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The leader who rebuilt New Orleans' school system after Hurricane Katrina speaks on reforms that could transform Washington's schools

At Washington Policy Center’s recent education lunch, Paul Pastorek didn’t waste time getting to the crux of the matter: “The system is so outdated, outmoded, and dysfunctional, good people can’t help but be unsuccessful. The system is broken, and one of these days people around this country are going to recognize that.”

Pastorek knows what he’s talking about. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, as Louisiana State Superintendent of Schools Pastorek reorganized the city’s school system as a “Recovery School District.” But Pastorek made it clear to the more than 200 education, business, and community leaders in attendance that the move was not the sort of “state takeover” that has occurred with failing schools elsewhere in the country. read more »


WSU Kitsap County Extension will be offering its popular Ag Entrepreneurship course on starting and sustaining a profitable small farm or agricultural enterprise beginning Jan. 19. Community members are invited to sign up for this intensive, hands-on learning opportunity. The course features a full line-up of local guest speakers: bankers, accountants, attorneys, and successful farm owners.

Participants will gain skills in business planning, direct marketing and record-keeping. They’ll also receive information on federal and state programs targeted to the needs of small producers, including resources to improve risk management and conservation practices. read more »


A recently released survey finds that most eighth and ninth graders consider algebra to be their toughest subject and the same goes for parents who say advanced math, like algebra, tops the subjects they struggle with when helping their children with homework.

The findings of the national survey are significant to the Silverdale-area community because algebra is regarded by many educators, including the U.S. Department of Education, to be a “well documented gateway course.” The designation comes from its importance as the foundation for high school level math and a critical stepping stone to college and future careers; from careers in electrical work to careers in architecture. read more »


Claudia Edmondson recently joined Holly Ridge’s administrative staff as its development coordinator. In this newly created position, she will be responsible for the advancement and growth of the organization’s major gifts program and will be tasked with creating a new planned giving program. She will work closely with key stakeholders to meet fundraising goals, and will assist with the development and implementation of fund-raising and community relations, grant-writing and special events. read more »


The Washington Restaurant Association Education Foundation (WRAEF) announces that it is now offering ServSafe Alcohol, a program designed to help restaurants provide employees with comprehensive alcohol service training. The WRAEF is facilitating this mandatory training program via convenient online course and exam; however, a classroom training and testing option also is available. read more »


Olympic College (OC) announced it has received three grants: two grants will provide training in industries expected to grow in Washington State and one grant will help first-generation and low-income students to pursue greater higher education levels needed for the 21st century workforce. The funding is expected to total $3.3 million over the time period of the grants.

“Olympic College is honored to be selected to receive these grants. This funding will provide training to residents for in-demand jobs and prepare students to pursue higher levels of training and education that matter to today’s employers. read more »


Thirteen Washington two-year colleges will share $1.58 million in Governor’s Investment in Aerospace (GIA) grants to develop fast turnover training in aerospace.

A mix of Gov. Christine Gregoire’s discretionary Workforce Investment Act (WIA) funds and state aerospace training funds, the grants are designed to assist community and technical colleges throughout the state develop new training in aerospace industry-identified areas. read more »


Bainbridge Island Rotary and the Passionate About Learning Society (PALS) will host a panel discussion by Bainbridge Island educators of the current New York Times best seller “That Used to Be Us — How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back” by Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum. This is the first of the Rotary and PALS Lecture Series, which is open to the community at no cost. This event will be held at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, 554 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Oct. 11. read more »


George ShannonGeorge Shannon is the new librarian at The Island School on Bainbridge Island. Shannon is an author who has published 40 books, including 30 popular picture books. He has taught a number of writing workshops, is a professional storyteller, and received the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Pacific Northwest Writers Association. He has a B.S. degree in Education and Library Science, and also has a M.S.L.S. degree in Children’s Literature and Children’s Services. He served as a children’s librarian at an elementary school and a public library in Kentucky.

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