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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Young chefs have an appetite to learn

Drake Johnson takes Cheney Middle School’s after-school ethnic cooking class because the 14-year-old likes to eat. Alicia Fowler, 12, has a practical reason: “I’m depending on being a chef when I grow up.”

Program looks to feed kids when local schools cannot

It’s the Wednesday before the long Thanksgiving weekend and most of the students at Hillyard’s Shaw Middle School are looking forward to a few days off with family and a couple of great meals. Others know that they will be hungry long before they can return for free breakfast on Monday morning. Study after study shows that hungry children have a hard time focusing on school work. Schools have free breakfast and lunch programs to make up for some of the hunger issues – for some kids, school has become the only place they can count on a meal. Once they get home, they are on their own.

Centers aim to steer students on right path

Glover Middle School student William Fausett already has figured out how he’ll pay for college, manage a budget and make sensible purchases. He learned his lessons in the Comcast College and Career Center recently established in his Spokane school.

Auctioneer honored

Rose Backs, of Coeur d'Alene, recently became the first woman to win the Western Regional Auctioneer Competition. Backs worked the crowd for bids Thursday, Nov. 4, 2010, at a charity auction for Communities in Schools at the Lincoln Center in Spokane.

Children’s advocates optimistic about fund

Supporters of Spokane’s proposed tax levy aimed at helping children stay in school are confident voters will say yes in November despite competing with multiple state initiatives that, if approved, would also increase taxes. “We’ve had folks out in the field (going door-to-door), and I think the citizens in our city understand the challenges facing our children,” said Anne Marie Axworthy, a Children’s Investment Fund steering committee member and director of community development at Avista Corp.

Spokane hopes to establish a school-based health clinic

No workday is the same for Spokane Public Schools nurse Marianne Fischer. But there is one given – she’ll spend it running. By 11 a.m. Wednesday, Fischer had handed out asthma plans for several students at Woodridge Elementary School, looked at a student’s rash, educated a teacher on another student’s medication, headed to Salk Middle School to help a support nurse deal with a diabetic student and rushed to help a student who was having trouble breathing. After that, she was off to Logan Elementary.

School supply drives are falling far short

Being without a pencil, paper or a backpack can be scarring for a kid returning to school, but some families simply can’t afford school supplies. Organizations in the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene areas say the need is higher than ever this year, and they hope to collect and distribute as many supplies as possible so children are spared the embarrassment.

School dropout study urges early intervention

A Gonzaga University study focused on dropout prevention starting in middle school suggests an early warning system for identifying potential dropouts, a bigger variety of academic opportunities and more rigor and additional funding for community-based social support programs. Some of the programs are already in place or in the works but need to grow, while others will take significant resources to establish, according to the report released this month.

Kids levy supporters hope for November

Supporters hoping to put a Children’s Investment Fund levy on the ballot this summer are now eyeing November after failing to collect the needed 12,000 signatures. Organizers said a late start – seven weeks before the April 19 deadline – and inexperience with signature-gathering were to blame for the shortfall. “We see this as a positive,” said Ben Stuckart, a member of the fund’s steering committee and director of Communities in Schools, a business-funded nonprofit. “It gives us a chance to run a longer campaign.”

Communities in Schools director sees needs and tries to fill them

Dropout prevention, bringing local resources into schools for students, and helping young people stay healthy are among Communities in Schools’ goals. The national nonprofit was drawn to Spokane because of its dropout rate – one in three students. The local branch was established here in December 2007. Since then, executive director Ben Stuckart has helped bring dental services into several schools, provide food to more hungry children on weekends, and joined the steering committee for an effort to establish a fund that could improve the graduation rate. Q:How does Communities in Schools connect local resources with schools?

A reason to smile

Third-grader Tyrese Patrick opened wide and showed no fear as his teeth were inspected, scraped and a few were covered with a sealant by the dental hygienist visiting his school. The 8-year-old had been put at ease by Gail Heacox, who explained the tools of her mobile dental office as Tyrese lay on her portable chair in the temporarily converted nurse’s office at Sheridan Elementary School.