Special coverage

Education

Education news from the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene area.

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

It’s time to register

If your child will be 5 on or before Aug. 31, it's almost time to register for kindergarten.

Spokane Public Schools will begin registration on March 2. 

Central Valley School District kindergarten registration begin on March 5.

Families can register at their neighborhood elementary schools in the appropriate district.

What you'll need: a birth certificate or other verification of age, proof of residency and the student’s immunization records.

Bill to help get kids outside gets hearing in Olympia

OUTDOOR EDUCATION — A Senate committee will hold a hearing today, Feb. 11, at 1:30 p.m. on “No Child Left Inside,” a bipartisan bill (SB 5843) that provides $1.3 million for programs to get kids to away from their screens and back outdoors. 

A media release from the bill’s introduction by Sens. Ranker (D-Orcas Island) and Parlette (R-Wenatchee) note's that Washington’s NCLI has inspired federal legislation of the same name. 

Scheduled to testify at today's hearing are:

  • Oak Rankin of Darrington, whose community was devastated by the Oso landslide in 2014. This bill would enable funding for programs such as the Darrington Youth Outdoor STEM Pilot Project  which helps students learn about local natural resources.
  • Joshua Brandon, a veteran and program manager for Project Cohort, a program designed to support veterans’ mental health, in part through outdoor activities. The legislation’s grant program encourages funding for programs that tap veterans for program implementation or administration.
  • Courtney Aber who heads up YMCA’s BOLD & GOLD programs (Boys Outdoor Leadership Development & Girls Outdoor Leadership Development)
  • Martin LeBlanc of IslandWood, the Bainbridge Island-based outdoor education organization
  • Marc Berejka from REI

Education headline roundup

Education offers a variety of interesting stories. The following are a few headlines from around the country.

Orlando Sentinel: Weird Testing Rules: No Flushing Toilets, Please - http://bit.ly/1wsjV8s

Hechinger Report: New York school beats the odds by “going rogue” on Common Core - http://bit.ly/14hlgax

Atlantic Monthly: Science, in the words of Alan Alda - http://theatln.tc/1ywGDlu

New York Times: Ban on Cellphones in New York City Schools to Be Lifted - http://nyti.ms/1wVh6f9

Everett Herald: Survey finds favor among voters for Inslee tax plans - http://bit.ly/1AsVtu2

Birding, fly fishing programs presented this week

 OUTGROUPS – Inland Northwest outdoors groups have drummed up some good stuff for their monthly free programs. Among this week’s offerings are:

• Trans-America touring and local bicycling programs will be discussed by three speakers, 6:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 10, at Riverview Retirement Center, 2117 E. North Crescent Ave., for Spokane Bicycle Club.

• Climate change impacts on Palouse Praire ecosystems, by Sanford Eigenbrode, professor in the University of Idaho's Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences program, 7 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11, at Lutheran Church of the Master, 4800 N. Ramsey Road in Coeur d’Alene, for Coeur d’Alene Audubon.

• Fly Auction, anglers donate hand-tied fly patterns for auction to benefit local fishing education and fisheries conservation programs, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12, at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, for Spokane Fly Fishers.

• "Exploring South America — The Bird Continent", by Lucila Castro and Peter Morrison of the Pacific Biodiversity Institute, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12, at Riverview Retirement Center, for Spokane Audubon.

University Of Idaho hold symposium on energy in the West


​The inaugural Idaho Symposium on Energy in the West, a new collaborative event series presented by the University of Idaho College of Law, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies at Idaho National Laboratories and the Energy Policy Institute at Boise State University, will be held Nov. 13-14, 2014, at the Sun Valley Inn and Conference Center in Sun Valley, Idaho. The topic of the series’ first meeting will be “Transmission and Transport of Energy in the Western U.S. and Canada: A Law and Policy Roadmap to 2050.” Meeting topics will include the future of transmission and transport in the oil and gas, wind, solar and electricity markets; regional energy planning; effects of proposed EPA power plant regulations; distributed generation and models of state utility regulation.



Confirmed speakers include some of the nation’s leading energy law scholars. In addition, an emerging scholars’ panel will provide a forum for younger voices, and a panel on careers in energy law will engage law school students.

