Newcastle Elementary honored with King County Earth Heroes award

March 29, 2012

NEW — 10:50 a.m. March 29, 2012

Students, parents, teachers and staff members who share a passion for environmental conservation — including Newcastle Elementary School — will be honored by King County Executive Dow Constantine at the county’s annual “Earth Heroes at School” ceremony in April.

“These stewards of the environment are our heroes – for conserving resources, protecting the environment, and spreading the word about sustainable practices,” Constantine said in a statement. “I am proud to recognize them for their hands-on commitment to the planet.”

As a King County Green School since 2009, Newcastle Elementary School ensures its recycling and composting programs thrive through Waste Watchers, a program where students who monitor the lunchroom containers to ensure proper sorting.

In an effort to save paper, the school’s staff meeting notes are no longer printed out, and teachers and students work together to post signs about conserving resources.

Newcastle Elementary has also increased its recycling rate from 50 to 60 percent.

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Newcastle Elementary hosts first science fair

March 2, 2012

Registration for the first Newcastle Elementary School science fair must be in to the school by March 16.

The fair will be from 6-8 p.m. May 11 in the school commons.

The Newcastle Elementary PTSA-sponsored event will begin with a Radical Reactions demonstration by the Pacific Science Center.

After the show, attendees can engage in hands-on activities led by staff members from the Kids Quest Museum and observe science fair projects created by children from Newcastle Elementary School. Judges from different branches of the science community will be there as well.

Students interested in creating projects for the fair must register by 3:40 p.m. March 16, and projects will be due in early May.

To learn more, email Danielle Dixon at danielle_dixon@comcast.net.

Scouts experience need for speed

February 3, 2012

There were flashier setups in the mix.

One car sported an elaborate R2-D2 paint job.

Others boasted more intricate carving techniques, taking the shapes of a banana and a skateboard.

But 9-year-old Will Slaton’s gray Pinewood Derby car maintained a more modest approach.

By Christina Lords Pinewood Derby champion Will Slaton (left), second runner-up Dillon Gyotoku (center) and third-place finisher Nicholas Disney receive trophies for the fastest car entries in Newcastle Cub Scout Pack 738’s annual Pinewood Derby on Jan 13.

Sure, special precautions were taken to make sure the wheels and axles had been sanded down to offer the least resistance on the track.

A small amount of graphite had been added to the back end to give the rear some weight, while the sides of the car had been whittled down to create a more aerodynamic end product.

But what Slaton’s car lacked in pizzazz, it made up for in speed. It was crowned champion of Newcastle Cub Scout Pack 738’s 2012 Pinewood Derby held Jan.13 at Newcastle Elementary School.

As champion, he’ll go on to face more formidable foes at the district level, he said, though he isn’t changing a thing.

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Elementary school organizes first geography bee

February 3, 2012

Winning student Colby Vuong has chance to enter state competition

 

Fifth-grader Colby Vuong waits to reveal his answer to a written question during the final round. Vuong went on to win the competition.

Just slightly and not at all.

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Creating a sense of community

January 6, 2012

After 17 years, longtime Newcastle resident Sonny Putter steps down from City Council

Sonny Putter, longtime Newcastle city councilman, cuts into a cake celebrating his 17 consecutive years of service at his last City Council meeting Dec. 6. By John Jensen

As you flip through the pages of longtime Newcastle City Councilman Sonny Putter’s date book, you start to notice a trend.

For the month of October, nearly every date is bursting with small writing filling each box.

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Our 2012 goals for Newcastle

