Schools’ construction costs rise $176,430

October 2, 2012

The Issaquah School board approved $176,430 worth of school construction changes Sept. 26 at Maywood Middle and Briarwood and Challenger elementary schools.

The largest change order was for an additional $119,241, including a little more than $10,000 in state taxes, for construction work at Briarwood. The contract was originally set at nearly $18.9 million and has already had five additions. The new total for the reconstruction project is now $21.4 million.

The most recent change includes an additional $37,838 to pay workers overtime to make up for construction delays due to bad weather. Another $1,472 is for weekend overtime; $37,766 is for electrical revisions in multiple locations; and another $17,271 is for data revisions per revised drawings. Other additions include $9,266 for lighting and $1,696 for changes to the staff lounge.

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Construction crews clear out as staff, students return to school

September 4, 2012

Construction continues on the performing arts center at Liberty High School. By Greg Farrar

It’s official. The new school year is here.

“It’s always exciting,” Superintendent Steve Rasmussen said. “The beginning of the school year is the culmination of a lot of work.”

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Inaugural bus ride-along gets kindergartners ready for school

August 14, 2012

Issaquah School District kindergarten students and their parents line up to board a school bus Aug. 8 at Issaquah High School to become familiar with part of their new school experience. By Lillian O’Rorke

Standing in line next to a row of big yellow school buses, a flock of incoming kindergartners squirmed and jibber-jabbered as they awaited their maiden voyage.

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Issaquah School District receives state energy grants

June 12, 2012

The Issaquah School District has been awarded energy grants totaling $120,084, according to the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

“In addition to helping create jobs, it will help the district move forward with work that will reduce energy consumption and improve the learning and working environments,” Capital Projects Director Steve Crawford said in a statement. “The annual savings from this grant combined with our 2011 grant work will save the district a little over $200,000 a year in operational costs … especially significant as it is a reduction in general fund operational costs, which compete with classroom funding.”

The grants are intended to produce long-term energy and operational savings for the district, improve the indoor environmental qualities of schools and help stimulate construction-industry jobs. The energy projects use utility incentives, energy savings, local money and grant funds to make improvements that may otherwise not be affordable. The OSPI awarded $5.9 million in energy grants to 14 school districts throughout the state.

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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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$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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Challenger Elementary’s Festival of Cultures celebrates diversity

February 7, 2012

Nuoyan Zhang, 6, plays the Chinese instrument known in English as the koto during the Festival of Cultures held recently at Challenger Elementary School Photo by Tom Corrigan

The American table had a bag of food from McDonald’s and a Dorothy doll straight out of the movie version of “The Wizard of Oz.”

A Mexican table featured ethnic toys, including a Spanish Monopoly game. The Japanese table had a lot of visitors, perhaps all wanting to try what turned out to be some surprisingly tasty Spam sushi.

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Grant helps Discovery Elementary School repurpose space into popular reading room

November 15, 2011

If it weren’t for the “Marvin Redpost” series, a bunch of fourth-grade boys at Discovery Elementary School might not be so into reading this school year.

And if it weren’t for a staff member’s vision and nearly $30,000 from the PTA, the school might not even have that book series by Louis Sachar in its selection. Discovery opened its new literacy room this fall. It’s a “re-purposed” former art room and storage space that now offers nearly 1,000 different book sets at varying reading levels for the entire school population. The point is to expand options for teachers as they work with students, each of whom has a different focus or need in their reading development, teachers and staff members said. The school is on the leading edge of the Issaquah School District’s efforts to overhaul its reading curriculum.

“Now it’s become more purposeful,” said Chelsea Dziedzic, literacy support coach for Discovery and Challenger elementary schools. “Discovery and district teachers realized one-size-fits-all does not work and doesn’t foster a love of reading.”

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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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