Bellingham Public Schools, district staff and students receive honors and recognition from local, regional and national organizations.

Fairhaven Teacher Wins 2012 Golden Apple Award
Fairhaven Middle School social studies teacher Stephanie Strow won a 2012 Washington Golden Apple Award that recognizes her successful teaching model. The School Employees Credit Union and PEMCO Foundation co-sponsor this award each year with KCTS public television, and presented her with a $1,500 check in November.  Strow plans to use the money to purchase six laptops for classroom collaboration. The Golden Apple Awards ceremony will air in primetime on public television stations statewide this month. For more information, go to below: Strow accepts her award check from Nathan Pagel of the School Employees Credit Union at a Fairhaven staff meeting in mid-November.

Wade King Named 2012 School of Distinction

Wade King Elementary School has been recognized as a 2012 School of Distinction. This recognition is provided to only 97 schools who represent the top 5 percent in Washington state for outstanding improvement in student achievement.   The NWESD will host a celebration award ceremony to recognize these schools in January.

The 2012 School of Distinction Award is sponsored by The Center for Educational Effectiveness (CEE), the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD), the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Phi Delta Kappa-Washington Chapter (PDK-WA), Washington Association of School Administrators (WASA), Washington State ASCD and Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA). The 2012 School of Distinction award winners include 54 elementary schools, 24 middle/junior high schools, and 19 high schools. This represents the sixth annual School of Distinction award recognition in Washington state, and the second  year in a row that Wade King was honored.

Alderwood Awarded USDA Fruit and Veggie Snack Program
Earlier this summer, Alderwood Elementary School received a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) grant for $16,000 for the 2012-13 school year. FFVP funds are used to offer a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily throughout the school year.

Two Freshmen Advance to State Poetry Outloud Competition
Bellingham High ninth grader Margot Lewis and Sehome High ninth grader Viva Becker competed in and won the Northwest Regional Poetry Outloud competition in Burlington on Jan. 30.  Both students will advance to the state competition in Tacoma in March with an opportunity to advance to the national competition in Washington D.C.

Lewis performed “My Grandmother's Love Letters” by Hart Crane and “To the Ladies” by Lady Mary Chudleigh.  Becker performed “Beautiful Wreckage” by W.D. Ehrhart and “Hope is the Thing With Feathers” by Emily Dickinson.

Whatcom Family and Community Network Honors Community Builders at Ken Gass Awards Dinner
In December, the Whatcom Family & Community Network hosted the 2012 Ken Gass Community Building Awards Dinner honoring community groups, youth, adults and businesses who link people together and build community. Several awardees were members of the Bellingham School District. These include:

  • Bellingham High Spanish teacher Lori French, for her creation of a student-led multi-cultural service club called Inspiring a Movement;
  • Bellingham High counselor Jeff Smith and three students, Melanie Moumblow, Laura Cota-Gutierez, and Moriah Jansky, for their efforts in creating a community/youth suicide prevention task force and developing strategies both at their school and in the greater community;
  • Options High teacher Leslie Adamson for coaching improvisation and believing in youth who otherwise might drop out of school;
  • Shuksan Middle School assistant principal Janae Hodge, for her passion, commitment and advocacy for Shuksan youth and families.

District Music Students to Attend WMEA State/Regional Conference
The following high schools students have been accepted into the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) All-State and All-Northwest competition this year.  These district students will be performing with other students from around the state of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska.  These groups rehearse and perform during Presidents Day weekend (Feb. 2013) in Portland, Oregon.

Bellingham High will be represented by Brad Anderson, Tenor 2, Allegra Ritchie, Soprano 1, Candice Lundy, Soprano 1, and Gabrielle Neufeld, Alto 1, in the All-Northwest Mixed Choir;

Abrah Friberg, Alto 2, Hunter Dunn, Bass 2, Kaleb Van Rijswijck, Bass 2, and Luke Robinson, Bass 2, in the All-State Symphonic Choir; Glenna McGarity, flute, in the All-State Symphonic Band; Maya Enstad, Cello, in the All-Northwest Symphony Orchestra; and Hannie McGarity, violin, in the All-State Symphony Orchestra.

