Peninsular Thinking

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Archive for the ‘Youth’ Category

SAT changes: rewarding risk

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Among changes coming to the SAT college entrance exam in 2016 is a new provision that there will be no penalty for wrong answers.

It’s no secret that strategies for taking the high stakes test are seen as almost as (if not more) important than the content. In the past, students have been coached to answer questions when, by process of elimination and other methods of sifting evidence, they can say with near certainty which answer is correct, according to Franklyn MacKenzie, director of secondary education at Central Kitsap School District.

Calculated risk taking is a useful skill that schools endorse, Mackenzie said. Under the new standard, the SAT will reward that behavior to a much greater level. That is, they won’t be penalized for taking that risk if they happen to be wrong. Schools typically encourage such calculated risk-taking, MacKenzie said. Now the test will be more like what students experience in school.

Chris Swanson, career and college counselor at Bremerton High School, also sees the no-penalty-for-wrong-answers change as a positive. In the past, he said, SAT coaches have made kids crazy by telling them not to answer questions if they’re not almost 100 percent sure. For eager students it feels like slacking and counter-intuitive to what they’ve been taught on school tests.

Swanson believes the old strategies won’t work well on the new SAT. The new test also calls on students to demonstrate why they know something is right, a huge trend in schools these days.

“It sounds to me like in the future those strategies will likely not be the keys to success that they are today, but rather your ability to provide the evidence to back up answers,” Swanson said.

The change could be a good thing for cautious students. But what if you have a student who is perfectly comfortable taking risks, who sees the change as a green light to answer questions willy nilly. The College Board’s press release on the SAT changes doesn’t say how or if the test will screen for such an approach. Perhaps, as Swanson suggests, the call for evidence-based answers will weed out the wanton risk-takers.

Sample questions due out in April are likely to provide more insight into what new strategies will be called for.

Students, what SAT strategies have you found most useful? What was the hardest thing about the test? Knowing what you do now, is there anything you would have done differently to prepare?

Empty bellies and student discipline

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

The link between discipline in schools and student achievement has gotten considerable attention over the past year in Olympia. The Legislature last year passed a bill, effective in September, requiring that districts take steps to reduce expulsions and bring kids who have been expelled back into the fold, whenever possible.

A bill introduced this session (SHB 2536) connects the dots between misbehavior and hunger. The bill, which passed the House last week 67-31, would require districts with high numbers of low-income students to implement so-called “breakfast after the bell” programs.

In most districts, breakfast is available before school starts (not after the first bell). Although available to all students, breakfast before the bell is meant to ensure that children financially eligible for free- and reduced-cost meals have a shot at what nutritionists call the most important meal of the day. But low-income kids can feel stigmatized by the arrangement, say child advocates backing the bill. Sometimes transportation is an issue … as if there weren’t already enough reasons to skip breakfast.

The bill cites evidence that school breakfast is associated with “improved outcomes” for students, including fewer discipline incidents, better attendance and improved performance on standardized tests. Washington State ranks forty-first in the nation for participation in school breakfast programs, according to the text of the bill.

The bill, now with the Senate, calls for a four-year, phased-in process for providing breakfast after the bell in “high needs” schools. Beginning in the 2016-2017 school year, all high needs elementary schools in the state would be required to offer some form of breakfast after the bell; the requirement would extend to all high needs schools the following years.

Schools could use whatever model best suits their student population and logistical requirements. Models proposed in the bill include, but are not limited to, breakfast in the classroom, “grab and go” breakfast, or a breakfast after first period.

An amended to the bill would allow high needs schools to obtain waivers from the requirement if they could show that their direct costs for the program, including food service staff, would exceed available revenues.

Funding would come from federal school nutrition sources and the cost to the state would be “minimal,” according to Sara Levin, of the United Way of King County, which would help with start up costs in that county, and Katie Mosehauer of Washington Appleseed, a public policy organization aimed at social justice. The Breakfast After the Bell program will cost an estimated $9.6 million per year when fully implemented.

Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton, doubts the bill will make it through the Senate, at least in this version. Haigh, who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, said even proponents of the bill feel there are issues inadequately addressed, including cost. There are other concerns around the logistical challenge of allowing food in classrooms and ensuring the nutritional quality of what students are eating.

Nonetheless, said Haigh, passing a law to promote wider access to breakfast in schools is something the Legislature should pursue. “We’ve got to keep working on this,” she said.

