Archive for July, 2011
Assumption Catholic School students will see a new principal greeting them on the first day of school at the end of the summer.
Monica Des Jarlais replaces Rose Goeres, who has left the school for a principal position in the Baltimore area.
Des Jarlais, who grew up on a sugar plantation on Oahu, has more than 34 years of experience in Catholic education. She worked for nearly three decades in Hawaiian Catholic schools, serving as a teacher, vice principal and principal. For the last six years, she’s been focusing on strategic planning and most recently was the President of a Catholic high school.
She has her degree in education from Chaminade College in Hawaii and a Masters’ degree in private administration from the University of San Francisco.
School families and the community are invited to meet Des Jarlais, as well as the school’s new kindergarten teacher, Jordan Carrier, on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 6 and 7, as part of the school’s preschool and kindergarten open house.
During the open house, families can tour classrooms, including the new kindergarten room and the newly expanded pre-kindergarten room that features a sensory table, more room for art projects and group activities.
The school will be offering a full-time pre-kindergarten program starting this fall and will continue offering a full-time kindergarten program.
The Meridian School Board adopted the 2011-12 operating budget Friday morning, July 29.
The budget includes about $17.5 million in expenditures and about $17.1 million in revenue. The difference between revenue and expenditures is coming out of money put aside last year for future budget restrictions.
When compared to the 2010-11 budget, revenue is expected to be down about $1 million, mostly due to declining enrollment and state-level funding reductions for alternative learning programs, which the popular Meridian Parent Partnership Program falls under.
Staffing is budgeted to be essentially the same as the 2010-11 school year, with the equivalent of about 162 full-time positions; some of those positions may be unfilled this year.
At the end of the year, the budget calls for there to be about $1.6 million left in the general fund. Of that, about $705,000 is put aside as reserves, per board policy, and much of the rest is committed to future school years to handle increased personnel costs and anticipated state funding reductions.
Community and church groups around Whatcom County have been doing a variety of service projects this summer as part of the Season of Service.
And four school districts – Blaine, Ferndale, Nooksack Valley and Bellingham – have or will be reaping the benefits of the countywide volunteer effort.
Earlier in July, The Bellingham Herald ran a story about volunteers painting every classroom in Nooksack Valley middle and high schools. To read the story, by Zoe Fraley, click here. To view the photo gallery of the work done in Nooksack schools, click here.
But the Nooksack school project was the third such project for schools. Earlier this summer, volunteers also did work at Central Elementary School in Ferndale and Blaine Primary and Elementary schools. Volunteers are also scheduled to do work at Sunnyland Elementary in Bellingham.
During the Blaine School Board meeting on Monday, July 25, the collective group of volunteers were honored. Work done at Blaine schools included grounds cleaning, repainting doors and posts, painting the outside of the district’s “transition house” and more.
“A lot of labor intensive things got done that would have not gotten done this summer,” said Jim Kenoyer, the district’s facilities supervisor.
According to the volunteer coordinator from Cornwall Church, the groups have had to work with school districts to make sure the labor provided is cleared with the proper unions. Many of the things the volunteers have been doing are maintenance issues that may not have been done due to budget cuts, as Kenoyer eluded to in his comments to the school board.
I know this has been an ongoing series of projects this summer, and this post only highlights the school-based projects, but I wanted to make sure people knew about the goodwill going through the community.
The 2011-12 school year calendar for the Blaine School District has been changed due to the Blaine Education Association removing two Learning Improvement Days in an effort to help the district balance the budget.
The state Legislature imposed statewide salary reductions, which included all school district staff. In Blaine, the teachers’ union decided to remove a couple Learning Improvement Days to make up the salary reduction. Learning Improvement Days are non-student days for staff to do training and school/districtwide collaboration.
Monday, Sept. 26 will now be a regular school day, instead of a Learning Improvement Day for staff.
Monday, May 7 will now be an “Optional Training Day” instead of a Learning Improvement Day. Students will not have school.
The last day of school has been changed to Tuesday, June 12 (it was previously the 13th).
To view an updated calendar, click here.
Hamblin, who teaches French and chairs the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, will start her new role January 1. Update: She will be transitioning to her new role during the fall quarter, allowing her to continue serving as the department chair for one more quarter.
Douglas Nord, the former executive director of the center, resigned in fall 2010 after internal and state audits brought up issues with his travel practices.
I have a call into WWU to find out Hamblin’s salary and why she’s starting Jan. 1, rather than immediately. Her annual salary will be $92,000.
WWU’s press release is below.
This week they are helping at the Western Kids Camp at Western Washington University. Next week they are doing the YMCA Adventure Program, and then they’re back to Western for the Tennis Camp the following week.
Many of the students are staying with Birchwood Elementary families.
If you see any of the Korean students, be sure to say hi and welcome them to Bellingham.
Whatcom Community College will be receiving $200,000 from the National Science Foundation to help start “Cybersecurity Camps” for high school students.
The “Advanced Technological Education” grant will be used to create camps and workshops for high school students to spark interest in information security. The college was recently named a National Center of Academic Excellence for Information Assurance.
The press release from Whatcom is below.
