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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Jefferson Elementary School ducks

The staff at Jefferson Elementary School discovered a duck family which hatched in the school's inner courtyard and gently guided them to the outside when they were ready to travel. Video by Anne Walter.

Jefferson, Betz elementary schools receive phone threats

Telephone threats put two area elementary schools on lockdown as police swept buildings and parking lots before releasing students Tuesday afternoon. One threat was made to Jefferson Elementary School on Spokane’s South Hill just before 1 p.m., only minutes before students were due to be released early for parent-teacher conferences. About a third of the 520 students had already left the building at 123 E. 37th Ave., said Spokane Public Schools spokesman Kevin Morrison. The remaining students were taken to the gym for safety.

Spokane’s Jefferson Elementary kindergartners host pre-Super Bowl party

The buildup began long before the first snap. Kindergartners in teacher Andrea Sims’ Jefferson Elementary class have been wearing blue and green every Friday since September. They sent Christmas cards to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. They’ve taken pictures with a poster of Wilson and written sentences about what they would do if they could spend a day with the quarterback.

Spokane’s Montessori programs will merge, move to central location

Smaller class sizes are coming for elementary school students, and there’s a long waiting list for Spokane Public Schools’ Montessori programs. So district administrators came up with a solution for both: Move the specialized Montessori program out of Jefferson and Balboa elementary schools to one central location.

Education Notebook: St. George’s to stage dinner, ‘Fantasticks’

Drama students at St. George’s School, 2929 W. Waikiki Road, will entertain audiences with a dinner theater production of “The Fantasticks,” beginning Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in the school’s Dragon Room. Performances will continue Sept. 21 at 2 and 7 p.m. The family-friendly musical is a tale about a boy and the girl next door, whose parents have built a wall to keep them apart. The pair find a way to meet and, of course, fall in love. Unbeknownst to them, their parents had actually built the wall and staged a feud to bring their children together, which goes back to the old notion that children, no matter their age, can’t fall in love unless it’s forbidden.

Jefferson students looking forward to new school

Fifth-graders at Jefferson Elementary School can’t wait to roam the halls of their new school next year, where they will become the first graduating class of the school in its new location on the South Hill. “I like that everyone gets a locker,” 10-year-old Chloe Olson said. “I like that the gym is going to be separate from the cafeteria because people get sweaty, then it smells sweaty in there.”

APPLE, Montessori orientation set

Parents interested in enrolling their children in Spokane Public Schools’ Montessori or APPLE (Alternative Parent Participation Learning Experience) programs will have an opportunity to attend an orientation meeting beginning Tuesday. Parents are required to attend an orientation meeting for the program they would like their child to participate in. The Montessori program observes and supports the natural development of children. The curriculum, designed to enhance the child’s learning and life experience beyond the conventional classroom, uses a unique set of procedures and materials. The program is offered at Jefferson and Balboa elementary schools.

Education Notebook: Cold students, warm hearts

The Ferris High School ASB officers camped out in the cold for a cause earlier this month in their annual “Freezin’ for a Reason” fundraiser, to raise awareness about homelessness and hunger. The students spent three nights and four days huddled around a campfire and slept in tents in the Ferris parking lot. They went without showers and depended on the community for food. Jennifer Walther, the Ferris ASB leadership adviser, said the students were dedicated to their cause. “They were trying to better understand homelessness in Spokane,” Walther said. The students plan the fundraiser for December because they say it needs to be cold enough, Walther said. “It shows how tough they are,” she said.

Modernization, upgrade planned for South Hill’s Hart Field

Construction of the new Jefferson Elementary School near the intersection of 37th Avenue and Manito Boulevard is under way, and come this spring a major overhaul of Hart Field will begin as well. Spokane Public Schools presented plans for the Hart Field renovation project at an open house last Thursday at Jefferson Elementary School.

Odyssey stages student play

Eighth-graders in the Spokane Public Schools Odyssey Program had the opportunity to get out of the classroom and get up on the stage in their performance of “Beyond the Mountains,” a student-written production by Lewis and Clark High School senior Asyia Gover. Gover wrote the play for her senior project and presented it to her former Odyssey teacher, Mike Cantlon. Gover and Cantlon worked with the eighth-graders for two months and put on five performances, the last one at North Central High School on Monday night.

School move lawsuit tossed

A lawsuit that South Hill neighbors hoped would prevent the move of Jefferson Elementary School has been thrown out. The case was dismissed by Spokane County Superior Court Judge Gregory Sypolt on a technicality. The opposition – Hart Field Preservation Organization – failed to meet a 30-day deadline to appeal the district’s decision to move the school from its current location at 37th Avenue and Grand Boulevard to 37th and Manito Boulevard.

Parents in favor of moving Jefferson stage march

Since the Spokane School Board decided to relocate Jefferson Elementary as part of a school bond-funded remodeling project, opponents of that decision have campaigned tirelessly to stop the move. Recently, the Hart Field Preservation Organization filed a lawsuit against Spokane Public Schools saying that moving Jefferson onto part of Hart Field violates that property’s deed, and that the proceeds from the school bond may be used to modernize, replace or renovate the existing Jefferson Elementary, but not to move it to a new location.

School’s neighbors sue over move plan

As promised, a group of South Hill neighbors filed a lawsuit in an attempt to prevent Spokane Public Schools from using bond money to rebuild Jefferson Elementary School on the west side of its property. The suit argues that language for the bond on the 2009 ballot, which included Jefferson, stated that the district would “modernize” the elementary school, would not move it and would construct a new school.

Jefferson Elementary project open for comments

A notice of determination of nonsignificance, which has to be filed under the State Environmental Policy Act for new construction, was posted recently on the site where a new Jefferson Elementary School will be constructed. The deadline for comments or an appeal to be submitted to the school district is Wednesday.