District policies call for immediate expulsion for gun in school

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

One person who commented on today’s story about the impact of expulsions on families said he thought expulsion was too harsh a punishment for a 9-year-old boy who brought a gun to school in February 2012, resulting in the critical injury of an 8-year-old classmate. The girl survived, but her health remains compromised, a spokeswoman for the family has said.

Here is the comment from Larry Croix and my response outlining the rights and responsibilities of school officials, students and parents in cases where students bring a gun to school. In short, most districts, under state law and their own polices, have no choice but to expel the student. Students are entitled to due process, including the right to appeal.

Larry says, “There was a lot about the 9 year old in this story that I could not fathom. I don’t want to minimize the past and future pain and suffering of the victim. That said I don’t understand how a 9 year old could be criminally guilty of anything. I thought and still think a years expulsion was wrong headed given the circumstances. Changing his school certainly, but anything beyond that was excessive and I have to wonder what they were thinking beyond avoiding having to deal with over wrought parents of other children.”

My response, “Under state law, bringing a gun to school is “grounds for” expulsion. Bremerton, like most districts, spells out in its parent handbook a policy that students who bring a gun to school will be immediately expelled.

The law says students who suspended or expelled are entitled to due process including the right to appeal (the link here is to a document posted on the state Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s website), but schools can emergency expel a student who poses an immediate threat. The emergency expulsion, must be followed within 24-hours by written notification to parents/ guardians and converted to some other form of discipline.

So in the case of the 9-year-old, the district was bound by state law and its own policies to expel the boy. His guardian doesn’t dispute the district’s actions immediately following the shooting.”

Chris Henry, reporter

Video of Bremerton teacher shows challenge of classroom management

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Note on Feb. 24: My apologies. Due to a coding error, the video did not show up when I posted it. Video should work now. Chris Henry, reporter

Today’s story in our six-part series on student discipline focuses on a Bremerton classroom, where teacher Veda Langford manages her students with a blend of compassion and discipline.

Here’s the video of Langford’s class, which posted on Day 1, in case you missed it.

Race, it’s complicated

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Two students’ stories illustrate the elusive influence of race on behavior and discipline.

By Chris Henry
Educators, including top officials in Kitsap and North Mason school districts, agree that some groups of students — kids of color, those with learning disabilities and the poor — are disciplined more often and more harshly than the majority white, middle-class students.
What’s not always clear is the interplay among contributing factors that may include family dynamics, the student’s personality, mental health issues, teachers’ bias or a combination of the above.
Clearly educators, students and their parents all have their roles to play. But as these students’ stories show, it’s hard to pinpoint when, where and why behavior starts to go off track.