January 6, 2012

  • The city must do all it can to facilitate the redevelopment of Mutual Materials’ brick plant site, a major change with potential opportunity for Newcastle’s future.
  •  The Newcastle library will open this summer, with a lot of opportunities for public involvement through classes, book clubs, book sales, homework helpers and more. It could very well become the city’s de-facto community center. Let the celebration begin!
  •  Continue to encourage business development in Newcastle’s downtown along the lines of recently revised requirements that are more development friendly. Now is also a good time to look at sign codes, fees and customer service. Also work with the chamber of commerce and landlords to identify businesses that would add to the mix in Newcastle and reach out to them to fill vacant storefronts.
  • Create a city Celebrations Committee to plan both Newcastle Days and other new city traditions and events. It need not be a commission with paid staff involvement, although any plans must be coordinated with City Hall.
  •  Seek a long-term budget fix that will get revenue on pace with expenditures in the next five years. Many projections show the city could be in real trouble if this isn’t addressed.
  •  Fund projects that enable connectivity and mobility via sidewalks and trail systems. Residents have repeatedly said that this is important!
  •  Continue to pursue a ZIP code for the city of Newcastle.
  •  Continue working with the Renton School District to implement the Safe Routes to School program, primarily near Hazelwood Elementary School. The continued exchange could lead to grant money for sidewalk improvements and is a great way to get kids active and walking to school.
  • School leaders and citizens should set aside their opposition to cutting the school year by four days, provided the total hours of class time remains the same. It offers a good way to save precious education dollars.
  •  Voters need to be committed to learning all of the pluses and minuses of school construction bonds coming before voters in February and April. For Renton, it means a new junior high school in Newcastle. Issaquah’s bond includes improvements to Liberty High, Maywood Middle and Newcastle Elementary schools. But is the time right?

Newcastle teacher is recognized for demanding the most of her students

December 1, 2011

Newcastle Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Liza Rickey leaves no doubt that part of her teaching philosophy is to challenge her students as much as possible.

“I set high standards,” she said. “I expect a lot out of my students.”

Rickey’s philosophy recently has gotten her some attention. At a ceremony in November, Rickey was named the Museum of History and Industry’s 2011 Teacher of the Year.

Newcastle Elementary School teacher Liza Rickey, recently named the MOHAI Teacher of the Year for 2011, leads her fourth-grade class through a math lesson. By Tom Corrigan

“Rickey was being honored for her innovative hands-on strategies that make social studies come alive for her students,” said Tara McCauley, MOHAI’s manager for education programs.

Rickey’s award carried with it a $1,000 honorarium. By pure coincidence, Rickey had taken her class on a “Cracking the History Code” field trip at MOHAI the day she learned she had won the MOHAI award. Such field trips have students searching for clues in the museum in order to gain the code that unlocks a mystery box given to visiting classes.

Newcastle school volunteer Liz Tupou said she was at first “flabbergasted” at the amount and depth of the homework Rickey regularly assigns her students, including Tupou’s grandchild. Tupou also said Rickey encourages parents not to help kids too much with their homework.

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Gift-A-Book campaign collects 114 books for school library

December 1, 2011

Newcastle Elementary School student Claire Frederick, 10, and her brother Andrew Frederick, 7, hold books they’ve chosen to donate through the school’s 2011 Gift-A-Book campaign. By Christina Lords

Although Newcastle Elementary School librarian Laura Berry has come in contact with thousands of books over her lifetime, she distinctly remembers sitting down and reading “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” as a small child.

Thanks to the school’s annual Gift-A-Book campaign, which allows children and parents to select books to donate to the school’s library, Newcastle will be able to add the 60-year-old story to its growing collection.

“It’s still a great story, and it’s nice to have a library-bound edition of it,” Berry said. “One of our first-graders chose that. He and his family donated three wonderful books.”

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Gift-A-Book campaign collects nearly 100 books for Newcastle library

November 14, 2011

UPDATED — 11:40 a.m. Nov. 16, 2011

Although Newcastle Elementary School librarian Laura Berry has come in contact with thousands of book over her lifetime, she distinctly remembers sitting down and reading “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel” as a small child.

Thanks to the school’s annual Gift-A-Book campaign, which allows children and parents to select books to donate to the school’s library, Newcastle will be able to add the 60-year-old story to its growing collection.

“It’s still a great story, and it’s nice to have a library bound edition of it,” she said. “One of our first-graders chose that. He and his family donated three wonderful books.”

Read more

Lake Boren Park playground reopens just in time for summer

July 1, 2011

It was love at first sight at the Lake Boren Park playground ribbon cutting ceremony June 16. Every inch of the new structure seemed to be occupied by a smiling child eager to explore the new climbing, spinning and sliding toys at his or her disposal.

Children play on the Lake Boren Park playground.

The modernized merry-go-round was among the most popular features at the Lake Boren Park playground ribbon cutting June 16. A $325,000 state grant funded the playground. By Tim Pfarr

The new playground was constructed this spring thanks to a $325,000 grant from the state, which was secured in 2010 by former state Sen. Randy Gordon. The playground opened to the public June 13, but hundreds showed up for the ribbon cutting, which followed the last day of school for students in the Issaquah School District. Read more

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