Excellence in education was on display throughout the full house at the Snoqualmie Valley Schools Foundation’s luncheon last Thursday. On the stage, student representatives Petru Constantin and Brynne Hollasch displayed leadership as they welcomed the audience and introduced speakers. Along the side, student musicians in the Mount Si High School percussion ensemble worked like professionals during their performance. And in the audience, many teachers waited to give presentations on special projects in their schools, which have excited students to learn.
Among them were Laurie Shepherd and Amy Soltys, librarians at Fall City Elementary and Timber Ridge Elementary, respectively. They talked about their use of MakerSpace, a tool encouraging students to explore, design and invent, starting with real-world solutions such as capturing spiders without harming them, then moving on to designing hippo cages and other less-likely problems to solve.
“They say ‘I have an idea!’ and they just start figuring things out themselves, instead of someone telling them what to do,” said Shepherd.
Teacher Joe Dockery, in a video made for the luncheon, spoke about the All Girls Film Networking event he created in an effort to get more girls interested in film production.
“It’s the best thing I’ve done in my 25 years of education,” he said.
Ruth Moen, speaking with the Twin Falls Middle School AVID (Achievement via Individual Determination) team, read a letter about the impact of AVID, partly funded by a Schools Foundation grant, had on a student. The boy’s mother had written that her talented son “felt stupid” in school until the AVID program started two years ago. He was enrolled and promptly complained about all the “extra work” required by AVID — such as keeping a three-ring binder with all class assignments to develop good organizational skills and study habits.
That soon started to change, the letter continued. “The teacher believes in my son, and now he believes in himself.”
Also a part of the luncheon was the recognition of the 2016 Educators of the Year, chosen by the schools foundation from nominations earlier this year. Teachers honored included Brenna Vukovich, Classified Educator of the Year; Emily Larson, Elementary Educator of the Year; Emily Rourke, Middle School Educator of the Year; and Katelyn Walker, High School Educator of the Year.