Archive for March, 2012
Feeling a little down about yourself? Think you need help communicating?
Whatcom Community College is offering free workshops to people who want to feel better about themselves or to improve their communication skills.
The Self-Esteem and Effective Communication Workshop will first be held 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, April 2, at the college, 237 W. Kellogg Road in Bellingham.
The same workshop also will be spread over two evenings, running from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, April 10 and 12, at Whatcom.
The workshop is offered through the college’s Turning Point program.
Registration is required.
To do so, contact Robin Bailey or Nancy Oettel at 360-383-3132.
The Ferndale School Board has picked Mountain View as the elementary school to close at the end of the 2012-13 school year to save money.
That was the board’s consensus Thursday, March 29, after hearing from supporters of Skyline and Mountain View — the two elementary schools that were on the table for closure.
The consensus isn’t a final vote. That is set for April 26, after a public hearing sometime in April about the plan to close Mountain View.
Hugh Foulke was the lone school board member to say on Thursday that he was leaning toward Skyline for closure.
Ferndale School District officials said tight budgets, declining enrollment and how to best use aging buildings without increasing costs make closing a school necessary.
“What’s clear is you guys love your schools,” said Lee Anne Riddle, school board president, after hearing from some of the estimated 55 people in the audience.
“Half of you are going to walk away sad, and I’m so sorry,” Riddle added.
In making their initial decision on Thursday, school board members talked about trying to separate emotion from a decision that they struggled with, one that came down to economics.
“You can only do so much with the dollars we have. Unlike the federal government, we can’t keep writing checks,” said board member Kevin Erickson.
In the end, board members said that the figures they had showed that closing Mountain View would save the most money.
Closing a school will allow the school district to take the savings and redistribute it among the remaining schools, school officials have said.
In February and after more than a year of study, the district’s Facility Advisory Committee recommended that Mountain View be closed.
Mountain View topped the list compiled by the volunteer committee, which provided a numerical ranking based on criteria of location, cost, building condition and/or limitations, safety, and effectiveness in supporting learning, as well as community input.
In response, Mountain View parents raised a host of concerns about the volunteer committee’s recommendation — ranging from the impact of moving special needs students from a program highly regarded for its approach to such students, to the ranking itself, the information used to arrive at the ranking, and estimated cost savings.
They raised those concerns again on Thursday, and also advocated for the number of students living within walking distance of Mountain View who often have to get themselves to school because their parents work.
“What makes Mountain View’s location unique is the concentrated number of students right around the grounds in the many local apartments,” said Mountain View supporter Sara Fassett. “If they ended up having to walk farther or be bused, there is a higher chance they would occasionally not make it at all if they were late or missed their bus.”
As they have previously, district officials on Thursday stressed that closing an elementary school won’t affect just that school’s students.
All families in the Ferndale School District will be affected because attendance boundaries will be redrawn and sixth-graders will be moved to middle schools — for the 2013-14 school year — as part of the decision to close an elementary school
District officials have said that closing an elementary school could save at least $350,000 a year in utilities, salaries and benefits (although no teacher will be laid off because of the closure), maintenance and transportation.
And an independent assessment of the district showed that $90 million over the next 10 years is needed to get old school buildings up to current learning standards.
A Louisiana legislator, Rep. Joe Harrison, wants parents to be graded on how well they participate in their children’s education.
There’s no word yet on how such a thing would be enforced.
Learn more by reading this post from Education Week blogger Michele Molnar.
Click here to read the text of House Bill 808.
The superintendent of the 300-student Hood Canal School District will be the new superintendent for Meridian schools beginning in July.
The Meridian School Board on Tuesday, March 27, unanimously selected Tom Churchill to replace Tim Yeomans, who is leaving the top job at Meridian to be superintendent of Puyallup schools.
“Tom Churchill has more experience and more credentials to effectively run the school district,” school board chairman Brian Evans said.
“He understands rural school districts like Meridian. I think he’s going to extend the good work done at Meridian,” Evans added.
Churchill beat out David Forsythe for the superintendent post. Forsythe is executive director of teaching and learning for Meridian School District and former principal for Ten Mile Creek Elementary School in the district.
“I feel honored to be selected. I look forward to building relationships with the people in Meridian. We’re in a people business so it’s all about relationships,” said Churchill, who also is principal in the Hood Canal School District.
He said he looked forward to being part of Meridian’s leadership team — comprised of core administrators, principals, assistant principals and department leaders in the school district — and working with the school board.
Churchill, 49, praised the work that Yeomans has done.
“Tim will be a hard act to follow,” he said, adding that Yeomans “is a pretty dynamic guy” and that there were many good things in place in Meridian because of his leadership.
Meridian School District has about 2,100 students, and Yeomans has been its superintendent since July 2007.
As for his plans for Meridian, Churchill said that will be guided by a transition plan being put together by Yeomans and the school board.
