The executive director of a food and agriculture initiative will be the commencement speaker at Western Washington University’s summer graduation ceremony Saturday, Aug. 18.
About 450 undergraduates and 75 master’s candidates will receive degrees this quarter.
Deborah Atwood, head of AGree: Transforming Food and Agriculture Policy, also is an alumna of Huxley College of the Environment and Western’s Campus School.
Heidi Grant Murphy, a Western alumna and renowned opera singer, will receive an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts and sing the national anthem at Western’s summer commencement, which begins at 10 a.m. in Carver Gym.
Graduating senior Amanjeet Sahota, a political science major from Bellingham, will give the student commencement address.
No tickets are required for those attending commencement. Seating will be first come, first served.
People also may watch a live feed of the televised ceremony in lecture halls in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education (SMATE) building. The halls are on the bottom floor, near the main entrance.
The ceremony also will be streamed live at www.ustream.tv/channel/wwu-live-events1.
Explorations Academy is having an open house Monday night, Aug. 20, for families interested in learning more about the small, independent high school.
Parents and teens may tour the school, ask questions and talk with teachers to find out whether Explorations is right for them.
The event will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the school, 1701 Ellis St., Suite 215 in Bellingham.
Explorations Academy is enrolling for fall 2012. Applications are available by calling 360-671-8085 or by going online to explorationsacademy.org.
In case you missed it, here’s a story about Western Washington University’s connection to the Mars landing of the rover Curiosity the night of Sunday, Aug. 5.
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.
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.
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.
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.
School superintendents and boards in Whatcom County will meet with Washington state legislators Wednesday, June 27, in Bellingham.
The meeting is 5 to 7 p.m. at the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County office, 1650 Baker Creek Place.
School officials will meet with legislators from the 40th and 42nd legislative districts to touch base on school issues and funding.
Key issues facing Washington state are being explored this month as part of a program put on by Western Washington University’s Ralph Munro Institute.
The panels are free and open to the public. They are on the campus of North Seattle Community College this week, and will be on Western’s campus in Bellingham starting Tuesday, June 26.
Elected officials, public policy experts, political scientists and scholars will be among the panelists.
Below is the list of topics and panelists June 20 and 21 at North Seattle Community College.
All panels will be from 2:15 to 4 p.m. at Room 1520 in the Arts and Sciences Building.
Park in the North Visitors’ parking lot; public parking is free and no parking passes are needed.
- Wednesday, June 20: “Higher Education: Legislative Challenges.” Panel with moderator Kelly Evans, public affairs and political consultant; state Reps. Reuven Carlyle, Hans Zeiger and Larry Seaquist; and state Sens. David Frockt and Steve Litzow.
- Thursday, June 21: “Initiatives and Referenda: Good for Washington State?” Panel with moderator Paul Dunn, senior executive assistant in the President’s Office at Western; Seattle Times journalist Joni Balter; political activist Tim Eyman; state Rep. Chris Reykdal; and Alison Holcomb, campaign director for Yes on I-502, a measure that legalize marijuana.
Below is the list of topics and panelists June 26 to 28 at Western.
All panels will be from 2:15 to 4 p.m. at Old Main 340, the Board of Trustees meeting room.
- Tuesday, June 26: “Political Influence: Inside the Process.” Panel with moderator Todd Donovan, professor of political science at Western; political strategist Ron Dotzauer; political strategist Terry Thompson; and Alex Hays, executive director of Mainstream Republicans of Washington.
- Wednesday, June 27: “Political Reporting: a Challenging Landscape.” Keynote address by WWU President Bruce Shepard. Panel with moderator David Ammons, former Associated Press capital reporter and current communications director for the Washington Secretary of State; Seattle PI.com columnist Joel Connelly; Austin Jenkins, Olympia reporter for public radio and host for TVW’s weekly public affairs program “Inside Olympia”; and Peter Callaghan, columnist for The News Tribune in Tacoma.
- Thursday, June 28: “Lobbying: Influence and Access.” Panel with moderator Cole Taratoot, visiting assistant professor of sociology at Western; contract lobbyist Charlie Brown; Wendy Rader-Konofalski, with the Washington Education Association; and Amber Carter, with the Association of Washington Business.
Drivers should stop by Parking Services at the Visitor Center and get a pass, or pay at the meters in lot 7G, which is the lot closest to Old Main.
DEMING — The Mount Baker School District will offer free meals to children June 20 to July 6 at the junior and senior high school commons, 4936 Deming Road.
Meals will be served Monday through Friday only. No meals will be served July 4.
Breakfast will be served from 8:45 to 9 a.m. Lunch will be served from 11:20 to 11:50 a.m.
The district is providing the meals to children who are 1 to 18 years old as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Simplified Summer Food Program for Children.
For questions, contact Food Service Director Karla Atwood at 360-383-2076.