Archive for December, 2009
Soroptimist International of Seattle Metropolitan is creating a new Web site to connect Washington high school students with scholarships.
thewashboard.org, which will launch shortly, will be similar to national scholarship sites like fastweb.com. To read the Associated Press story about the new Web site, click here.
A blog post just went up Sunday at Latte Republic about “Schooling the District.” The blog post can be accessed here.
The blog is about a petition going around urging the school district to keep all the Whatcom students and staff together. As has been reported in stories, Whatcom staff have created a professional development community and teaching style that works best when everyone can be together. The way the curriculum is aligned between grade levels and subjects works best when teachers and students can interact between grade levels.
However, there is an error in the petition. It states that 13 scenarios are under consideration for where to house Whatcom students and staff during the 2010-11 school year. Actually, there is no set number of scenarios being considered at this point. The district has been gathering input from people through an online “survey” that started a couple weeks ago. There are 10 scenarios suggested within the survey that people can provide input on, and then there is an open-ended suggestion area for any ideas that hadn’t been discussed. At this point, all options are being looked at, with the exception of Lowell Elementary School, as a place to house students and staff while the school is being rebuilt.
I know there is a lot of concern about keeping students and staff together, as I stated earlier. But, in all the discussions and petitions I’ve heard about and seen, there have been no concrete suggestions about how to do this, only a plea to keep students and staff together. If people want to keep everyone together, then there needs to be suggestions that address it. If no one can come up with a way to make that scenario happen, then there’s no option but to split students and staff up.
The district “survey” (which is for input gathering and brainstorming, not for ranking suggestions) closes on Monday, Jan. 4 at noon. It can be accessed here. During the first week of January, school board members, district officials, administrators from Whatcom and potentially others (i haven’t heard if teachers/parents are being represented yet) will sit down and narrow the suggestions to the “best” two or three options. Those will then go back out to the public in another online “survey” to gather input and see if there are ramifications of any of those plans that hadn’t been considered. Acting Superintendent Sherrie Brown will make a final recommendation to the school board by the end of January.
I have found out that the full list of suggestions gathered through this first online “survey” will be released before the second survey starts, giving people a chance to see what kinds of things people came up with. Reasons for why ideas weren’t selected as “the best” should also be given at that time.
So, if you have an opinion or idea of what should happen with Whatcom students and staff, be sure to submit your input through the online “survey.”
Lynden Superintendent Rick Thompson has told the Lynden School Board that he will not be a candidate in the new superintendent search.
Thompson took over the position at the beginning of the 2008-09 school year after Dennis Carlson was ousted. Thomspon was the assistant superintendent at the time.
The Lynden School Board is in the middle of a superintendent search with plans to have a new head of the district in place for next school year.
At the Nov. 12 Lynden School Board meeting, the board voted to give Margie Bakker, the food service director for the district, a $5,000 raise, according to the minutes of the meeting.
Superintendent Rick Thompson said people may be upset about her getting a raise in a tight budget year, but he made the reccommendation and sticks by it.
“I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t believe in it,” he said Thursday, Dec. 17. “I think she does a great job.”
He said Bakker hadn’t received a raise in several years and that her pay was low for the amount of work she does. Bakker handles the day to day responsibilities of the program, including budgeting, and doesn’t have a secretary to help her handle office duties. Thompson also said Bakker has been managing the budget well and it is starting to see an upswing.
The district will start budgeting for the 2010-11 school year after a February maintenance and operations levy election.
The Blaine School District will be having its fourth and final community forum for the district’s long-range planning on Tuesday, January 5 at the Point Roberts Senior Center.
The meeting will go from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Similar meetings have been held in the Birch Bay and Blaine areas. Information provided at the meetings will be used to form the district’s long-range plan.
If you have questions, call the district office at 332-5881.
The WAVE scholarship, which is for career and technical education students in Washington, now has its application available online.
The Workforce Award for Vocational Excellence scholarship is given to students from each of the state’s 49 legislative districts. The scholarship could pay up to two years’ college tuition (public school price) for recipients.
Up to 147 students can win the award, with three students per legistlative district allowed. Two winners can be high school students and one can be from a community or technical college.
The scholarship is managed by the Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board.
To apply, click here.
Eagleridge Elementary School students who are taught by kindergarten teacher Sam Wood could receive a scholarship when they attend college.
Wood and his family have set up a scholarship fund through the Whatcom Community Foundation. The Mr. Wood & Family Scholarship will be available students graduating in 2016. Recipients must be a former student of Wood’s and have completed high school or an equivalency exame and plan to continue their education through degree or certification programs.
To learn more about the scholarship, or to donate to the fund, click here.
The Bellingham School District officials will share budget information at a community meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15.
The purpose of the meeting is to give community members an idea of what the district operating budget could look like for the 2010-11 school year, based upon the newest information from the state.
After a short presentation, people will have an opportunity to ask budget-related questions and provide budget savings ideas.
The meeting will be from 6:30 to 7 p.m. in the board room of the Roeder Administration Building, 1306 Dupont St.