Off the Press

November 8, 2011

Christina Lords Press reporter

Lessons in life taught by Mrs. Tinnea

I can’t shake the joy in Katie Tinnea’s voice.

She’s just concluded another successful day with her class full of 6- and 7-year-old first-graders at Newcastle Elementary School.

She sounds bright — smart, yes, but more than that. It’s like she exudes happiness —sunshine, even — over the phone as I make my way through another damp, dreary Issaquah day at the office.

Katie tells me that aside from her self-described No. 1 job of being the best mother she can be to her 14-month-old daughter Kennedy and loving wife to her husband Ryan, the 29-year-old Sammamish resident and Newcastle teacher is living with stage IV colon cancer — the most advanced form of the disease.

Stage IV means her colon cancer has been carried through her lymph system to distant parts of her body, including additional tumors in her liver and spots on her lungs.

Stage IV means she’ll be on routine maintenance chemotherapy, a treatment once every other week, for the rest of her life.

Read more

Past bond ushers in school renovation projects

August 23, 2011

In February 2006, Issaquah School District voters approved a $241.8 million bond issue to fund new construction and renovations around the district.

Maywood Middle School is being expanded and modernized. sky-pix aerial photography

The schools are following the plan laid out to voters with one exception, according to information on the district website.

In early 2007, the district acted to redirect construction dollars originally earmarked to fund construction of a new middle school, the district’s fifth. Because of changed enrollment and other factors, officials decided, rather than build a new school, they would convert the Pacific Cascade Freshman Campus into a full-blown middle school beginning in fall 2010. As a result, the Issaquah and Skyline high school campuses were revamped to include space for new freshmen.

Funded by that 2006 bond issue, here are some of the projects still under way in the district.

“The biggies are all down on the south end this year,” said Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications.

• Planners slated Maywood Middle School in Renton for a modernization and expansion project. According to the latest construction update from the district this month, Maywood’s old administration/commons area and counseling offices are gone, with construction of replacement facilities under way. Demolition of the parking lots and sidewalks are nearing completion with rebuilding scheduled to have already started. Grading of new parking areas has begun.

Read more

Group fishes for revival of Salmon in the Classroom program

August 9, 2011

Liza Rickey (left), Clark Elementary School teacher, with fifth-graders including Aria Soeprono and Rebecca Ellis, watch as their coho fry swim away. By Greg Farrar

Like the miniscule fish reared in the program, Salmon in the Classroom could return.

Read more

King County honors 11 Issaquah district ‘green’ schools

June 28, 2011

Thanks to the “green” conservation work of staff members and students, the King County Green Schools Program is honoring 11 schools in the Issaquah School District.

In total, King County will honor 77 schools across the country, including the 11 schools in Issaquah.

The three-level Green Schools Program provides hands-on assistance, recycling containers and signs, and website tools to schools. In addition to the Green Schools Program, King County provides an elementary school assembly program, classroom workshops and support for student green teams.

The program has saved schools and the district money from successful waste reduction and recycling programs, and reducing energy and water use.

Seven schools in the district have achieved Level One status, including Apollo, Cougar Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Sunny Hills and Sunset elementary schools; Pacific Cascade Middle School; and Issaquah High School. Level One schools focus on waste reduction and recycling.

Two schools in the district achieved Level Two, including Creekside and Newcastle elementary schools, after students and teachers targeted energy conservation.

The other two schools — Issaquah Middle School and Liberty High School — completed Level Three after students and teachers worked on water conservation.

“Thanks to support from King County Green Schools and city of Issaquah, the students and staff at these 11 schools understand why conservation is important and are doing a great job conserving natural resources and dollars,” John Macartney, the district’s resource conservation manager, said in a news release.

Supporters meet fundraising goal for science curriculum

June 21, 2011

After 47 days of fundraising at McDonald’s and Zeeks Pizza, and in various school parking lots, the Issaquah Schools Foundation and the Issaquah PTSA Council have raised enough money for a new elementary school science curriculum this fall.

The current elementary school science curriculum, last updated in 2003, does not meet state standards.

The fundraising campaign began April 29, the day after the foundation’s annual luncheon. There, foundation community representative Leigh Stokes explained that the district had initially set money aside for the curriculum update, but after the Legislature cut $1.45 million from the district’s budget midyear, the district could no longer afford the curriculum update on its own.

The district committed $700,000 to the elementary school science update, and the foundation and PTSAs partnered to raise the remaining $500,000.

Recently, district administrators negotiated with the curricula vendors and bargained for a better price. Originally, the update was supposed to cost $1.2 million, but after the negotiation, the price tag dropped to $1.1 million. The district is also saving money by developing a specific curriculum of its own, which has a price tag of $50,000.