Outdoor groups revive monthly programs

OUTTEACH  – After a summer hiatus, Inland Northwest outdoors groups are reviving monthly free programs. Among this week’s offerings are:

  • Bicycling Trans-Washington, 6:30 p.m., Monday, at Riverview Retirement Center, 2117 E. North Crescent Ave., for Spokane Bicycle Club.
  • Audubon Adventures, birding and nature activities for kids grades 3-5, by Eula Hickam, 7 p.m., Tuesday, (Sept. 9) at Lutheran Church of the Master, 4800 N. Ramsey Road in Coeur d’Alene, for Coeur d’Alene Audubon.
  • Fishing Local Lakes, by Jeff Voigt, 7 p.m., Wednesday, at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, for Spokane Fly Fishers.
  • Washington Loons, by Ginger Gumm, 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, at Riverview Retirement Center, for Spokane Audubon.

See map and directions to Riverview Retirement Center auditorium, which is  used by several groups for free monthly programs.

Court asked not to sanction Lege over school funding

OLYMPIA – The Supreme Court should not go down a “slippery slope” and punish the Legislature because it didn’t come up with a complete plan earlier this year to improve public schools, the state attorney general’s office said.

Although the public education is the state’s “paramount” duty, it is not the only duty, and the Legislature still has to pay for programs for public health, safety and welfare, Attorney General Bob Ferguson and a group of senior assistants said this week in their last written argument before all sides in the case appear before the state’s highest court next Wednesday. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Travel: Explore Ann Arbor

    If I told you I’d gone to the city to see a few shows, listen to some impressive live music, catch a cutting-edge film festival, spend time in world-class museums, and chow down on an astonishingly diverse and multicultural dining scene including Cuban, Ethiopian, Mexican, Italian, Asian and Turkish food, you’d probably assume I was talking about a big city. Somewhere like Chicago or Seattle or New York.

 

    When when I tell you I did all that in Ann Arbor, Michigan, you should pay attention. 

 

    Ann Arbor, with a population of around 116,000 and home to sports and academic powerhouse, University of Michigan, rivals big urban destinations in terms of food, entertainment, and culture.

 

    I spent a few days looking, tasting, and exploring. Here’s a roundup of my favorites:

 

Feed Your Mind

    

    Ann Arbor boasts a number of superior museums. The University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) offers an impressive collection of fine art and artifacts. Two of my favorite pieces were the Samurai armor in the Asian collection and John Stanley’s “Mt. Hood from the Dalles”, a beautiful landscape painted in 1871 with an iconic view of Mt. Hood from the Columbia River. 

    Another fascinating stop is the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. This state-of-the-art facility, housed in an exquisite Victorian-era Romanesque building complete with turret and Tiffany window, is centered around the late-19th Century and early-20th Century collection of it’s namesake, Francis Kelsey. Some highlights of the more than 100,000 artifacts include Roman glassware, Egyptian masks, and an elaborate sarcophagus. The coffin’s owner, the missing Mummy Djehutymose, has his own popular Twitter feed and Facebook page.

    The nearby Gerald Ford Library Museum and archives is also worth a visit. Primarily a holding place for more than 25 million pages of historical documents pertaining to Ford’s political career and the Cold War era, the center offers an intriguing view of the man, including the story of Ford’s birth and childhood.

 

 

 

Taste the World

    My first meal in Ann Arbor, a Cuban burger and batida ( a frozen concoction of mango, pinaeapple, scoop of ice cream and a splash of dark rum) and a basket of what may be the best fries I’ve ever tasted, at Frita Batidas, set the tone for the rest of the week. Everything was delicious and often unexpected. Some of my other favorites were the Ethiopian Injera (soft bread) and Gomen (collard greens cooked with spices, onions and jalapeno peppers) at Blue Nile and lamb-stuffed grape leaves and cold vegetable salads at Ayse’s Turkish Cafe. Of course, no visit to Ann Arbor counts unless you stop by world-famous Zingerman’s Deli. For beer lovers, there are a growing number of microbreweries in the area and you won’t regret a day spent tasting local brews.

 

Always Entertaining

     Football may draw the crowds in the fall, but Ann Arbor hosts large events throughout the year. Seasonal favorites include the winter Folk Festival, a springtime FestiFools puppetry and public art festival, and a three-week summer festival with art, music, food, and film.  

