News Roundup -- New Lutheran group forms/Schools plan forum on levy/Island School plans carnival

New Lutheran group forms

Trinity Lutheran Church, a new Lutheran Church Missouri Synod congregation, debuts on Bainbridge Island on Oct. 3, with services at the American Legion Hall.

“We are excited to be opening in a new spot,” said Russell Horn, who serves as a church “mission planter” to establish new congregations in Washington, Arizona and California.

TLC opens with Sunday school and adult study at 8:30 a.m.; a worship service at 10 a.m.; and a celebration and reception following the service. Call (360) 509-5163 or see for more information.

– Dee Axelrod

Schools plan forum on levy

The Roman emperor Claudius invaded Britain in sandals. Gen. George Custer made his last stand in knee-high boots. They had vastly different tastes in footwear, but both men left similar footprints as they marched west.

Linked by a light-speed video connection, students from Bainbridge and Britain may soon discuss the similarities between Claudius and Custer face-to-face while remaining half a world apart.

“Both of our classes are researching westward settlement,” said Ben Winter, a British teacher who has switched classes with Odyssey Multiage Program teacher Barry Hoonan for a yearlong exchange. “In the U.S., it’s the pioneers, the Wild West. In England, it’s the Romans and the Celts. We’d like to have a cultural exchange that will give the children a personal connection and allow the them to see how they are the same and different.”

All Bainbridge schools were linked in August to a fiberoptic network that transfers vast amounts of information over immense distances almost instantly.

While the district’s Internet connections are firing faster, school officials are eyeing upgrades to boost classroom learning with live, streaming video technology. Their wish list includes web cameras, projectors and software purchased through a proposed Bainbridge Island School District technology levy set for the winter.

“We see it as a medium for children to talk to each other,” Winter said. “It’s more interactive. It makes them sit up and take interest.”

Randy Orwin, the district’s information systems manager, also foresees teachers using the streaming video technology for virtual field trips or foreign language lessons.

“Teachers could set up meetings with real people, in real time - from places like the Smithsonian or NASA,” he said. “For language classes, kids here could have conferences with kids in France.”

The upgrades would be part of a proposed $4 million to $10 million tech levy. Pam Keyes, district spokeswoman, said much of the island’s schools need updated technology. She estimates 75 percent of the district’s technology is over five years old.

“That makes a huge difference when you’re doing research or trying to get access to information,” she said.

The board has yet to propose a resolution for the levy, but will host a forum Tuesday to discuss the issue. The forum will also cover a possible capital bond to raise funds for new building construction. Both fund-raising efforts are closely linked, Keyes said.

“If you’re building a new building, it makes sense to rotate the specs around technical needs,” she said.

While the district prepares to pitch the tech levy, Winter said he isn’t waiting to link his and Hoonan’s students. Winter’s school in England is already outfitted with the necessary software and equipment. He plans to apply for grants or organize fund-raisers to upgrade the Odyssey classroom.

But money and high technology won’t solve an eight-hour time difference, which has Bainbridge students hopping off the morning bus as the Brits are waiting for the final bell.

“Next we’ll need to shift the classroom a few miles to the east,” he said.

The tech levy and capital facilities bond to come before voters in Februrary, 2005 will help shape schools here for the next two decades. Learn and opine at:

• A forum at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at the BHS Commons. Discuss what school facilities and technology are needed to support student learning.

• A community symposium from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 28. led by educational consultant James Parsley. Venue to be announced; call 780-1398. An Oct. 4 forum has been cancelled.

– Tristan Baurick

Island School plans carnival

Call it a day of fun for everyone, whether its the Amazing Maze, barbecue or cotton candy that’s the draw.

“The kids have a ball; there’s a number of booths kids can go to,” said David Cinamon, parent at Island School and co-chair of the school’s annual carnival. “It’s a very playful event. Kids are just running from one (booth) to another...

“The barbecue is great as a place to stop and talk with friends.”

The nonprofit, K-5 school is holding its annual Fall Carnival on Oct. 9, with games and activities for kids, a silent auction for parents and food for all. The event, which is open to the public, started in 1983 and school alumni still return to set up or man booths.

Parents organize the carnival, from planning to constructing the popular maze of tunnels and steps from cardboard appliance boxes that consumes a large play shed.

“The parents are extraordinary,” head of school Kelly Webster said. “Barely one month after school starts, the parents have it all organized.”

The carnival is the school’s autumn fund-raiser, and a chance for parents new to the school to meet others. The originally spring event was moved to the fall three years ago to give new parents a chance to “break in” to the school.

“This has been wonderful for that. By mid-October, they feel a part of things,” Webster said.

Ultimately the focus of the carnival is on kids. At the Fortress of Fungus, kids catapult tennis balls to hit a wall with a tennis ball and are rewarded with candy thrown over by a “big arm.”

“Games are things kids can win and is satisfying,” Webster said.

All the teachers are also there at a booth selling books and plants. A kids’ raffle offers prizes like books, toys or lunch with a teacher.

The Island School Carnival runs 12-4 p.m. Oct. 9 at Island School, 8553 NE Day Road. No admission fee. Tickets for rides and activities are 50 cents each. For more information, call Island School at 842-0400.

– Tina Lieu

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