Tag Archives: Schools

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 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.


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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School district calls special meeting on possible layoffs

The Bainbridge Island School District will hold a special meeting on Thursday to discuss eliminating one or two custodians, a half-time groundskeeper, a half-time bus dispatcher and a half-time assistant superintendent.

High school security personnel and paraeducators may see hours reductions.

The district may reduce administrator pay may by 2 percent, delay new curriculum, eliminate teacher stipends for clubs, close the district print shop and cut three daily bus runs down to two.

Fee increases are proposed for sports, clubs and facility rentals.

Districts across the state are also pondering layoffs and other cuts in reaction to a $9 billion state budget deficit.

The BISD meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Bainbridge High School.

Elvis “christens” island school building

When Elvis walked on to the stage dressed head to toe in tight black leather, he did what any Elvis would do.

He flashed a sideways smile and turned his back to give the full view.

The old ladies blushed. The young girls screamed.

Some things never change, even if Elvis does.

“He blows your mind,” said Sally Browning. “He’s just that good. He’s got rhythm, and oh can he dance!”

It’s not Elvis she’s praising, it’s the close approximation she brought up from Puyallup to play a fundraiser at her son Ben’s school. Saturday night’s performance marked the third time Elvis performer Danny Vernon has shaken his hips to help raise money for The Island School. The show was also the first in the private school’s newly built gathering hall.

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