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Children’s Author, Derek Munson, knows how to excite students about writing. Recently, the author of Enemy Pie and Bad Dad spent a day at Briarwood Elementary inspiring students with his energetic, yet down to earth style. During morning and afternoon assemblies, Munson talked to students about the writing process, what inspires him, and how he came up with the ideas for Enemy Pie and Bad Dad. He spoke honestly about how he’d received 29 rejection letters before he got his first break and the importance of not giving up. Munson stayed after each assembly personally greeting every student, signing their books, taking pictures, and giving high fives and fist bumps as students left the room.


Fourth grade students, (pictured) who will take the writing MSP this spring, also attended a special Creative Writing Ideas workshop with Munson. The author connected with students and engaged them through personal stories and sample story lines such as the Seahawks, Super Bowl, and video game designing.


CELEBRATES KINDNESS “Creating my own kind deed!” exclaimed fourth grader Abigail Stipe. Abigail, along with hundreds of his schoolmates at Cougar Ridge Elementary, capped off The Great Kindness Challenge week at their school by turning in their kindness challenge checklists. Students who brought their checklists with at least 25 of the challenges completed received a Kindness @ Cougar Ridge wristband as they came to school Friday morning. Items on the checklist ranged from “smile at 25 people” and “say thank you to a bus driver” to “sit with a new group of kids at lunch” or, Abigail’s favorite – “create your own kind deed.” Abigail’s deed was to put together toiletry kits for people in need. As you can see, the rain certainly could do nothing to dampen anyone’s spirit on this fun morning! Pictured: Claire Su, 4th Grade and Principal, Jackie Patte




After three hours of extensive mathematics at the Math Counts regional competition, Pine Lake, Beaver Lake, and Issaquah Middle Schools took home sixth, fifth, and fourth respectively, with all three teams moving on to various state competitions in March. Mari O’Neil PLMS math team coach stated, “We are very happy to see how many students are choosing to participate in the competitions. We have students at all levels and many of them are focusing on improving their skills while enjoying the activities.”


Traci Brewster, IMS math club head coach, explained, “Our math club meets once a week to prepare and practice. Student practice problem rounds that are similar to the actual competition.” Problem rounds include: Sprint, Target, Team and Countdown rounds. The Sprint round, requires competitors to complete 30 questions in 40 minutes. The Target round consists of eight questions which are distributed to students two at a time. During

this round, each student has six minutes to finish the pair of Target round questions. The Team round allows groups to work together for 20 minutes on 10 problems. Once these three rounds are completed, the top 25% (up to 10 students), proceed to the Countdown round, which is an oral round where students compete head-to-head. Brewster stated, “The Countdown round is FAST and can be very stressful! This year one of our students, Henry Dai, earned the number six spot in the Countdown round competition.” Students moving onto various state competitions include Karthik SellakumaranLatha, Christopher Tang, Manan Gandhi, and Kevin Wang of Pine Lake Middle School; Kevin Kim, Nishu Chakrapani, Aaron Wang, Kyle Reese, Kevin Xu and Saad Rahman, Alice Xie, Sophia Chiang, Susheel Cheeti, Matthew Shang, and Daniel Weng of Beaver Lake Middle School; Grant Williams, Isaiah Kim, Henry Dai, and Jake Jung of Issaquah Middle School.


Scientists of all grades gathered after school in the Apollo Elementary School cafeteria and gym to showcase their science fair projects and try hands-on science activities. Many students animatedly demonstrated their projects to guests and explained their experiments, hypotheses, and conclusions. Both parents and students were impressed with the wide range of projects and the interesting conclusions drawn by students. A couple of crowd pleasing projects included a baking soda volcanic eruption and electricity sparked with a hand crank. Teachers were also on hand to discuss projects with students and present them with awards for their hard work. Along with science fair projects, students were also able to participate in science activities such as creating slime, using Lego robots, and taking a closer look at salmon. Students were excited to try these hands on activities that allowed them to delve further into science. 5




Spend time in any elementary school and before long you will notice how few male teachers or administrators are working in the building. And, while many moms volunteer in their children’s classrooms, it is very rare to find a father at school. At Maple Hills Elementary, one dad is leading the charge to change that. Meet Mark Abel. Mark was approached by Maple Hills Principal, Sondra Maier, last schoolyear to organize a local WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) group at the school. WATCH D.O.G.S. is a National program developed by the National Center for Fathering encouraging fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, uncles, and other father figures to take a day off work and volunteer at least one day a year in their child’s school.

