Smaller maintenance projects form big part of school bond

March 20, 2012

As voters get closer to deciding whether to OK a $219 million bond issue to benefit the Issaquah School District, big projects such as the rebuilding of the so-called corridor schools are getting plenty of attention.

The corridor schools are Issaquah Middle, Clark Elementary and Tiger Mountain High schools, all which will end up largely rebuilt and in new locations if the bond sale is approved.

Still, a significant portion of the proceeds from the bond sale would go toward more seemingly mundane items, such as rebuilding playfields and replacing fire alarm panels. The proposed project list includes dozens of maintenance and upkeep items at schools around the district.

“We have an obligation to protect roughly $1.2 billion in assets,” Jake Kuper, district chief of finances and operations, said referring to the estimated value of the district’s 28 total buildings, including 24 schools.

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City, schools use county grant to reduce student lunch waste

January 17, 2012

“We were really trying to get people to look at the waste stream differently,” said Mary Joe de Beck, resource conservation coordinator for the city of Issaquah.

In November, for national America Recycles Day, the city used a small King County grant to bring the idea of reduce, reuse and recycle to the front lines of five schools in the Issaquah School District.

Those five schools house some 2,650 students and spent several weeks gearing up for America Recycles Day on Nov. 15.

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Issaquah School District campuses host Veterans Day events

November 1, 2011

Several local schools have planned to honor current military personnel and other veterans just in time for Veterans Day, Nov. 11.

At 9:30 a.m. Nov. 9, Clark Elementary School will open its doors to present and past military members and their families, said Heather Maloney, president of the Clark PTA.

Maloney said local veterans from the area, including from local VFW posts and the Providence Point retirement community, had been invited.

The school also had contacted the Issaquah High School Navy Junior ROTC program about providing a color guard.

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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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AT&T proposes constructing cell tower near school

June 14, 2011

King County is considering a proposal from AT&T to build a 150-foot tall cell tower on the Sammamish Plateau near Endeavour Elementary School.

The telecommunications company applied for a permit from the King County Department of Development and Environmental Services to build a tower for cellular antennae and a shelter for equipment at 26325 S.E. 39th St., about a mile northeast of the Klahanie Center shopping complex and less than a half-mile from the elementary school.

The county permitting agency is in the process of determining potential environmental impacts of the projects. Residents can send comments about the environmental impacts to DDES — Building and Fire Services Division, 900 Oakesdale Ave. S.W., Renton, WA 98057-5212. The public comment period ends June 30.

Residents can also review the applications and any environmental studies at the Renton office.

Math students calculate the best way to success

June 7, 2011

The Beaver Lake Middle School math team poses with awards after the 2011 Washington State Math Championship May 7 in Blaine. By Dennis Rogers

Eighth-grader Tommy Lin does not care if people call him a nerd because he likes math.

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Adventures await at school district’s summer camp

May 3, 2011

From archeological digs to building a garden, rope courses to hiking, adventure awaits Issaquah campers this summer.

Club Connection, for kindergarten through fifth grades, is held at four locations, including Apollo, Discovery, Endeavour and Sunset elementary schools. !MPACT, for grades six through eight, is held at Beaver Lake and Pacific Cascade middle schools.

Issaquah School District Day Camps are from June 20 to Aug. 19. The camps cost $40 per day, with a three-day minimum per week. All camps provide multiple field trips, on-site learning activities, simple and extensive crafts, cooperative games, physical challenges, team-building exercises and access to enrichment specialists from various fields.

Registration ends May 6. Download a form at http://connect.issaquah.wednet.edu. Go to “District,” at the top menu and click on “Before and After School Enrichment.”

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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Schools learned lessons from Nisqually earthquake

February 22, 2011

Kathy Connally remembers sitting at her classroom desk, looking out the window at the students playing during recess, when the earth started shaking 10 years ago.

Her Discovery Elementary School second-grade students were in music class with a teacher who was eighth months pregnant.

“My first through was, ‘Oh my gosh, my kids are out in a portable at music where there are no desks,’” Connally said.

Issaquah High School students waited for more than an hour on the school's football field Feb. 28, 2001, after the Nisqually earthquake. File

She took cover under her desk, and then ran to the portable, where “My students were all safe and sound. They had stopped, dropped and covered.”

The entire school headed away from the building toward the field, where teachers released students if their parents had come to collect them, and then released the rest at the regular bell time.

“One of my students came back and said, ‘Was that a drill or was that for real?’” Connally said.

At Liberty High School, the earthquake happened during lunch, when some upperclassmen were off campus eating at restaurants. After the quake, students reported to their first period class on football field where teaches took attendance.

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