School Briefs for week of April 24
5 schools win state’s highest honor
Five Mukilteo schools are receiving the Washington Achievement Awards for 2012, an honor that celebrates the state’s top performing schools in multiple categories.
Odyssey Elementary is being awarded for overall excellence and for achievement in science, Kamiak High School is being recognized for overall excellence and achievement in math, Mariner High School is recognized for achievement in language arts, Fairmount Elementary is recognized for achievement in science, and Columbia Elementary is recognized for closing the achievement gap.
Award winners are selected using the state’s Achievement Index, which is based on statewide assessments for the previous two years.
Odyssey has now earned overall excellence honors for three straight years, Kamiak also earned the award last year, Mariner has been honored for language arts twice before, and both Fairmount and Columbia are first-time award winners.
The Washington Achievement Awards were created by the state legislature four years ago and are given by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the State Board of Education as part of the state’s accountability program.
Mariner choir wins 3 gold medals
Hard work paid off for members of the men’s, women’s and chamber choirs at Mariner High School, according to choir director Patty Schmidt.
All three groups earned first-place, gold medal awards at the Heritage Music Festival in Orlando, Florida, during spring break and won the choir sweepstakes award. Senior Hector Ruiz also was awarded an individual excellence award.
Schmidt said the students had been working all year to achieve a gold-level performance at the competition and are now looking forward to accepting an invitation to perform at the National Youth Choir at Carnegie Hall in New York City next year. It will be the second time the group has received such an invitation.
The director said she was incredibly happy to watch the excitement that the students experienced during the awards assembly in Florida and hopes to continue this level of choral performance for many years to come.
Kamiak to present ‘Sweeney Todd’
Tickets are now on sale for Kamiak’s spring musical: “Sweeney Todd,” the school version, which will be presented at 7 p.m. on May 3, 4, 10 and 11 and at 2 p.m. on May 11.
All seats are reserved and tickets cost $15 for adults and $10 for students and senior citizens. All seats will be $10 for the May 11 matinee performance.
Winner of the Tony Award for best musical, “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” tells the story of Benjamin Barker, who returns to London after 15 years in an Australian prison, opens a barbershop and vows revenge against the world with the help of Mrs. Lovett, who runs a pie shop next door.
The school version of the play is not appropriate for children younger than 13 years due to mature themes and fake blood.
To order tickets, print the ticket order form at the link below and send it to the attention of Laurie Levine at Kamiak High School, 10801 Harbour Pointe Blvd., Mukilteo, WA 98275.
Order form: http://schools.mukilteo.wednet.edu/Staff/levinelt/SweeneyToddTickets.pdf
Legislature works toward final state budget
The House, Senate and the governor’s office have all announced proposals for the state’s 2013-15 biennium budget; the Senate has already passed its version of the budget.
Now will come the harder job of coming up with a compromise budget that will pass both chambers and get signed by the governor.
The Senate’s version of the budget would increase K-12 funding by about $1 billion, with $760 million of that earmarked for programs that would satisfy the State Supreme Court’s mandate to fully fund basic education by 2018.
The budget also would spend an additional $241 million on the Learning Assistance Program.
The House budget proposal would increase K-12 funding by $1.3 billion, of which about $1 billion would help satisfy the Supreme Court mandate.
The House version also would provide $218 million in additional funding for classified and administrative salaries.
The budget priorities announced by Gov. Jay Inslee would increase K-12 funding by $1.2 billion, of which about $1.1 billion would help satisfy the mandate.
The regular session of the legislature is scheduled to adjourn on April 28.
For more about the McCleary ruling and the Supreme Court mandate that is dominating budget discussions in Olympia, go to:
More reduced-price AP tests available
The U.S. Department of Education has announced that additional funds are now available for the Advanced Placement (AP) Test Fee Reduction Program.
Qualified low-income students will now pay $10 per AP exam, with no limit on the number of exams covered. The full price of each exam is $89.
For more information about the program, as well as information about how students can qualify for the fee reduction, visit: www.k12.wa.us/AdvancedPlacement/testfee.aspx
Public education is under attack, author says
A nationally recognized education researcher and author told members of the National School Board Association (NSBA) earlier this week that public education is under attack.
Diane Ravitch, a fierce critic of many of the education reform models that have been advocated by state and federal policymakers during the past decade, told those attending the NSBA national conference that the repeated attacks on public education today are both inaccurate and deceptive.
“These people who call themselves reformers, who say our public education system is obsolete, that it’s failing, that it’s broken ... they’re wrong,” she said. “Our schools are not failing. Our system of public education is not broken.”
In reality, she said, test scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress are the highest in history, high school graduation rates are the highest in history, and the nation’s dropout rates are the lowest in history.
These briefs are provided by Andy Muntz, spokesperson for the Mukilteo School District.