Bellingham, WA, July 25, 2011 – The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded an Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant of $200,000 to Whatcom Community College for support of a “Cybersecurity Camps” project. Whatcom’s grant application was one of approximately 75-90 new awards funded by NSF from more than 240 proposals.
Recently named a National Center of Academic Excellence for Information Assurance Two-Year Education, WCC is the ideal institution to lead this effort. Over the next two years, the grant will fund the development and implementation of cybersecurity camps for local high school students hosted at the College. Through the camps and related activities, this project will increase awareness of the exciting and emerging field of information security, focusing efforts on growing the interest of high school students in cybersecurity-related training.
The grant-funded project will develop the depth of understanding and skill level among participants who are preparing for information security jobs. Further, the project helps to support national security goals by cultivating an interest in high-school students who can further their education in information security and become part of the pipeline to a well-equipped workforce. Recent attacks on computer networks have highlighted the need for a trained cybersecurity labor force.
In addition, the grant provides support for providing participating high school teachers with new content for curriculum, a mentorship program, and connections with local business and industry technology partners, as well as sponsors an annual culminating cyberdefense competition. High school students will be exposed to information security scenarios through hands-on activities, cybersecurity camps and cyberdefense competitions.
The College has a number of supporting partners on this project, whose cooperation and endorsement was instrumental in securing the funds for the cybersecurity camps: Bellingham High School, Ferndale High School, Lynden High School, Mount Baker High School, Nooksack Valley High School, Squalicum High School, WCC’s Computer Information Systems Advisory Committee, CyberWatch, Technology Alliance Group for Northwest Washington (TAG), and the University of Washington Center of Information Assurance and Cybersecurity (CIAC).
Whatcom Community College President Hiyane-Brown shared, “This NSF grant helps strengthen relationships between local county high schools and the College while preparing students to pursue careers in cybersecurity locally, regionally, and nationally.”
Whatcom Community College is an accredited, comprehensive two-year college serving over 7,600 students quarterly. Whatcom offers transfer degrees, professional and technical training programs, as well as basic education, job skills and enrichment classes. For more information about WCC, please contact Nate Langstraat at 360.383.3310 or visit www.whatcom.ctc.edu.
UPDATE: On Monday, Tim Eyman sent out a message about Initiative 1125, which the Secretary of State confirmed the qualifications for. The new initiative, which will likely be on the November ballot, relates to how the legislature can use toll and gas tax revenue. The initiative calls for keeping the revenue in the motor vehicle fund and using it for highways and such, rather than diverting that revenue to the general fund.
Below is pat of Eyman’s email.
It is ironic that the same day the Secretary of State confirms I-1125′s qualification that Seattle politicians filed their anti-1053 lawsuit…. The decision by Seattle politicians to sue the citizens over I-1053 should be reported as an in-kind contribution to the I-1125 campaign. Their anti-citizen lawsuit is certain to throw gasoline on the fire of enthusiasm for I-1125 this November. Olympia still doesn’t get it. Four times the voters have passed initiatives requiring two-thirds legislative approval for tax increases and majority legislative approval for fee increases. Four times. Yet despite I-1053’s 64% yes vote last year, Olympia repeatedly violated it this year. I-1125 closes loopholes they put in I-1053, reinstating the requirement that fee increases be decided by the elected representatives of the people, not unelected bureaucrats at state agencies. I-1125 ensures accountability and transparency.
Remember what Governor Gregoire said: “I’m not gonna let 1053 stand in the way of me moving forward for what I think is right.” 64% of voters approved I-1053. We can’t let Olympia get away with violating it.
The original post is below the jump:
The Northwest Career and Technical Academy in Skagit County is starting a satellite program in Bellingham for students interested in engineering.
The Academy of Engineering will start this fall and is free to students in Whatcom and Skagit counties. For the 2011-12 school year, the program will be offered at the Washington Engineering Institute, a Bellingham-based private school that offers programs for high school graduates and working professionals.
This is now the second satellite program in Whatcom County – the other is the Construction Careers Academy housed in the Meridian School District.
Meridian will also eventually be the home of the engineering program, but not until the high school’s new technology building is finished.
I recently wrote about the Skagit County skills center and Bellingham students taking classes there. To read the story, click here.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn formally adopted the Common Core Standards for English and math for Washington state on Wednesday, July 20.
Washington is now the 44th state to adopt the standards, meaning almost every state in the country will soon have the same learning standards in those two subjects. In the past, it’s been up to each state to decide what students should learn and when, meaning that what a Washington student learns in 4th grade math may not be the same as what a Texas student learns in 4th grade.
The Common Core Standards were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Two groups of states are also working to develop national standardized tests based on the common core standards. Washington is the lead of the 29-state SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium. Washington plans to have the first test based on the common core standards in the 2014-15 school year.
Dorn provisionally adopted the standards for Washington in 2010.
Washington is also the lead fiscal state for the 29-state S, one of two multi-state consortia’s developing assessments based on the common core standards. Those new exams will first assess the common core standards in the 2014-15 school year.
The Washington State PTA sent out a press release in favor of common core standards, shortly after Dorn announced his plans to adopt them.
The press releases from OSPI and WSPTA are below: