Preliminary timeline is in place for school, fields construction

May 15, 2012

Issaquah School District officials are wasting no time when it comes to putting their recently approved $219 million bond into action.

The school board reviewed a preliminary schedule of projects and timeline for school construction and other district upgrades at its May 9 meeting. Some projects could begin as soon as July and other smaller projects extend through the end of 2019.

“Somebody has to be first and somebody has to be last,” said Jacob Kuper, chief operations officer for the district.

Phase 2 construction of Liberty High School and Phase 2 at Maywood Middle School are first in line with finishes projected by the end of 2013. At the caboose of the tentative timeline of the larger projects is the reconstruction of Sunny Hills Elementary School, which wouldn’t finish until December 2018.

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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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School leaders prepare for potential problems as food allergies rise

February 14, 2012

Students gather for lunch last week in the cafeteria of Issaquah Middle School. If a student has a food allergy, he or she can be put at an isolated table. By Tom Corrigan

There is absolutely no doubt that instances of food allergies have increased, said physician and allergist Marlene Peng, of Minor and James Medical in Seattle.

“No one knows quite why,” added Peng, though she did say there are several theories.

The issue of food allergies hit home in the Issaquah School District last month when an Issaquah High School student suffered what was described as a severe reaction to kiwi. From the school’s point of view, that specific issue is moot, as the student withdrew from local schools Jan. 26. Withdrawal forms do not require a reason for leaving the school and no reason was given in this instance, Sara Niegowski, district executive director of communications, said in response to a public records request.

In the past, officials have said the district had a personalized health plan in place to deal with the student’s allergy. Creation of a unique health plan is one of several standardized steps the district takes when notified of any student health issue, including allergies, said Jan Stromgren, a registered nurse serving Pine Lake Middle School, who is also the nursing team leader for the district.

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Local students cast ballots in statewide mock election

November 15, 2011

Though most students in primary and secondary schools do not meet the minimum voting age, the under-18 crowd still participated in the November election — sort of.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed invited students in kindergarten to 12th grade to participate in the 2011 State Mock Election, a state-sponsored educational effort designed to establish voter participation later in life.

In the Issaquah School District, classes at Sunset and Sunny Hills elementary schools, Pine Lake Middle School and Issaquah High School joined the mock election. The librarian at Sunset Elementary even handed out “I Voted” stickers to students.

Older students voted for the same statewide measures as adults in the real election. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade received more age-appropriate measures.

Issaquah School District students endorsed the liquor privatization measure, Initiative 1183, 58 percent to 42 percent. Local students also backed the tolling measure, Initiative 1125, 60 percent to 40 percent, and the long-term care measure, Initiative 1163, 71 percent to 29 percent.

Statewide, 13,901 students participated in the process.

Issaquah School District students join statewide mock election

November 3, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Nov. 3, 2011

Though most students in primary and secondary schools do not meet the minimum voting age, the under-18 crowd can still participate in the November election — sort of.

Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed invited students in kindergarten to 12th grade to participate in the 2011 State Mock Election, a state-sponsored educational effort designed to establish voter participation later in life.

In the Issaquah School District, classes at Sunset and Sunny Hills elementary schools, Pine Lake Middle School and Issaquah High School joined the mock election. The librarian at Sunset Elementary even has a roll of “I Voted” stickers to hand out to students.

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Student stars in county’s ‘Let’s Do This!’ health campaign

September 20, 2011

Hillary Dominguez, 12, of Sammamish, poses near the ‘Let's Do This!’ campaign billboard on East Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast. By Greg Farrar

“When she was really little,” Frances Clairmont said of daughter Hillary Dominguez, “she used to point at the TV and say, ‘I’m going to do that.’”

Clairmont said that at first, she and the rest of her family really weren’t sure if Hillary was hoping to be a doctor, a model or whatever other profession was being portrayed on the screen.

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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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Math students calculate the best way to success

June 7, 2011

The Beaver Lake Middle School math team poses with awards after the 2011 Washington State Math Championship May 7 in Blaine. By Dennis Rogers

Eighth-grader Tommy Lin does not care if people call him a nerd because he likes math.

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Issaquah School District considers $228 million bond

May 24, 2011

Though far from complete, the 2012 Issaquah School District bond has something for all of the district’s 24 schools, making the work-in-process price $228.6 million.

The proposal also includes remodeled or expanded schools for Apollo, Clark, Issaquah Valley and Sunny Hills elementary schools, Issaquah Middle School, and Liberty and Tiger Mountain Community high schools.

The bond proposal suggests the district tear down Tiger Mountain and Clark, and move the students to a remodeled building where Issaquah Middle School is now. The two schools would be close, but not connected, Associate Superintendent Ron Thiele said, with the Tiger move costing about $3.9 million and the Clark move costing about $19.5 million.

In the meantime, the district would build a new, two-story Issaquah Middle School where Clark and Tiger are now; that would cost about $62.5 million.

“This is the biggest project on the bond,” Thiele said.

The proposed bond also shows several trends — switches from carpet to rubber flooring, three new artificial-turf fields and two rain shields for outdoor play areas.

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Cookies bring in cash for schools

May 10, 2011

The Issaquah Schools Foundation has given so much to culinary teacher Gail Oseran, she has decided to pay it forward with stacks of cookies.

More than 100 students at Pine Lake Middle School — including Maia Nguyen (left), Molly Monroe, Megan Sparling, Joey Rosauer, Sean Curtis, Jeff Al-azzawe, Spencer Harrison and Krishna Puvvada — baked cookies to sell at the Issaquah Schools Foundation benefit luncheon. The students raised $2,400 for the foundation. By Laura Geggel

Snickerdoodles, coconut almond toffee chew bars, chocolate biscotti — you name it, her students have baked it.

For the past five years, Oseran’s students have made cookies and other treats for the Issaquah Schools Foundation benefit luncheon. Parent volunteers mix and match the cookies into containers — mini cookie jars for guests at the luncheon willing to pay $20.

This year, students baked enough cookies for 120 cookie jars, raising $2,400 for the foundation.

Oseran tells her students their contribution is a mitzvah — a Hebrew word meaning “a good deed.”

“It was fun baking and it’s going to a good cause,” said sixth-grader Megan Sparling, who baked a batch of sugar cookies with her friend.

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