Promise Highlights: Stories from our schools for May 2022

Bellingham Public Schools is proud to share these highlights of our students and staff living The Bellingham Promise. Visit our Promise Stories page for more stories from our schools, or to submit a story idea of your own!

U.S. Secretary of Education honors Bellingham Public Schools with sustainability award on Earth Day 2022

The U.S. Department of Education announced that Bellingham Public Schools in Bellingham, Wash. is among the 2022 U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District Sustainability Awardees. Across the country, 27 schools, five districts, and four postsecondary institutions are being honored for their innovative efforts to reduce environmental impact and utility costs, improve health and wellness, and ensure effective sustainability education.

“We are honored to be selected for this distinction around sustainability,” Superintendent Greg Baker said. “Our commitment to sustainable practices in our schools and in our community became even more evident in February with the passage of our 2022 facilities bond that included additional funding for continued focus in this area. This award also brings extra energy and excitement to our newly convened Sustainability Task Force in the district as they build a strategic plan for facilities, including addressing facilities upgrades, changes to habits and culture, and developing students who are environmental protectors. This award propels and inspires new learning and best practices for our staff and community.” Read more of the highlights of this distinction…

Green Ribbon Schools 2022 Logo

Sehome robotics team heads to VEX Worlds Championship; middle school students place at state tech conference

In Bellingham Public Schools, we develop “skilled users of technology and information,” an important outcome of The Bellingham Promise. The robotics team of Sehome High School juniors Nathan Eisses, Addison Getz and Isaac Parsons placed second in the VEX Washington State championships in March qualifying them to compete in the 2022 Vex World Championships in Dallas, Texas this week! VEX Worlds is the largest student robotics event in the world where 800 teams from 50 countries compete against each other, according to Sehome’s technology teacher Kevin Criez. “This is a tremendous opportunity for these students,” Criez says, “and it’s also a great incentive to all of the Vex teams in our district to strive towards higher levels.” Read more…

Robotics students and staff with trophies
Left to right, Isaac Parsons, Nathan Eisses, technology teacher Kevin Criez, Addi Getz.

Members of the Lummi Nation unveil story pole at new Alderwood Elementary School

Family members and friends of the late master carver Dale James of the Lummi Nation gathered earlier this year at the new Alderwood Elementary School to unveil a story pole carved by James in 1974. Originally, the story pole was a gift to Marietta Elementary School. Later, when that school closed and Marietta students moved to the original Alderwood, the story pole was gifted to Alderwood at that time. Now, the story pole, a depiction of two figures Raven and Bear, occupies a prominent place in the new school building’s foyer. Micah Smith, Alderwood’s principal, views the story pole as emblematic of Alderwood’s journey for inclusion. “That might be a journey of gender identity, orientation, race or something else,” Smith says. “The story pole signifies our inclusive values and building a community of diverse learners who can share their experiences with each other.”  Read more…

Lummi Nation members Keith Jefferson (left) and Alvin Cultee with story pole
Lummi Nation members Keith Jefferson (left) and Alvin Cultee

Also on Earth Day 2022, Geneva gnomes thank their neighbors

Using their woodsy, magical school mascot as the theme, Geneva Elementary School students delivered garden gnomes and thank you cards to their surrounding Geneva neighbors on Earth Day to show their school appreciation. An important outcome of The Bellingham Promise states that our students will develop into “respectful and compassionate humans” and “well-rounded community members engaged with the broader world,” and this recent spring activity demonstrated these attributes in Geneva students.

As a community, the school wanted to show gratitude to their nearby neighbors who may have been impacted by the increase in traffic and the long lines in the drop-off and pick-up times during the past two years of the pandemic. “Despite the extra traffic and inconvenience, our neighbors stuck it out and put the safety of our students first,” said Geneva principal Sharece Steinkamp. Read the full story here…

Geneva neighbor surprised with garden gnome and thank you poster by Geneve Elementary School students
Geneva neighbor surprised with garden gnome and thank you poster by Geneva Elementary School students

Do you have good news about our students or staff that you want to share? Please submit your ideas! For more stories about The Bellingham Promise in action, visit our Promise website. Or follow us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!