Archive for July, 2012
Taxpayers in the Meridian School District will pay less in property taxes in 2013.
The district’s school board voted unanimously earlier this month to roll back $100,000 in levy collection because the state didn’t cut levy equalization funding as feared, according to Tom Churchill, superintendent for Meridian.
Levy equalization funding helps property-tax poor districts that can’t raise much revenue through taxes.
Whether the rollback will continue in 2014 depends.
“The board will see what happens in the Legislature during the session in 2013 before deciding on a rollback for 2014,” Churchill said in an email.
The Ferndale School District is facing a $1.9 million deficit for the next school year, but officials said they will be able to close that gap without affecting programs for students.
The Ferndale School Board is set to approve the $51.3 million general fund budget Thursday, July 26. It will include drawing from reserves to cover the entire deficit if necessary.
For the fourth time in 16 years, Washington state voters will decide whether to allow charter schools.
Initiative 1240 has qualified for the November ballot, the Washington Secretary of State announced Wednesday, July 25.
Sponsors submitted more than 357,000 signatures in a 21-day signature gathering drive, which was financed by powerful backers that included Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
Click here to read more about this and five other measures going before state voters in November.
The Washington Education Association opposes the measure. Read about its stance here.
North Cascades Institute is offering a free workshop for K-12 educators who want to teach about climate change.
The event is Aug. 10 to 14 at North Cascades Environmental Learning Center in North Cascades National Park.
Teachers will spend that time in the North Cascades studying the effects of climate change in the Pacific Northwest from climate science experts, resource managers and climate change educators.
The focus will be on understanding climate change on a regional basis and adapting lessons from existing climate change curricula to fit the classroom.
For more information and to apply, click here.
I will be on vacation for a week beginning Monday, July 16.
I’ll be back in the office on Monday, July 23.
The blog will be on hiatus until then.
If you missed the panels about key issues facing Washington state that were put on in June by Western Washington University’s Ralph Munro Institute, you can catch them on TVW this month.
The broadcast times and topics are:
- Monday, July 16: ”Budgeting in Challenging Times,” noon; ”Political Influence: Inside the Process,” 8:30 p.m.
- Tuesday, July 17: “Higher Education: Legislative Challenges” at 7:30 p.m. ; Rob McKenna on higher education issues at 9:30 p.m.
- Wednesday, July 18: ”Political Influence: Inside the Process” at noon; ”Initiatives and Referenda: Good for Washington?” at 8:30 p.m.
- Thursday, July 19: “Political Reporting: A Challenging Landscape” at noon; ”Budgeting in Challenging Times” at 8 p.m.
- Friday, July 20: “Lobbying: Influence and Access” at noon; “Political Reporting: A Challenging Landscape” at 7 p.m.
Or watch them any time on TVW’s website by entering “Munro” in the page’s search window.
TVW is Washington state’s public TV network.
Two summer workshops will allow youngsters’ imaginations to take flight as they learn about science, technology, engineering and math — commonly called STEM.
The workshops in Point Roberts are through Digivations Institute, a nonprofit started by Point Roberts couple Steve and Anne Berman.
The first is called “Lego + Arts” and begins Thursday, July 12. There also will be a three-day mini-academy, which begins Aug. 12 and delves into commercial space mission adventures.
The nonprofit has received a $2,460 NASA grant to help bring the workshops to Point Roberts.
The Bermans said their teaching approach involves “multiple intelligences” — think combining STEM with arts and movement — to make it accessible to youngsters, whether they’re intimidated by the topics or love STEM and want more.
“A lot of our kids that come to our academy are so turned on already, and we feed that,” Anne said.
Their focus means approaching the topics in a number of ways so youngsters don’t just learn how to make energy or what is alternative energy, according to Anne.
“They’re also going to learn a lot about all the different people and the philosophers all the way back to ancient Greece,” she added, by way of example.
“The whole point is we want to inspire the next generation of innovators,” Steve said, and that means enabling students to “connect emotionally, academically and physically with the concepts.”
So that could entail playing a game of tag called Potential and Kinetic; potential meaning stored energy and kinetic meaning movement. Or playing an educational version of Legos as well as a game called Sphere of Influence, developed by the Bermans, that teaches how philosophers, artists, scientists and explorers influence each other, leading to new discoveries.
It means using improv, storytelling, digital music and gymnastics, with Anne saying that the same ideas that launch rockets — force, thrust and lift, for example — are the ideas that gymnasts think about.
The Bermans, who both have experience teaching and researching and are trained as Lego Education Academy teacher trainers, originally developed their approach several years ago while working in California.
They started a company, Digivations, to spread their curriculum, responding to what they saw as a lack of programs for kids that combined sciences with artistic expression. They started teaching classes and workshops to students and teachers in both California and British Columbia.
What: Digivations Institute summer workshops.
Where: Point Roberts Community Center, 1487 Gulf Road.
- Lego + Arts is 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. July 12, 13, 26, 27; Aug. 2, 3, 9 and 10. This workshop is for ages 6 to 12.
- Mini-Academy is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 12-14; 19-21, and 26-28. This session is for ages 9 to 15. Students will learn about aerodynamics and Newton’s laws, building different types of rockets and preparing business plans as student teams create their own commercial space rocket companies.
Cost: $30 a day for Lego; $120 for the three-day mini-academy.
Registration and details: digivations.com. or 360-543-5641.
Western Washington University Board of Trustees has sent letters to alumni explaining the reasoning behind pay raises that members approved for faculty. Those salary increases raised the ire of Gov. Chris Gregoire last week.
The letter is below.
The Washington State Board of Education will meet in Bellingham for two days beginning Wednesday, July 11.
The meetings are open to the public. They begin at 8:30 a.m. in SMATE (Science, Mathematics and Technology Education) Hall at Western Washington University on Wednesday and Thursday.
Topics on the agenda include an overview of the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to excuse Washington state from some provisions of the federal “No Child Left Behind” law, clarifying new rules for some districts requesting waivers to shorten the school year, and a different way of measuring school performance.
For more on the agenda and meeting materials, go online to sbe.wa.gov/# and click on “Meeting Materials” on the top menu bar.
The board oversees the public K-12 system in Washington state.
Northwest Park and Recreation District 2 is offering summer learning camps July through August in Blaine and Birch Bay for children who are 7 to 15 years old.
Children can learn about subjects that include biology, geology, ecology, engineering, physics and writing. They also may learn how to play badminton, go fly fishing, take photos and build hot-air balloons.
The next available camp session is the week of July 16-20. The last session is Aug. 20-24.
There also are one-day field trips.
Tutor Doctor is co-sponsoring the camps, and providing many of the instructors.
Camp schedules, costs and registration forms are online at nwparkandrec.org.
Or call 360-656-6416.