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Peace forum at Presbyterian church

Trout Lake News for Feb. 16

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Trout Lake Newswriters

Sandi Thygesen, 395-2318

Pat Arnold, 395-2233

Bonnie Reynolds, 395-2527

Laurie West, 395-9330

Tonight, Thursday Feb 16, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. is the second in a series of peace forums at the Presbyterian Church. The subject of the forum is "What Are The Essential Values for Living in a Civilized World?" The discussion will be based on a video produced by Physicians for Social Concern titled "Safe Security." The public is invited.

The National Honor Society Trout Lake chapter is holding a fundraiser. It will deliver cookie dough. You can cook it or not, as you prefer. Choices are snickerdoodles, chocolate chip, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin. $7 will buy you enough dough for 2 to 3 dozen cookies. Place your order with the school by Feb. 17 for delivery on Feb. 20 or 21.

Here's my annual plug for the WSU Klickitat County Extension Office's newsletter, the Klickitat County Chit Chat, which is full of upcoming events, gardening advice, horse care information, and lots more. The last issue featured notice of the Harvesting Clean Energy Conference in Spokane Feb 27-28, about renewable energy technologies, and also of the famous Sewing and Stitchery Expo, an annual event held in Puyallup. I know there are already a lot of local aficionados of this event. All this and more, by calling 773-5817 and asking to be put on the mailing list.

Backyard chicken producers, here is a notice for you. The CDC and WSU have a voluntary bird flu monitoring program. Please get in touch with Pat Arnold 395-2233 if you want to participate. We will send a batch of eggs in to be tested in the Puyallup lab. No charge.

Jonah Ministries is planning a 10th birthday party and fundraiser at Skamania Lodge on Friday, March 24. Jonah has also just released the 2006 camp schedule. The camps fill up fast, so if you don't have the brochure call 395-2900 to get one.

At the Cabin Fever dinner, I found a great conversation among local teachers about the WASL. The What? The Washington Assessment of Student Learning. The Basic Education Act of 1993 required the development of Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs, which is pronounced eelers), and it also authorized the WASL tests to determine if the learning goals are being met.

WASL tests are given to 4th, 7th and 10th grade students. Other standardized tests are given in the other grades. The class of 2008, this year's 10th graders, are the first class for whom successful completion of the reading, writing, and mathematics WASL is a statewide graduation requirement.

Trout Lake students have had strong performances on all the WASL tests and the other assessments, a testimony to skills of staff , students, and parents. Nevertheless, I was interested to hear a lively discussion among teachers about the value of the test. Are we just teaching to the test? Is the test reliable? What are our educational goals, and how do we get there?

This is a hot topic in the legislature this year, and I wonder if there is interest in a local forum -- say a panel of different points of view among school staff and students. These tests obviously affect parents of current students in a very immediate way. However, the rest of us may profit from some discussion as well, since the topic is fundamental to the educational policy of our state and consequent expenditures.

The Trout Lake sub-area planning process is proceeding. The group is reviewing the 1995 plan, revisiting goals and policies, rethinking zoning, and drawing lines on the map. The next meeting is Feb. 15, at the school. New Community Council members Robert Schmid and Hans Winterlich will be joining the planning group. The remaining untouched topics are water, critical areas, agriculture, and forest resources.

A note from Mike Calahan, "I'm still deployed to the State of Mississippi in support of Hurricane Katrina (DR-1604), I was deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Agent (FEMA) on Aug. 28, 2005, and will remain here in Jackson, Miss., until they send me home. I hope to be home by early spring."


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