January 27, 2015
There are a lot of statistics for Issaquah School District educators to ponder as they work to improve reading and writing skills in their classrooms.
National research shows children are increasingly less interested in reading — particularly after age 13 — and that aversions to deep, sustained reading sessions are impacting their ability to succeed in college.
Penny Kittle has been studying literacy trends for many years. A high-school English teacher in North Conway, New Hampshire, she also mentors other teachers and travels the country as a literacy coach.
While much of Kittle’s knowledge is accessible online, Issaquah officials chose to bring it to their doorstep last week by having her visit several classrooms, and by speaking to parents Jan. 21 at Pacific Cascade Middle School. Read more
January 20, 2015
The long-awaited Skyline High School stadium improvement plan may be closer to reality, after the Issaquah School Board received an update at its Jan. 14 meeting.
Steve Crawford, the Issaquah School District’s director of capital projects, told board members the bidding process for potential contractors on the stadium construction projects at both Skyline and Liberty high schools would open this week.
The Skyline project, budgeted at nearly $6.5 million, was approved by voters in an April 2012 bond measure. Since, members of the school’s football boosters club have criticized the project, saying school district officials aren’t interested in an alternate design that would have a concrete grandstand and increased storage space, and be more cost-effective.
Construction, scheduled to last a few months, has been delayed multiple times, including twice in the past year. Read more
October 28, 2014
Most boys who enter the world of Scouting will make a lot of fond memories and learn many valuable lessons, but fewer than one in 10 will accomplish what Jonathan Chriest is doing this weekend.
At a Nov. 2 Court of Honor ceremony at The Plateau Club, the Skyline High School senior will receive his Eagle Scout rank from the Boy Scouts of America.
The National Eagle Scout Association estimates about 2.25 million boys have attained the honor since 1912, which might seem like a lot until learning that number represents only 5 percent of all Scouts.
October 14, 2014
District unveils remodeled Liberty High School
The new Liberty High School building is sleek, modern and almost industrial in its appearance.
Past Liberty students would hardly recognize it as the same school, but some internal touches, most importantly a can’t-miss banner inscribed with the words “Proud to be a Patriot,” bring familiarity and warmth to the newly remodeled campus.
The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and Issaquah School District partnered to unveil the new Liberty at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 10.
August 26, 2014
Staff members, parents and students at Apollo and Issaquah Valley elementary schools have been waiting years for their buildings to be refurbished, and their wishes will be granted when school starts Sept. 3.
The two elementary schools were major pieces of a $219 million bond measure that Issaquah School District voters approved in April 2012. Issaquah Valley and Apollo received about $6.6 million each for similar modernization projects that focused on creating additional classroom spaces, improving building security and upgrading existing spaces for a continued influx of new students.
The district is expecting to add 350 students in the 2014-15 year, and projections released last year showed the school system could grow by more than 2,800 students over the next 30 years.
August 26, 2014
Kym Clayton has a child who struggles with social skills and speech delays, and in her quest to find help, she stumbled across an idea from a suburban school in Pennsylvania.
Christian Bucks, a student at Roundtown Elementary School in York, Pa., invented a simple but effective way of helping children who were feeling sad or lonely. His Buddy Bench concept — a bench where kids can sit when they’re in need of a friend — has spread like wildfire in less than a year, reaching schools around the world.
Clayton believed the Buddy Bench might be a useful tool at Sunny Hills Elementary School, where she was PTSA president during the 2013-14 school year.
But simply going to a local hardware store and building a bench wasn’t what she had in mind.
“I think it would be really neat to be full circle, that kids are building this bench for other kids,” she explained. Read more
May 13, 2014
Riley Frasier’s mother could hardly keep her 7-year-old from popping out of his seat.
Every time world-renowned ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro started plucking a symphonic range of sound few others have ever drawn out of the short, four-stringed instrument, Riley had to stamp his feet, rock his head so hard his glasses could barely stay on his nose and strum the air.
And who could blame him? Certainly not other fans of Shimabukuro’s ukulele solos, an eclectic and international audience that includes the likes of cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder and the Queen of England (who has shaken Shimabukuro’s hand).
May 6, 2014
Librarian hopes school will continue for years to come
My personal experience with Tiger Mountain Community High School was limited to about an hour and a half on Dec. 7, 1992.
I was at that time the young adult librarian at the Issaquah Library, and I visited the school to present a program to a group of young parents.
I didn’t know what would be of interest, but I took along cloth books, board books, books about making toys or clothes or baby food — everything I could think of.
In my entire career as a librarian, I’ve never addressed such an interested, even rapt, audience! Those students were so keen to see the materials I’d brought. They loved the hand puppets (which at that time were for circulation), and some decided then and there to convert the stuffed toys they were scheduled to make into hand puppets instead. Their teacher agreed to help them with the project.
I was able to give every parent a copy of “Goodnight Moon,” (and incidentally, I’d really had to work to persuade the library administration to let me have those books for that particular audience).
The teenagers were happy to show me their lovely babies after the program, and to tell me how they were caring for them — only 15 or 16 years old, but devoted caregivers.
I’ve often thought of those students and their children, children who would now be much older than their parents were in 1992. I do hope their lives turned out happily. I’m sure that attending Tiger Mountain Community High School helped a lot in that respect, and that the school will continue to assist all its students for years to come.
April 8, 2014
Issaquah School District Golden Acorn and Outstanding Advocate Awards were recognized at a reception at Swedish/Issaquah on March 25.
Golden Acorns are presented, by a local PTA unit or council, to volunteers in recognition of their dedication and service to children and youths.
Since the beginning of the program, more than 44,000 Golden Acorns have been presented to volunteers throughout Washington state. A contribution in the name of the recipient(s) is made by the honoring PTA to the Washington State PTA Scholarship Program. From these contributions, WSPTA is able to provide grants to freshman students entering post-secondary education.
March 25, 2014
Shortly before Ron Thiele took the reins as the Issaquah School District’s superintendent last July, district officials began looking at ways to heighten security for its 18,000-plus students.
They chose to conduct a safety and security assessment of Issaquah’s 24 schools, as well as its administrative, service and transportation centers.
Michelle Trifunovic, the district’s executive director of middle schools, took charge of the initiative, and the district spent $30,000 to hire a professional school safety expert who could find chinks in the armor.