Archive for September, 2009
Launching Success Learning Store, located off Meridian Street in Bellingham, is offering a variety of classes and workshops in October and November for students, teachers and parents.
Registration is required for all events. To register, contact the store at 527-2641 or email@example.com. All classes will be at the store, 133 Prince Avenue.
Sat., Oct. 3, 11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Rosanna Porter, a local children’s author, is offering a creative writing workshop for upper elementary students. Participants will learn about writing stories and getting them published and can submit their work eventually to a national writing contest sponsored by Raisykinder Publishing. Fee: $20 and includes Porter’s first Tofu Ling book and an accompanying workbook.
Sat., Oct. 10, 11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Donna Starr, a learning specialist and teacher, will offer a workshop for parents and teachers about using games for learning beginner math. “Math and Games for Early Elementary Students” will introduce a variety of manipulatives that can be used in kindergarten and early elementary grades. Fee: $12.
Sat., Oct. 17, 1 – 3 p.m.
Anne Zucci, a former elementary teacher, will train parents and teachers in how to use the popular Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. This is the first of two workshops about the curriculum and will focus on pre-school and kindergarten skills. The Teacher Guide for preschool or kindergarten is recommended and two STARS credits are available. Fee: $12.
Sat., Oct. 24, 11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Rosanna Porter returns for a second creative writing workshop, building on the skills learned in the first and getting students closer to submitting their stories for publication. Fee: $20 which includes Porter’s second book, Tofu Ling and the Carp Banner, and a connecting workbook.
Thurs., Nov. 5, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Sylvia Thorpe, a psychologist, will offer an interactive workshop for parents and teachers called “Assessing Children’s Learning Styles.” This event is free, although registration is required.
Sat., Nov. 7, 11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Donna Starr, educator and conference speaker, will teach parents and teachers about early elementary reading and addressing confusion. Two STARS credits are available. Fee: $12.
Thurs., Nov. 12, 6 – 9 p.m.
Roxann Rose-Duckworth, an educational consultant, will teach a class called “Tips for Managing teh Child’s Learning Environment.” The three-hour class will introduce methods for how to deal with uncooperative learners. Three STARS credits available. Fee: $20.
Sat., Nov. 14, 1 – 3 p.m.
Anne Zucci returns for the second workshop about handwriting. This workshop will focus on improving printing skills in early elementary school. The teacher guide for first or second grade is recommended and two STARS credits are available. Fee: $12.
Note, if you’ve never been in the store, go. It’s a treasure trove of educational games and supplies that even adults can love.
Veteran’s of Foreign Wars and the group’s auxiliaries are now accepting student essays for three annual essay contests.
The Voice of Democracy Audio/Essay contest is a national competition that requires high school students to submit a written and recorded 3-5 minute speech about the theme “Does America Still Have Heroes?” First prize at the national level is a $30,000 scholarship.
The Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest is a national competition for students in grades 6 through 8. This year’s theme is “When is the Right Time to Honor Our Military Heroes?” First place at the national level is a $10,000 savings bond.
The Youth Essay program is open to students in grades 3 through 5 and requires students to answer “What Makes Our Country Great?” There are no scholarships for the lower grades, however winners are honored and given small prizes.
All entries are due by Nov. 1. Whatcom County participants can mail their entries to Tami Elliott, 1997 Zell Road, Ferndale, WA 98242. For complete rules, go to www.vfw.org, click on the “Programs” and then “VFW Scholarship Programs.” Anyone with questions can call Tami at 393-0360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ferndale School District is looking for volunteers to serve a new on-going Facility Advisory Committee, which will help ensure district buildings are meeting educational and student needs.
The creation of the committee was part of the Ferndale School Board’s goals this school year, and it will include a cross-section of community members and district employees.
Members will be required to develop a long-range vision for the district’s facilities, create a prioritized list of projects, examine student and staff needs in relation to the condition of their schools and research best educational practices and what facilities are needed to support them.
Applications, which can be found at www.ferndale.wednet.edu by clicking on the Facility Advisory Committee news release, are due by Thursday, Oct. 15. The first committee meeting will be in November and members will be expected to serve two or three year terms.
People interested in international studies will be able to learn this fall about life in Spain, Mongolia, Kenya and the Siberian Arctic without leaving Bellingham.
Western Washington University’s Center for International Studies is sponsoring a lecture series this fall highlighting international research done by university professors.
All presentations, which are free and open to the public, will be on Tuesdays at noon in College Hall room 131 on WWU’s campus.
Oct. 6: “Effects of Similarity and Tourist Status on Prosocial Behavior: A Field Study in Spain.” Reid Nelson, who has a master’s degree in experimental psychology from WWU, will discuss his research about the likelihood of a Spaniard helping a tourist based on their language, attire and nationality.
Oct. 13: “International Service Learning: Case Studies from East Asia and Kenya.” Marie Eaton, a Fairhaven College professor, will discuss the benefits and challenges of service-learning in creating globally-aware citizens who are civically engaged.
Oct. 20: “The Mongol Impact on World History.” Edward Vajda, WWU professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, will discuss the consequences of the Mongol conquests that started in the 13th century.
Oct. 27: “The Polaris Project: a barge, twenty bunks and a river at the top of the world.” Andy Bunn, WWU assistant professor in the Department of Environmental Sciences, will discuss his work studying the Siberian Arctic with undergraduate students from eight U.S. and Russian universities.
