Category Archives: Schools

UPDATED: Four Bainbridge schools earn Washington achievemen​t award

***Story updated to include quotes from Wilkes and Blakely elementary schools, 2 p.m. April 17.

Make it five straight years — that’s how many times Bainbridge High School has earned a Washington Achievement Award for Overall Excellence.

In addition to overall excellence, BHS also was noted for its reading growth.

“This is a team effort,” Bainbridge High Principal Jake Haley wrote in an email sent out on the district’s email Listserv account. “I’d like to recognize first and foremost our amazing students, the amazing staff at BHS, equally dedicated district staff, who provide the infrastructure that allows us to do our work in the buildings, and many, many supportive and involved parents and family/community members! It truly takes everyone!”

BHS wasn’t the only Bainbridge Island school recognized for the state honor.

Blakely and Wilkes elementary schools also received “Overall Excellence” awards. In addition, Blakely receive praise for its high progress, reading growth and math growth.

“Staff, students and parents all deserve recognition as we celebrate this achievement for the second consecutive year,” Blakely Principal Reese Ande wrote in a Listserv email. “The passion, dedication and desire to always be improving is a cornerstone of our community.”

Also through Listserv, Wilkes Principal Sheryl Belt added: “We had earned this award twice in recent years for high literacy achievement, so we’re really excited to be recognized for math achievement as well with this award.”

Eagle Harbor High also special recognition for its reading and math growth.

Using three years of data, the awards are given to the top 5 percent of all the state’s elementary, middle, high and comprehensive schools and participating schools that meet the highest performing designation according to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Flexibility Waiver.

Statewide assessment data for the three previous years determines the Washington Achievement Award based on analyzed data from the Accountability Index and criteria from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver.

Final Healthy Youth Summit set for Saturday

The community is encouraged to attend the third and final Healthy Youth Summit. It will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Bainbridge High Commons.

Co-facilitators will be Doug Nathan and Carolyn Milander, a 2012 BHS graduate.

“The day’s focus will be action: what action are you as an individual or an individual organization willing to take to make Bainbridge Island a healthier place for youth to thrive and grow,” Milander said.

National presenter Clay Roberts will lead the group in an inspirational talk titled “Take a Moment, Make a Difference.” Roberts efforts have been featured on NBC’s “Today” show and he has spoken at more than 700 events around the world.

Participants will later collaborate with other audience members who share their passion for self-selected themes that emerged from the first two summits, as they try to answer, “How can we turn our vision for healthy youth into practice?”

Bainbridge Youth Services, Raising Resilience, Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island and the Bainbridge Island School District are partnering for the summits.

District to purchase new buses

BAINBRIDGE ISLAND – Two new 70-passenger buses will arrive in time for the 2014-15 school year and another will arrive the following school year after the Bainbridge Island School District announced it received a $90,000 state grant to purchase the buses at Thursday’s school board meeting.

Cami Dombkowski, the district’s human resources director, told the board that she was initially expecting to receive a grant of about $40,000 from the state. Dombkowski said the state wanted to get all of the district’s buses that were from 1988 or older off the road, including a 1978 bus.

Dombkowski said the district will use the grant to help buy two $144,000 buses this year. Bainbridge Island School District has 30 buses total in its fleet. After the purchase of the new buses, the oldest bus that will remain in the fleet will be a 90-passenger bus built in 1985 that the district will continue to use for long trips.

Bainbridge Island School District announces uptick in enrollment

More students than expected showed up for the first day of school Wednesday on Bainbridge.

Bainbridge Island School District announced a preliminary first-day head count of 3,700 students, amounting to 115 full-time equivalent students more than expected. Administrators had projected enrollment to dip by about 25 FTE.

Here is the email district spokeswoman Pam Keyes sent to parents Thursday:

Welcome back to a new, exciting school year!

The Bainbridge Island School District is delighted to report preliminary,
first-day enrollment of 3700 students – a number that is 115 FTE (full-time
equivalent) students higher than anticipated. We want to add a special
welcome to the many new families who enrolled students during these past
few weeks. It is wonderful to see so many new faces in each of our schools.

The enrollment increase is distributed across all grade levels, K-12. While
numbers tend to fluctuate during the first few days and weeks of every
school year, there has clearly been the need to add staffing and additional
class sections.   The district has added two elementary classes and high
school sections in English, Math, Science, Health and World Languages.

While changes in the number of high school sections will affect some
individual student schedules, BHS Principal Jake Haley noted that “reducing
and balancing class size will support the district’s goal to provide
students with the best possible learning environment.” The district will
continue to carefully monitor enrollment and class size to see if
additional adjustments are needed.

Best regards to all!

Bainbridge school district posts configuration survey Bainbridge Island School District is seeking input on school configuration with an online survey. The district held a series of well-attended public meetings in May on the topic of a potential grade reconfiguration and school closure. The survey is intended to solicit opinions from the broader community.

A School Configuration Committee was convened last fall to examine reconfiguration as a way of cutting costs and maintaining educational programs in the face of declining enrollment and tightening budgets. The committee, which includes district staff, community members and school board representatives, recently decided to hold off on making a recommendation until 2014. 

Materials from the committee’s study sessions and the public meetings are available on the district website.


Dates set for public meetings on Bainbridge school configuration


As we reported last week, the Bainbridge Island School District is studying the possibility of closing a school building, in the face of declining budgets and enrollment.

A School Configuration Committee began meeting last fall and has identified three options for grade and school configurations. One option would maintain the status quo. Two options would relocate Ordway Elementary students and staff, move Commodore Options School to the Ordway building, and close the Commodore campus. No changes would be made until the 2014-15 school year, at the earliest.

