Youth & Education

Stories about education focused on the Pacific Northwest, with many from KPLU's Youth & Education reporter, Kyle Stokes.

Seattle Public Schools

Where should Seattle children go to school? That’s the question Seattle Public Schools is hoping to answer as it redraws the school assignment map.

But before the district makes its final proposal, it wants to hear what parents have to say. The district is holding two more community meetings tonight and tomorrow night. It is also taking community input online. 

Diana Bodwin, who lives in Seattle's Georgetown neighborhood, says she had expected to enroll her 4-year-old son, Teddy, in what she thought was her neighborhood school, Maple Elementary School. But under the district's proposals, Georgetown children would be assigned to Van Asselt Elementary School, which is farther south.

"We know Maple. We know that we feel connected to it, and we were prepared for it. And we had a good experience and good recommendations from parents who had been there," said Bodwin.

Jessica Robinson

A north Idaho school district is launching a campaign to curb bullying.

School officials in Coeur d’Alene announced Wednesday the effort includes curriculum changes and focus groups with a cross section of student cliques. It’s a response to a spate of recent complaints from parents and students.

BEA

A Whatcom County court has refused to order striking teachers back to the classroom at Bellingham Technical College Tuesday. They walked off the job after failing to reach an agreement with the school's administration on wages and other issues.

Washington state's new Charter School Commission has opened the statewide application process for charter schools.

The first step in the process is an Oct. 22 deadline for submitting a letter of intent to apply to open a charter school.

Who’s got the “best dance station” in the country? The answer is Seattle, thanks to the students at Nathan Hale High School.

The school's KNHC C 89.5 FM nabbed the Crystal Trophy for best dance station in the country during the Promo Only Summer Sessions national radio conference last month. The station beat out major commercial stations, as well as Sirius XM to claim the honor. 

Pacific Lutheran University

Disclosure: Pacific Lutheran University holds the license for KPLU, where on-air staff are affiliated with SAG-AFTRA.

Faculty members at Pacific Lutheran University begin voting Thursday on whether to unionize. It’s the result of a monthslong fight that has pitted PLU’s lecturers, adjunct professors and other non-tenure track instructors against the administration.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Seattle Public Schools officials project enrollment will likely reach 60,000 by the year 2020—an increase of 9,000 students from the current population.

The growing student body is one of the biggest reasons why the district is proposing changes to the district's boundaries map

Chris Kalbfleisch / Flickr

Do you stop for school buses?

A recent survey found Washington drivers are ignoring school buses' stop signs and flashing red lights, putting children's safety at risk.

Jimmy Emmerson / Flickr

Washington State University is reporting the second-highest enrollment in its history at its four campuses.

The school on Wednesday reported 27,111 students signed up for classes, a drop of 123 students from last fall.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Johns Hopkins University has awarded Seattle Public Schools the 2013 Partnership District Award for family and community engagement.

The University's National Network of Public Schools noted Seattle not only has in place a family partnerships administrator, but also has several district programs that fuel stronger partnerships.

Head Start

Fewer kids living in poverty are able to attend Head Start this school year due to the federal budget tightening known as sequestration. Head Start has been helping young children living in poverty get ready for school since 1965.

Teachers in the Snoqualmie Valley School District averted a strike when they voted to approve a new three-year contract late Sunday. 

The news came shortly after 10 p.m.—several hours after the Snoqualmie Valley Education Association announced the two sides had reached a tentative agreement. 

Cliff Owen / Associated Press

Seattle schoolchildren returned to school Wednesday, but some of the city’s kindergarteners have already fallen behind.

At least that’s how Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess sees things, which is why he’s proposing a universal preschool program for the city's 3- and 4-year-olds.

"We know what works in helping kids to be prepared, to learn, and to thrive starting in kindergarten, and it means investing early," Burgess said.

The school year will begin on Wednesday for students in Seattle, Snoqualmie, and south Kitsap County after their teachers reached last-minute agreements with their respective districts Tuesday.

Late Tuesday, the Seattle Education Association voted to approve a two-year agreement reached with the school district over the weekend. The contract includes a longer work day for some, as well as higher pay. 

Seattle teachers and the school district have reached a tentative contract agreement.

