Four Tips for Choosing The Right Elementary School For Your Child

While it may seem like this school year just started, late fall and early winter is the time for parents to start thinking where their children will attend school next year. When it comes to choosing the right school for your children, there are many factors to take into account. From core curriculum to after school activities, here are a few pro-tips for choosing the right elementary school for your children.

1. Start With The Basics

When selecting a school for your children, it’s important to ensure the school of choice will meet your children’s’ needs; even if you think you’ve found the perfect school for your child, if that school is on the other side of town and you have no way of getting your child there, that school may not be the best fit. When starting your school search, a few basic factors to start with include:

  • Proximity: Transportation to and from school can be a huge factor in whether or not a school is the right place for your child. Can you easily get your child to their school or is there a school bus they can take to get there? If not, will you be able to workout a carpool or other means of transportation to get the kids to school?
  • Start and end times: Start and end times are another crucial consideration to make when looking into school. Most Seattle and Bellevue schools start between 7:30 and 9:00 a.m., but that can be a big window depending on when you have morning engagements. After school care options should also be on your list of considerations if the school day ends before parents and guardians are available to pick up children.
  • Amenities specific to your child’s needs: If your child has certain needs ranging from specific curriculums to classroom features and more, asking a school representative or finding out online can help determine if this school will meet your child’s needs.

2. Look Beyond The Grade Level Your Child Is Entering

Switching schools can negatively affect a child socially and academically. When choosing an elementary school for your children, it is important to consider not only the grade level they are entering, but also the programs available for multiple grade levels at the school. This can include asking about core subjects, projects older students work on throughout elementary school, extracurricular classes, camps, field trips and more.

3. Consider School Mission and Philosophy

There are many ways to approach education for children. Some parents prefer a hands-on, structured curriculum, while others opt for a more open ended approach where children have more flexibility. Taking the time to find out the schools in your area’s philosophies as well as their approach to various aspects of the curriculum such as communication, approach to homework, and discipline can help you determine if a school is right for your child. Some schools also have curriculums with emphasis on certain areas such as STEAM Education or performing arts, so finding a program that matches your child’s needs and interests can be a strong deciding factor.

4. Think Outside The Classroom

While reading, writing, math, and science and important aspects of education, looking into a school’s extracurricular activities. Some programs have a strong emphasis on camps, nature, and outdoor education, where others might have a big focus on music or sports. Finding a school that has specific enrichment or after school programs catered to your child’s interests or finding a well rounded program where your child can try a number of activities to cultivate new interests can be integral in your school selection process.

Image courtesy of Pexels.com

Bellevue Festival of Arts- 33 Years Strong and It Keeps Getting Better

 

The Bellevue Festival of Arts, lauded by many as the East Sides’ premier art festival, has been a big part of Bellevue’s ever-growing arts scene, the incredible Bellevue Arts Weekend and the community at large since back in 1984. Now, 33 years later, the festival is poised to have its best year yet.

It all began when a group of artists decided the traditional route of the for-profit fine arts fair was not for them. Instead, they wanted to create an event with a stronger sense of community and a culture of celebrating creativity and the spirit of the arts, with less focus on financial gain. What started as the dream of a small group of artists has now been a favorite annual event of East-siders for 33 years, an event that artists are excited to be a part of, a trailblazer for the art fair scene and a wonderful addition to the community.

Formerly known as the Craft Cooperative of the Northwest (CCNW), the BFoA has grown steadily over the years to include not only local artists, but artists from across the U.S and beyond. The award-winning, carefully curated show features art works of various mediums in a unique venue that marries the beauty of Pacific Northwest nature with an interesting and welcoming urban-esque vibe. All that in an open-air format with tree lined paths leading you from stunning piece to stunning piece.

Always keeping their “by artists, for artists” motto and love of community at heart, attendees of the BFoA are invited to view and purchase the available art works as well as directly meet the talent that created it. The lineup for this year’s event includes, as each year does, an amazing group of artists, including acclaimed local talents Michelle Aitken, Justin Hillgrove, Bob Wilfong, Francisco Bautista, Sharrey Doré, Gunter Reimnitz, Pepe Moscoso, Kate Larsson, Ashmita Gulati, David Lutrick, Juli Adams and more.

Attendees are also encouraged to make it a family affair with a fabulous new part of the BFoA- Aubrey’s Art Corner, where kinds of all ages (and their parents!) are encouraged to create their very own masterpieces! Aubrey’s Art Corner encourages imagination, joy and creativity, in the spirit of its late namesake, artist and dear friend of the BFoA, Aubrey Morgan who believed that “Inspiration is the most organic thing our minds can grow”. Pratt Fine Art Center will be at Aubrey’s Art Corner on Friday (July 28th) from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Friday at the festival will also feature representatives from the Bellevue Farmers Market in the food court offering a ‘taste of the season’, while Saturday offers a taste of Tibetan culture with a live performance of traditional Tibetan dances from the young dancers of the Tibetan Language & Culture Class at the Tibetan Association of Washington, beginning at noon.

