School officials review survey results prior to contract negotiations

January 17, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 17, 2014

Issaquah School District administrators and members of its teachers’ union bargaining team met Jan. 9 to discuss the results of a community values survey.

The survey, conducted during the fall by the Issaquah PTSA Council, sought to gain information from district parents, students and teachers. The council conducted similar surveys prior to the last two rounds of contract negotiations between the district and the teachers’ union, the Issaquah Education Association.

The current IEA contract runs through Aug. 31. In 2010, negotiations began in March and a new four-year deal was ratified in June.

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Issaquah teachers are critical of ‘unsustainable workloads’

November 26, 2013

New standards, longer work days are top complaints

Members of the Issaquah Education Association met with the Issaquah School Board for an hour last week, and much of the discussion centered on what the IEA president termed “unsustainable workloads” for teachers.

During a study session prior to the school board’s Nov. 13 meeting, the IEA — a union of more than 1,000 certificated teachers — spoke about the results of a bargaining survey conducted this fall. More than 70 percent of Issaquah’s teachers responded, and a few common complaints emerged.

Washington’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards, along with a new evaluation system for teachers and principals, have led to increased workloads and a general sense of overwhelming stress among educators, IEA officials said.

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Alison Meryweather, Lisa Callan vie for Issaquah School Board seat

October 1, 2013

Alison Meryweather and Lisa Callan are familiar with each other, having been finalists for the Issaquah School Board’s vacant position earlier this year.

Meryweather was appointed to the Position 4 post — left open by Chad Magendanz’s move to the state House of Representatives — in March. But Meryweather will have to impress voters to keep the job, and Callan will challenge her again on the Nov. 5 ballot.

The Position 4 seat covers the southeast region of the district. Although candidates run for a specific geographic seat, voters districtwide cast ballots for all Issaquah School Board members. Members are elected to four-year terms.

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Issaquah Schools Foundation to screen ‘Race to Nowhere’

October 15, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Oct. 15, 2012

The public can attend the education documentary “Race to Nowhere” at the Issaquah High School Performing Arts Center on Tuesday.

“Race to Nowhere” is the initial entry in the Issaquah Schools Foundation’s 2012-13 Community Conversations series. The film starts at 7 p.m. at the high school theater, 700 Second Ave. S.E.

Filmmaker Vicki Abeles turned a lens on the achievement-obssessed culture and pressure to perform in America’s schools, and explores the price students pay for the ensuing “race to nowhere.” Attendees can also share reactions to the film during a post-screening discussion.

Admission to the event is free, but organizers ask for attendees to bring a goodwill donation of a box of NutriGrain bars in support of the Issaquah Schools Foundation’s Basic Students Needs Fund.

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Press Editorial

August 21, 2012

Children win when community unites

There is nothing like a good challenge, especially in the name of a good cause. Issaquah’s two leading service clubs — Rotary and Kiwanis — challenged each other to see who would donate the most for the purchase of computer flash drives for students in need.

The club challenge was just a small part of a wonderful outpouring of support to fill 1,000 backpacks for kids registered with the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank.

Numerous groups got together to coordinate the drive. The PTSA Council and Issaquah Education Association kicked things off by gathering donations of gift cards that could be used to purchase school supplies.

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Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank to provide backpacks, school supplies

July 17, 2012

The Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank is prepared to meet the school supply needs of up to 1,000 returning students this fall, about twice as many as last year.

Low-income families in need of backpacks and school supplies should sign up at the food bank, 179 First Ave. S.E. Students must be attending school in the Issaquah School District.

Refer families in need of backpacks to the food bank.

The backpacks and supplies are being donated by numerous individuals and businesses in the community, including Kiwanis Club of Issaquah, Issaquah Schools Foundation, SanMar, Issaquah Rotary Club, Office Depot, Issaquah Education Association and others.

Local PTAs collected $500 in gift card donations in June to support the bulk purchase of supplies.

Donations can be sent or dropped off at the food bank. Call 391-4123 for more information.

Issaquah School District administrators tackle homework, grading practices

July 17, 2012

School may be out, but homework is on a lot of people’s minds.

Superintendent Steve Rasmussen announced his plans, at the Issaquah School Board meeting June 20 to make homework and grading practices a hot topic of conversation during the 2012-13 school year.

“This is a topic that has piqued the interest of parents, and we agree,” he said. “I am confident that at the end of the year we will have a different appreciation for what homework is and how it connects to its purposes.”

Rasmussen laid out a plan for the homework conversation that is set to begin with the board’s retreat Aug. 21-22 and continue through next June. The first step in his plan is to review the district’s homework policy, look at Issaquah’s common homework practices, discuss the goal of homework and begin to make policy recommendations. Also on the list is gathering research on the topic and discussing the connection between homework and grading.

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Schools eye teacher evaluation system as state model

February 28, 2012

Hoping to take the lead in implementing a coming change in state law, local school officials have settled on a teacher evaluation system that could end up being a model for all of Washington.

The Issaquah School District will now spend time ramping up to implementation of the new system, according to Associate Superintendent Ron Thiele, as well information released by the district.

The new teacher and principal evaluation system should be in place in time for the next school year.

In fall 2013, every Washington public school will be implementing a state-mandated system to evaluate the performance of teachers and principals.

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Issaquah Schools Foundation’s education-based film series debuts

February 14, 2012

'The Race to Nowhere'

Three years ago, Vicki Abeles said her daughter, then 12, was pretty much like other children her age.

Her mom watched as her daughter juggled school, homework and various extracurricular activities. Then, her daughter began suffering panic attacks in the middle of the night. On one particular evening, Abeles and her husband found the girl doubled over in pain and rushed her to an emergency room.

“When she was diagnosed with a stress-induced illness, I was determined to do something,” Abeles said.

That something ultimately led to the documentary “The Race to Nowhere,” which will be shown at Issaquah High School on March 1.

Doors open at 6 p.m.; the film starts at 6:30 p.m. A discussion follows from 8-9 p.m. The Issaquah Schools Foundation is sponsoring the film along with the school district, the Issaquah Education Association and the Issaquah PTSA.

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Issaquah School District to pilot teacher evaluation process

December 13, 2011

In fall 2013, every Washington public school will implement a state-mandated system to evaluate the performance of teachers and principals.

According to the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the vast majority of districts in the state do not use a research-based instructional framework to guide teacher evaluations. The Issaquah School District is an exception and district officials decided they wanted to be a part of any coming changes.

“We decided we wanted to be on the forefront of that,” said Sara Niegowski, executive director of communications for the district.

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