Cedric Turner was a sophomore at Central Kitsap High School when he was arrested Nov. 11, 2011, for bringing a gun to schools in Central Kitsap and North Kitsap and firing off a round at Raab Park in Poulsbo. No one was injured.
The Turner family, who are black and in the military, felt a culture shock moving to predominantly white Kitsap County, said Lapeachtriss Turner, Cedric’s mom. Cedric felt out of his element after living in more diverse communities, his mother said. A good student, socially adrift, he hooked up with some troublesome kids.
The Raab Park incident stemmed from bullying at school with racial undertones, Lapeachtriss said. Cedric got drawn in trying to defend friends in his racially mixed group. So yes, race was “a huge factor” in his getting kicked out of school, she said.
Cedric is a good boy who made bad decisions, his mother says. She excuses none of her son’s behavior. The family was frustrated, however, by what they describe as uneven support and communication from district administrators before and after the arrest. Central Kitsap School District officials won’t comment on behavior records of individual students.
Cedric’s cause was complicated by an earlier, similar firearms charge in California. In Kitsap County Superior Court, he pleaded guilty to three felony charges, including possession of a dangerous weapon at school.
Expelled from CKHS and on probation, Cedric took classes at the Kitsap Alternative Transition School, where students under court supervision can earn credits while suspended or expelled.
Cedric progressed well, but after several months, he ran away and began skipping school, violating terms of his probation. Taken back into custody, he completed his sentence in the juvenile detention center.
Cedric was sent to live with his grandmother in Georgia. He caught up by taking extra credits, first at an alternative school, later at a regular high school. But when his parents tried to move him to the North Carolina district in which they now live, his felony record dogged him, and officials were reluctant to admit him. The family has worked on an alternative plan for Cedric to complete his high school education.
All he sees, said his mom, are doors closing left and right.
“He did what he did, and he should have been punished. I’m the first one to say that,” Lapeachtriss said. “I just want us to get past all of this and move forward. I don’t want him to get punished for the rest of his life.”
Statistically, Tony Riojas, 18, has two strikes against him: he has learning disabilities and he is multi-cultured. His father is black, his mother is Mexican, and his stepdad is white.
Tony’s military family lived in ethnically diverse towns before moving to Kitsap County. He spent time with his father in Florida, but says his dad’s neighborhood is “ghetto,” rife with conflict. He prefers Poulsbo where his ethnicity makes him a standout.
“I love being different,” he said. “I’m pretty sure my skin color makes me who I am in Poulsbo. Everybody knows me as the black kid, so if I wasn’t the black kid, who would I be?”
Sociable, smart, athletic, Tony has been in trouble since fifth grade, his angry outbursts landing him in the principal’s office time after time. He’s been arrested twice; charges were dropped both times.
Diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Tony had a specialized learning plan at North Kitsap High School that required him to follow a behavior “contract.” Therapists also diagnosed “oppositional defiance disorder,” described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as “an ongoing pattern of anger-guided disobedience, hostility, and defiant behavior toward authority figures.” The district, which declined to comment, would not recognize the condition, according to Tony’s mother, Corine Proctor.
Tony thinks race and disability might be factors for some students who get in trouble, but not for him.
“I’ll probably be the only person you will talk to who will admit to just causing trouble,” he said. “I was very hot headed. … Honestly, I didn’t care, ‘cause that was just me.’ Up until 11th grade, I didn’t care about what anybody thought or what anybody did or the consequences of my actions.”
Conflict was the norm. Tony admits using his blackness to intimidate people.
Tony continued getting in trouble on returning from Florida to Poulsbo as a senior.
“I had a past with that school,” he said. “Every little thing I did, if I was late to class they’d write me up.”
This fall, a kid from the high school, a former friend, crossed him.
“I saw him at school one day. I said, ‘Listen, if I see you off campus you will legitimately be dead,’ Tony said. And he meant it.
There was a confrontation in the Dairy Queen parking lot, and the kid reported feeling threatened. The school took it as a credible threat, and because of Tony’s lengthy discipline record, they expelled him.
Tony’s mother and stepfather reached the end of their rope and kicked him out of the house. He ended up couch surfing, wondering what to do next.
Tony has no interest in going back to the high school, but he blew off the options offered by his mom, Corine said.
She thinks she should have drawn a line in the sand years ago.
“I’m tired of this scrub life I’m living. I have no money, no job, no diploma,” Tony said. “I know now if I would have just stayed on the straight and narrow, I’d be done with school and in the Navy, going places, going abroad and having it all.”

More on that discipline data

Monday, February 17th, 2014

This blog post started out as a reply to readers who commented on today’s story discussing discipline data. The data show discriminatory discipline is a real phenomenon at the local, state and national levels.

My reply got a little lengthy, so I had to put it in the blog.

Vitaeus, you asked, “Is there any research into how many discipline cases are upheld on higher review?” You also were worried about districts being subject to quotas.

Regarding whether cases were upheld, I assume you’re talking about the federal review of complaints of possible civil rights violations in schools. My understanding is that the evidence of discriminatory discipline referred to in the report was based on cases that had been vetted (not those that were unfounded), as well as investigation of school districts’ discipline practices across the nation.

Larry Croix: Yes, it is possible for a snapshot of data to be taken out of context. But the feds have been following this issue for years (as I will elaborate on in part 6 of this series).

None of the many school officials, youth advocates and education policy analysts I talked to denied that discriminatory discipline exists, including Michael Petrilli of the Fordham Institute (quoted in this story). But Petrilli doesn’t like the idea of sanctions, which he says could drive schools toward a quota-driven approach to reduce suspensions and expulsions.

That seems a valid and fair concern, especially given recent history in districts, like Philadelphia, where school officials tried to reduce suspensions and expulsions without a systematic approach to maintaining control of the classroom. The schools became chaotic and dangerous, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Data from the state’s Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is different from the federal data. It comes from Washington schools’ annual reports in the number of incidents and disciplinary actions (as in the database, above in the story). That gives a snapshot of each district per school year, showing what was the most prevalent reported offense at each. Was it bullying, drugs, fighting without major injury? And so on.

On OSPI’s website, you can also drill down to each school. They are working on making that information easily accessible/ sharable, but when we checked, their “report builder” wasn’t ready for prime time. And we’re talking a ton of data here, so transferring it by hand would have been prohibitive for our staff. We will try to pull that data to our website when it becomes available.

