Patriots get their palace

October 14, 2014

District unveils remodeled Liberty High School

The new Liberty High School building is sleek, modern and almost industrial in its appearance.

Past Liberty students would hardly recognize it as the same school, but some internal touches, most importantly a can’t-miss banner inscribed with the words “Proud to be a Patriot,” bring familiarity and warmth to the newly remodeled campus.

The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and Issaquah School District partnered to unveil the new Liberty at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 10.

By Greg Farrar Marnie Maraldo, Issaquah School District School Board president, cuts the ceremonial ribbon as other board members, Superintendent Ron Thiele, Principal Josh Almy and others applaud and smile, as the completion of the final phase of the school remodel is celebrated Oct. 10 during a community open house.

By Greg Farrar
Marnie Maraldo, Issaquah School District School Board president, cuts the ceremonial ribbon as other board members, Superintendent Ron Thiele, Principal Josh Almy and others applaud and smile, as the completion of the final phase of the school remodel is celebrated Oct. 10 during a community open house.

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Issaquah School District finishes school projects, delays others

August 26, 2014

Staff members, parents and students at Apollo and Issaquah Valley elementary schools have been waiting years for their buildings to be refurbished, and their wishes will be granted when school starts Sept. 3.

By Greg Farrar A lighted reader board has been put up at Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

By Greg Farrar
A lighted reader board has been put up at Issaquah Valley Elementary School.

The two elementary schools were major pieces of a $219 million bond measure that Issaquah School District voters approved in April 2012. Issaquah Valley and Apollo received about $6.6 million each for similar modernization projects that focused on creating additional classroom spaces, improving building security and upgrading existing spaces for a continued influx of new students.

The district is expecting to add 350 students in the 2014-15 year, and projections released last year showed the school system could grow by more than 2,800 students over the next 30 years.

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Federal waiver loss could affect schools

May 20, 2014

Last month’s U.S. Department of Education decision to revoke Washington state’s No Child Left Behind waiver is starting to filter down to school districts and individual buildings.

At the Issaquah School Board’s May 14 meeting, officials discussed the loss of the waiver, which was officially announced April 24. Washington had been one of 43 states with the waiver, allowing it to deviate from NCLB, a nationwide accountability system for public schools that has been in place since 2001.

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Local schools could lose budget flexibility

April 29, 2014

The Issaquah School District is likely to lose some flexibility in budgeting next year.

State officials announced April 24 that Washington would lose a waiver it has been receiving from the federal government which allowed the state flexibility under portions of the No Child Left Behind law.

Under the law, 100 percent of students need to be at their grade level standard in both reading and math by this year. For the past few years, the federal government has granted more than 40 states waivers from the requirement.

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Clark Elementary School draws attention to Literacy Month

April 29, 2014

Literacy, dogs and polar bears, oh my.

Students at Clark Elementary School kicked off Literacy Month with a two-day visit from author Erik Brooks on April 17.

The longtime author and illustrator of children’s books hosted a wide range of presentations and workshops for all nine grades. Brooks, of Winthrop, has not only made a career out of creating books, but he also regularly takes part in working with children.

By Peter Clark Children’s book author Erik Brooks shows Clark Elementary School students a book he illustrated, ‘Who Has These Feet?’

By Peter Clark
Children’s book author Erik Brooks shows Clark Elementary School students a book he illustrated, ‘Who Has These Feet?’

“I love them,” Brooks said about presentations and sharing the creative process. “At one point, I dreamt of being a K through 12 art teacher.”

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Schools honor top volunteers

April 8, 2014

Issaquah School District Golden Acorn and Outstanding Advocate Awards were recognized at a reception at Swedish/Issaquah on March 25.

Golden Acorns are presented, by a local PTA unit or council, to volunteers in recognition of their dedication and service to children and youths.

Since the beginning of the program, more than 44,000 Golden Acorns have been presented to volunteers throughout Washington state. A contribution in the name of the recipient(s) is made by the honoring PTA to the Washington State PTA Scholarship Program. From these contributions, WSPTA is able to provide grants to freshman students entering post-secondary education.

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Board eyes new closure policy for Issaquah schools

April 1, 2014

The Issaquah School Board is considering a new policy pertaining to school closures, which could have an impact on the proposal to shut down Tiger Mountain Community High School.

At its March 26 meeting, the board conducted the first reading of a policy that aims to clarify the process for closing a school, including the steps the superintendent must take and the timeline for soliciting public input.

The board could adopt the new policy at its April 23 meeting.

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Police chief retires after 39-year career

March 18, 2014

By Greg Farrar Paul Ayers, Issaquah’s police chief for the last seven years, pauses in his office for a portrait.

By Greg Farrar
Paul Ayers, Issaquah’s police chief for the last seven years, pauses in his office for a portrait.

After 39 years in law enforcement — seven in Issaquah — Chief Paul Ayers is ready to take it easy.

Though it started out as a ride-along after serving his tours of duty in Vietnam, police work became a decorated career for Ayers almost four decades ago. He will serve his last day April 15.

“Literally, my first day riding along was a huge eye-opener for me,” Ayers said. “What people know about law enforcement is what they read in the paper and what they see on TV. When you’re at street level and see those things happen, it really makes you realize this job is a lot more.”

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Students invited to join science-centered programs

February 25, 2014

The Issaquah School District is holding three meetings in March for families of third-grade students interested in joining the district’s science and technology magnet programs.

The programs typically serve more than 50 fourth- and fifth-grade students over a two-year period. The magnet program is located at Briarwood, Cascade Ridge and Clark elementary schools, but is open to other schools.

The magnet program covers the standard district-adopted fourth- and fifth-grade curriculum, with an emphasis on science and technology. Grade-specific math instruction is also provided.

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Middle school land annexed to Issaquah

December 24, 2013

Less than 6 acres that encompasses Issaquah Middle School was annexed into the city by the City Council during its Dec. 16 meeting.

In a short presentation by city Long Range Planning Manager Trish Heinonen, she said school officials wanted the annexation because the school is about to undergo a massive restoration and officials want to do so under city regulations.

Upgrades of the school facilities are planned for 2014 through 2015. The proposed improvements include remodeling and expanding the existing school to become the new Clark Elementary School and Tiger Mountain Community High School.

The council held a public hearing the same night as the vote. No one stood in support of or against the annexation.

 

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