to return the favor to Issaquah’s students. She registered with Volunteers Of Issaquah Changing Education — more commonly known as VOICE — and began mentoring high school students in physical science.

Cockerham is one of VOICE’s 155 mentors, and Director Susan Gierke said she hopes to raise membership to 200 volunteers this year. Read more

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