“It’s all about showing our kids we really care and getting involved in their education,” says Mark. “You never know what you’ll be doing – you might be reading to students in a classroom, giving high fives to

students as they come in the door, helping with a math game, or playing hide and seek on the playground. The important thing is showing up.” Not only does the program bring male role models into the elementary school for the benefit of students, it helps dads connect

with their kids and better understand what their days at school are like. “You see it from the kid’s perspective and you see it from the teacher’s perspective,” explains Mark. “You watch a teacher managing 25 bouncing pinball firecrackers and you come away so appreciative of what they do – it’s eye opening. And understanding what happens during the school day just puts you more in sync with your kids.” At Maple Hills, the program has grown significantly since its inception in 2012. Last year, about 20 dads were signed up – but this year there are 50 Watch D.O.G.S. dads. Mark hopes to get that number up to 180 WATCH D.O.G.S. volunteers– one for every day of the school year. The program also benefits students who

don’t have male role models in their lives. “The kids will never forget this” says Principal Maier. “Years from now they will be saying – ‘remember when Mr. Abel came in to read with our class?’ As they get into their teenage years, they’ll have seen fathers, uncles, grandparents - men investing their time in them.” According to the WATCH D.O.G.S. website, the program is now in more than 3,000 schools in 46 states. The site has tons of resources for anyone looking to start up a program at their school – as well as inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need.





Congratulations to the “Swimming Turtles” and “The Top 4 JEKS” of Creekside Elementary School for bringing home bronze at the Destination Imagination Tournament. The “Swimming Turtles,” a fifth grade team, took third in the Tension Builds (Structural) Challenge. For this category, the team built a structure that was tested against two forces at the same time, designed a prop that was assembled during their presentation, and created a story in which tension was a threat to stability that they overcame. “The Top 4 JEKS” are a third grade team who took third in the Improvisational Challenge. To win in this category, “The Top 4 JEKS” created an original five minute improvisational skit that developed the interaction between a character from the past and a contemporary character, showed how those characters worked, using the time period and occupational skills, and used stage make up to create, develop, and enhance one skit character. Prior to competition, teams spent months tirelessly solving challenges, designing and building large backdrops and props, creating costumes, scripts and songs, and practicing improvisational skits.


Pictured Top: James Kim, Eric Lin, Kavya Kumar, Shreya Karnik, of The Top 4 JEKS. Pictured Bottom: Varun Ananth, Andrew Bradley, Jaiden Devasia, Karan Hanswadkar, Jason Kim, Mustafa Miyaziwala, of the Swimming Turtles.



Briarwood Elementary School recently performed the musical Beauty Lou and the Country Beast, thanks to the help of the Briarwood PTA and the Missoula Children’s Theatre. Beauty Lou and the Country Beast is a one week production. Two directors from Missoula Children’s Theatre host auditions, cast students, and begin rehearsals on Monday. Rehearsals go through Thursday and students present the final production on Friday during an all school assembly and a night-time performance. Principal Drew Terry explained, “It’s an exhausting week for our kids, especially the ones with larger parts but the product at the end of the week is amazing!”





GRANT RECIPIENTS! Classroom Enrichment Grants allow individual teachers and teams to ask for up to $1,000 to provide classroom resources outside of their budget. Detailed grant proposals were submitted to the Issaquah Schools Foundation asking for anything from basic supplies to books, to visual aids, and technology resources. According to the Issaquah Schools Foundation website, The Issaquah Schools Foundation “recognizes that school budgets are limited and classroom demands are high. In an effort to enhance the learning environment in all of our schools, Issaquah Schools Foundation continues its practice of awarding grants on an annual basis.”