The district says they came to agreement early Sunday and that the Seattle Education Association plans to vote on the proposed contract on late Tuesday afternoon. School is scheduled to begin Wednesday.

When the Legislature made its annual report to the Washington Supreme Court this week on progress toward improving the way the state pays for public schools, lawmakers said they did the best they could under the circumstances. Legislative critics do not agree.

With teacher strikes a possibility in Seattle and another district, Washington's teachers union says negotiations are continuing and agreements could be reached before classes begin next week.

The teachers in the South Kitsap School District have set an earlier deadline, however, than Seattle teachers. Washington Education Association spokesman Rich Wood says the teachers in Port Orchard have decided they will go on strike if they do not have a contract by Saturday.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

As the school year draw near, teacher strikes are a possibility in south Kitsap County and Seattle following disagreements over contract negotiations.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Seattle teachers are expected to reject the school district’s latest contract offer at its meeting Monday evening, but the superintendent suggests the district is ready to deal on some key sticking points.

University of Washington Visitors Center's Facebook Page

The University of Washington is one of the highest-rankings schools when it comes to contributions to the public good, according to the Washington Monthly.

The school is also one of the magazine’s top 20 picks on its “best bang for the buck” list.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Student test scores in Washington state are relatively flat this year.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn said Monday that some grades and subjects showed small improvements while others saw small declines. He said the achievement gap between kids of different ethnic and economic groups remained persistent.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Microsoft wants students to be able to search the Internet without getting bombarded by ads.

The software company has launched "Bing for Schools," a pilot program available to educational institutions who want ad-free searches and no adult content. School districts in Atlanta, Los Angeles and Fresno, California have already signed on.

The University of Idaho is prepared to expel low-performing students and require permits for frat parties as part of an effort to curb underage drinking.

The announcement from the university in Moscow comes on the heels of a similar set of measures proposed just across the border at Washington State University in Pullman.

Ted S. Warren / Associated Press

Seattle public schools kicks off the new school year on Sept. 4 with a projected enrollment of 52,000 students—an increase of 4,600 students in the past five years.

But how best to accommodate all those students in the future has Seattle schools and the teacher’s union at odds.

Howard County Library System

More public school students in Washington state will be attending full-day kindergarten when the school year begins in a few weeks. State lawmakers approved the $50 million in extra funding during the last legislative session.

Kristen Jauden, a spokeswoman for the state office of public instruction, says the money is going to schools with high populations of low-income students.

Seattle Public Scools

A group of local and national experts is calling on the Seattle School Board to get its act together.

Specialists in school district governance say the research is clear: School board dysfunction matters. Seattle Pacific University professor Thomas Alsbury said drama in the board room can poison the whole organization, which affects students.

“When boards and central office leaders are viewed as unstable or chaotic, excellent principals and teachers choose to go elsewhere,” he said.

Gabriel Spitzer / KPLU

Seattle’s superintendent of schools was hired in hopes that he could avoid some of the turmoil and scandal of recent years. Jose Banda just wrapped up his first year in charge, and can claim some high-profile accomplishments. But some of the melodrama still lingers, with the school board sharply divided over its own role, and that of the superintendent.

Taking stock of his first year at the helm of Seattle Public Schools, Banda told KPLU a divided board has a definite effect on how he does his job.

biologycorner / Flickr

Seattle families should expect steep drops in student test scores as public schools adopt new national learning standards, according to a report to be presented Wednesday evening to the Seattle School Board.

Starting next year, students in Washington, 44 other states, and the District of Columbia will be held to new, tougher standards known as Common Core. That could cause some sticker shock once test scores start rolling in a year later.

Alex Ragone

This week is the start of summer vacation for a lot of students in the Puget Sound area. It's a time to relax, go to camps and have fun. 

But for children who come from families that don't have a lot of money these next few months are when they often fall behind in their reading skills.

Gexydaf / Flickr

Disclosure: Pacific Lutheran University holds the license for KPLU. The station’s on-air staffers form the university’s only unionized unit.

In a decision with national implications, labor relations officials have ruled that certain faculty at Pacific Lutheran University should be allowed to form a union. This case is a test of some new provisions in labor law, and is being followed by other universities around the country.

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