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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Skyline’s class of 2001 plans school’s first 10-year reunion

September 13, 2011

In any number of ways, the class of 2001 was a special one for Skyline High School.

In terms of sports accomplishments, Spartans of that vintage helped win the girls state softball championship in 1999. The football team took the state title in 2000 and just missed doing it again the following year.

Still, probably most importantly, the graduates represented the first class to attend Skyline for all four of their years in high school.

“I think it’s worth remembering, worth commemorating,” said Kim Best, a member of the class of ’01 and one of the principal organizers of the school’s first 10-year reunion.

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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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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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Gold Star

May 31, 2011

Challenger students raise $1,309 in relief funds for Japan

Challenger Elementary School students

Challenger Elementary School students leant a hand and raised some dough for the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.

The Student Council collected $1,309 for UNICEF, while hundreds of students wrote encouraging notes on paper hands during school April 22. The notes will be sent to children in Japan as part of the school’s Give a Helping Hand campaign for Japan.

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