Teachers and teams at Apollo Elementary, Briarwood Elementary, Endeavour Elementary, Issaquah Middle, Maple Hills Elementary, Maywood, Newcastle Elementary, Pacific Cascade, Pine Lake, Sunny Hills Elementary, and Sunset Elementary School were recently notified of their win via a “Balloon Brigade” from the Issaquah Schools Foundation.

Improving Instruction with Updated Visual Resources: This grant will allow Apollo to continue to update their visual media collection with DVD titles and replace outdated VHS tapes. Carol Fujioka — Apollo The Path to Kindergarten: This grant will provide literary based activities for families to do with their student to prepare them to be successful in kindergarten. Courtney Baker — Apollo Summer Slide No More! Reading Blast-Off #3: This grant will help our low income students gain a foothold in literacy by putting books in their hands over the summer break. Susan Mundell — Apollo Non-fiction Framework on which to Build Success! This grant will provide a readily available rich resource of informational texts to develop research skills and improve non-fiction reading fluency. Teresa Mature — Apollo Express Yourself! This grant funds the purchase of single, dual, and wearable communicators. These devices make

learning and communication accessible for non/limited-verbal ISD students by facilitating a communication-rich environment, promoting acquiring vocabulary, expressing comments, asking questions, and hearing consistent answers to questions. Darcy Rhodes — Apollo Kindergarten Loves Leveled Books to Read! This grant will expand our leveled reading rooms at Briarwood by providing more copies of titles for our kindergarten readers. Kelsey Smith — Briarwood Updated Library Media for Enhanced Learning Experiences: This grant will allow Endeavour to continue to update their visual media collection with DVD titles and replace outdated VHS tapes. Elizabeth Hall — Endeavour Instructional Materials for Social Skill Education: This grant will allow the special education department at Endeavour to provide a set of instructional materials that put emphasis on emotional and behavioral challenges that impede learning. Richelle Ward — Endeavour


Red Scarf Girl - Author Visit: This grant will allow us to experience the life of a 12 year old during China’s Cultural Revolution. The author’s memoir, Red Scarf Girl, written from a child’s perspective, is a moving account of this important period in China’s history. Kurt Wieland — Issaquah MS Writing with iPads and Clicker Books: This grant brings an engaging book creation tool to Maple Hills that is especially helpful to struggling writers because of its use of speech feedback and intelligent word prediction. Karen Works — Maple Hills Investigating the Micro-World We Live In: In life science, students learn about microorganisms and cells through the use of microscopes. In physical science, however, we learn about characteristic properties, atoms, and phase changes of matter through pictures and simulations. This grant will purchase a handheld microscope with a built in camera to bridge that gap. Bree Chang — Maywood Enriching Instruction with Enhanced Visual Resources: This grant will allow Newcastle to continue to update their visual media collection with DVD titles and replace outdated VHS tapes. Laura Berry — Newcastle Latin/Greek Lesson Plans Booklet: This grant will be used to create a new curriculum designed to improve SAT and Pre-SAT scores through the use of Latin and Greek language. Kathryn Boudreau — Pacific Cascade MS 12

Tech Kids - Technology at their fingertips: This grant will allow students with special needs to benefit from the technological advances of the iPad Students that have difficulty writing are now using speech to text software and completing assignments! The iPad offers a wide range of applications that can be used for academic areas (reading, writing and math) as well as supporting social, emotional and behavior skills. Colleen Maher — Pine Lake MS Kindergarten Readers: This grant purchases kindergarten readers, an excellent resource for Sunny Hills students. These books are high interest, engaging texts that appeal to emergent readers. Damaris Melton — Sunny Hills Low Vision Toolbox on an iPad: This grant will help students with low vision and is an invaluable tool to overcome many obstacles. The iPad app has options such as zoom, large text print, and Siri. Krista Lussenhop — Sunset



Excited students and parents clamored inside the Issaquah McDonald’s on Gilman Boulevard for McDonald’s McTeacher Night. Teachers dressed as McDonald’s coworkers greeted students and took their food orders inside and at the drive-thru. Principal Hamasaki, Miss Carpenter, Mrs. Edwins, Mrs. Pierce, Mrs. Nelson, Ms. Blakley, Miss Cress, Mr. Merrill, Ms. Eshom, Mrs. Larson, Mrs. Buder, Mrs. Daley, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Kline, and Mrs. Montgomery all donated their time to prepare and serve dinner for the McTeacher Night fundraiser. The $1,600 in proceeds from the sales during their three hour shift will support the Fifth Grade Camp Fund.





