West Valley School District has hired 11 new teachers this fall, with expertise ranging from special education to advanced placement English.
Five of the new hires are teaching at Centennial Middle School. Here are thumbnail sketches of the new teachers:
Pasadena Park Elementary
Voters will decide in Tuesday's primary which two of three candidates for an East Valley School Board position will advance to the general election.
Incumbent Karen Cecil is running against challengers Susan Wentz and Sandy Thompson-Jacholkowski. All three women have or have had children enrolled in East Valley schools. None of the three candidates plans any fund-raising, they said. "Word of mouth is best," said Thompson-Jacholkowski.
In November's general election, this race and one West Valley race will be decided. Six school board incumbents in the Valley went unchallenged.
1. University High students Allison Fanning, Sean Ruscio and Ken Chane don't believe everything they've seen in the student attitude survey. Photo by Steve Thompson/The Spokesman-Review
2. Ken Chane, a member of U-Hi's leadership class, says that there's a small number of disrespectful students that too many students keyed in on when answering the survey. Photo by Steve Thompson/The Spokesman-Review
On the night before school started, Opportunity Elementary was full of children and parents. They met teachers, they learned who's in their class, and they ate ice cream.
"We wanted a festive celebration," said Opportunity Principal Lyle Krislock. He was particularly pleased at the number of fathers who attended the back-to-school night, he said. The only glitch in the event: So many families came, that the ice cream ran out early.
Students and parents seemed to appreciate the chance to learn their way to Johnny's classroom without the confusion and pressure of the first day of classes.
Drivers who hurry through school zones will find good reason to slow down: bigger fines.
A new law for motorists speeding in a school zone, even those going just 1 or 2 miles per hour faster than the 20 mph limit, levies a fine of $132 that is non-reducible in court.
Larger fines also will hammer drivers who pass school buses while children are climbing on or getting off. The Legislature doubled that fine to $160 and made it non-reducible in court.
1. Dan Bible, math and science educator at Centennial Middle School, studied innovative ways to teach during his vacation. Photo by Steve Thompson/The Spokesman-Review
2. Dick O'Brien teaches a class of math teachers in the library at Ponderosa Elementary. Photo by Steve Thompson/The Spokesman-Review
Construction crews are wrapping up additions and renovations at several East Valley schools. Fourteen new classrooms are expected to be ready for the start of school Wednesday, although work in other areas may not be complete.
Certainly, principals at those schools have added extra gray hair, wondering if their schools would be ready on time.
And at two Central Valley schools, principals are troubleshooting problems as fast as they find them, making room for extra students during the year-long renovation of Bowdish Junior High.
A Spokane Valley mother whose daughter cut her forehead has filed a lawsuit against the East Valley School District and the YMCA of the Inland Northwest.
In the suit, Vicki Behar claims both organizations were negligent in allowing the injury to her daughter, which occured in February 1995.
The student, then a first-grader, was attending the YMCA's after-school program at East Farms Elemtary. During the program, she fell against a filing cabinet "which stuck out quite a ways from the wall" in a crowded hallway. The resulting cut, about 2 inches long, required "reconstructive surgery," the suit said.
A plastic surgeon stitched up the laceration, said attorney Tom May.
Further surgery may be required.
Representatives of the YMCA and East Valley School District declined to comment on the suit.
If this is Labor Day Weekend, it must be time for the start of school.
Central Valley, East Valley and West Valley schools classes all start Wednesday.
That's not by coincidence, either.
"We've found that if we don't all start the same day, we can have an enormous amount of confusion," said Skip Bonuccelli, spokesman for Central Valley School District.
Principal Scott Read and six teachers. That's the staff of East Valley School District's new Continuous Calendar School.
Or, as Read jokes, "six flowers and a gourd."
He was referring to a flower arrangement brought to a recent staff work session-cum-barbecue by teacher Charlene Bieber.
1. Neva Keyes, left, was a Hospice volunteer and Mary Bouscher was the caregiver for John Shaw, shown in portrait. Neva helped John and Mary in any way she could and became their friend. "She would give me a break," said Mary. "And he got a break from me, too." That was important. Photo by Steve Thompson/The Spokesman-Review
2. Mary Bouscher keeps this framed photograph of John Shaw.
Hospice of Spokane needs volunteers in the Valley.
"There's a big need," said Jim Edwards, director of volunteers for Hospice.
He hopes to find at least 10 Valley residents who are interested in helping support families with loved ones suffering a terminal illness.
About 20 Spokane Valley teenagers wrapped their brains around the problem of bad sportsmanship this week during the second annual University High School Sportsmanship Retreat.
The 2-1/2-day retreat, brainchild of U-Hi activities coordinator Bill Ames, gave students from rival high schools, Central Valley and University, the chance to strategize ways of building sportsmanship among students, staff, parents, team members and in the community.
Being involved in sports and sportsmanship is many students' first experience in the democratic process, said Mike Kolbrese, executive director of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association and the opening speaker.
The Liberty Lake Offroad Vehicle Park will stay in limbo for another month.
Spokane County commissioners had wanted a progress report Aug. 1 on rehabilitation of the 350-acre park. Instead, they'll get that update in September.
Members of the Brush Bunch Motorcycle Club say they'll have their plan developed by then, with help from the American Motorcycle Association.
Stephen Flinn filed to run for another term on the school board of the tiny Orchard Prairie School District and went on vacation.
Good thing. He needed to be calm and rested this week.
Three seats are up for election on the board, and Flinn somehow filed for Position 2, when he should have filed for Position 1.
Next year's budgets in the three major Valley school districts show spending increases of 3 percent with steady enrollment.
The increase in spending is largely due to a 3 percent raise the state Legislature voted to give teachers and other school employees.
Districts also lost a small amount of revenue when local levies for the coming year were decreased by the Legislature.
The East Valley School District has decided Walker Construction will do the renovation of Trent Elementary School.
Out of four contractors bidding for the job, Walker had the second lowest base bid. But when options for heating/air conditioning controls, skylights and a covered walkway were added, Walker's bid was the lowest at $4,832,137.
That number may be adjusted since officials are deciding who will supply the heating controls, said David Cooper, project manager for the school district.
A group of social service representatives has decided they will seek one location in the Spokane Valley with room for them all. Their intent is to ready themselves to serve a growing population in the year 2010 or 2015.
"We're all going, or none of us are going," said Barbara Olson, president of the interagency committee and director of the Valley Center.
Olson presented a preliminary plan this week to Mirabeau Point supporters, showing the scope of services the committee believes are needed. Those services range from anger management classes to family planning, from dental clinics to a kitchen for cooking classes. Olson stressed that education will be a component in every program.