Community outreach is the next step in the process and the district announced firm dates for a series of public meetings this week:

  • May 7: 7 p.m., Commodore Options School commons, 9530 NE High School Road.
  • May 14: 7 p.m., Wilkes Elementary School commons, 12781 Madison Avenue NE.
  • May 16: 7 p.m., Bainbridge High School commons, 9330 NE High School Road.

A presentation will be given at each meeting and public comment will be taken. Materials from the Configuration Committee meetings can be found here.

(The first meeting date has been corrected from an earlier version).

Bainbridge student wins NASA essay contest

Michaela-Leung_150Apparently Bainbridge middle school students really know how to write essays.

Last week Woodward Middle School student Julia Batson won the state Letters About Literature contest and moved on to the national competition. This week the school district received word that Odyssey seventh grader Michaela Leung is a champion of the NASA Titan & Europa Essay contest.

The contest challenged students choose the goal for the next NASA outer solar system mission. Students could pick between Saturn’s moon, Titan, or Jupiter’s moon, Europa as the target for the mission. They were asked to defend their choice based on its scientific value.

The winning essays will be posted shortly. Winning classes will be invited to take part in a teleconference with NASA scientists. Judges complemented Leung “articulate prose and sound scientific zeal” in their announcement of the award.

Leung won the Cassini Scientist for a Day Essay Contest in 2012. You can read that essay here.

(This version corrects an earlier post with amended information from the school district.)


Bainbridge student wins state writing competition

258ten-things-i-hate-about-me-randa-abdelfattah-thumbA Bainbridge Island middle school student is one of three champions of the state Letters About Literature competition. The competition, sponsored by the Washington State Library and the Library of Congress, encourages students to write letters to their favorite authors. About 3,400 letters were submitted.

Woodward Middle School seventh grader Julia Batson won her age group with a letter to Randa Abdel-Fattah, author of “Ten Things I Hate About Me.” In her letter, Batson discussed how the book changed her thoughts on discrimination, friendship, and the struggle to find a place in a peer group.

“… it became clear to me that even though being myself is hard, the people who will admire me for doing so outnumber those who will make fun of me for it.” Batson wrote. “Being myself feels gratifying and rewarding, like I’m finally free of some heavy burden.”

Batson’s winning letter will now be sent to the Library of Congress for the national competition. Winners will be announced in late April.


A science fair, Gangnam Style

Wilkes Elementary School teachers took a page from PSY’s playbook and used a little Gangnam Style to promote the school’s spring science fair.

We’ll give these educators an A for effort. Not only did they nail the horse dance, they also managed to outline the entire application process without losing their groove.

The video is below for your Friday afternoon viewing pleasure. We eagerly await a Harlem Shake remix.

School district responds to continued Spanish Immersion criticism

The Bainbridge Island School District and Bainbridge Schools Foundation each responded this week to continued criticism of the Spanish Immersion Pilot Project at Commodore Options School.

As we reported last month, some Bainbridge parents questioned the process used to create and fund the pilot (known as El Velero this year). Calls for greater transparency continued at a Feb. 28 world language forum, while other parents spoke in support of the program.

Following the forum, a well-circulated letter from parent Kim Paulson accused the district of colluding with the Schools Foundation to funnel private donations to the program:

Instead of being open about their intentions and avoiding backlash, BISD created SI with a lack of communication, financial transparency, and due process. The school district and foundation should be held accountable for these shortcomings and work to earn the public trust once more.

School board President Mike Spence and Supt. Faith Chapel offered this detailed and direct rebuttal to Paulson’s letter Tuesday:

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Bainbridge High School to host civil rights speakers

A lifelong friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. will be among a group of speakers visiting Bainbridge High School this week, as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day approaches.

Rev. McKinney

Rev. Samuel Berry McKinney and four other guest speakers will reflect on the legacy of King and the civil rights movement at the high school Wednesday. A public presentation will be held at 7 p.m. in the LGI building as part of the “Carrying on the Dream” program.

McKinney attended Morehouse College with King in the 1940s and they remained close. McKinney supported civil rights protests in Seattle in the 1960s as a pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church. He organized King’s visit to the city in 1961 and later joined King for marches in Selma and Montgomery, Ala.

Appearing with McKinney on Bainbridge will be Patricia Moncure Thomas, president of the Black Historical Society of Kitsap County; state Rep. Drew Hansen, author of “The Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation;” Dr. Rosie Rimando Chareunsap, a 1995 BHS graduate and vice president at South Seattle Community College; and Ali Saunders, a BHS senior and president of the school’s United Brothers & Sisters Club.

McKinney and Hansen will visit with Bainbridge classes during the day. The evening presentation is free and donations are accepted.

The public program was organized by the Sing Out Kitsap committee in cooperation with the school district; the Bainbridge Island Schools Foundation; UBS club; the district’s Multicultural Advisory Committeeand the Filipino American Community

Teacher to give presentation on epic rowing journey to Hawaii

Former Bainbridge High School teacher Rory Wilson will share reflections and photos from his rowing odyssey to Hawaii next week.

The presentation is scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at the Bainbridge High School commons. The event is free, and donations will be accepted for the Bainbridge Schools Foundation.

Wilson made the 44-day journey from San Diego to Honolulu earlier this fall in a slender homemade craft powered by oars and kites. He called the vessel “KROS,” short for kites, rowing ocean, solar. Wilson’s math students at Bainbridge High helped him prepare for the journey.

You can get a taste of Wilson’s adventure in the video below, which shows KROS dancing through waves under kite power.  Wilson has posted many more amazing images on the KROS page on Facebook.

Photo and video courtesy Rory Wilson, via Facebook