Read more

King County honors 11 ‘green’ Issaquah district schools

June 16, 2011

NEW — 3 p.m. June 16, 2011

Thanks to the “green” conservation work of staff and students, King County Green Schools Program is honoring 11 schools in the Issaquah School District.

In total, the county will honor 77 schools across the country, including the 11 schools in Issaquah.

The three-level Green Schools Program provides hands-on assistance, recycling containers and signs and website tools to schools. In addition to the Green Schools Program, King County provides an elementary school assembly program, classroom workshops and support for student “green” teams.

The program has saved schools and the district money from successful waste reduction and recycling programs and reducing energy and water use.

Read more

Supporters meet fundraising goal for science curriculum

June 14, 2011

Kasten Donahoe and Abigail Serna participate in the effort to raise money for updated science curriculum. By Lynn Juniel

NEW — 3:45 p.m. June 14, 2011

After 47 days of fundraising at McDonald’s, Zeek’s Pizza and in school parking lots, the Issaquah Schools Foundation and the Issaquah PTSA Council have raised enough money for a new elementary science curriculum this fall.

The current elementary science curriculum, last updated in 2003, does not meet state standards.

Read more

Bears awaken from hibernation

May 17, 2011

Wildlife experts advise caution as local sightings increase

Bears take refuge in a Sammamish Plateau tree during a May sighting. By Bent Wiencke

State Department of Fish and Wildlife agents responded to a bear in a home last week, after a surprised Issaquah woman discovered the animal pawing around inside a locked garage.

The incident underscored the need for education about black bears as the close encounters between humans and bears start for the year.

State wildlife officials and organizations remind residents in Issaquah and other communities near bear habitat to take precautions as soon as possible to limit the potential for dangerous encounters.

Bear Awareness Week is observed in Washington through May 21.

The incident relating to the bear in the garage is the latest sighting in recent weeks as bears started to emerge from hibernation early last month.

Issaquah School District administrators spotted bears near several campuses in April and May, including Cascade Ridge, Clark and Newcastle elementary schools. Police received a call about a bear at the downtown Issaquah Salmon Hatchery in late April.

Residents have reported frequent sightings in neighborhoods throughout the city. In the latest example, Issaquah police officers received a call at 11:43 a.m. May 10 about a bear inside a garage in a tree-lined neighborhood near the Sammamish Family YMCA, not far from Providence Point.

Read more

Video class teaches next generation of directors

May 17, 2011

Roll out the red carpet, hit the spotlights and flash the cameras, because students at Newcastle Elementary School have footage in the can.

Dylan Strode (center) takes charge as a videographer and Holly Rice (right) directs a scene while recreating Mo Williams’ book ‘Knuffle Bunny Too.’ By Tim Pfarr

Five years ago, the school launched its Video Production Club. It has since become one of the most popular groups on campus. More than 50 students applied for the 25 spots in the club this year to learn the basics of filmmaking, from storyboarding to completion.

The projects help the students work better in teams, learn how to tell stories in creative ways, acquire new skills and identify their own strengths within the medium, said MJ Keller, fourth-grade teacher and club leader.

The club is offered to fourth- and fifth-graders twice a year, with weekly meetings before school. Each session, students complete a film between five and 20 minutes long, and they use their final meeting to roll out a red carpet — literally — and screen their work for parents.

This spring’s session includes 16 students, who split into small groups to create films under the guidance of a teacher.

Read more

Top volunteers honored at Golden Acorn Awards

April 5, 2011

For every strong school, there are strong volunteers who organize cultural fairs, chaperone field trips, coordinate family fun nights, photocopy assignments and hold bank days for student deposits.

The Issaquah PTSA Council awarded 73 volunteers from 23 schools with Golden Acorn Awards at the 2011 Recognizing Our All-Stars reception March 29.

Boy Scout Troop Pack 636 started the function with a flag salute, and Issaquah PTSA Council President Janine Kotan welcomed the crowd.

The ceremony had a sports theme, with presenters dressed in their favorite sports garb and giving speeches about how volunteers had wowed their fans and hit home runs for their schools.

Jennifer Good, a parent volunteer at Challenger Elementary School, said she began volunteering to meet people and promote education. She organized an ice cream social at the beginning of the year, while Ruth Steck, another parent volunteer, regularly snaps photos of students for the Challenger yearbook.

Both women said they appreciated the Golden Acorn Awards, though, “You don’t do it to be recognized,” Good said.

Read more

« Previous PageNext Page »