Archive for January, 2011
Puget Sound Energy is offering grants for bringing renewable energy into schools and other educational groups.
The utility company is accepting grants from schools and nonprofit groups that want to install small-scale solar arrays or wind-powered turbines. The grants will range from $5,000 to $20,000.
During the last seven years, the company has provided almost $400,000 in grants to fund 23 solar-powered educational projects in Western Washington.
Applications are due by March 15. To apply, or for more information, click here.
From Western Washington University:
Edward Vajda, director of Western Washington University’s Center for East Asian Studies, will present “The Russian Fairy Tale: Ancient Culture in a Modern Context” at noon on Tuesday, Feb. 1, in College Hall 131 on the WWU campus.
The event is free and open to the public and is a part of the WWU’s Center for International Studies International Lecture Series.
Fairy tales reflect back to the most ancient level of pre-Christian hunter-gatherer culture in Europe. Preserved in Eastern Europe, these tales have become part of the framework of modern Russia.
Vajda will be focusing on the origin, meaning and structure of these Eastern European fairy tales and presenting them as their own unique genre of folklore.
For more information on this presentation, contact Katrina Schaeffer, at WWU’s Center for International Studies, at (360) 650-7544 or Katrina.Schaeffer@wwu.edu
To view this week’s legislative schedule, click here.
Senate Joint Resolution 8212 Introduced by Sen. Rodney Tom, (D-Medina) on January 28, 2011. The bill would propose a constitutional amendment that abolishes the superintendent of public instruction (SPI) as a constitutionally established statewide elected official. The constitutional provision that the SPI has supervision over all matters pertaining to public schools is retained but amended to provide that the Governor has oversight over the SPI and ultimate authority over the public schools. Referred to the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.
The Ferndale School District is looking for someone to lead the reinvention of Windward High School.
Originally funded by a Gates grant, the high school was created in 2002 as a community-service-learning-small-high-school-option for students. Budget cuts and staff reductions, combined with declining enrollment because some students wanted the class offerings at Ferndale High, caused the school to lose its stand-alone facility. For the 2010-11 school year, it became a school within the Ferndale High School campus.
But many students, staff and parents have been upset by the changes.
During a presentation to the school board in December, Windward high students voiced understanding of the budget situation but they also shared their frustrations about not having their own space, other than a small community room. Parents have voiced concerns at school board and community meetings about how their child wanted to attend Windward to be away from the traditional high school setting.
School district officials have heard the concerns and are now looking for someone to be planning principal to work with the Windward community to come up with a solution that is beneficial to them while also within budget constraints.
“In this current budget climate, we can’t go back to the way we were running Windward before when had grant money,” said Ferndale School District Superintendent Linda Quinn. “But there are some essential elements – the smallness, the personal nature, the community service – that perhaps can be reconstituted.”
One challenge is the school’s location. If the school were to move, it would need to go into space already owned by the district, said Quinn. That leaves the North Bellingham Elementary School site, which is partially condemned and partially filled with Clearview High School. But having a separate location requires enough students to make it sustainable.
“I’ve been listening to kids and parents and teachers, and they feel for Windward to really break out and exercise real creativity, it needs to be a separate school,” Quinn said, adding that it also would need to have its own governance, instead of falling under the administrative umbrella of Ferndale High.
But even if the school is moved from Ferndale High, it won’t be the same as it was, Quinn warned. Staffing and class sizes will be in line with the rest of the district, with the number of teachers and classes available depending on how many students want to make the move.
The planning principal position would be from March 1 through June 30. If enough students are recruited for the separate school to open for the 2011-12 school year, the planning principal may become the acting principal of the school.
“There’s a very strong sentiment there was something about Windward that is worth saving,” Quinn said. “We’re seeing if we can do this in different economic times.”
For more information about the planning principal position, click here.
Bellingham Technical College will be receiving a $200,000 grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to create a new degree program that helps low income people enter the aquatic conservation industry.
The project is a collabo-ration among BTC, North-west Indian College and Western Washington University’s Huxley College.
The grant will allow BTC to expand its current fish-eries degree program as well as create a new transfer degree program.
The transfer program at BTC will be aligned with degree programs at Huxley and the NWIC native environmental science degree program, giving students several options for continu-ing their education or finding a career.
Patricia McKeown, president of BTC, believes the grant will allow the three schools to create a program that embraces their individual strengths.