 

Treasure Hunting

    The number of antiques, collectibles and vintage shops within walking distance of Main Street was a nice surprise. Treasure Mart, in the Kerrytown area near the farmer’s market and Zingerman’s Deli, is a rambling historic building full of all kinds of interesting things. Some of the rooms are decorated and arranged like an antiques mall, others are crammed with goodies strewn on tabletops or piled in corners just waiting to be discovered. 

    Located in the Nickles Arcade, a 1918 covered passage lined with unique shops that make the place feel like a bit of Paris in the mid-west, The Arcadian antiques is a jewel box. Crystal and china line the shelves and the store stocks fine antique furniture, but the highlight is a collection of beautiful estate jewelry.  I watched a couple shop for wedding rings, trying to choose from trays of lovely old diamonds and gemstones.

    I did a lot of window shopping but I didn’t come home empty-handed. At Antelope Antiques and Coins, a funky store on the lower level of a downtown building. I plucked an autographed photo of Woody Herman ($10) out of a box of old photos and postcards, and did a little happy dance when I found a Waterford goblet in my (somewhat obscure) "Kylemore" pattern, for only $15.

 

    Like most travelers, I have a fantasy “I could live here” list in my head made up of places I’ve been and couldn’t forget. After this first visit, Ann Arbor moved to the top of the list. A robust arts scene, a vibrant main street, an energetic farm-to-table movement and a cosmopolitan foodie-friendly ethos, paired with a dedication to preserving the past, makes Ann Arbor, Michigan hard to resist. 

 

Cheryl-Anne Millsap’s audio essays can be heard on Spokane Public Radio and on public radio stations across the U.S. She is the author of “Home Planet: A Life in Four Seasons” and can be reached at catmillsap@gmail.com

 

Send your kids to “wildlife” camp near Coeur d’Alene

NATURE — WREN, a Coeur d'Alene-based environmental education and conservation nonprofit organization, is accepting applications for its July 11-12 wildlife camp for youths ages 11-13.

The campers will meet in Coeur d'Alene before heading to wildlife education field trips in the lower Coeur d'Alene River chain lakes one day and Farragut State Park on the other.

Instructors are professional wildlife biologists and educators.  Fun, hands-on activities include field trips, live raptors, a butterfly survey and outdoor games. 

A living history presentation about the animals Lewis & Clark discovered and other features are new for this year’s camp.  Students will also explore wildlife tracking and bird identification.  They will learn how scientists study wild animals and their habitats.  

Pre-registration is required.  Cost: $75. 

Info:Jenny Taylor, (208) 755-4216. 

Bulletproof Blankets

As Unapologeticdemocrat noted in the Gun Violence thread, bulletproof blankets are a thing— and sales are booming.

The alarming rate of school shootings across the country appears to have added an unsettling new item to parents' list of "back to school" items: bulletproof armor for their children. Among such items, the Bodyguard Blanket, a portable, bulletproof covering for children, has seen its sales exceed its manufacturer's expectations in less than two weeks on the market.

Stan Schone, managing partner at manufacturer ProTecht, told The Huffington Post that consumer response to the product has "far exceeded our wildest expectations" in the 10 days that the blanket has been available for purchase.

As reported first in the Oklahoman, the blanket was conceived to protect children during natural disasters. The blanket is made "with the same bullet resistant materials that shield our soldiers in battle," according to one advertisement. In the event of a tornado — or shooting — children can wrap themselves in the blanket in a duck-and-cover position to shield from bullets, debris or other projectiles. Read more. Huffington Post

If this doesn't make you sad, what will?  Do you want local schools to stock up on bulletproof blankets?

Idaho school spending cuts through recession were deepest in the nation

Idaho led the nation for cuts in per-student public school spending through the recession, according to an analysis by ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight blog, spending 12.3 percent less per student in the 2011-12 school year than in 2008-09. That’s using inflation-adjusted figures. New Mexico came in second with an 11.9 percent cut, and just four other states, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and California, had cuts of more than 10 percent. Thirteen states actually increased per-student spending during that time period, led by North Dakota with a 7.7 percent increase and New Hampshire with 6 percent. Washington showed a decrease of 5.7 percent; Utah had a cut of 8.9 percent; Oregon was down 9.7 percent; and Montana saw a 2.7 percent cut.

