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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Music lesson gets drummed in to elementary students

March 20, 2012

Sowah Mensah, serving as artist-in-residence at Cougar Ridge Elementary School, teaches the basics of drumming to a group of second- and third-graders. By Tom Corrigan

With a group of second- and third-graders sitting around him in a circle, Sowah Mensah, 57, asks a rhythmic question, playing that question with his hands on the bongo drum in front of him.

A native of Ghana and now a professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., Mensah was the artist-in-residence recently for a week at Cougar Ridge Elementary School.

After Mensah played the question, individual students were supposed to answer with their own colorful bongo drums.

“When I beat out the question, you beat out the answer, whatever comes to mind,” Mensah told his charges.

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Biodiesel blaze destroys Cougar Mountain home

August 2, 2011

Fire roared through a Cougar Mountain home early July 31 after a backyard biodiesel kit started the blaze.

Just after 6 a.m., neighbors reported flames and smoke shooting from a house in the 17000 block of Southeast 60th Street, a tree-lined neighborhood between Cougar Mountain Zoo and Cougar Ridge Elementary School.

Firefighters converged on the home, and discovered barrels and other equipment used to manufacture biodiesel in the backyard. Investigators later pinpointed the biodiesel setup as the cause of the fire.

“The fire began in the middle of that process, outside of the home, and came into the home from there,” said Lt. Troy Donlin, a Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.

Flames roared through the ground floor and damaged the attic. The basement sustained water damage as firefighters extinguished the blaze. Donlin estimated the total damage at $400,000.

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Fire from biodiesel kit destroys Cougar Mountain home early Sunday

July 31, 2011

NEW — 1:15 p.m. July 31, 2011

Fire roared through a Cougar Mountain home early Sunday morning after a backyard biodiesel kit started the blaze.

Just after 6 a.m. Sunday, neighbors reported  flames and smoke shooting from a house in the 17000 block of Southeast 60th Street, a tree-lined neighborhood between Cougar Mountain Zoo and Cougar Ridge Elementary School.

Firefighters discovered barrels and other equipment used to manufacture biodiesel behind the home. Investigators later determined the biodiesel kit started the fire.

“The fire began in the middle of that process, outside of the home, and came into the home from there,” said Lt. Troy Donlin, a Bellevue Fire Department spokesman.

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King County honors 11 Issaquah district ‘green’ schools

June 28, 2011

Thanks to the “green” conservation work of staff members and students, the King County Green Schools Program is honoring 11 schools in the Issaquah School District.

In total, King County will honor 77 schools across the country, including the 11 schools in Issaquah.

The three-level Green Schools Program provides hands-on assistance, recycling containers and signs, and website tools to schools. In addition to the Green Schools Program, King County provides an elementary school assembly program, classroom workshops and support for student green teams.

The program has saved schools and the district money from successful waste reduction and recycling programs, and reducing energy and water use.

Seven schools in the district have achieved Level One status, including Apollo, Cougar Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Sunny Hills and Sunset elementary schools; Pacific Cascade Middle School; and Issaquah High School. Level One schools focus on waste reduction and recycling.

Two schools in the district achieved Level Two, including Creekside and Newcastle elementary schools, after students and teachers targeted energy conservation.

The other two schools — Issaquah Middle School and Liberty High School — completed Level Three after students and teachers worked on water conservation.

“Thanks to support from King County Green Schools and city of Issaquah, the students and staff at these 11 schools understand why conservation is important and are doing a great job conserving natural resources and dollars,” John Macartney, the district’s resource conservation manager, said in a news release.

King County honors 11 ‘green’ Issaquah district schools

June 16, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. June 16, 2011

Thanks to the “green” conservation work of staff and students, King County Green Schools Program is honoring 11 schools in the Issaquah School District.

In total, the county will honor 77 schools across the country, including the 11 schools in Issaquah.

The three-level Green Schools Program provides hands-on assistance, recycling containers and signs and website tools to schools. In addition to the Green Schools Program, King County provides an elementary school assembly program, classroom workshops and support for student “green” teams.

The program has saved schools and the district money from successful waste reduction and recycling programs and reducing energy and water use.

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Art project lays roadmap to career options

May 17, 2011

Benjamin Eskonazi, a third-grader at Cougar Ridge Elementary School, weaves an upholstery for a chair made out of paper with art show coordinator Sari Israel. By Laura Geggel

Drawings of girls at the beach, apples half in shadow and rainbows stretching over green fields decorated the annual art show at Cougar Ridge Elementary School on May 5.

About 100 students participated in the show, and they came with their families and friends, completing a scavenger hunt about the show and answering questions, such as finding a painted mermaid and naming the type of paint art teacher Cyndi Moring used in her piece.

Students also dove into hands-on projects. They folded origami cranes for Japan and folded long strips of paper together into mat, creating a colorful upholstery for a chair Moring has since stationed in the art room.

“It looks really cool,” Moring said. “The kids really love it and they can’t believe they can sit on it.”

Fifth-grader Katherine Lin painted a watercolor picture of an autumn branch with red, yellow and orange leaves.

“I like autumn. It’s my favorite season, because it’s really pretty outside and it’s still warm out,” Lin said. “And we’re not bored all of the time because we have school.”

Her classmate, fifth-grader Sam Lee, drew an abstract post-modern piece with charcoal and pastels. He draws “because I want to do auto mechanics and design. My mom said if I wanted to do that, I should start drawing now.”

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Top volunteers honored at Golden Acorn Awards

April 5, 2011

For every strong school, there are strong volunteers who organize cultural fairs, chaperone field trips, coordinate family fun nights, photocopy assignments and hold bank days for student deposits.

The Issaquah PTSA Council awarded 73 volunteers from 23 schools with Golden Acorn Awards at the 2011 Recognizing Our All-Stars reception March 29.

Boy Scout Troop Pack 636 started the function with a flag salute, and Issaquah PTSA Council President Janine Kotan welcomed the crowd.

The ceremony had a sports theme, with presenters dressed in their favorite sports garb and giving speeches about how volunteers had wowed their fans and hit home runs for their schools.

Jennifer Good, a parent volunteer at Challenger Elementary School, said she began volunteering to meet people and promote education. She organized an ice cream social at the beginning of the year, while Ruth Steck, another parent volunteer, regularly snaps photos of students for the Challenger yearbook.

Both women said they appreciated the Golden Acorn Awards, though, “You don’t do it to be recognized,” Good said.

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Supporting your child’s social development

March 29, 2011

Parents are invited to a free parenting lecture about “Friends and Frienemies: The Love/Hate Relationships that Form Our Youth” from 7-8:30 p.m. April 26 at Cougar Ridge Elementary School, 4630 167th Ave. S.E., Bellevue.

Laura Doerflinger, mental health therapist and executive director of the Parent Education Group, will discuss how parents can encourage the best social experiences for their children.

Gold Star

March 15, 2011

Students collect 7,500 crayons

Cougar Ridge Elementary School students

The students at Cougar Ridge Elementary School have collected 7,500 crayons for the patients at Seattle Children’s.

By working with parent advisers Kavita Hegde and Jennifer Goldberg, students used goal-setting strategies, marking skills and leadership talents to put together the crayon drive. Their business acumen paid off, with the students collecting the 7,500 crayons in less than a month, from Jan. 19 to Feb. 28.

Children’s uses more than 100,000 crayons each year. Efforts like those made by the Cougar Ridge Student Council help the hospital offset the cost of purchasing crayons and allow those funds to be used for more immediate needs, such as uncompensated care.

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