“You have BTC that has that foundation of hands-on skills where students are exposed to learning the skills to work … Northwest Indian College that has that piece of native environ-mental sciences that’s so unique to them, then you have Western which is really a leader in the whole environmental sciences arena in terms of Huxley college,” McKeown said. “It’s a wonderful thing that the Allen Foundation is supporting this; it came at a perfect time to move this initiative forward.”
The grant is part of the foundation’s asset-building program, which is designed to “support organizations that help people attain financial stability and security,” said Bill Vesne-ski, evaluation director with the foundation.
“One of the appeals with the college is they’re work-ing with these communi-ties, they are working with people who are economically vulnerable,” Vesneski said. “This program is designed to help those (people) in addition to being academically rigorous.”
BTC will start enrolling more students in the cur-rent fisheries program — capacity will be expanded by up to 130 additional students over two years — but the transfer degree curriculum needs to be designed before people can choose that option, McKeown said.
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation awarded $620,000 to Whatcom County this winter, with grants also going to Lummi Nation Service Organiza-tion and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Whatcom County. In all, Whatcom County has received $2.1 million from the foundation since it was created in 1990. This is the first grant from the founda-tion to BTC.
Want to do something special for your Valentine? How about sending them a singing Valentine.
The Ferndale High School Swing Choir will serenade people on Friday, Feb. 11 and Monday, Feb. 14, in the Bellingham, Blaine and Ferndale areas.
The cost is $25 and it includes a song, a rose and chocolate.
For more information, or to schedule a time, call 360-383-9313 or email email@example.com.
Sources: Washington Votes and the state Legislature website.
House Bill 1593 Introduced by Rep. Reuven Carlyle, (D-Seattle) on January 26, 2011. The bill would direct the Professional Educator Standards Board to establish a residency provisional principal certification with specific requirements. This act allows school districts to recommend candidates for certification. This act expands the authority of school principals to include decision making authority regarding personnel and budgets. This act also provides increased accountability for a principal’s ability to lead a school. Referred to the House Education Committee.
House Bill 1594 Introduced by Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos, (D-Seattle) on January 26, 2011. The bill would modify the terms of service on the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership. This act adopts the Jumpstart Coalition national standards in K-12 personal finance education, subject to availability of funding. This act also requires participating school districts to report findings and results of the related demonstration projects to the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Legislature annually. Referred to the House Education Committee.
House Bill 1595 Introduced by Rep. Eileen Cody, (D-West Seattle) on January 26, 2011. The bill would allow graduates of foreign medical schools to obtain a license to practice medicine if they meet certain requirements. This act sets out specific training requirements for such students, and requires proof of permanent residency status and the ability to read, write, and speak English. Referred to the House Health Care & Wellness Committee.
Sources: Washington Votes and the state Legislature website.
Senate Bill 5455 Introduced by Sen. Joseph Zarelli, (R-Ridgefield) on January 26, 2011. The bill would establish the top teacher recognition grant program to encourage excellence in the classroom teaching ranks and to recognize the most outstanding classroom teachers in the state. Referred to the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.
Senate Bill 5459 Introduced by Sen. Adam Kline, (D-Seattle) on January 26, 2011. The bill would provide that out-of-the-family home residential services supporting individuals with developmental disabilities are available in the most integrated setting; that a patient moving from an institution to a community setting has the services he/she needs; and that children with developmental disabilities be served in home or community settings, not in institutions. Referred to the Senate Health & Long-Term Care Committee.
Senate Bill 5462 Introduced by Sen. Derek Kilmer, (D-Gig Harbor) on January 26, 2011. The bill would require the state board for community and technical colleges to act as a clearinghouse for all state and federal financial aid awarded to students in the state’s community and technical college system; and to be the single point of contact for all community or technical college students applying for financial aid. Referred to the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.
Senate Bill 5463 Introduced by Sen. Derek Kilmer, (D-Gig Harbor) on January 26, 2011. The bill would require the state board for community and technical colleges to establish minimum standards for student identifiers so that once a student has enrolled at any community or technical college he or she retains the same student identification upon transfer to any other college district. Referred to the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.
Senate Bill 5470 Introduced by Sen. Ed Murray, (D-Seattle) on January 26, 2011. The bill would exempt the state from funding cost of living increases for educational and academic employees during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years. This act also makes bonuses for certified instructors subject to availability of funding. (Companion: HB 1132). Referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committe.
