December 4, 2012
Newcastle Elementary School received $26,000 in donations from its PTSA Nov. 7.
The money was accepted as two separate gifts from the school’s PTSA during the Nov. 7 Issaquah School Board meeting.
The largest one, $16,000, will be used to buy a SmartCart mobile computer lab, which will help teachers temporarily turn their classrooms into computer labs for specific lessons.
The other $10,000 was donated with the intent to purchase new fitness equipment for the physical education program at Newcastle.
November 29, 2012
NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 29, 2012
When the first day of school comes next fall, 175 students will bid farewell to Grand Ridge Elementary School and say hello to Clark Elementary School.
The move was announced Nov. 19 as part of a boundary shift that will help alleviate crowding at Grand Ridge. Along with the change, all Grand Ridge kindergartners will be housed next year at Challenger and Endeavour elementary schools.
Located in the continually expanding Issaquah Highlands, Grand Ridge has the capacity for about 600 students, according to Jake Kuper, chief financial officer for the Issaquah School District. With the use of portable classrooms, the capacity jumps to 800.
Right now, the school has 879 full-time students and, without the boundary shift, would have 987 full-time students next year. The changes bring that attendance number to 730 for next year.
November 28, 2012
NEW — 9:15 p.m. Nov. 28, 2012
Superintendent Steve Rasmussen recommended Wednesday for Liberty High School to switch to a six-period schedule.
For nearly two decades, the school has used an eight-period block schedule where students take four 90-minute classes each day. However, in order to establish a common, districtwide high school schedule, and to give Liberty students more time to study core subjects, the Issaquah School District is considering changing Liberty’s timetable.
Rasmussen made his recommendation to the Issaquah School Board during a work study session. The main reason, he said, is because the existing block schedule gives Liberty students 127 hours per class each year, where Issaquah High School has 161 hours and Skyline High School has 165.
“What I am saying is: I don’t want lower standards for a group of our students. I don’t want them to be short-changed,” Rasmussen said.
November 20, 2012
As the 17-year-old block schedule at Liberty High School faces a possible ax at a Dec. 12 Issaquah School Board meeting, people on both sides of the issue are not taking the looming decision lightly.
That includes the school board, which plans a policy change to ensure that it has the final say. Typically, it is up to the superintendent to set schedules, but the board is making sure it will have to approve any change.
“When it comes down to it, it’s an important aspect of our schools and as important as other things that we have said we want the board to have a role in,” board President Brian Deagle said in a phone interview.
November 20, 2012
Matthew McSweeney spends a lot of time on the computer, so when the senior at Skyline High School failed geometry last year his parents suggested he give math class another go, but instead online.
Fast-forward to fall semester and McSweeney is less than half way through his online course but is already three weeks ahead in the material.
“Some people think it’s hard, but for me I think it’s easier, because I just learn better through a computer,” he said, explaining that he has a hard time concentrating in class because it’s hard to ignore all the other things going on around him. “So, instead, I can work at home and not have to hear other students and it’s more personal.”
It also helps, he added, that the credit retrieval course in basic math explains everything with digital pages full of step-by-step instructions that he can review anytime he has questions.
November 20, 2012
The Issaquah School Board approved more than $65,000 worth of changes Nov. 7 to Phase 1 construction at Liberty High School.
The change order from Bayley Construction includes $59,767 in additions and $5,677 in taxes.
The most expensive of the eight changes is $16,650 to remove unsuitable soil and replace it with structural fill. Other additions include $14,671 for electrical work for the ticket booth and $14,247 for landscaping, including extra irrigation needed to complete a new parking lot.
November 20, 2012
Issaquah School Board’s tiny step may imply big change
There is something big going on at the Issaquah School Board, and we’re watching with interest.
For years now, the school board has been working under a governance policy that puts the superintendent and his administration in the driver’s seat. The board sets the goals, but leaves the method to the educators to figure out how to achieve those goals.
The governance policy model is effective, provided that the board members are asking a lot of questions and offering oversight. The administration lets the board know what new directions are in the works and the board nods its collective head.
November 13, 2012
Republican Chad Magendanz triumphed in the race to represent Issaquah and the 5th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives, and in the process, set up a vacancy on the Issaquah School Board.
Magendanz defeated North Bend Democrat David Spring, a candidate for the seat in 2008 and 2010. The challengers vied to succeed retiring state Rep. Glenn Anderson, a Fall City Republican and lawmaker for a dozen years.
“I’m really looking forward to getting out of campaign mode — which has been the focus for the last year — and rolling up my sleeves and really getting into the tough problems to solve down in Olympia,” Magendanz said a day after the election.
Magendanz said decisions made in Olympia often frustrated the school board and Issaquah School District leaders.
November 13, 2012
During its regular meeting Oct. 24, the Issaquah School Board approved more than $51,000 of additional building costs for the Maywood Middle School modernization project.
The change includes $47,309 worth of additions and $4,068 in taxes, bringing the grand total of the construction contract to more than $14 million. Changes include $6,829 for gym work, $2,834 to revise the venting in the kiln room and $3,571 to reroute roof drain pipes to clear the new framing. The largest ticket item was $15,467 for conduits, sewer and footing revisions for expansion of the cafeteria.
The original estimated cost for Maywood was $12.19 million. After several previous board-approved change orders, the price tag rose to $13.08 million. The total, including tax, now stands at $14.25 million.
November 8, 2012
NEW — 12:10 p.m. Nov. 8, 2012
The contest for the 5th Legislative District state Senate seat is too close to call, Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft said Thursday, despite a 3,307-vote lead for Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet.
The race attracted attention in recent weeks for the insults the candidates lobbed at one another and, for a time, observers said the match-up could determine state Senate control. However, Republicans did not gain enough seats on Election Day to crack the Democrats’ majority in the chamber.
Mullet held about 54 percent — or 23,216 votes — to Toft’s 46 percent — or 19,909 votes — among more than 43,000 ballots counted in the race so far.
King County Elections is scheduled to release additional results at 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Thursday.