Local artist Jason LaClair shares Coast Salish art with Happy Valley Elementary

“Wow, it looks amazing, Jason!” “How do you draw such a perfect circle? How long will it take to finish?” “I can’t wait to see it! What color will that part be?” The questions and comments were plentiful, constant and encouraging from students passing by as Lummi Nation artist Jason LaClair masterfully painted the hallway…

Happy Valley PE teacher Melanie Flink with fourth grader Lyla who is the artist of the sign hanging on the door

Inspired and inspiring, Happy Valley educator recognized with state PE award

Her student Jesse says she is the “best PE teacher in the world!” And, according to her colleagues in physical education, this is an absolutely true statement. Melanie Flink, physical education specialist at Happy Valley Elementary School and elementary PE department chair in Bellingham Public Schools, has been named the 2021 Physical Education Teacher of…

Three staff of the mental health team

BPS increases mental health support as part of whole child approach

Substantial changes have taken place over the last 10 years related to how Bellingham Public Schools (BPS) supports the whole child. This includes restorative justice practices to minimize out-of-school suspensions and expulsions, and adopting and teaching social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum focused on teaching students social skills while building community. BPS also provides annual trainings…

Two preschool students work on art. One girl has pink stickers.

Inclusive preschool builds friendship in Bellingham schools

For the past five years, Bellingham Public Schools has offered an inclusive preschool program at Alderwood and Cordata elementary schools. The program includes opportunities for typically developing children and children with developmental delays or disabilities. “We want to invest in early learning at the preschool level and really provide more inclusive opportunities for children with…

Erin Burke, Eva Warner Chazo and Margi Smith

Students tackle the challenges of today through Promise Tomorrow

What would you do if there were no restrictions? This was the question posed by teacher on special assignment Jennifer Lawrence when she reached out to fellow educators looking for colleagues to lead an extended learning experience for students. High school biology teacher Erin Buke, middle school Special Education teacher Eva Warner Chazo and first…

Nurse matt administers a vaccine to Heidi who is in her car.

Staff access COVID vaccines thanks to partnerships and preparation

Thanks to the dedication of staff and community partners, Bellingham Public Schools has offered COVID immunization opportunities to all BPS staff and community education partners. On March 2, Governor Inslee added educators and licensed childcare workers to the vaccine prioritization, which meant that all Bellingham Public Schools staff became eligible to receive the vaccine if…