Senate Bill 5471 Introduced by Sen. Ed Murray, (D-Seattle) on January 26, 2011. The bill would modify the student achievement fund allocations for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years by requiring the amount per student be set by appropriation in the general fund budget. This act takes effect on July 1, 2011. (Companion: HB 1131). Referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
Senate Bill 5472 Introduced by Sen. Ed Murray, (D-Seattle) on January 26, 2011. The bill would modify the schedule for payments from the State’s general fund to school districts for the 2010-11 academic year. This act takes effect immediately. (Companion: HB 1354). Referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
Senate Bill 5474 Introduced by Sen. Ed Murray, (D-Seattle) on January 26, 2011. The bill would revise the higher education retirement and annuity programs for future participants to reflect changes that have already occurred in state pension plans. The bill gives new higher education employees who are eligible the option to participate in either an institution’s plan without a supplemental benefit, or in the public employees’ retirement system plan 3, or in the teachers’ retirement system plan 3. It also provides that state funding for certain annuity or retirement income plans will not exceed six percent of salary. Referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
Senate Bill 5475 Introduced by Sen. Ed Murray, (D-Seattle) on January 26, 2011. The bill would implement, by 2018, a redefined program of basic education and funding that builds on previous efforts by implementing funding formulas for the learning assistance program, transitional bilingual instruction, and pupil transportation. The bill seeks to develop a realistic and practical implementation schedule for phased-in enhancements that will meet the legislature’s definition of basic education under the state Constitution. Referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee and then referred to Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.
Senate Bill 5476 Introduced by Sen. Ed Murray, (D-Seattle) on January 26, 2011. The bill would modify calculations for reimbursement payments for school buses based on depreciation. The bill provides that the reimbursement rate shall be designed to equal the replacement cost of a vehicle less its salvage value at the end of its anticipated lifetime. Referred to the Senate Ways & Means Committee.
Senate Bill 5479 Introduced by Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, (D-Bothell) on January 26, 2011. The bill would require each school district board of directors to establish three-year, district-wide growth targets to increase the percentage of students who meet or exceed the performance standards established for high school graduation on the high school mathematics and science state assessments. Referred to the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.
Senate Bill 5483 Introduced by Sen. Paull Shin, (D-Edmonds) on January 26, 2011. The bill would modify current law to provide administrative consistency between conditional scholarship and loan repayment student financial aid programs. This act establishes provisions for student participants in the Health Professional Loan Repayment and Scholarship Program and the Conditional Scholarship Program. This act provides that, except for circumstances beyond their control, participants who serve less than the required service obligation are obligated to repay to the program an amount equal to twice the total amount paid by the program on their behalf. This amount is due and payable immediately. This act also provides for participants who are unable to pay the full amount due to enter into a payment arrangement with the Higher Education Coordinating Board. The maximum period for repayment is ten years. The Board will establish interest rates and appeal processes by rule. (Companion: HB 1424). Referred to the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.
Senate Bill 5484 Introduced by Sen. Paull Shin, (D-Edmonds) on January 26, 2011. The bill would remove language from current law requiring the Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop evaluation and performance measures used in evaluating effectiveness of the programs funded with public resources. For purposes of this act, programs include a area designation as a health sciences and services authority upon request of local governments allowing them to receive public funding to draw in more investment from private entities. (Companion: HB 1425). Referred to the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee.
The Mount Baker School District is seeking a new school board member.
David Smith, member of the school district for 10 years, is resigning from the board. His last day will be March 10.
State law requires the remaining school board members to appoint a replacement within the next 90 days. Whoever is selected will remain in the position until the next regularly scheduled school board election in November of this year. To keep the school board position, the appointed person must run for election.
The Mount Baker School Board meets twice each month on Thursdays, with each meeting taking about two hours. Board members must also account for time to review materials for meetings, attend special events and visit schools.
People interested in applying must live within District 1. A map detailing those boundaries will be available shortly.
Applications are due by Feb. 15. They can be picked-up from the district office, 4956 Deming Road. Interviews of final candidates will be during the board worksession on Feb. 24.
For more information, call 383-2000.
This story ran in today’s paper. Below is an excerpt. To read the full story, click here.
A former treasurer of a Ferndale parent-teacher organization who admitted to making personal purchases with its funds has been charged in Whatcom County Superior Court.
Teresa C. Souve is facing one count of unlawfully possessing payment instruments.
Souve worked as the treasurer for PTOs with Central Elementary School and Horizon Middle School. She began working with the Central PTO in 2006 and the Horizon PTO in 2007.
Souve was arrested in December and booked into Whatcom County Jail. She was released from jail and was not charged until Jan. 20. Her trial date is set for April 18.