Schools, in the past, also have reported demographic information on race, socioeconomic status and disabilities. As of 2012-2013, they must now show disciplinary action by demographic group.

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction is incorporating this new data (not new to the schools) into its public database, which will be out some time this spring, according to the OSPI spokesman I talked to.

What will all this new data do? Going forward, districts and other interested parties can track discipline data by demographic group over the years by district and down to the school level. Hopefully, analysts and the public will look at patterns and not snapshots taken out of context, a concern of one school official I spoke to.

In theory, districts are consistent in their recording and reporting of incidents, but that may not be so, at least yet, according North Mason’s Superintendent David Peterson, whose district had the highest rate of suspensions and expulsions of all local districts in 2010-2013. Peterson says differences in how districts view, record and report offenses can account for at least part of this.

Larry Croix, you make the point that data could be manipulated. School officials and a spokeswoman from the Washington State School Directors association, also were concerned about this, especially given that (in theory) anyone could make their own data report from OSPI’s website. Cherry picking in theory is a possibility, so certainly one would want to consider the source.

The state report referenced in this story analyzed discipline data by demographics for the 2009-2010 school year. Data for the graphic illustration in the newspaper today came from the 2012-2013 school year, analyzed for us by Washington Appleseed, an organization focused on education policy and social justice. Appleseed has a data sharing agreement with OSPI.

The state report, co-authored by data analysts at Washington Appleseed, appears well vetted. Lawmakers considered it heavily in recent legislation addressing discipline that got bipartisan support.

Bottom line, regarding discriminatory discipline, we’re talking about a decade or more of local, state and national data. I talked to dozens of school officials and teachers. Only one denied that discriminatory discipline is a real phenomenon.

Will the data get better as districts become more consistent in their reporting and as the state improves its system of collecting and reporting that data? Hopefully. That’s the idea. This is all a big work in progress.

In the meanwhile, educators are moving forward with “best practices” aimed at helping troubled students while reducing exclusionary discipline.

“I don’t need to know the exact number of students they’re suspending and expelling and the exact rates,” said Linda Mangel of the ACLU of Washington. “We have enough data to know we have a serious problem with racial disparities in discipline in our state.”

But, Mangel added, “The data only tells part of the story.”

You can’t make the assumption of bias in discipline just based on data, she said.

“What data can help us do is identify teachers in schools who may need extra support,” she said.

That will be the topic of tomorrow’s story.

Local officials have argued that solutions to discipline issues are most appropriately found at the district and building level. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss how behavior can get misinterpreted and where some teachers may need support in working with minorities.

Thanks all, for your interest.

Chris Henry, reporter

Mentorship group gives at-risk students tools for success

Monday, February 17th, 2014

The fight was the first thing that students in Robert Boddie’s mentorship group wanted to discuss.

This group of black students at Ridgetop Junior High School meets weekly with Boddie and T.C. Curry, both volunteers, for the noncredit activity focused on academics and personal growth. They talk about everything. Grades, girls, guns … no topic is taboo.
Two boys from the group, absent that day through suspension, had fought earlier in the week over something someone had written in a textbook. A female student was injured in the fracas.

Towan Curry (no relation to T.C.) said one of the offenders should be barred from the group.

“Even though we gave him a second chance, he went out and repeatedly got in trouble,” Towan said. Others agreed.

In this tight-knit group — part brotherhood, part boot camp — everyone knows the statistics: that blacks lag academically and in the workplace, and that they are more likely to end up in jail. They also know — because Boddie and Curry have drilled it into them — that there are no excuses.

“If you get in trouble, don’t try to put the blame on someone else,” said Lenny Commey.

“You have to be accountable for your action. Be responsible for yourself,” said Kendall Washington.

The Ridgetop group, formed seven years ago, is open to each year’s ninth graders. Boddie leads a similar group for seventh graders at Mountain View Middle School in the Bremerton School District.
Screen shot 2014-02-15 at 9.40.33 PM
Both districts host the groups as part of their strategies to address academic achievement and discipline among minority students and other “at-risk” groups. The purpose, said Ridgetop counselor Steve Lee, is to equip these young men with tools and strategies to overcome the odds against them.

Nationwide (as I reported on day 1 of our Lessons in Discipline series) black students are three times more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their white peers. In Kitsap and North Mason schools, students are less than three times but (as a group) more than two times more likely to be removed from school for behavior issues.

As I explained in the first article, that’s like black kids in local schools getting two raffle tickets for every one the white kids get every day they walk into school. Only, instead of a prize, it’s double your chances of being sent to the principal’s office, or worse, suspended or expelled.