Creekside Elementary School came together to celebrate the 4th Annual Creekside Cultural Fair: Love Around the World. This exciting event celebrates the diversity of Creekside students. More than 700 parents and students learned about the countries and cultures that make up the Creekside Elementary community. Participants were encouraged to embrace the diversity that was showcased throughout the event. A rousing parade displaying the traditional dress of the 28 cultures represented started off the event. Each participant received a passport at the welcome booth to begin their cultural journey. Walking around the cultural fair, parents and students collected stamps from every country as they learned fun facts, sampled various foods, tried new words in different languages, played games, and made country-specific crafts. Students also expressed their various cultures through traditional clothing and song and dance performances.


Countries represented at the cultural fair include: Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, Chile, Minnesota, Canada, India, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, China, Japan, Vietnam, Israel, Iran, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Italy, Scotland, Croatia, Finland, and Hungary.



Safety is important at Maywood Middle School, whether it is in the classroom, on the bus, or behind a computer screen. To educate students on the harsh realities of the Internet, Maywood Middle School invited Officer Stefanie Thomas of the Seattle Police Department and the Internet Crimes Task Force to speak with their students. Principal Jason Morse explained, “We want to create a safe culture that follows the “culture of kindness” attitude we instill in our students.” Officer Thomas covered cyber-bullying, online relationships, social networking, sexting,

online posting, and internet safety tips with students. During each discussion she asked students to offer

participating in them. Officer Thomas provided straight-forward scenarios by using real world examples to illustrate online actions of students. Her personable yet strict approach allowed students to open up and understand that although the real world and online worlds are different their actions should be the same. Throughout her presentation students in the audience could be heard saying realizations such as: “I didn’t know that!”, “It’s out there forever?”, and “Wow, I’ve never thought about it like that.”

their own definitions and explore their own perceptions of the topics before sharing statistics and explaining the legal implications of

At the end of each presentation Principal Morse cautioned students: “We want you to be safe and responsible — Use caution online.”





Many Issaquah elementary schools celebrated Dr. Seuss during the Read Across America program, last week. Dr. Seuss’s birthday falls in the middle of this reading celebration and is a great way to involve students in reading. Some of the activities included: dressing in wacky clothes, Drop Everything and Read, Read-Ins, Family Reading Nights, and Dr. Seuss Trivia.





TAKES HOME 4TH AT STATE COMPETITION Congratulations Issaquah High School Chess Team! The State Chess Tournament is an annual competition where qualifying teams from all over the state compete. This year’s tournament started on a Friday afternoon and went through Saturday night. Teams of 5 players competed in 5 matches, each lasting up to 3 hours long. The Issaquah High School Chess Team went into competition ranked 9th in the state and finished 4th overall. They are very excited about their 4th place finish and are looking forward to keeping the momentum going. Team members pictured from left to right: Anurag Mantrala, Nathan Lee, Romil Sirohi, Wesley Esko, Rajat Lahiri, and Alex Wang.



BOOKS Representatives from Cougar Ridge Elementary School Student Council recently delivered new books to the pediatric wing of the Issaquah Swedish Medical Center. These books had been donated during the school’s book fair. During their visit, the student council also met with the Child Life Specialist and learned about their job of reducing the negative impact on the lives of children and how their donation of books will help that process. Pictured above from left to right is: Camille Prescott, Trace Nangle, Anna Salvador, Risa Wagner, Joniann Nguyen, Zach Eastern



Challenger Elementary School kindergartners presented their bus driver with a special “sweet� card for Classified Appreciation Week. Tammie Lowery and Randy Young serve only kindergartners who live in the Highlands and is much appreciated at Challenger.

