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.

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Kindergartner buddies celebrate Mother’s Day

May 10, 2011

Sunset Elementary School fifth-grader Claire Imai-Takemura helps her kindergarten buddy, Ella Rosenkrans, decorate a flower vase with tissue paper. By Laura Geggel

Mothers of Sunset Elementary School kindergartners were floored by crafts at the Mother’s Day Tea, May 5.

The presents — tissue flowers in decorated vases, placemats covered in flowers and colorful picture frames — were made under the supervision of the kindergartners’ fifth-grade buddies.

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Adventures await at school district’s summer camp

May 3, 2011

From archeological digs to building a garden, rope courses to hiking, adventure awaits Issaquah campers this summer.

Club Connection, for kindergarten through fifth grades, is held at four locations, including Apollo, Discovery, Endeavour and Sunset elementary schools. !MPACT, for grades six through eight, is held at Beaver Lake and Pacific Cascade middle schools.

Issaquah School District Day Camps are from June 20 to Aug. 19. The camps cost $40 per day, with a three-day minimum per week. All camps provide multiple field trips, on-site learning activities, simple and extensive crafts, cooperative games, physical challenges, team-building exercises and access to enrichment specialists from various fields.

Registration ends May 6. Download a form at Go to “District,” at the top menu and click on “Before and After School Enrichment.”

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.

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Mostly Americana Concert sounds at Issaquah High

April 5, 2011

The community is invited to the sixth annual Mostly Americana Concert at 7 p.m. April 16 at Issaquah High School, 700 Second Ave. S.E.

Dessert comes with the ticket, costing $16.50 online at and $20 at the door. Veterans are free and will be honored during the program.

The show includes entertainment from hundreds of performers, including the Issaquah High choir and musicians from Pacific Cascade Middle School, Issaquah Middle School and Sunset Elementary School, as well as special guest choir Breath of Aire.

Salmon in the Classroom reaches crossroads

March 29, 2011

Clark Elementary School students (from left) Callie Mejia, 10, Hannah Halstead, 10, Jackson Rubin, 10, and Caelan Varner, 11, take turns feeding the coho salmon fry growing in the science room aquarium. By Greg Farrar

Questions remain about start-up costs, permits

For a Clark Elementary School class, raising coho salmon from eggs no larger than a BB pellet to miniscule fish is part lesson, part ritual.

Students traipse down the hallway from class to the aquarium in a science room in the morning, again at lunchtime and before the last bell rings in the afternoon. Using a small spatula, students scoop salmon food — a coarse substance similar to dirt in color and texture — into the aquarium.

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Resisting raising children who feel entitled

March 29, 2011

How should parents manage children who automatically think they should have every new electronic game? What are strategies to tame their desire for instant gratification and feelings of entitlement? How can parents teach responsibility and accountability?

The community is invited to see noted author and parent educator Jan Faull talk about raising responsible children from 7-8:30 p.m. April 18 at Sunset Elementary School, 4229 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway S.E., Bellevue. The PTSA-sponsored event is free and no registration is required.

Students get in battle of words at Global Reading Challenge

March 15, 2011

They had read the books over and over. They had quizzed each other. They had triumphed at their schools’ Global Reading Challenge, landing them a spot at the Issaquah School District’s competition at the Issaquah Library.

A group of elementary school students convenes, deciding what to write for their response to a question at the King County Library System Global Reading Challenge. By Laura Geggel

In a room overflowing with about 60 parents, teachers and friends, 42 fourth- and fifth-grade students sat raptly listening as librarians quizzed them about books.

Parent Toni Nankova said her daughter Daniela Nankova absorbed the books like a sponge does water.

“After she was done reading, she would say, “Mom, this book is really good. You have to read it,” Toni Nankova said. “And then she would quiz me on it. If I got it wrong, she’d say, ‘You have to go back and read it.’”

Students began preparing for the challenge in October. Each group had seven people and 10 books to read, with some students reading a few books and others reading the whole stack.

First, they competed against other groups at their school. The winning teams from Creekside, Discovery, Grand Ridge, Issaquah Valley, Maple Hills and Sunset elementary schools trooped to the Issaquah Library on March 2 to duke it out with their friends and rivals.

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Mineral madness: Science labs boost test scores

March 8, 2011

Sunset Elementary School third-graders Glen McInerney and his rocks-and-minerals partner Catherine Griffin do a streak test to see which minerals leave a mark on paper. By Laura Geggel

Fluorite fluoresces green under an ultraviolet light and graphite leaves a silvery streak across paper. Sunset Elementary School third-graders tried myriad tests on a bagful of minerals, identifying each one for their unit about rocks and minerals Feb. 17.

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Gold Star

January 11, 2011

Sunset student collects for troops

Jack Sercu

Jack Sercu, a fifth-grade student at Sunset Elementary School, organized a drive for the U.S. armed forces on Veterans Day and raised about 150 pounds of candy, magazines, puzzle books, DVDs, CDs, personal care products and even some handwritten thank-you notes for the troops.

Sercu spearheaded the drive after reading about Operation Support Our Troops’ Christmas stocking drive in The Issaquah Press.

“My dad was in the Army and we talk a lot about what it was like to be away from home,” Jack said. “He loved when his family sent him magazines, photos and chewing gum to help him focus.”

Jack said he hopes to make the drive into an annual event.

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