The Superintendent Newsletter

February is the second month of the new year. Ironic that this week is the first snow of the year. 

It is beautiful and so cold, it is hard to think that in a month we will be seeing the first signs of Spring. What can we learn about this time of year? The new semester brings energy and excitement that can be felt in the young and the old. The days become increasingly longer although almost invisible.

The snow highlights the branches on each tree like diamonds against a brilliant blue sky.

This week I challenge us all to be a little kinder, to lead with the heart in mind and to be childlike in your response to the moments in your life when kindness would be a better choice. Perhaps when we are driving on icy streets, or when we have washed dirty wet outdoor clothes for the second time the same day? Perhaps when you feel like you are on your last nerve and have curt comments on your tongue

You see I understand this, I am this person and I know that with intention, my mood will affect others. How I choose to respond will be mirrored in those beautiful people I live with and work with. As I keep this in mind, I am also reminded that February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, one in four deaths are caused by heart disease.

The good news is heart disease can often be prevented when people make healthy choices and manage their health conditions. Communities, health professionals and families can work together to create opportunities for people to make healthier choices.

Let us make a difference in our Eatonville community. Spread the word about strategies for preventing heart disease and encourage people to live heart-healthy lives. Spread a little kindness in everything you do. I will also strive to do this throughout the year, and do so with intention. It is good for my heart!

How can American Heart Month make a difference?

We can use this month to raise awareness about heart disease and how people can prevent it — both at home and in the community.
Here are just a few ideas:

  • Encourage families to make small changes, like using spices to season their food instead of salt.
  • Motivate teachers and administrators to make physical activity a part of the school day. This can help students start good habits early.
  • Ask doctors and nurses to be leaders in their communities by speaking out about ways to prevent heart disease.
  • Stop Smoking
  • Screen for Diabetes
  • Get active and get outside!
  • Eat smart and limit junk
  • Sleep more and visit with friends
  • My favorite, smile! You are beautiful!

Enjoy the month, the snow and remember to do something good for yourself and others! You are important!


Krestin Bahr
Eatonville School District Superintendent

Local students at George Fox University earn a place on Dean's list 

Local students were among those who earned dean's list recognition at George Fox University for the fall 2018 semester. 

Traditional undergraduate students must earn a 3.5-grade point average or above on 12 or more hours of graded work to earn a spot on the dean's list, according to a university news release. 

George Fox offers bachelor's degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, six seminary degrees and 13 master's and doctoral degrees.

Many local students from Pierce County earned spots on the Dean List this year, including;  

  • David Bacher, senior, engineering - Eatonville.
  • Rianna Comery, sophomore, interior design - Grahm.
  • Sarah Henry, senior, organizational communication - Grahm.
  • Ethan Miller, senior, management - Grahm.
  • Isabella Thomas, freshman, management - Grahm.
  • Jillian Longanecker, freshman, nursing - Roy.

Lawmakers consider one percent loans for college students 

Democrats are pushing to fund a program that would give Washington high school graduates access to state student loans at a one percent interest rate.

A program was created in 2009 to issue low-interest educational loans, but the program was never funded.

Democratic Majority Leader and House Bill 1542’s prime sponsor Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, raised concerns about students having to take out high-interest loans to get through school, and graduating with mounting debt.

“We want students to graduate with as little debt as possible,” said Sullivan.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s most recent report on student debt, Washingtonians owed $24.4 billion in student loan payments at the end of 2016.

HB 1542 would cost universities more than $1.7 million to implement, which would be funded by an increase in the Real Estate Excise Tax on properties that sell for more than $1 million.

The tax on million dollar properties would go from 1.28 percent to 1.5 percent.

The money from this tax increase would go into the Washington Student Loan Account. The tax on properties that sell for $1 million or less will remain at 1.28 percent.

Tonya Drake, chancellor of Western Governors University in Washington, asked legislators to amend the bill and make the program available to all Washington residents, not just graduates of a Washington high school.

“We believe that all of Washington students and residents should have equal opportunity for these low-interest loans,” Drake said.

Governor Jay Inslee’s proposed budget also aims to fully fund the Washington College Promise, which guarantees financial aid for all students and to increase funding for Career Connect Washington, a program created to connect high school students with good paying jobs. HB 1542 is scheduled for an executive session on Feb. 12.

Courtesy of Emma Scher
WNPA Olympia News Bureau