Avanti leads the state by integrating arts education

The OlympianJune 9, 2014 

Avanti students Madeline Poultridge (left) and Elysha French along with math teacher Todd Thedell give playing pointers to Olympia School District staff member Nancy Faaren during their Kanikapila,which is an Hawaiian string jam session,during the high school's Student Showcase.Held on Wednesday the annual event featured student-selected work and demonstrations ranging from art to science projects,including a robotics' demonstration.(STEVE BLOOM/staff photographer)



The emphasis of late on Washington state’s education system, from K-12 through university, has been heavy on engineering, math, science and technology. We need those people to make the things that improve the efficiency of our lives. But we also need artists who, in our opinion, make our lives more enjoyable.

Avanti High School integrates arts education throughout all of its subjects, a unique curriculum recently given the statewide 2014 Excellence in Arts Education Award.

Said Avanti Principal Mike Velasquez: “It is our view that the arts serve as the foundation for all inspiration and creativity.”

We couldn’t agree more.


Tumwater might take a page from the city of Milwaukee. When the Pabst Brewery closed there in 1996, it created a 20-acre hole of vacant factories and warehouses in the heart of Milwaukee’s downtown. Like Tumwater’s Olympia Brewing Co. site, the Pabst property remained blighted for more than a decade until a local philanthropist began developing it into LEED-standard apartments and offices.

But the centerpiece of the redevelopment is the Brewhouse Inn & Suites within the original 1882 brewhouse. The 90-unit inn features large copper brew kettles and other memorabilia. Room service comes for a nearby pub, java from a nearby coffee shop, and scones and muffins from a nearby bakery.

We can dream.


In light of recent school shootings, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction has given out nearly $7 million in grants to school districts to make security upgrades. North Thurston, Olympia, Rochester, Tumwater, Yelm and Griffin schools were among those receiving funds. Sadly, student safety measures must be a top priority.


Tenino School District was not among those receiving a grant, but it might have needed funds more than other districts in the state. Tenino voters twice this year defeated bond measures that would have implemented many security upgrades to its schools, including creating single points of entry.


New York City has equipped thousands of police officers with naloxone, the life-saving antidote to heroin overdoses, marketed as Narcan. The city used funds from forfeiture cases to purchase nearly 40,000 kits that include two inhalers of naloxone and two syringes. Qunicy, Mass., was the first U.S. city to require police officers to carry the kits. In two months, Quincy officers had used them 221 times to reverse 211 overdoses.

Local and statewide law enforcement should consider following suit.


The Spokane County sheriff fired a deputy caught having sex while on duty. But the deputy won his job back because personnel policies didn’t specifically spell out that sex was prohibited during working hours. We hope the rewritten policy also includes prohibitions on gambling, going to strip clubs, drinking and smoking pot. Because, you know, people are literal over in Spokane County.

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