Nov. 3: “El Progreso del Periodismo: the Growing Presence of Spanish-language News Media in the U.S.” Carolyn Nielsen, WWU assistant professor in the Department of Journalism, will discuss the history of Spanish-language news media in the U.S. and why it seems to be thriving while many other media outlets are struggling.
Nov. 10: “School and Family Life in Rural Kenya.” Kris Slentz, WWU professor in the Department of Special Education, will share a photo essay and social research that depicts the daily life of families and children in rural Kenya.
For more information about the Center for International Studies, go to www.international.wwu.edu.
I stumbled across an NPR story today about Sacramento State University’s book rental program. Click here to read the story.
In an effort to make college cheaper for students, the university is offering text books for rent at 55% of the regular price. Students are required to return them at the end of the year, but they can still highlight in them and make notes in the margins.
Not every book is for rent, but ones for the common courses, like Psych 101 or math, can easily be found. New books are still available at full-price and used books are still discounted, but not as cheap as the rented books.
I know my textbook bills were hundreds of dollars each semester, and I had one of the cheapest bills. Anyone who was a science major was looking at $600 or more.
What do you think about this program? Is this something that could be replicated here?
Jamie Yoos, a chemistry teacher at Bellingham High School, is the new state teacher of the year.
Yoos, who beat out eight other teachers from around the state for the title, is the first state teacher of the year from Whatcom County.
“It’s an exceptional honor,” said Yoos, 41, after the announcement Monday, Sept. 28, in Olympia. “For whatever reason, my experience stood out a little bit, and I’m just ever so pleased to be recognized for it.”
Yoos is in his 14th year of teaching, fifth in Bellingham. He taught the full science gamut – from biology to physics to fifth-grade ecology – before he “settled quickly” into chemistry 11 years ago.
Yoos’ classroom is regularly a buzz of activity, with students working on projects and experiments while Yoos walks around and assists. He and his students regularly joke and tell stories, giving his classroom a fun, yet thought-provoking, atmosphere.
Yoos’ main job is teaching honors and Advanced Placement chemistry, but last school year he brought his love of bicycling into the classroom. Yoos knew school and district budgets were tight, so he secured more than $5,000 in grants and donations to offer a bicycle maintenance class. And the class has proven popular – there’s a waiting list this semester.
During class, whether it’s chemistry or bike maintenance, Yoos keeps his students active by emphasizing hands-on learning and the idea that people learn from their mistakes.
Yoos also tries to go beyond the classroom and find learning opportunities for himself, co-workers and students. Last school year he used a technology grant to mentor co-workers on how to incorporate technology into the classroom. For his chemistry classes, Yoos creates video podcast lectures that students can watch at home if they need to, allowing for maximum lab time in class.
As the state teacher of the year, Yoos will serve as a teacher ambassador this school year while still working at Bellingham High. He also will advance to the national Teacher of the Year competition, which will have a winner announced this spring.
“I absolutely hope that I can do what I can do to represent the teachers of Washington state appropriately,” he said. “While I do have visions… I see myself as a representative rather than someone just touting my own initiatives.”
The Lynden School District and the teacher’s union are still negotiating a contract after a mediation session on Friday, Sept. 25.
In a news release from the school district, Superintendent Rick Thompson said the main sticking point is teacher salaries.
Lona Smit, president of the Lynden Education Association, said last week that teachers were asking for the district to bring their pay up to the same level of other districts their size.
The school district and board argue that the state isn’t offering salary increases this year and the district already had to cut more than $1 million from the budget, so it is “neither possible nor practical to consider raises or increased district financial obligations to employees at this time.”
The Lynden School Board will continue bargaining with the LEA in “good faith.” The next mediation session is scheduled for Oct. 23.
The Bellingham School Board is asking district officials to come up with a plan to reopen Lowell Elementary School in fall 2010.
The plan is due to the board for review at the next meeting, Thursday, Oct. 8. There is no word as to when the board might take action on the proposed plan.
Lowell has been closed since the end of the 2007-08 school year. During the 2008-09 school year, crews needed the building empty to perform seismic retrofitting, which was one of many projects approved in a 2006 bond. The school remained closed for this school year as a way to save money during budget cuts.
District officials have always said the closure would be temporary, although this is the first step I’ve seen towards reopening the building.
There will be some additional improvements done to the building this school year, including painting and repairing some worn brick mortar joints.
Since social networking sites are taking over people’s lives, I thought it would be useful to do a round-up of any school-related groups that are on Facebook or Twitter.
I’ve been searching and have found some, however I’m sure I’m missing many. Please let me know what you have bookmarked on your computer or what pages/accounts you’ve created that would be useful for the greater public.
Yes, the flu is here and local students are getting sick, but the rate may be leveling out, according to an update from the Whatcom Pandemic Joint Information Center.
Absentee rates vary depending on the school, with some reporting up to 20 percent of students being home for illnesses.
Staff absentee rates have been pretty normal for all districts, according to the update.
While it is impossible to know exactly how many H1N1 cases there are in Whatcom County (they’re only testing people who are seriously ill) health officials suspect most flu cases this school year have been H1N1, also known as “swine flu.”
All schools are aware of the virus and have been taking extra precautions, including frequent handwashing for all on site, watching for symptoms and doing careful cleaning of common surfaces (like doorknobs and counters). Many of the schools I visited during the first week had special assemblies and notices about cough/sneeze ettiquette and handwashing.
If a student is sick, they need to stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone without the aid of medication. Students are being sent home from schools if they develop symptoms.