The Reporter loves a good story about passionate teachers and educators going above and beyond for our young students. Like Maple Hills Elementary School second grade teacher Sharon Solie. This week Solie was recognized for her efforts to encourage her students to read more at home, as the recipient of a Big Ideas grant from the Issaquah Schools Foundation (ISF).
Solie was awarded $2,300 to continue the school’s hugely successful “Book Bag” program. Developed last year by fellow teacher Betsy Sanford, the program has second grade students taking a specially-themed bag of books home, to learn about space, rainforests, animals, or whatever the theme of that particular bag is. As well as four of five books on the subject, the bag also contains an activity card, enabling students to apply what they have learned and share it with their family and friends. Each week, they pick a different bag.
The program was an immediate success – in Sanford’s trial class, 100 percent of students signed up for the optional activity.
“They absolutely love it,” Solie said. “And second grade is such a crucial time for reading. It’s when some students become fluent readers, but its also when kids can begin to drop off, if they aren’t reading much at home or with their families. The great thing we have seen with the Book Bag program is that children aren’t just off by themselves, reading in the corner, they are reading with their parents, and talking about what they have learned.”
The ISF grant will enable all the second graders at Maple Hills to get into the Book Bag program.
Over the past week, ISF, which raises money and awareness to support the functioning of local schools, has awarded $73,000 in Big Ideas and Academic Enrichment grants to schools all over the district.
Kateri Brow Big Ideas Grants were also awarded to:
Bethany Stead at Discovery Elementary School
Joshua Almy at Beaver Lake Middle
Condee Wood and Jolene Anderson at Pacific Cascade Middle
Jo Simpson and Janet Berry at Echo Glen
Robin Earl at Creekside Elementary
Joy Allison and Lane Helgeson at Tiger Mountain Community
Peggy McNees at Issaquah Valley Elementary
Classroom Enrichment Grants were awarded to:
Stephanie De Jesus at Newcastle Elementary
Barbara Irish at Issaquah High
Barbara Terasaki at Grand Ridge Elementary
Kelly L. Crickmore and May Pelto at Clark Elementary
K. Mulvany, S. Timson, M. Greening, K. Jensen, and K. Ralph at Endeavour Elementary
Gabrielle Herring and Stacy O’Daffer at Endeavour Elementary
Gail Oseran and Eric Ensey at Pine Lake Middle
Michelle Blake at Sunny Hills Elementary
Cheryl Churchill, Dawn Harper, and Peggy McNees at Issaquah Valley Elementary
Trina Loehndorf at Cougar Ridge Elementary
Vicki Hoffman at Tiger Mountain High
Sandy Mullis at Sunset Elementary
To learn more about the great work ISF in your community, visit www.issaquahschoolsfoundation.org.