Issaquah High School students receive C-SPAN prize, special visit

April 8, 2014

C-SPAN brought awards and a traveling studio to Issaquah High School students April 4.

Seniors Olivia Marcus and Paige Montague won third prize in the network’s 2014 Studentcam video competition, in which high school students tailor a message to Congress on what they see as the country’s most pressing issue.

By Peter Clark Olivia Marcus (left), one of Issaquah High School’s two third-prize winners in C-SPAN’s annual Studentcam competition, listens to C-SPAN Marketing Manager Heath Neiderer explain how the visiting media bus educates the public about the network’s public service.

By Peter Clark
Olivia Marcus (left), one of Issaquah High School’s two third-prize winners in C-SPAN’s annual Studentcam competition, listens to C-SPAN Marketing Manager Heath Neiderer explain how the visiting media bus educates the public about the network’s public service.

The duo submitted a video, “Clean Energy Legislation: A Message to the U.S. Congress,” which was chosen as one of 13 third-place winners from the western United States. They won framed awards and $750.

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Editorial

April 8, 2014

Tiger Mountain school rethink can work

The Issaquah School Board is planning some big changes for Tiger Mountain Community High School. Some of these changes are necessary, but the disruption of the community is not.

Tiger Mountain has about 100 students who would generally be considered “at risk.” The school tries to reach these students with nontraditional methods in an attempt to keep them engaged.

The attempt isn’t working as well as it should. The school’s graduation rate of 37 percent shows this. Whatever methods district officials are attempting are actually reaching only a fraction of the students.

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State Rep. Chad Magendanz moves up to leadership position in House Education Committee

April 4, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. April 4, 2014

Freshman State Rep. Chad Magendanz (R-5th District, Issaquah) was named the new ranking Republican on the House Education Committee March 31.

Chad Magendanz

Chad Magendanz

The announcement came after Rep. Cathy Dahlquist (R-31st District, Enumclaw) resigned her committee position.

Magendanz moved up from the committee’s assistant ranking Republican, a position he has held since he was sworn in as a legislator.

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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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Here’s to getting to know you — at long last

April 1, 2014

I’ve been working for this newspaper for 10 months, so it seems high time I got around to introducing myself.

To be perfectly honest, I’ve never been a big fan of reporters who write about themselves, even in opinion pieces. My job is to tell your stories, not my own. But hey, most people are a little curious about the guy hanging around the school board meetings and the high-school football games, so I’m happy to oblige.

Neil Pierson Press reporter

Neil Pierson
Press reporter

I grew up in Spokane and matriculated to the fine institution of Washington State University to get my journalism degree. Basically, it’s the only school I ever wanted to attend because half my family did as well. My dad, aunt and uncle all earned pharmacy degrees in Pullman. For three years, I lived in the same dormitory my grandfather did in the 1940s.

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Tiger Mountain community speaks out on school’s possible closure

March 18, 2014

Last month’s news that Tiger Mountain Community High School could be closed has sparked sadness, anger and shock among students and parents at the Issaquah School District’s alternative high school.

The Issaquah School Board began publicly discussing a possible closure Feb. 12, and droves of Tiger Mountain community members showed up for that meeting. Several people returned to speak to the board at its March 12 meeting.

Neil Schmidt, who graduated from Tiger Mountain last year, said he was “dumbfounded” and “appalled” the district would consider closing the school, which has provided a nontraditional learning environment for high-school students since 1991. The school currently has an enrollment of about 100.

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Community Cornerstone

February 21, 2014

May 30, 1911, was a special occasion for Issaquah resident Mabel Ek.

So special, in fact, that the moment called for a new outfit. Ek arrived at Issaquah’s Baptist Church, near what is now the Darigold plant, wearing a new dress, knitted gloves and shoes specially ordered from Oregon.

City residents, of which there were only 500 at the time, arrived in droves to honor Ek and her classmates Mary and Olive Gibson.

Issaquah History Museums FIC.2000.049   The 1921 Issaquah High School women’s basketball team are (from left) May Wilkinson, Alix Sween, Erma Brown, Pearl Peck, Marie Chevalier, Alene O’Connor, Julia Erickson and Mildred Thompson.

Issaquah History Museums FIC.2000.049
The 1921 Issaquah High School women’s basketball team are (from left) May Wilkinson, Alix Sween, Erma Brown, Pearl Peck, Marie Chevalier, Alene O’Connor, Julia Erickson and Mildred Thompson.

After all, the three were about to make history, representing the very first graduating class of Issaquah High School.

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Schools won’t revise homework policies

February 4, 2014

After an 18-month process that included many discussions with parents, teachers and students, the Issaquah School District has decided not to make any changes to existing policies and procedures about homework.

Superintendent Ron Thiele announced the decision at the Issaquah School Board’s Jan. 29 meeting. While no changes are coming, Thiele said the process sparked an important discussion throughout the district, and administrators reserve the right to make changes when they are deemed necessary.

Thiele also admitted the decision may not satisfy everyone.

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Schools plan future around expected growth

December 17, 2013

Officials are hoping to break ground on the new Issaquah Middle School next summer, and the replacement building will look much different than what was first envisioned.

The city of Issaquah’s 30-year plan for its central business district is expected to add more than 7,700 residential units, and it’s forcing the Issaquah School District to think more about long-term impacts to its facilities.

Steve Crawford, the district’s director of capital projects, told school board members Dec. 11 that if downtown Issaquah grows as projected in the Central Issaquah Plan in the next three decades, it would add an estimated 2,850 students to the school district’s enrollment. That represents a 15 percent increase over the district’s current population of 18,400 students.

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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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