Issaquah schools receive $150,085 in donations

October 16, 2012

Programs and classrooms in the Issaquah School District got a $150,000 boost last month in the form of donations.

The various gifts were approved by the school board during its regular meetings Sept. 12 and 26.

The first allotment, $90,750 was approved Sept. 12 and included a $56,250 check from the Issaquah Schools Foundation. The money is set to be divided among four district programs — $12,750 for financial literacy, $18,000 for high school robotics, $7,500 for middle school robotics and $18,000 for pre-K summer school.

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Issaquah History Museums unveils oral history treasure trove

August 28, 2012

For decades, old cassette tapes sat squirreled away in the Issaquah History Museums’ expansive collection.

The cassettes, long relegated to gathering dust, contained oral histories from early residents and intimate details about a bygone era — Issaquah in the early 20th century, as a coal- and timber-fueled boom started to wane and decades before explosive growth transformed the area into subdivisions and shopping centers.

The cassettes in the oral history collection ranged in date from 1958 to 1993, but little information accompanied the tapes, so museum staffers and volunteers could only speculate about the contents.

Until now.

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Student stacker piles up cups, accumulates titles

July 24, 2012

Benjamin Royce

In second grade, Benjamin Royce found his passion: speed stacking plastic cups.

Now, he will travel to Houston from July 27-28 to compete in the Amateur Athletic Union Junior Olympic Games Sport Stacking Championships. This is the first year stacking has been a part of the games.

Because stacking is a worldwide sport, Benjamin said he’s excited to go and see world record holders and about 350 stackers.

The World Sport Stacking Association invited him because he placed in the top tier of his age division at the Northwest regional tournament. There, he also received two first-place and four second-place medals.

“All the tournaments were very exciting because you get to see all the really fast people,” Benjamin said.

There are three different stacks players make with different amounts of cups. For example, three stacks of three cups that are built into three pyramids, erected and taken down from left to right.

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Maple Hills Elementary School musical pays homage to rock

June 12, 2012

Lacey Williams, Drew Cain, Bailee Hawkins and Aden Bryan (from left) rock out on stage June 7 during Maple Hills Elementary School’s fifth-grade musical ‘Rock and Roll Forever.’ Photo by Lillian Tucker

To celebrate the end of the year, fifth-graders at Maple Hills Elementary School did what many of them enjoy most — performing.

“I love entertaining people,” Andrew Intonti said.

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Issaquah School Board is unhappy about King County’s school site decisions

May 8, 2012

Members of the Issaquah School Board were unhappy to hear last week that a district-owned 80-acre property is most likely unusable.

“We own the land. If the county wants to condemn it then they can pay us and we’ll go find something else,” board member Brian Deagle said.

The board got the bad news at its April 26 meeting, when it received an update about the recent recommendations of the King County School Siting Task Force.

In his presentation to the board, Steve Crawford, director of capital projects for the Issaquah School District, explained that one of the recommendations is for Issaquah to basically give up the nearly 80 acres of land it owns on Southeast May Valley Road. The $1.4 million property, which sits between Squak Mountain to the north and the Cedar Hills Regional Landfill to the south, is outside of King County’s urban growth boundary.

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Issaquah PTSA honors outstanding volunteers at Golden Acorn Awards

April 3, 2012

The primary decorations were orange construction cones and yellow caution tape. Winners were described in terms keeping with that theme, such as construction tools or architects. One winner from the Issaquah School District PTSA Council was described as “the construction glue” that holds the council together.

Gathered in the commons of Pacific Cascade Middle School, the Issaquah PTSA Council held its annual Golden Acorn Awards ceremony March 27.

Not counting the several winners from the districtwide PTSA council, the night honored approximately 75 winners from 23 PTSA units, said Becky Lawrence, vice-president of elementary schools for the PTSA council. A committee of PTSA leaders from each school picked the winners from their individual schools, Lawrence added. As you might expect, criteria included what PTSA members have done for their schools, but also the district and their involvement in the community as a whole.

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Maple Hills Elementary remains closed as other Issaquah School District campuses reopen

January 23, 2012

NEW — 6:20 a.m. Jan. 23, 2012

Maple Hills Elementary School is closed Monday due the ongoing power outage in the school’s neighborhood, Issaquah School District officials announced.

Students at other Issaquah School District campuses return to classes Monday after a weeklong break due to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday and subsequent snow days.

Officials raised concerns about heating Maple Hills Elementary after the power returns, and the ability to get systems running normally after the outage ends.

The snow-related interruption impacted the finals schedule at Issaquah, Liberty and Skyline high schools, as well as athletic and extracurricular events across the district.

School administrators adjusted the finals schedule to adapt to the snow days.

Monday is a review day at Issaquah High and Skyline. The finals half-days fall on Tuesday and Thursday.

Because school websites remain unavailable, Liberty students should prepare for finals from periods 3 and 4 on Monday, periods 7 and 8 on Tuesday, periods 1 and 2 on Wednesday, and periods 5 and 6 on Thursday.

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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Nordstrom social-media maven shares a passion for fashion

July 26, 2011

The palatial Nordstrom flagship store almost doubles as a closet for Sanda Belaire, a designer saleswoman at the downtown Seattle landmark.

Sanda Belaire

In a 21st-century spin on renowned Nordstrom customer service, Belaire uses Facebook, Twitter and other tools to invite others to explore the fashion fantasyland, exchange ideas about the latest looks and select items for customers. The longtime Issaquah-area resident seamlessly melds chic and geek as a designer saleswoman and social-media maven for the Elle-and-Vogue set.

“I’m a firm believer in keeping up with technology,” she said. “You have to keep up with the world or it leaves you behind.”

Belaire shares snippets — a fire-engine-red Gucci dress, a Dolce & Gabbana lace sheath, a Jason Wu coat trimmed in ostrich feathers and velvet Miu Miu pumps attached to oversized bows, not unlike gifts beneath a Christmas tree — in iPhone photos posted to Twitter and Tumblr, popular social media sites.

“Twitter is another door into the store,” she said.

In 2008, Belaire joined the microblogging site and, a year later, created a popular account dedicated solely to style. The smartphone snapshots and 140-character musings reach almost 3,000 followers nowadays.

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Maple Hills Elementary gets new principal

July 5, 2011

A new Eagle has landed at Maple Hills Elementary School.

Sondra Maier, an elementary school teacher in the Federal Way School District, will take the reins as principal of the school in July.

Former Maple Hills Principal Monique Beane announced in June that she would move to Pacific Cascade Middle School, where she would work as assistant principal.

Shortly after Beane’s departure, Issaquah School District administrators began the search for her replacement. Parents filled out surveys online, indicating their preference for a principal who promoted transparency, collaboration and high standards, according to an email Superintendent Steve Rasmussen sent to parents June 29.

“I believe we have found those qualities — in abundance — in Ms. Maier,” he wrote.

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