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.
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.
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.
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.
After all, the three were about to make history, representing the very first graduating class of Issaquah High School.
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.
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.
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.
November 24, 2013
NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 24, 2013
The Issaquah School Board was one of 15 entities in the state named as a Board of Distinction by the Washington State School Directors’ Association on Nov. 18.
It’s the fifth consecutive year Issaquah has earned the Board of Distinction honor. Issaquah’s board is comprised of Brian Deagle, Marnie Maraldo, Alison Meryweather, Anne Moore and Suzanne Weaver.
The other school boards that earned distinctions were Anacortes, Auburn, Ferndale, Franklin Pierce, Kent, Lake Stevens, Monroe, Port Angeles, Pullman, South Kitsap, Sunnyside, Tumwater, University Place and Vancouver.
November 12, 2013
A week after the Nov. 5 general election, challenger Lisa Callan has widened her lead and won a seat on the Issaquah School Board.
Numbers posted to the King County Elections’ website Nov. 8 show Callan with 9,141 votes, nearly 600 more than incumbent board member Alison Meryweather.
Callan’s vote total represents 51.52 percent of the total ballots counted. While there may be a few thousand ballots left to count, Callan’s lead has grown since initial results were reported. Her lead is also well above the threshold of 0.5 percent that would trigger a mandatory recount.
November 12, 2013
Prior to the Issaquah School Board’s Oct. 30 meeting, the five-member board and Superintendent Ron Thiele met with four state lawmakers to discuss how public schools were impacted by this year’s legislative session.
The board had about 90 minutes to speak with Rep. Ross Hunter (D-48th District), Rep. Tana Senn (D-41st), Sen. Mark Mullet (D-5th) and Rep. Chad Magendanz (R-5th), a former Issaquah School Board president.
Board member Anne Moore said the group “had a great conversation” surrounding several issues, including school finances resulting from the state budget; the new Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced assessment tests that students will deal with next year; and the end in 2018 of a levy lid lift allowing districts to request more voter-approved dollars.
October 22, 2013
Policy and training divided the two Issaquah School District school board candidates at an Oct. 17 candidate forum.
Appointed board member Allison Meryweather is attempting to win her first election for the position against Lisa Callan, who also applied for the board appointment earlier this year.
“I discovered first hand the lack of funding our state provides our schools,” Meryweather said about her time on the board and volunteering in classrooms. “It’s not just about funding. It’s also about how we strategically invest those dollars.”
Callan said she believed her leadership roles in The Boeing Co. and a long history involved in the educational system qualifies her for the board position.