Ben Casselman, chief economics writer for FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site, analyzed the figures and found that overall, the states that already spent less per student, like Idaho and Utah, made the biggest cuts. You can see his full post here.

UI summer science camps let nature be teacher

NATURE — The University of Idaho is offering summer science camps that allow youths grades 6 through 11 to go outdoors for hands-on discovery.

Enrollment is open for students interested in spending a week The McCall Outdoor Science School on the shores of Payette Lake learning from University of Idaho graduate students, exploring the mountains, lakes and rivers of central Idaho and releasing their inner scientist.

  • River Science Boys’ Expedition: June 22-27, Grades 6-9, $387.50
  • W.O.W.S. (Women Outdoor with Science): July 6-11, Grades 6-11, $387.50

These are five-day field science expeditions where students explore the rugged Idaho mountains, go whitewater rafting and learn what university climate, water and alternative energy researchers are studying.

  • Beyond MOSS: July 13-18, Grades 6-9, $297.50

This five-day program goes beyond the school year MOSS program for those who have been to MOSS or who will be coming soon.

  • Adventure Day Camp: June 17-August 1; Grades 3-5 and 6-9, Cost varies

This day camp focuses on learning, playing and enjoying nature while letting imagination drive discovery.

The McCall Outdoor Science School is an outreach of the University of Idaho College of Natural Resources. The residential science school engages Idaho students in year-round learning through our school partnerships. The college also hosts an on-site graduate program for university students who serve as teachers while working towards their graduate degrees.

Idaho wildlife experts talk turkey to teachers

WILDLIFE — Wild turkeys have a lesson to teach, according to the Idaho Fish and Game Department, which has scheduled a teacher's workshop based on the birds this month.

Although turkeys roam wild areas and neighborhoods alike, many people know very little about the giant birds, said Phil Cooper, department wildlife educator.

What do they eat?  Where do they sleep to avoid predators? Do they nest in trees or on the ground?  Why do some gobble and others not? Are domestic turkeys and wild turkeys the same? 

And, why are some of them walking around these days with their brilliantly colored tail feathers all fanned out? 

A “Wild about Turkeys” Project Wild workshop is being offered in northern Idaho for teachers and youth leaders. Attendees will learn about the interesting and unusual habits of the wild turkey, a non-native species that was introduced into Idaho in the 1960’s. 

Grade school educators often talk about turkeys when Thanksgiving rolls around each November.  Teachers participating in this workshop will receive activity guides they can use with their students…and the materials are tied to Idaho’s state standards!  

Scheduled for April 25-26, the workshop includes a Friday evening (4-9 p.m.) at the Post Falls Cabela’s store, and most of the day on Saturday, which includes a field trip.  Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. 

Sign up for this or a future Project Wild workshop online at fishandgame.idaho.gov. Go to the “education” tab, then click on “Project Wild” specialized workshops.   Optional continuing education credits are available through multiple Idaho Universities for a fee.

NEWTECH Skill Center gets EnviroStars certification

Good news from the Spokane River Forum: The first school in Spokane County to do so, NEWTECH Skill Center has earned an environmental certification typically given to businesses.

EnviroStars certifies businesses whose practices and policies reduce and properly manage hazardous waste and conserve resources. Because NEWTECH functions like 13 different businesses under one roof, the Department of Health approached NEWTECH with the idea of having the programs which deal with hazardous waste go through the certification process.

The auto technology, collision repair, veterinary science and dental careers programs all earned the EnviroStars certification. Custodian Tim Petty helped oversee the certification process.

Friday Quote: “Shop class deserves a more prominent role in schools”

​Last week I wrote for TreeHugger about how bringing back an updated version of Home Economics class in schools could benefit all children by teaching them important life skills. Similarly, I think that shop class for both boys and girls should have a more prominent role in the education system, since there are many advantages to knowing how to work with one’s hands. I’m not the only one who thinks this way. According to an article in the Boston Globe, “Some educators resist giving woodshop the chop,” some American schools are regretting their decision to get rid of woodshops in the 1990s in order to make room for new technology-based learning.

