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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In hit-and-run accident, unidentified motorist hits, kills pets in crosswalk

March 20, 2012

Neighbors unite to comfort owner, make area safer

Troy Scholzen mourns March 15 next to the neighborhood memorial to his dogs Yogi and Jake at the crosswalk where they were killed. Below, a memorial to Yogi and Jake on Newport Way Northwest grows. By Greg Farrar

Somewhere is the hit-and-run driver of a vehicle that upended an Issaquah man’s life last week.

The driver killed two service dogs, who were on a leash in a crosswalk with the signal blinking. Their owner barely escaped serious injury.

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Sunset Elementary School choir to perform at national conference

March 20, 2012

Sunset Elementary School’s student chorus, the Sunset Singers, was tabbed to perform March 24 in front of educators from around the country at the National Association of Elementary School Principals National Conference, to be held in Seattle.

Sunset Singers is the only elementary school group invited to sing at the event.

A board member for the Association of Washington School Principals, Wayne Hamasaki helped arrange for his students’ appearance at the convention.

Comprised of close to 100 fourth- and-fifth graders, the Sunset Singers represent the largest extracurricular group at his school. About 70 students will make the trip to downtown Seattle for the conference.

Under the direction of music specialist Marie Bean, the singers will perform five songs in a roughly 25-minute session. They will be in front of 1,500 to 2,000 people waiting for the conference’s scheduled keynote speaker.

For the upcoming performance, Hamasaki said the school decided to rent two buses to take the singers and their parents to the event at the Washington State Convention Center.

Issaquah School District to offer free preschool classes

January 17, 2012

The Issaquah School District is offering a chance for parents of preschool-aged children to enroll their youngsters in Early Childhood Education classes at no cost to the families.

The district is looking for typically developing youngsters to be part of Early Education classes that serve children with special needs at Apollo, Discovery and Sunset elementary schools.

Each classroom may have up to 12 children with special needs along with three typically developing peers – who will pay no cost to participate in the preschool program. Research shows that such combined learning opportunities benefit both special-needs and typically developing children. Students must be at least 3 years old by April 15 to participate.

Any interested parent can pick up an application and get more information at the main offices of any of the three elementary schools involved. Applications are due Feb. 10; peer volunteer screening is scheduled for Feb. 15.

Book about 1962 World’s Fair resurrects memories for local teacher, expo’s 9 millionth visitor

January 10, 2012

 Paula Jones, fifth-grade teacher at Sunset Elementary School, holds the sign she still has from Oct. 14, 1962, when the 6-year-old Paula Dahl set a Century 21 Exposition milestone near the end of the Seattle World’s Fair. By Greg Farrar 

The future envisioned in 1962 resembled something lifted from “The Jetsons” — space-age cool, conveniences galore and optimism as boundless as the cosmos.

April marks 50 years since the Century 21 Exposition opened on the Seattle Center grounds, brought the vision to life and transformed the region.

Paula Becker and Alan Stein, staff historians for HistoryLink.org, collected memories from the fair in the book “The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy” — a comprehensive account of Century 21. The authors plan to lead a discussion about the book and present a slideshow of fair images Jan. 17 at the Issaquah Library.

Seattle civic leaders intended to use the fair to stimulate the economy and create a cultural and social hub in Seattle Center.

“Seattle certainly wouldn’t be what it is today” if the fair did not happen, Becker said.

The authors also produced a book about the 1909 Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition — a seminal moment in Seattle history and the inaugural world’s fair hosted in the city.

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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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FISH stewardship salvages Salmon in the Classroom

September 27, 2011

Under a plan hatched after state support for the Salmon in the Classroom program dissolved, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery is serving as the coordinator for more than 100 schools involved in the popular program.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife used to administer the program, but after state lawmakers drained Salmon in the Classroom dollars last year, a grassroots effort formed to salvage it.

FISH is in the midst of a fundraising effort to facilitate Salmon in the Classroom. The nonprofit organization needs to raise $10,000 for the effort to succeed.

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District students score above state average on Washington math tests

September 27, 2011

As Issaquah School District students headed back to class Aug. 30, state education officials were releasing the first results of a newly required math test.

The state also put out final numbers on which schools were able, or not able, to meet annual improvement goals set out by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Last spring, Washington students in algebra and geometry classes took a state test immediately at the end of their course work. The system is known as “end of course,” or “EOC” testing. It replaced the standardized math test students formerly took near the end of the school year.

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Born on Sept. 11, 2001

September 20, 2011

History is intertwined for Issaquah girl and 9/11 attacks

Larisa Tutkur, 10, a Sunset Elementary School fourth-grader, holds a book featuring the Brooklyn Bridge — a route many people used to escape Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001 — the same day she was born. By Greg Farrar

Larisa Tutkur and a tragedy share a moment in history — Sept. 11, 2001, was Larisa’s birthday.

The bright and outgoing girl learned about the connection after she turned 6, and her parents explained the catastrophe.

“When I first found out, we did talk about it,” she said. “Then, after a few years, we just looked at it as my birthday and nothing else. We didn’t want to talk about it because it’s a really, really sad day.”

Larisa is among the 13,238 babies born in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and the only such child in the almost 17,000-student Issaquah School District.

The fourth-grader at Sunset Elementary School turned 10 on a day many people spent reflecting on a tragedy from a decade ago.

Larisa’s parents, Maida and Omer Tutkur, resettled in Washington from war-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina months before the 9/11 attacks.

Maida Tutkur, then six months pregnant, landed in the United States on June 28, 2001, not long after her husband settled on the Eastside.

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