Western Washington University has landed on Forbes Magazine’s annual list of the top colleges in the U.S.
Forbes ranked Western 353rd overall — out of 650 — on its list of the best undergraduate institutions based on post-graduate success, student satisfaction, student debt load, four-year graduation rate, and competitive awards.
The Center for College Affordability and Productivity, based in Washington, D.C., compiled the rankings for Forbes.
The magazine notes that its rankings “focus on the things that matter the most to students: quality of teaching, great career prospects, high graduation rates and low-levels of debt.”
Western ranked second among public universities in the state of Washington, after the University of Washington (87th) and before Washington State University (464th).
Western officials also pointed out that their university was ranked ahead of a number of major colleges and universities, including Rutgers, Seton Hall, Temple, Purdue and Oregon State.
Read more about the rankings and see the entire list by clicking here.
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 Washington state Supreme Court has ruled that a search of a student’s backpack at a high school in Bellevue was illegal.
Click here to read the story.
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.
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.
Editor’s note: If you ever wondered what happened with the Shuksan Middle School mural that was taken down in 2009, here’s an update.
The Shuksan Middle School mural that parents and alumni saved from demolition nearly three years ago will live on at the school as three photos, but the original will go back to the artist who created it.
“It’s nice they’re going to bring it up to me instead of destroy it,” Donna Wheat said. “I just didn’t want them to take it to the dump.”
Wheat, the artist, said she hoped to be able to put the large mural upright on her 20-acre property in the Bellingham area and put a roof over the mural to keep the elements off of it.
The large photos will be framed and mounted above the doors leading into the gym at Shuksan in Bellingham. They will be nearly as large as the original mural, which celebrated diversity and was completed in 2003.
“Our vision for the mural is going to allow it to be part of our school for a long, long time. It’s going to be at the center of our gathering place,” said Shuksan Principal Jay Jordan of the photos and their placement.
Jordan said a display also will be created to tell the story of the mural.
The 10-foot-by-30-foot mural, which had been in the main lobby, was going to be torn down along with the rest of the old Shuksan Middle School building in August 2009 to make way for a new school.
But thanks to the efforts of a group of parents and alumni, the mural was instead cut out of the concrete wall it had been built into.
Made out of mosaic tile, the mural included a quote from President Jimmy Carter, blue beach glass, bits of mirror and clay pieces made by every student at Shuksan as well as pieces made by faculty and staff.
Parent volunteers also helped with the project.
Wheat said she had no idea that district officials planned to tear down the school at the time she was creating the mural. If she had known, she would have made it so it was moveable.
No date has yet been set for moving the mural from Shuksan to Wheat’s property.
Stephanie Twiford, a parent who had worked on the mural and helped save it, thanked Jordan for his effort when he took over as principal beginning in 2011.
“Jay thought this mural was amazing,” Twiford said. “I just appreciate Jay Jordan for recognizing that it was a valuable piece of history, a piece of Shuksan history.”
There are a couple of literary events this weekend that have a schools angle.
The first is 2 p.m. Saturday, June 2, at Whatcom Middle School, 810 Halleck St., near F and Girard streets.
That’s when there will be a free reading and book-signing of “Alien on a Rampage,” the second installment in the Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast series from Bellingham-area writer Clete Barrett Smith.
Go for your chance to get an early copy of his new book. The event is in the school auditorium.
Smith is a former English teacher who taught at Blaine and Bellingham high schools.
The second is 5 p.m. Sunday, June 3, in the Readings Gallery at Village Books, 1200 11th St.
Young female poets from Shuksan Middle School will share their writing to benefit Brigid Collins Family Support Center in Bellingham. The nonprofit works to break the cycle of child abuse.
Booklets of the students’ poetry will be available at the Brigid Collins table. Donations will be accepted for the booklets.
The Lynden High School InvenTeam will unveil the recumbent tricycle members created for people with disabilities during an open house Tuesday, May 29.
The event begins at 4:30 p.m. with a meet and greet, followed by a presentation at 5 p.m. in the library of the high school, 1201 Bradley Road.
The team of student inventors from the high school created the tricycle using a $9,985 grant from the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam program, which helps students pursue inventions and career goals related to science, technology, engineering and math.
Fifteen teams were awarded grants nationwide in the 2011-12 school year, with the Lynden team the only one in Washington state.
The Lynden team also is one of just four picked to present their invention June 20-23 at EurekaFest at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
The team will present the tricycle, which uses a hydraulic lean mechanism controlled by a computer chip, June 20-23 at EurekaFest at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge.
Details are online at web.mit.edu/inventeams/currentinventeams.html.
Some of you at Lynden Christian High School might remember Kevin LaFleur, a former science teacher there.
The accomplished mountaineer loved Mount Baker, where he was last seen by fellow climbers heading up Deming Glacier alone the afternoon of April 26, 2008.
He hasn’t been seen since. He was 31 when he disappeared. This year, three Kevin LaFleur Memorial Teams will race in his honor at Ski to Sea on Sunday, May 27.
Click here to read the rest of the story.