Archive for June, 2011
High school scholarship announcements are still coming to my inbox.
- Tenaska Washington Partners, owner of Tenaska Cogeneration Station near Ferndale, has awarded $5,000 in scholarships to the following five recent Ferndale High graduates: Megan Crider, Ted Genger, Kyla Haggith, Jessica Hansen and Stephanie Viera. Since 2005, the company has given 55 scholarships totalling $35,000.
- The Rotary Club of Bellingham recently awarded three scholarships to students at Bellingham, Sehome and Squalicum high schools. The scholarships were for Outstanding Senior Student ($500), Academic Achievement ($1,500) and the Phil Millard Memorial Scholarship ($1,500). This year’s recipients: Sehome High – Katie Klein (oustanding student), Matt Nulle (academic achievement) and John Albert (Phil Millard); Bellingham High – Michael Hobson (outstanding student), Benjamin Read (academic achievement) and Andrew Clarke (Phil Millard); Squalicum High – Raveena Sajjan (oustanding student), Morgan Parker (academic achievement) and Andrew Reid (Phil Millard).
Mountain View Elementary student David Lange thinks his teacher Jill Robertson is someone that everyone should know about. So he wrote an essay about her.
Little did he, or Robertson, know that it would be selected as the statewide elementary winner in the Washington Education Association’s “A Teacher to Remember” essay contest.
The student essay contest is in its 18th year and more than 900 students entered.
In all, four winners were selected from around the state, representing various age-groups and demographics. The winners are:
Grade 3-5: David Lange, Mountain View Elementary, Ferndale
Grade 6-8: Zoe Chapman, Tumwater Middle School, Tumwater
Grade 9-12: Sydney Kersten, Lewis & Clark High School, Spokane
ESL/ELL: Cesar Zavalza, Skyline Elementary, Lake Stevens
All winners received a $150 gift card to Amazon.com and a pizza party for their class. Runners-up received $25 gift cards to Amazon.
Education advocates and state officials will be squaring off shortly as the statewide education funding lawsuit reaches the state Supreme Court today, June 28.
To listen to the case on TVW, click here.
The case centers on allegations that the state isn’t living up to the constitution in “amply funding” basic education. The argument is that if school districts want to keep up with technology, curriculum, and educate students to the standards of the 21st century, then the state needs to provide more funding. Currently many school districts rely on local maintenance and operations levies to make up about 20 percent of their operating budget, allowing them to purchase things like new computers and textbooks and keep class sizes smaller. School districts that can’t pass local levies may have outdated text books, aging computers and other small building maintenance issues that get out of hand.
The case, McCleary v. State, was originally filed by the Network for Excellence in Washington Schools in 2007. A King Count Superior Court judge ruled in 2009 that the state was not following the constitution and making its “paramount duty” to fund education. The state appealed the ruling to the state Supreme Court. Exactly when the Supreme Court will announce its decision is unknown.
Below is a small piece by Donna Gordon Blakenship for the Associated Press. To read a longer piece that ran over the weekend, click here.
The Washington Supreme Court hears oral arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit filed against the state by a coalition of school districts, teachers and community groups who say the state is failing in its constitutional duty toward public school children.
A superior court judge ruled in February 2010 that the state is not fully paying for basic education. The state has appealed.
Washington uses sales, business and state property taxes to pay about 72 percent of what it costs to educate Washington’s 1 million school children in kindergarten through 12th grade. Another 16 percent comes from local levies and 9 percent comes from federal dollars, primarily for education of special-needs children.
About 41 percent of the state’s general fund is allocated for K-12 public education.
Several Whatcom County school districts and groups are part of NEWS, a coalition of 364 education groups.
The Ferndale School District has two elementary school principal openings after two current principals announced their plans to leave the district.
Cascadia Elementary School Principal Nick Payne is retiring and Custer Elementary School Principal Kellie Larrabee is moving to Indiana to be principal of a school there. They both started as principals in the Ferndale School District in July 2007.
John Fairbairn, current principal of Eagleridge Elementary, has been reassigned to Custer Elementary, starting with the 2011-12 school year.
The open principal positions at Cascadia and Eagleridge will be filled on an interim basis for the 2011-12 school year, with candidates coming from current district staff.
Next school year, Ferndale High School will also have an interim principal. Aaron Kombol, the district’s director of special projects and former Ferndale High assistant principal, starts as the interim principal July 1.
District officials will be searching for permanent replacements for the three principal positions to start in the 2012-13 school year. Interim principals will be eligible to apply for the permanent positions, however they are not guaranteed the jobs. The search process will include input from school staff and families.
The press release from the school district is below.
Tuition at Washington’s community and technical colleges will rise by 11 to 13 percent for the 2011-12 school year.