Shop class is wonderful for students who don’t learn well in traditional academic settings. It allows students to be active and to produce tangible, functional results. Doug Stowe, a woodworker and teacher from Arkansas, has a blog called “Wisdom the Hands,” dedicated to the concept that hands are essential to learning. “Does working with your hands make you smarter? Woodworking teachers have observed that effect for years.” Stowe points out on his blog that “students need to find ways to cope under difficult circumstances,” and shop class offers a unique setting for them to de-stress by working with their hands.

Idaho K-12 Cuts Among US Steepest

During the recession, Idaho’s public school budget cuts were among the deepest in the nation. And while Idaho’s 2013-14 public school budget included a $28.6 million increase, the added money merely kept pace with inflation and enrollment growth. These are two findings from a national study, released this month by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit think tank. The center’s reports put Idaho’s K-12 cuts into national perspective; Idaho is among at least 34 states that are spending less per pupil than they did in 2008-09. And the report comes just as Idaho education stakeholders are making a concerted push to reverse K-12 budget cuts — with initial support from Gov. Butch Otter and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna/Kevin Richert, The EDge, IdahoED News. More here.

Thoughts?

UI’s Fire Ecology and Management Receives National Academic Certification

The University of Idaho is blazing the trail for fire ecology programs across the nation. The program received national academic certification by the Association for Fire Ecology.

UI’s program is one of the first fire degree programs to receive the national certification and will serve as a model for other higher education programs. The program has grown quickly and now enrolls about 100 undergraduate students from around the country.

“The wildland fire ecology and management program educates tomorrow’s students and professionals in wildland fire. The faculty also has a strong emphasis on peer-reviewed research on the physical, ecological and social aspects of wildland fire. I am proud that our program is a national leader in fire education and research,” said Kurt Pregitzer, dean of the UI College of Natural Resources.

For more than 35 years, the College of Natural Resources has been a leader in wildland fire education and research. The wildland fire program offers more courses focused on fire than any other natural resources school in the country.

Plummer-Worley OKs Tax Levy

Voters in the Plummer Worley School District on the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation approved a two-year tax levy Tuesday that will spare the district from eliminating funding for all athletics, moving to a four-day school week and making other severe budget cuts. About 60 percent of the votes cast were in favor of the $1.1 million supplemental levy request. “Needless to say, we are ecstatic,” Superintendent Judi Sharrett said. The cash-strapped district of about 400 students had eliminated all sports funding, cut kindergarten to part time and ordered three furlough days for all employees, and it was ready to cut one day off the school week starting this fall/Scott Maben, SR. More here.

Question: 5 of 6 levies passed statewide last night. Does this mean Idaho's anti-education movement is waning?

Otter: Education is state’s #1 economic priority

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has sent a guest opinion out to Idaho newspapers declaring that education is the state's top economic priority. “We have a variety of incentive programs designed to foster business opportunities in Idaho, but the most important thing we’re able to provide is our people,” the governor writes. “Idahoans are creative, resourceful and hard working – exactly what growing businesses need. But we also need to provide graduates who are prepared. Education is the key to higher-paying jobs. Full story.

Thoughts?

Hope Chests and Silver Spoons: How girls’ graduation gifts have changed

This past weekend in Spokane, thousands of high school seniors graduated and most received gifts from friends and family.

My daughter graduated this weekend, as well. And, just as it was with her siblings, our gift was a computer to take to school with her. It's a pretty common gift these days, a tool for study and work. Exactly what the contemporary student needs to succeed. But that wasn't always the case.

In the not-too-distant past, girls didn't get that kind of gift. Instead, they were given items that would prepare them for becoming wives and mothers. College was fine, but the real work came after they were awarded their 'Mrs.' degree. Later, in the 1960s and 70s, luggage became a popular graduation gift, suitable for a traveling coed, single working girl and (fingers crossed!) eventual honeymooner. Remember Mary Tyler Moore's matched set of white luggage?

I write a column about antiques and collectibles for Nostalgia Magazine each month. In the latest column I wrote about the tradition of Lane Furniture Company gifting high school senior girls with a miniature cedar chest to be used as a jewelry box. The hope was that soon they would be buying, or be given, a full-size 'hope chest' to fill with things they would need as wives and homemakers. Silver companies gave girls a miniature sterling spoon or knife, often fashioned into a pin, when they picked out a silver pattern.

Today the idea of a hope chest filled with household items, linens and lingere seems laughable. But it wasn't that long ago that young women were expected to marry young and set up housekeeping right away.