“There’s no debate about that. It is what it is,” Lee said. “The question is, ‘What are we going to do to make sure these boys are successful?’”

The boys are well aware of how suspension or expulsion could impact them. “What happens when you’re removed from school, even simply put of the classroom for the rest of the period?” Boddie asked.

“You get behind in your classes,” said Diamante West of the Mountain View group.
Screen shot 2014-02-15 at 9.42.25 PM
Then you can’t go to college, get a job and take care of your family, the students said.

I recently attended both groups as part of my research for our series on student discipline. Although in today’s (Monday, Feb. 17) story, we make only passing reference to the mentorship groups — citing Boddie as a youth mentor in both districts — I want the students (and their parents) to know that the information I got during their frank discussions was extremely helpful. I appreciate their honesty and willingness to let me sit in and listen.

Dear students: What I took away from all of you is that you well understand the statistics that show black students (as a group) lagging behind their white peers academically. I know that Mr. Boddie and Mr. Curry also have shared with you information about the over-representation of black students among students who are disciplined in school.

Nobody I interviewed for this article disputes the statistics.

But no doubt some, when they read about these mentoring groups, will wonder if it isn’t counter-intuitive to tell black kids up front that the playing field isn’t level. After all, doesn’t that give them an excuse for failure? So the argument goes.
Screen shot 2014-02-15 at 9.44.10 PM
But I also know from listening to you that you understand this is not some chance game in which you are powerless. There may be parts of life and school over which you have no control — surely there are many. But you know — because Mr. Boddie and Mr. Curry have drummed it into you — that you own your own behavior. You own your integrity and your character.

I heard several of you say, if you misbehave, you can’t blame others, even if others who were involved had a hand in the problem.

I get that you all are in different stages of making this message your own. For some, it is true because Mr. Boddie and Mr. Curry say so. For others, you know this to be true. You know you don’t have to be victims of statistics or of history.

And here’s some encouraging news I can share with you, not because it’s my opinion but because I’ve found it so through my research.

Nationwide, and in your school, there are people working to change things. Teachers, principals and others who care about educating young people are trying to use ways of discipline that involve less punishment, more “restorative justice.”

Students are being held accountable for their actions, but teachers and others are trying their best to understand what was behind the behavior, be it stress at home, physical or mental health issues … learning disabilities, somebody forgetting to take their meds. As you know, there is a lot that can make a student act up in class.

Educators are also trying to do a better job of understanding how black students might be different from white students, or Filipinos or Guamanians, because — the research indicates — culture has a powerful influence on everything.

Some people I talked to for this project, including some students, said they thought teachers should be “color blind.” But what education experts now are coming to understand is that teachers should be trained not to overlook the differences between people but to recognize them.


Teachers in many districts, including yours, have gotten training to help them recognize behavior that comes from someone’s culture which might look different from the norm versus behavior that is truly naughty, malicious or dangerous. There’s a lot going on out there among teachers and other educators to move this along.

So take heart, maybe when your kids or your grandkids go to school, you’ll try to explain this disproportionality thing, and they’ll be, like, “What are you talking about?”

You guys are all very smart and in touch with what is going on in your school. So I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that other groups of kids are struggling, too — kids with learning disabilities, as I mentioned above, and kids living with the stress of poverty. Other kids who fall outside the mainstream, it can be a struggle for them.

White kids struggle, too. I can say from my own experience and that of my three children that nobody — even kids who seem to “have it all” — sails through junior high/middle school without some degree of anxiety and conflict.

Thank you for sharing with me all your goals for college and the future. Even if you don’t all make the NBA or NFL (a universal goal among both groups), I’m so glad to know we will have you as doctors, lawyers, barbers, firefighters, shipyard workers, preachers and members of the military. We need you smart, educated and committed so Mr. Boddie, Mr. Curry and I can hand it off to you young people. We’re not getting any younger, you know.

If any of your parents would like to contact me for questions or comments about the project, my email is and my phone number if (360) 792-9219.

My best wishes to you all for a great year at school and much success in the future.

Strategic plan, timeline set for mental-health tax

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Up to $3 million from the local mental-health tax will be doled out July 1.

A sales tax of 0.1 percent dedicated for local mental-health services went into effect Jan. 1 after being approved by Kitsap County commissioners in September.

