Friday, October 7, 2011

Prepping kids for college and saving money all at the same time

A few weeks ago we reported that our high-school seniors have been doing an outstanding job on their SATs for almost a decade.

Rep. Tina Orwall says that we must be doing something right, and she visited some schools in her district where kids are enrolled in programs that not only get them ready for secondary education, but can also significantly reduce the costs of college.

Watch Rep. Orwall’s “College Bound Options that Help Your Pocketbook” video tour to get the scoop:
To read this blog post in Spanish, please go here.

Linda Barnfather’s photos brighten the capitol through December

A new exhibit in the state capitol is a picture-perfect display of the photographic  artistry of the HDC's own Linda Barnfather, Legislative Assistant to Rep. Kevin Van Der Wege. An eye-popping selection of Barnfather's photos, taken in Washington and around the world, is now on display in the Office of Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen through December.

There's nothing like seeing Barnfather's art in person, but those who want a great online glance at her work should take a look at Owen's press release on the exhibit, which includes a 360-degree panoramic image of his office with the striking photos on display.

Photo:  Shutterbug Linda Barnfather with camera.  Photo courtesy House of Representatives.

To read this blog post in Spanish, please go here.

Rep. Upthegrove receives WCV’s Legislator of the Year award today

He doesn't consider himself a morning person, but Rep. Dave Upthegrove was honored to be up early for this morning's Washington Conservation Voters 19th annual Breakfast of Champions.

Back in June, WCV announced that Rep. Upthegrove had been selected as their 2011 Legislator of the Year.   In a press release, WCV mentioned the ways he championed the environment during the 2011 Legislative Session, including helping to move toward a coal-free Washington, and clearing phosphorous pollution from our lakes and rivers.

This morning Rep. Upthegrove, who chairs the House Environment Committee, formally receives his award.

While he has been a key figure in moving many of the environmental community's top issues forward in the legislature, Rep. Upthegrove has also championed local environmental issues in his South King County district.  In accepting today's award, he said, "I’m proud of our work to protect the majestic Green River Gorge—and support the vision of the Green River Gorge Mountains to Valley Greenway. I’m proud of our success cleaning up toxic soil at local schools and daycares."

Previous WCV Legislators of the Year include former Rep. (now Senator) Sharon Nelson (2010), and Rep. John McCoy (2009).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Legislative roundtable in Anacortes to focus on Education

Education leaders from Anacortes are inviting residents to attend a roundtable discussion on the general state of Education in Washington, as well as what to expect from the coming 2012 legislative session.

State Representative Kris Lytton will lead the discussion and provide an update on the budgetary challenges the state faces in its efforts to maintain funding for the state’s K-12 education system despite dwindling state resources. She will also provide a status report on the Teacher/Principal Evaluation Pilot (TPEP) implementation and funding and answer questions regarding the state of all-day kindergarten.

“The budget is going to pose many challenges for schools, school districts and the state. Education is important to me and to our community, and I want to be sure that we have an open line of communication,” said Lytton.

Anacortes is a designated testing ground for an innovative new teacher evaluation system called the Teacher/Principal Evaluation Pilot (TPEP), passed during the 2010 Legislative Session. The program directs significant changes, including:
  • Revising criteria for both teachers and principals; 
  • Creating a four-tier rating system utilizing 8 criteria focused on student achievement ; 
  • Requiring all districts to adopt new evaluation systems in the 2013-14 school year; and 
  • Increasing the length of provisional status for new teachers (moves tenure from 2 to 3 years)
“This roundtable discussion is the idea of many concerned educators, parents, and community leaders who want to participate in the reform process,” said Lytton. “This entire discussion and process is a way to ensure that reforms come from the ground up rather than mandated from above. I encourage everyone interested in shaping the future of our state’s education system to attend.”

Details of the Education Roundtable:
  • Who: Anacortes residents interested in a discussion on education reform 
  • When: Oct. 26 at 5:30pm
  • Where: Anacortes School Board Room  

To read this blog post in Spanish, please go here.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

No Child Left Hungry

Just as cars need fuel to function as designed, we humans don't perform very well with an empty stomach. And if we're school kids and our two main jobs are to grow and to learn, it becomes doubly important that we don't sit in class with nothing in the tank. 

That's the thinking behind Washington's free and reduced-price school breakfast and lunch programs. These federally supported programs play a key role in helping Washington children of all income levels get the most out of their school day.

As the state's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction pointed out in a recent news release, it's easy for qualifying families to apply for one or more of these programs. Follow this link to OSPI's website for more information. 

To read this blog post in Spanish, please go here.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Rep. Pettigrew honored with Angels in Adoption Award

Many of us have heard the quote, “To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world.” These words may elicit thoughts of a family member, a close friend, or even someone whose hard work changed your life forever.

Indeed, some have a greater impact on the world than they’ll ever know. For Rep. Eric Pettigrew, advocating for at-risk youth is an ongoing effort and one that will not go unnoticed this year. This October, Eric is being honored with the prestigious 2011 Angels in Adoption Award for his extraordinary contributions on behalf of children in need of homes.

“Every child should have a safe home and the opportunity to succeed in life,” Eric said.

As the Majority Caucus Chair and representative for one of the most diverse legislative districts in Washington, Eric continues to lead the way in helping at-risk youth and foster children statewide.

Please click here to learn more about past legislation sponsored by Eric, and click here for additional details about the Angels in Adoption Award. To read the full press release, please click here.

To read this blog post in Spanish, please go here.