Sehome High will be represented by Ariel Wood, Alto 1, in the All-Northwest Treble Choir; Jesfer Mikesell, Tenor 1, in the All-Northwest Mixed Choir;  Alexandra Boon-Dooley, Alto 1, Kendrick Bradley, Tenor 2, and Keiran Rush, Alto 1, in the All-State Symphonic Choir; Davis Hampton, Bass Clarinet, in the All-Northwest Band;  and Shannon Davies, Cello, Daniel Karcher, Viola, Rainey Aberle, Trumpet, Carter Johnson, Trombone, and Shae Wirth, French Horn, in the All-State Symphony Orchestra.

Squalicum High will be represented by Gina Flint, Alto 2, and Michelle Purdie, Soprano 1, in the All-Northwest Treble Choir; Natalie Maeda, Soprano 2, in the All-Northwest Mixed Choir;  Chance Gwinner, Tenor 2, Charlie MacIsaac, Bass 2, Brianna Ayers, Alto 2, and Willey Ohana, Tenor 2, in the All-State Symphonic Choir;  and Dakota Stone, Viola, in the All-Northwest Symphony Orchestra.

Bellingham Mayor’s Office Chooses Holiday Greeting Card Designs from Student Artists
In an annual tradition dating back to the 1990s, the mayor of Bellingham has chosen the city’s seasonal card from artwork submitted by a local elementary school. This year’s artwork was chosen from selections from Parkview Elementary School and the two winners are fifth grader Luba Lily Eisenhart (drawing below) and fourth grader Ruby Lynn Miller. A brief feature story with each student’s drawing is located on the city’s website at The cards were mailed to more than 500 recipients in December.

District Assistant Principals Honored by Associations
Sehome High School assistant principal Nancy Barga was selected as a Washington Association of Secondary School Principals (WASSP) 2011-12 League Distinguished Assistant Principal of the Year.

In addition, Whatcom Middle School assistant principal Ann Buswell has been selected as the Northwest Regional Assistant Principal of the Year with the Association of Washington Middle Level Principals (AWMLP) for 2012-13.

Rotary Club Supports GRADS program with Grant
GRADS teacher Brenda Mashburn was awarded $1,600 by the Bellingham Bay Rotary Club to buy cribs for the daycare. 

Bring Joy to a Child at 25
Sehome High School celebrated the 25th anniversary of Bring Joy to a Child in late November, collecting nearly $14,000.  More information on this year’s event coverage can be found at the Bellingham Herald website as well as photos.

Squalicum Weightlifter Wins World Title
Squalicum High wrestler and track and field competitor Jobe Ashby (photo below) won his weight class at the 2012 WPC World Powerlifting Championships Nov. 6-11 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Ashby competed as a member of the U.S. Powerlifting Team and won his weight class in the teen division to claim his first world championship title. Ashby set a world record in his class twice during the competition. He is in grade 12.

Squalicum’s Richardson Named Coach of the Week by Seahawks
Squalicum High football coach Reed Richardson was picked “Coach of the Week” in November by Sterling Bank and the Seattle Seahawks organization. Sterling Bank partners with the Seattle Seahawks in a “Coach of the Week” recognition program, picking a deserving high school coach each week. Winners receive a $500 donation to their high school program, a Seahawk’s jacket and hat, a signed football and a plaque in recognition of the award.  Sterling Bank awards a $250 gift card to Sports Authority. Richardson also teaches Social Studies at Squalicum.

Wade King Principal Shares Blended Learning Approach in Recent Webinar
Wade King Elementary principal Analisa Ficklin shared information about Wade King’s blended learning approach to Chinese language learning in a recent webinar.  She covered how her school combines face-to-face instruction and online learning to help students develop second language skills in the context of the Wade King mission, the 5 C’s of the World Language standards, and The Bellingham Promise, our strategic plan.  More information is available on this webinar at

District Teaching and Learning Team Earns Leadership Award
In response to engaging families and increasing teacher capacity for literacy success, the Washington Organization for Reading Development (WORD) has awarded the Bellingham School District’s Department of Teaching and Learning the Literacy Leadership Award for 2012-13. 

Each year WORD, a division of the International Reading Association (IRA), awards one leadership award to an individual or group for their dedication to literacy in Washington state. 

Do you know a Newsmaker in the Bellingham Public Schools?  Please click here to submit information.