Archive for October, 2009
Parkview Elementary School might be going a little “clucky.”
And while Tromburg enjoys “making a fool” of herself, there is a reason behind the madness: the students raised at least $16,500 during the school’s annual jog-a-thon earlier this month.
Tromburg makes a deal with the students each year to do something crazy if they meet their goal. This year’s goal was $15,500, beaten by at least $1,000 with more receipts still coming in.
The past two years, Tromburg has spent a day working from the roof of the school as a reward for the students, but she decided to switch it up this year.
And the students loved the surprise, exclaiming “that was funny!” and “oh my gosh, that was fun,” after doing the short dance. The chicken and her farmer, school prevention specialist JoAnn Johnson, also passed out Chicklettes for students to enjoy after school.
According to a new study, the math Washington Assessment of Student Learning test is one of the hardest to pass in the country.
The National Center for Educational Statistics released a report Thursday comparing the rigor of state tests used to comply with the No Child Left Behind Act. Since all the tests are different, NCES compares the tests to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (a test given across the country to some students) to determine the equivalent NAEP score that would be needed to pass the state test.
According to the new study,Washington 4th grade students would need a WASL score equivalent to a NAEP score of 240 to pass the test, and 8th grade students would need 286. But to pass the NAEP, 4th graders need a score of 214 and 8th graders need 262.
These benchmarks make the WASL the 4th most rigorous 4th grade test and 5th most rigorous 8th grade test in the country.
For the reading WASL, the state falls into 10th place for 8th graders, with a required score of 253. NAEP requires 243 to pass the test.
The only benchmark falling below the NAEP standard is the 4th grade reading test. According to the study, students are required to earn a WASL rating that is equivalent to a NAEP score of 203, but to pass the NAEP students would need a score of 208.
For more detailed information, check out an Associated Press story here.
For anyone that has driven past Whatcom Middle School lately, it’s obvious that the school is getting some major work done. But most, if not all, of the work should be completed by the end of December.
The school has been going through a seismic retrofit — similar to what happened at Lowell Elementary School — since last winter. Students and staff have remained in the 1903 building through the construction, moving classrooms to six portables when needed. Teachers and students complained of noise last spring as crews were jack-hammering during the day. This fall, people have been having issues with the dust in the air. At the Oct. 22 school board meeting, a few people spoke of health problems, including one asthmatic student who shared her story of having to transfer to Kulshan until the construction is done because she was having frequent asthma attacks due to the dust.
According to a recent district “Whatcom Seismic Update,” construction areas have been blocked off and sealed with plastic and tape, and adjustments have been made to the barriers when needed. Crews are also using HEPA filters and performing extra cleaning. District personnel and the Whatcom County Health Department have also been monitoring dust levels, asbestos testing, carbon monixide testing and lead paint testing outside the construction area. All test samples, which are analyzed by a third-party certified independent lab, have come back negative. The State Department of Labor and Industry recently took test samples from inside the construction zone and those results are pending.
Crews are through the first two phases of the project and started the final phase in June. Some of the most extensive retrofitting, including steel reinforcement of exterior walls, was mostly completed over the summer, but the noisy work continued into the first few weeks of the school year. Other work during this phase, including connecting floors to the ceiling, involves significantly less noise and construction activity, according to the school district.
Students and staff should be able to return to construction areas, including classrooms in the basement, first and second floors and the library, at the start of the new semester at the end of January. When the project is done, classrooms should have new paint, the school will have new flooring, the 1915 gym will have new maple flooring and the auditorium will receive improvements.
An outside consulting group determined that the 1903 building, the oldest in the school district, wouldn’t be safe in an earthquake. Voters approved a bond in 2006 to fund many construction projects around the district, including seismic work to Larrabee, Columbia, Lowell, Whatcom and the Roeder administration building. Only the Roeder project remains.
Molly LeCompte, a Sehome High School student, was recently named one of the most outstanding high school writers in the country by the National Council of Teachers of English. Only 544 students were selected across the country, with only four students in Washington State. The Sehome English Department was also recognized by the council for “excellence in its instructional program and for creating a climate that encourages student writing.”
Squalicum High School students have been busy lately! See below for a list of recent students successes.
Junior Iman Hafiz is the co-author of a new book, “The American Muslim Teenager’s Handbook,” along with his mother. The book is now being sold online and in bookstores nationwide. He recently read passages at Village Books in Fairhaven and visited with Hillary Clinton.
Senior Lucas Gonzales was recently selected as a 2009-10 National Hispanic Recognition Program Scholar. The honor is bestowed to students who identify themselves as “Hispanic/Latino” on the PSAT/NMSQT/PAA tests. This year, NHRP is honoring nearly 5,000 students from a pool of more than 200,000. To be a “scholar” students must have a GPA of at least 3.5.
Sophmore Don Wright placed ninth in the Business Procedures written test at the National Future Business Leaders of America conference. About 6,000 high school students competed in more than 50 events at the national conference. Wright is one of 21 winners from the state.
Seniors Loren Bates and Justin VonFeldt recently graduated from teh Washington Aerospace Scholars summer residency program at the Museum of Flight in Seattle. The competiting program for high school juniors is designed to inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math degrees and careers after graduation. The two Squalicum students were among 150 who qualified for the program, out of 260 that applied last November. To qualify, students spent six months studying a NASA-designed distance learning curriculum via the Internet, and base on their performance, they’re invited to the summer program.
Jeffrey Coulter, the principal at Whatcom Middle School, was recently named the Middle School Principal of the Year by the Washington Library Media Association.
Coulter was chosen due to his support of libraries, children and technology.
Even though most students aren’t old enough to vote for real, they can participate in the annual state mock elections starting today.
The program, organized by the Washington Secretary of State, gives students in grades K-12 the opportunity to voice their opinions and to learn the principles of voting.
While there isn’t much on the ballot for state-wide measures this year, older students can vote on Initiative 1033 and Referendum 71. Younger students will vote on “age-appropriate” measures.
Teachers can find lesson plans and other information at www.secstate.wa.gov/elections/mock.
All student votes must be cast by Friday, Oct. 30 at noon. To vote, click here.
The Lynden School District and the Lynden Education Association, the union representing district teachers, finally reached a tentative contract agreement Friday, Oct. 23, according to Superintendent Rick Thompson.
No details of the contract have been released yet. More information will come out after an LEA meeting on Wednesday, at which point teachers are expected to take a vote on the contract.
The district and union have been negotiating a teacher’s contract for months. In September, both sides agreed to mediation and have met with a state mediator twice since then.
The Bellingham School District is gathering input on what characteristics and experiences the district’s new superintendent should have.
Students, staff and community members have two opportunities to share their thoughts:
- an online survey, available at www.bham.wednet.edu, which will be open through noon on Friday, Oct. 30.
- Community input meeting Thursday, Oct. 29, from 7 to 8 p.m., in the district board room at the Roeder Administration Building, 1306 Dupont St.
The Bellingham School Board hired Jerry Jenkins, the superintendent of the Northwest Educational Service District 189, to help with gathering input and providing guidance on what type of search to conduct: national, regional or local. Jenkins will report to the school board on Thursday, Nov. 12.