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MIHS mock trial team earns fifth at state

The Mercer Island High School mock trial team earned fifth place at the state YMCA Mock Trial competition at the Thurston County Courthouse.

The MIHS team, led by coach Susan Sutherin, a counselor at the high school, was one of 20 teams from across the state to take part in the three-day competition, where teams argued both the plaintiff and defense sides of a fictitious civil trial. The 2009 state championship trial topic revolved around a civil case in which a teacher was dismissed after not acting on warning signs when a troubled student brought a gun to school.

The YMCA mock trial competition began in 1987 and is a part of the YMCA’s Youth and Government program, helping students experience democracy in action and to see how real courtrooms and proceedings work.

Seattle Prep took home the state championship and is now eligible to compete at the national competition. Members of the MIHS team include: Peyton Bell, Lauren Byun, Nicole Czech, Martin Ho, Jeremy Howell, Robin Momii, Colin Ramsay, Paula Trepman, Ian Zhang and Inar Zhang.

State math graduation requirements amended

Graduation requirements for Washington state students were relaxed when Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill eliminating the need for students to take the math assessment test and earn two math credits after their sophomore year.

House Bill 1562, effectively immediately, allows students in the classes of 2009 through 2012 — who do not pass the math WASL on a first try — to meet the state’s math graduation requirement by taking two additional math credits prior to graduation. Previously, students were required to do both before earning a diploma.

Students must still take the math WASL exam during their sophomore year, and the class of 2013 will be required to pass the math test in order to graduate. Class of 2013 students, currently eighth-graders, will actually need three math credits during their high school careers to graduate, according to newly updated state requirements.

Students at Mercer Island High School are required to take two math credits to graduate, but those planning on going to college or university are encouraged to take three or four math credits.

Students can keep pace this summer with classes

The Mercer Island School District will begin notifying parents in mid-April whether or not their child will be invited to attend the summer Keeping Pace program. The summer school, available to K-8 students, runs from July to the beginning of August.

According to the district, the program gives extra learning opportunities to help students meet grade-level standards. Any student who did not meet a grade standard during the previous year is invited to take part in the program.

The elementary school program, for students entering first through fifth grades, focuses on reading, writing and math components. The classes, which take place from 9 to 10:30 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., run Tuesday through Thursday. Parents can choose to enroll their child in one or both of the programs, with tuition costs of $250 for one section or $500 for both. The elementary level program takes place at Island Park Elementary.

At the middle school level, classes are four days a week, Monday through Thursday, with classes at the same time as at the elementary school level. Tuition is $325 for one component, either literacy or math, or $650 for both sections.

The School Board approved a $25 fee increase for both programs during the March 11 meeting to help accommodate administrative and teaching costs. The district will make a final determination on classes based on enrollment levels by May 15.

For more information, visit the school district’s Web site at www.misd.k12.wa.us.

Maxwell earns education award

Rep. Marcie Maxwell, D-Renton, earned the Pioneer Educator award for her continued support of online education in Washington.

The award was presented to Maxwell, along with six other legislators in Washington, during a rally by Washington Families for Online learning on the steps of the Capitol Rotunda on Monday.

Maxwell is a former school board member and a freshman representative in the House.

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