Youth & Education

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

Washington state students rank in the top 10 for math and science when compared with their counterparts in other countries, according to a new batch of test scores.

Washington's eighth graders tested better than the national average in both subjects. And scores here are higher than those in Ontario, Canada; Hungary, and Australia.

Do the arts matter? ArtsEd Washington, a nonprofit advocacy group, queried school board candidates across the state about the influence of the arts in their own lives and whether arts education would be a priority if elected this November.

This weekened, Seattle's Convention Center is getting overrun by thousands of women and girls gathered for the annual GeekGirlCon event. But the convention is not just about gaming.

dharder9475 / Flickr

A recent hazing incident involving more than 100 students at Seattle's Garfield High School has many wondering how such a thing can become part of a school's tradition in a district with a zero-tolerance policy. 

According to the police report, the victims were driven to the Washington Park Arboretum where more than 100 students and a keg of beer were present. There, they were paddled and "forced to drink shots of hard liquor" until at least one of them was very intoxicated, the report said. Eleven students have been temporarily expelled while both school officials and police investigate.

Seattle Public Schools spokesperson Teresa Wippel said hazing has become a tradition at Garfield High, which has a long history of such incidents. According to veteran psychologist Susan Lipkins, what begins as a benign initiation ritual can easily evolve into a dangerous culture over time.

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Washington schools chief Randy Dorn says the time has come to raise taxes to increase funding for public education. And he’s prepared to lead the fight.

Dorn styles himself as a bit of a maverick. He says his job is to make adults uncomfortable. He recently gave the legislature a grade of “incomplete” for its first down payment on a Supreme Court decision that says Washington is not adequately funding public schools.

Dena Michele Rosko / Flickr

Gonzaga University has joined the official Catholic movement in support of environmental stewardship.

On Monday, Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh and the president of Gonzaga Preparatory high school both signed the St. Francis Pledge.

JoeInSouthernCA / Flickr

Seattle’s Garfield High School has temporarily expelled 11 students following a mass hazing incident last month.

The students face emergency expulsion, which means the action isn't disciplinary in nature; instead, its aim is to get students off of campus as quickly as possible to allow school officials to investigate.

Toby Talbot / AP Photo

Schools feed low-income children breakfast and lunch during the week. But what about on the weekends?

That’s the subject of a backpack summit taking place in Seattle today. The goal is to figure out how to send kids home with backpacks filled with food on Fridays so they can start their week at school, ready to learn.

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.

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