The State Board for Community and Technical Colleges adopted the new tuition schedule on Thursday, June 23, in an effort to make-up some of the budget reductions imposed by the state Legislature this past session.
Tuition will increase by 13 percent for full-time students and by 11 percent for part-time students.
In all, the community and technical college system will operate with $77.4 million less in state funding, according to a news release from the board.
The board also adopted the new tuition rules for Running Start students, who are high school students attending college classes. In the past, students have been able to take college classes and have them count for high school credit, with all of it paid for by the state. This year, for the first time, there will be a limit on the number of credits students can take for free. If a student takes a full-load of classes between their high school and college courses, then they will be able to continue attending without tuition. But, if a student wants to overload their schedule, (maybe in an effort to graduate with both a high school diploma and Associated Degree), they will have to pay for the college classes that are over their credit limit.
Most people who filed for Whatcom County’s November school board elections have yet to file with the state Public Disclosure Commission, making them out of compliance with state election laws.
By law, almost all candidates for elected positions must file with the PDC within two weeks of declaring their candidacy. School board candidates, even if they are running unopposed, fall into the category of people that must file with the PDC.
This means that anyone who filed for office on or before June 8 and hasn’t registered with the PDC is technically breaking election laws. According to the Whatcom County Auditor’s website, 20 candidates filed for school board positions by June 8; of those candidates, four have registered with the PDC. An additional five candidates registered between June 9 and 10, and one of those candidates has filed with the PDC.
According to the PDC website, as of Thursday morning, June 23, the five school board candidates who have registered their campaigns are: Bellingham candidate Ken Gass (incumbent), Ferndale candidates Jeff Marks and Stuart McKay (incumbent), Lynden candidate Kevin Burke, and Meridian candidate John Bosche. (note, there may be a delay between when paperwork is filed and when it is available on the PDC site).
For the most part, school board candidates only need to register their campaigns (which means filing out the C1 form). People running for offices that garner a lot of campaign contributions must also file paperwork about expenditures and contributions. To see the breakdown of who has to do what, click here.
According to Lori Anderson at the PDC, they are already working to contact candidates who have not submitted their paperwork.
“After two weeks and a short grace period goes by, we’ll contact the candidates once again and give them a ‘drop dead’ filing date,” she wrote in an email.
Candidates who don’t file by their “drop dead” date will get a hearing notice; cases that go to a hearing could face penalties of up to $150.
Whatcom Community College has reduced the number of hours the college business services office is open, due to budget cuts.
The business services office, which includes registration, financial aid, entry and advising and the business office/cashier window, will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. There will be no services on Fridays.
Bellingham resident Lisa Woo was recently appointed by Gov. Chris Gregoire to the Bellingham Technical College Board of Trustees.
Her term started in May and will continue through September 2015. She replaces Yvonne Cartwright and joins trustees Jim Groves, Jim Cunningham, Mark Asmundson and Debbie Ahl.
Woo is the owner of the Gateway buidling and the frozen yogurt store Red Berry in downtown Bellingham. She has also been involved in Bellingham’s Sister City Association, starting the relationship between Bellingham and Cheongiu, South Korea and serving as the chair of that relationship since 2003.
The press release from BTC is below.
Alejandre has been teaching grades 1 through 4 in the district since 1996, nearly all of her 18 years of teaching.
Throughout her time in Ferndale, Alejandre has served on several district committees, including ones for professional learning communities, school schedules, report cards and school improvement teams. She has also served as a mentor teacher for college interns and received her National Board Certification in 2010.
Each year, the state’s nine educational service districts and the tribal school network pick a regional teacher of the year, the first step in the national teacher of the year contest. Out of the regional winners, the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction will pick a state teacher of the year, who is then eligible for the national contest.
This story originally appeared in the June 21 edition of The Bellingham Herald. To read the whole story, and see photos, click here.
Pioneer Meadows Montessori School is expanding and getting a new building on its Douglas Road campus.
But crews aren’t constructing the building on site. Instead, the modular building was constructed in the Marysville area and is being delivered in 12 sections; the first ones arrived Monday, June 20.
“Here it goes!” said Crystal Mills, part of the family that founded the school in 2008, as a building section was raised, drawing the attention of several parents and students sitting around her at the school.
Dozens of eyes looked skyward as a 550-ton crane easily lifted the building section over a lightpost and lowered it above a cement foundation. Crews from EZ Systems and Ness Cranes scurried around and underneath the building section, anchoring it to wood pilings and the building section that had been placed earlier in the morning.
The first two sections put in place created one classroom, leaving 10 sections left to place by the end of Tuesday.
When the one-story building is complete, it will be 10,000 square feet and feature four classrooms, the school’s administrative offices and a staff room. Each classroom will have a kitchen and a deck for outdoor education and for growing plants.