Thank you May Valley Service Center! Nearly 1.2 million meals were served by our food service department, while custodians and maintenance workers cleaned and served more than 2.4 million square feet of building space.


Thank you to our bus drivers! ISD’s 143 bus drivers drove more than a million miles (1,374,931 to be exact) transporting students safety to and from school last year!

The administration center houses many departments essential to running the district. Did you know that ISD’s payroll department processes an average monthly payroll of $7.6M and 2,300 paychecks a month? The District owns 14,388 computers with an IT department of 30 people working as technology specialists in the building and supporting all of the network, e-mail, media, telecommunications, and media systems!




To honor and reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life work, PLMS grew a “Dream Tree” in the school foyer over the four day week following the MLK holiday. The Dream Tree demonstrated how the school’s core values of community, excellence, respect, discovery, and integrity connect to the work of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. Dream Week began with student discussions in their homerooms about how Martin Luther King Jr.’s life demonstrated integrity, how a community came together to become the Civil Rights Movement, and what they believed in strongly enough to struggle and stand up for. Each day featured a new challenge for students to reflect on a specific thematic aspect of Dr. King’s legacy, and then perform a corresponding act and record it on a leaf or apple on the school Dream Tree in the main entry foyer.


Tuesday, students were challenged to “Grow Roots” by showing the roots of kindness by engaging in a random act of kindness. Wednesday, they learned to “Branch Out” by discovering someone new at school by saying hello or offering to help out a classmate. Thursday encouraged students to “Leave Fear Behind” by showing integrity and standing up for someone or something they believe in. On Friday, students “Shared the Fruits of their Labor”, by recording an example on a paper apple of going the extra mile or putting in extra effort on an assignment to complete the tree.




During this week of St. Patrick’s Day, Sunset Elementary School Kindergartners used their artistic skills to build Leprechaun traps. These creative traps were also incorporated in reading and writing activities throughout the week.



Fifth graders Alivia and Laura discovered how sounds are transmitted in a recent “Science to Go” unit at Sunset Elementary School. The Sunset Elementary School PTA provided funding for this hands-on science lesson.




Members of the Mock Trial Club at Skyline High School argued their first case as attorneys in a recent District Competition. Throughout the case, they provided crucial witness testimony before an actual sitting judge. In their first year the Skyline Mock Trial Club Team competed at a regional level against other Western Washington High Schools for a chance to compete at the State level. Throughout their experience with mock trial, students gained valuable knowledge of the courtroom process and experienced making legal arguments against a knowledgeable and savvy legal team.


The following students represented Skyline Mock Trial Club: Christy Kettel, Guilherme Wassano, Amanda Snow, Kenyon Andres, Ali Nelson, Tori Fuller, McKenzie Deutsch, Cailey Grembowski, Mike Seeley, Jarod Bleiweiss, Jessica Lederman, Mehana Amruthur, Gauri Sharma, Lucilla Nkinsi, and Kelly Shea.




SPIRIT TROPHY Liberty High School Robotics Club recently competed in the 2014 Washington Robotics Tournament at Auburn Mountainview High School. This thirty-one team, multiday competition was rigorous. Liberty placed fourteenth after several rounds of competition and was selected to compete in the finals. Although the Patriots were ultimately eliminated in the quarter-finals by the eventual District Champions, they brought home the Team Spirit trophy and have high hopes for their next competition in March.


SPELLING BEE CHAMPS Beaver Lake Middle School recently held their 2014 Annual Spelling Bee. Students competed in their Language Arts classrooms before finalists moved onto a school-wide competition. The winner from each class competed for an opportunity to enter the Annual Regional Spelling Bee in Seattle. This year’s winner of the Beaver Lake Middle School 2014 Annual Spelling Bee was seventh grader Vikram Tirumalai. He will compete later this month at Seattle Town Hall with approximately 75 other students from the Seattle area. The second and third place winners of the 2014 BLMS Annual Spelling Bee were eighth grader Kaichen Liu and sixth grader Quennie Nguyen, respectively. “We are proud of our Bulldogs!” cheered BLMS Spelling Bee coordinator Michelle Wells.