“They’re in the middle of some pretty major construction projects, so that will obviously be a high priority,” Churchill said. “I need to get to know the leadership team and the work that’s being done there and to get up to speed. My highest priority will be building relationships with folks in Meridian.”
Churchill also has previous experience as a superintendent when he served in that capacity in the Entiat School District from 2002 to 2004.
Although he’s coming from a smaller school district — with a $4.6 million budget compared to Meridian’s $17.5 million — Churchill said he will be able to hit the ground running because the responsibilities of state reporting and budgeting are the same for all school districts in Washington state.
“We all have the same responsibilities to the state and federal government and local taxpayers no matter the size of your school district,” he said.
Churchill also was a finalist for superintendent of the nearly 2,000-student Mount Baker School District, but the Mount Baker school board last week picked Charlie Burleigh, principal of Kendall Elementary School, to be the new superintendent.
Churchill said he was interested in coming to Whatcom County as a step up in his career and also because he had two grown sons in Bellingham.
“We spent a lot of time, my wife Patty and I, in Bellingham visiting our sons,” he said, adding that one son has moved to L.A. to try to make it as an actor.
The Puyallup School District board hired Yeomans for the Puyallup superintendent job on March 6.
That school district has about 21,100 students.
Whatcom County kids who think kale is yummy have until Wednesday, April 4, to enter the “Kids Eat Kale Contest.”
The photo contest is open to students in grades kindergarten through 12th.
The Whatcom Farm-to-School Program, with help from Whatcom Community Foundation, is hosting the contest to help dispel the myth that children don’t eat kale, according to contest organizers.
To enter, kids should think of as many ways as possible to eat kale, and then have a photo taken of them doing so — one photo for each way.
Contest entry deadline is 5 p.m. April 4.
All entries must be accompanied by a submission form, which is online at whatcomfarmtoschool.org.
A $50 prize will be awarded to the winner in each category.
Additional details: Click here, or email Priscilla Brotherton at email@example.com.
Analisa Ficklin will be principal of Wade King Elementary School beginning July 1, the Bellingham School District announced.
Ficklin, who is dean of students and library media specialist at Wade King, has worked in the school district for more than a decade.
Rob McElroy, the current principal, will help with the transition and then move to a part-time position in the district’s department of teaching and learning at the end of this school year.
The school has about 315 students.
Ficklin has a Bachelor in Education from Goshen College and a Master of Education in School Administration and Instructional Design and Multimedia Development from Western Washington University.
Click here to learn more.
The Meridian School Board has selected two finalists for the superintendent post to replace Tim Yeomans, who is leaving the top job at Meridian to be superintendent of Puyallup schools starting in July.
The board selected the finalists Saturday, March 24.
The finalists will be in the district Monday, March 26, and Tuesday, March 27, to interview with staff, students, the school board and community.
Meridian School District has about 2,100 students.
The two candidates are:
• David Forsythe, executive director of teaching and learning for Meridian School District since 2011. His interviews will be on Monday.
Forsythe has a Master of Education from Lesley College.
Before becoming executive director of teaching and learning, he was principal at Ten Mile Creek Elementary School in the Meridian district from 2008 to 2011.
• Tom Churchill, superintendent/principal for the Hood Canal School District in Washington state since 2007. He will visit Meridian on Tuesday.
The district has about 300 students.
Churchill has a Master in Educational Leadership from Pacific Lutheran University.
Before 2007, he was superintendent for the Entiat School District from 2002 to 2004.
Churchill also was a finalist for superintendent of Mount Baker School District, but the Mount Baker school board last week picked Charlie Burleigh, principal of Kendall Elementary School, to be the new superintendent.
Forsythe and Churchill also will meet with the community during their visits. Those forums begin at 4:45 p.m. Monday and Tuesday in the library at Meridian Middle School, 861 Ten Mile Road.
The library is in a detached building in the southeast corner of campus.
The Puyallup School District board hired Yeomans for the Puyallup superintendent job on March 6.
He had been superintendent of Meridian School District since July 2007.
The Mount Baker School District has a new superintendent.
Click here to find out who it is.
Months after Western Washington University fired its longtime admissions director following an internal audit into her handling of scholarship money, the university has announced that Karen Copetas “did not intentionally violate any statutes or University policies.”
That comes via an agreement signed by both sides that also allows Copetas to resign effective June 30 – and receive her full salary and benefits until then.
Her annual salary is $96,429.
Dyslexia will be the focus of a talk Thursday, March 22, at Whatcom Hills Waldorf School.
The event runs 7 to 8:30 p.m. at 941 Austin St., Bellingham. It is open to the public.
Organizers prefer that adults only be at the discussion, which will be given by Sommer Holt from Dyslexia Solutions.
Holt will talk about the myths, facts and most current brain research on dyslexia.
Registration is required. Do so by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.