Cascade Ridge students embrace reading, technology in schoolwide contest

May 1, 2012

Ella Matias, 6, shows off her Eager Reader minutes. Contributed

If the students at Cascade Ridge Elementary School had a dollar for every minute they read last month, they’d be a long way toward paying for college.

At the beginning of April, the children were challenged to track how much time they spent reading for pleasure outside class. The numbers were tallied April 27 and in the end the students had read for 628,191 minutes — well over 10,000 hours.

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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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¿Hablas español? Language program for kids takes flight in Issaquah

January 31, 2012

Students in Marta Ramos’ first-level Spanish class take a make-believe shopping trip to Spain for an educational game to help them with clothing vocabulary. By Celina Kareiva

Students riffle through articles of clothing in “La Tienda de Ropa,” a make-believe clothing store in a first-level Spanish class.

“La bufanda!” and “El vestido!” they shout as their teacher instructs them to repeat after her.

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Reflections showcases students’ creative thoughts on diversity

January 17, 2012

These artworks were among the local works chosen to go on to the state level Reflections competition. This year’s national contest revolved around the theme ‘Diversity means…’ By Tom Corrigan

All in all, there were 247 examples of student creativity on display, according to Theora Dalupan, a member of the Issaquah School District PTSA Council board of directors.

Dalupan helped organize, and the district PTSA sponsored, the annual Reflections art show and reception the evening of Jan. 10 at Pacific Cascade Middle School.

Reflections is a yearly, nationwide PTSA art contest centered around a specific theme, which this year was “Diversity means…”

The work on display at Pacific Cascade represented the best entries from each district school, up to 12 per building.

“There’s some very creative ideas out there,” Dalupan said regarding the entries, which ran the spectrum from paintings and drawings to creative writing to musical pieces. Dalupan said there were also two short film entries.

Walking around the display at Pacific Cascade, one saw plenty of visual art with animal or nature themes in common. Plenty of creations had representations of people of all colors and ethnicities. Rainbows were another common symbol.

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Issaquah Valley Elementary principal feted for school’s academic improvement

December 6, 2011

Diane Holt named a distinguished principal of the year

When her school was named a School of Distinction for 2011, Issaquah Valley Elementary School Principal Diane Holt handed out specially made commemorative key chains to each member of her staff. By Tom Corrigan

“If somebody does something spectacular for your children, you’re never going to be more grateful,” said Trisha Neill, a PTSA officer and parent of a young student at Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

Neill is one of apparently a lot of parents ready and willing to sing the praises of Issaquah Valley Principal Diane Holt.

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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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Gold Star

June 14, 2011

Cascade Ridge students pack 5,456 meals

Cascade Ridge Elementary School students

By working with the nonprofit organization Children of the Nations, 110 fifth-grade students at Cascade Ridge Elementary School packed 5,456 meals for children overseas April 19.

Each meal included a dehydrated vegetable mix, a vegetarian flavoring with added vitamins and minerals, and rice and lentils.

The meals will go to Sierra Leone, Malawi, Haiti or the Dominican Republic.

For the third year, Cascade Ridge fifth-graders learned about common foods eaten in other countries, such as lentils and rice. Students also did household chores to raise money for the nonprofit, bringing in $1,360 that will help transport the food.

Sammamish exempts schools from storm water fees

June 7, 2011

In return, students must learn about storm water issues

Sammamish will continue to exempt local school districts from storm-water fees in exchange for those districts’ continued promise to teach their students about storm water issues.

The Sammamish City Council recently re-examined the situation following news that two Issaquah School District schools — Skyline High and Cascade Ridge Elementary — had inadvertently been charged the fees in 2009 and 2010 and were refusing to pay.

City staff members blamed an accounting snafu by King County, which collects storm water fees and sends that money back to the city for use in building and maintaining ditches, culverts and other infrastructure that collects and distributes water off the plateau following storms.

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Bears awaken from hibernation

May 17, 2011

Wildlife experts advise caution as local sightings increase

Bears take refuge in a Sammamish Plateau tree during a May sighting. By Bent Wiencke

State Department of Fish and Wildlife agents responded to a bear in a home last week, after a surprised Issaquah woman discovered the animal pawing around inside a locked garage.

The incident underscored the need for education about black bears as the close encounters between humans and bears start for the year.

State wildlife officials and organizations remind residents in Issaquah and other communities near bear habitat to take precautions as soon as possible to limit the potential for dangerous encounters.

Bear Awareness Week is observed in Washington through May 21.

The incident relating to the bear in the garage is the latest sighting in recent weeks as bears started to emerge from hibernation early last month.

Issaquah School District administrators spotted bears near several campuses in April and May, including Cascade Ridge, Clark and Newcastle elementary schools. Police received a call about a bear at the downtown Issaquah Salmon Hatchery in late April.

Residents have reported frequent sightings in neighborhoods throughout the city. In the latest example, Issaquah police officers received a call at 11:43 a.m. May 10 about a bear inside a garage in a tree-lined neighborhood near the Sammamish Family YMCA, not far from Providence Point.

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Parent launches websites for schools

May 17, 2011

Paperwork aside, getting a Parent-Teacher-Student Association up and running at a school can be tough work — work that just got a little easier thanks to Rajeev Goel.

Rajeev Goel

Goel, the Cascade Ridge Elementary School PTA webmaster, has created a template for PTSA websites that can be individualized around the world. Using his company, Our School Pages, Goel plans to sell the websites for $120 per year, a fee that will cover the labor, server, storage and processing fees.

This is not the first school website created by Goel, a former Microsoft software developer. In 2009, he launched Our Science Fair, a site helping schools organize and launch science fairs. As of this spring, about 40 schools nationwide were using Our Science Fair to coordinate their events.

Goel launched the Cascade Ridge PTSA website in August, working out the kinks and adding new features throughout the year. After polishing his final product, he began selling the Our School Pages template website on April 29, allowing any school in the world a chance to purchase it and make it its own.

At the annual Washington PTA convention April 29 to May 1, 60 schools decided to try the website for a free, 30-day trial.

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