Cordata Elementary throws party where students live

Educators in Action

Cordata Elementary School’s new principal wants to get to know her students better. In the spirit of bringing school and home communities together, Principal Analisa Ficklin and Cordata staff held a “community celebration” on Wednesday, Dec. 14, at Cascade Meadows Clubhouse, 455 Westerly Road. The clubhouse serves four nearby apartment complexes, where about 30 percent of the school’s 400 students live.

The students decorated cookies and played games led by Shuksan Middle School students.

Events held at the school, including a food pantry run by Bellingham Food Bank on Tuesday evenings, aren’t always well attended, Ficklin said. Walking to the school or finding parking can be challenging.

“It’s not easy to get families in here,” Ficklin said. “If we want to build community, we need to go where families are and not expect them to come to us.”



Cordata Elementary is one of Bellingham’s more diverse schools. Kevin Terpstra, a counselor at Kulshan Middle School and administrative intern at Cordata, said the building almost has an “International School” feel to it. Students from the Ukraine, India, Somalia, and Latin American countries attend the school — to give just a partial list.

The reason for the party, Terpstra said, was simply to meet more parents.

“We’re trying to say, ‘Hey look, can we all celebrate our awesome kids together?'” Terpstra said.

Principal Ficklin said she plans to hold similar parties in other Cordata locations over the next few months.

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