The July deadline is just one of several in the recently released strategic plan from the Kitsap County Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Team. Proposals for projects or programs, aimed at reducing the number of mentally ill juveniles and adults cycle through the criminal justice system and the demand on emergency services, will be accepted from Feb. 20 to April 18 at 3 p.m. Kitsap County County Mental Health, Chemical Dependence and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Board will review the proposals.

The citizens advisory board also is asking for community input on what residents what to see funded by the sales tax via an online survey.

In the 62-page strategic plan, which outlines recommendations for closing service gaps for mentally ill and substance abuse, it says county and surrounding peninsula region had the highest number of mentally ill boarded ever recorded in October 2013.

The plan recommends increasing housing and transportation options, treatment funding and outreach, among other suggestions.


Reporting and responsibilities outlined

The strategic planning team makes recommendations the citizens advisory board and establishes the strategic plan for the mental health tax.

Proposals will be submitted to the citizens advisory board for review. The board will make recommendations for the proposals and funding level to the county commissioners, who ultimately approve the proposals.

The citizen advisory board will annually review projects and programs while receiving input from the strategic team, and report to the director of Kitsap County Human Services, who will present reviews to the county commissioners.


 Meet the team and board

Kitsap County Behavioral Health Strategic Planning Team

  • Al Townsend, Poulsbo Police Chief (Team Co-Chair)
  • Barb Malich, Peninsula Community Health Services
  • Greg Lynch, Olympic Educational Service District 114
  • Joe Roszak, Kitsap Mental Health Services
  • Judge Anna Laurie, Superior Court (Team Co-Chair)
  • Judge Jay Roof, Superior Court
  • Judge James Docter, Bremerton Municipal Court
  • Kurt Wiest, Bremerton Housing Authority
  • Larry Eyer, Kitsap Community Resources
  • Michael Merringer, Kitsap County Juvenile Services
  • Myra Coldius, National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • Ned Newlin, Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office
  • Robin O’Grady, Westsound Treatment Agency
  • Russell D. Hauge, Kitsap County Prosecutor
  • Scott Bosch Harrison, Medical Center
  • Scott Lindquist, MD, MPH Kitsap Public Health
  • Tony Caldwell, Housing Kitsap


Kitsap County Mental Health, Chemical Dependence and Therapeutic Court Citizens Advisory Board

  • Lois Hoell, Peninsula Regional Support Network: 3 year term
  • Jeannie Screws, Kitsap County Substance Abuse Advisory Board: 3 year
  • Aimee DeVaughn, Kitsap County Commission on Children and Youth: 3 year
  • Connie Wurm, Area Agency on Aging: 3 year
  • Dave Shurick, Law and Justice: 1 year
  • Walt Bigby, Education: 1 year
  • Carl Olson, At Large Member District 2: 2 year
  • James Pond, At Large Member District 3: 2 year
  • Robert Parker, At Large Member District 2: 2 year
  • Russell Hartman, At Large Member District 3: 2 year
  • Richard Daniels, At Large Member District 1: 1 year

Bremerton High School students do some heavy lifting

Saturday, November 23rd, 2013

On Friday, students from Bremerton High School lined up side by side along the roughly two-and-a-half blocks between the front entrance of the school and Bremerton Foodline’s warehouse. Police stopped traffic as the students executed their “food chain,” handing off boxes of canned goods, bags of potatoes and sacks of stuffing and other comestibles they had collected over the past few weeks.

The food drive is an annual service project for the school, spearheaded by its leadership class. This is the first year they undertook the special delivery. Patti Peterson, the food bank’s executive director, said the gift of food “meant so much more” given the very public display that accompanied it.

“Just look at this,” Peterson said. “This is the answer to sequestration, to budget cuts. It’s the community coming together. It starts with our kids in school and goes for every person, every neighbor, every person you see on the block.”

The students collected 4,392 pounds of food. That’s more than two tons. And given that each student handled each item, that means each one lifted more than two tons on behalf of the food bank. So, kids, how are your arms feeling today?

Here’s the video, in case you missed it. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

What goes on in teachers’ heads?

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Did you ever wonder what teachers really think of their jobs? Why they got into the field? Why they stay in?

The Kitsap Sun in December will launch a new Teacher Feature to give readers a glimpse of the day-to-day life of teachers.
We are looking for nominees from all districts and all grades who are willing to share honestly and openly about the joys and challenges of the job.

Parents and students are encouraged to share the names of their favorite teachers. But anyone can nominate a teacher to be profiled, including teachers themselves.

Send nominations to and put Teacher Feature in the subject line.

For more information, contact reporter Chris Henry, or (360) 792-9219.

Super Bowl XLIX