All three of Issaquah’s comprehensive high schools recently competed at the DECA State Conference. Combined, Liberty, Issaquah, and Skyline High Schools sent almost 300 competitors to the 3,500+ student conference.


The Liberty chapter finished with 19 national qualifiers and 21 state finalists. This is a chapter best for Liberty. Throughout the conference Mr. Gapinski, Liberty High DECA coordinator, was incredibly proud of the student behavior, competitive achievements, and the overall support for each student during the awards.

Issaquah High finished with 10 national qualifiers and 9 state finalists. Mr. Shanafelt, Issaquah High DECA Advisor, explained that his qualifiers are extremely excited to move onto the national competition and that he was very proud of those who medaled at the state competition. Skyline High School will be sending 60 qualifiers to national competition and had 50 state finalists. Lisa Hechtman, Principal at Skyline High School says she is very excited that so many Skyline students are moving onto the national competition. Eighty-nine DECA qualifiers from the Issaquah School District will compete at the

National DECA competition in Atlanta this May. Pictured leftt: Issaquah High School student Olivia Marcus, holding her medals from the State competition. Issaquah High national qualifiers include: Hanna Choi, Erica Laucius, Shreya Mantrala, Olivia Marcus, Jacqueline Nguyen, Alec Ahimizu, Hannah Stulberg (Double Qualifier), Catherine Ticzon, Ariel Yu (Double Qualifier), and Youdong Zhang. Pictured middle: Liberty High School National DECA Qualifiers. Liberty High national qualifiers include: Jonathan Anderson, Connor Applegate, Jessie Bisset, Megan Cordell, Spencer Greenwald, Lilia Haberman, Drew Hall, Jacob Johnston, Katherine Kerstetter (Double Qualifier), Katie McGuire, Zach McKee, Jacob Muttart, Bryce Neighbor, Conner Noblat, Rachel Phillips, Aditya Seshadri (Double Qualifier), Conner Small, Alex Wilsey and Tyler Wray. Pictured right: DECA students at the State competition. Skyline High national qualifiers include: Ben Swallow, Rob Hild, Toby White, Thiemos Loos, Shaun Bala, Prabha Dublish (Double Qualifier), Sarika Ghanduri, Ali O’Daffer, Hair Rajan, Aishwarya Mandyam, Karishma Mandyam, Alexa Chistianson, Justin Hong, Oliver Marczynski, Katy Mounsey (Double Qualifier), Sarah Chu, Amulya Bhattarai, Parker Matais, Meryl Seah, Sydney Kane, Megan Humble, Kourtney Kirton, Michelle Szeto, Madison Laycock, Gokul Kumarresen, Arjun Marayan, Shaina Ma, Sydney Smith, Rhianna Edulijee, Niyathia Chakrapani, Chloe Epker, Nolan Bernard, Ryan Sakamoto, Sarika Ghanduri (Double Qualifier), Briana Advani, Mike Seeley, Courtney Kay, Nate Jensen, Adithti Addepalli, Peri Cyr, Grace Wu, Tarika Sivakumar, Helen Wang, Larissa Liu, Michelle Chen, Sam Taaffe, Fletcher Huish, Tony Elevanthingal, Alexa Wu.





IS COOL WINNERS Congratulations to Quennie Nguyen and Kyle Reese! These two Beaver Lake Middle School Students competed against 50 other middle school math students at the recent Math is Cool competition held at Mt. Rainier High School. Quennie and Kyle took second and first place respectively.


MUSICIANS Congratulations to our Issaquah High School musicians who earned the opportunity to compete at the Washington State Solo and Ensemble Contest at Central Washington University on April 25 and 26, 2014.


Congratulations to Vinny Palaiappan who won the Issaquah High School Pi Contest. The Pi Contest was held on Pi Day (March 14). To win the competition, Vinny memorized 370 digits of Pi!


Profile for Issaquah School District


Issaquah School District news, notes, and events for the months of February and March.


Issaquah School District news, notes, and events for the months of February and March.