With so much to do, you’re bound to get hungry- so it’s a good thing that the BFoA features a fabulous and diverse food court! Enjoy a wide variety of cuisine available ranging from classic fair favorites like elephant ears, corn dogs, gyros, snow cones and more to unique options like lotus wraps, dim sum and a Nepalese Thali plate. YUM! Bonus- the seating area of the food court is shaded, so you can enjoy your tasty treats AND beat the heat. That’s a winning combination!

Live music is also on deck for the festival with planned performances from some well-known and beloved local groups. Enjoy classical melodies from the Seattle Philharmonic Cello Choir, Indian/Afro-Cuban tunes from local group Anjuman, a performance from local non-profits organization Musicworks NW’s youth band, and more!

Truly offering something for everyone, the Bellevue Festival of Arts remains one of the favorite and most unique art fairs around, for good reason. With so much to do, see, hear and taste, it’s still easy to see that the true spirit of the festival is and always will be the community around it. This is demonstrated in their yearly commitment to partner with charities on the local or global level and donate the BFoA proceeds to their cause. This year’s charitable contributions and community partners include Teen Feed, L’Arche Noah Sealth of Seattle, American Indian College Fund, CERF-Craft Emergency Relief Fund, Education at Elevation, and more.

The Bellevue Festival of Arts is truly a standout part of Bellevue Arts Weekend and a celebration of the rich artistic culture in Bellevue and across the Pacific Northwest. It’s a must for every Eastside art lover and a great way to spend a weekend in July!

BFoA is a part of Bellevue Arts Weekend which also includes the BAM ARTSfair presented by the Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue 6th Street Fair and much more.

 

Bellevue Arts Weekend

Bellevue Festival of Arts:

When:  Friday July 28-Sunday 30, 2017

Where: NE 8th & Bellevue Way, across from Bellevue Square

Hours: Fri and Sat, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Sun, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Price: FREE

BAM ARTSfair:

When: Friday, July 28, Saturday 29, & Sunday 30, 2017

Where: Bellevue Square and Bellevue Arts Museum

Hours: Friday & Saturday: 9:30am – 9:30pm, Sunday: 10am – 6pm

Price: FREE

Bellevue 6th Street Fair:

When: Friday, July 28, Saturday, July 29, Sunday, July 30

Where: NE 6th Street and 106th Avenue NE, Downtown Bellevue

Hours: Friday and Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday 10am-6pm

Price: Free

Seattle Rents Rise, But East Side Is Pricier

It’s not a news flash that the real estate scene in Seattle has exploded in recent years. The Emerald City has gone from a town most people outside the state only associated with coffee and flannel, to the tech capital of the US (save for our friends in Silicon Valley). As home to some of the biggest tech names in the world and a booming job market to match, it’s fair to say there’s might not be enough housing to meet demand. Or, at least to meet demand AND your budget.

High rises, apartment buildings and condos are going up all over the city, and soon, our beloved skyline will be dotted with more and more buildings and towers, making the Seattle of just 10 years-ago look almost unfamiliar.

Seattle has recently made headlines as one of the most expensive places to live, get this, in the world. That’s right, recent data has placed Seattle’s rent rates at 5th highest in the nation and, supposedly 9th highest in the world! However, San Francisco and New York still dwarf us, tying for number one most expensive, world-wide.

Those of us who are Seattle Natives know that the average rental rate in Seattle has increased fairly dramatically in the last few years, but it’s interesting to note that, while Seattle’s rents have been on the rise, they don’t quite top the list of highest rents in the state.

According to recent data from Apartment List, Seattle ranks at number 5 in the state for highest rents, with the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment at about $1,650.

Surprisingly, Mercer Island tops the list of cities in Washington for highest rents. A one-bedroom on Mercer Island goes for an average of a whopping $1,890 per month. No one said Island living was cheap, I suppose.

Filling in the gaps between number 1 and number 5 on the list are Bellevue at number 2 with an average of $1,860 per month for a one-bedroom (not a whole lot lower than their neighboring Island), Redmond at number 3 with an average of about $1,690 monthly rent for a one bedroom and Kirkland at number 4 with an average monthly rent of $1,660 for a one-bedroom.

Seattle and the Eastside are not the only places in Washington with rising rent rates. Tacoma tops the list nation-wide for fastest growing rent with a year-over-year growth rate of 7.7 percent. Seattle comes close, but not close enough to that figure with year-over-year rental rate growth at 5.3 percent.

Staggering growth aside, Tacoma is still a bargain in the rental market compared to Seattle, with a one-bedroom in Tacoma going for an average of $1,000 per month. For those of you keeping score, that’s a savings of $650 compared to Seattle.

But, proving that some things really don’t change, the cheapest places to live in the Evergreen State are still East of the Cascade Mountains. You can get a one-bedroom for only $600 per month in Walla Walla and it’s not much pricier in the State’s second largest city, Spokane, at around $630 per month.

What a difference a mountain range makes…

Nordstrom Rack Heads To Bellevue


Just in time for the holidays, we are gifted with the joyous news that Bellevue will be getting it’s very own Nordstrom Rack!

That’s right East-Siders, no more need to leave the limits of our biggest fine city to get Nordies quality at great prices. As of Fall 2017, all bargain-hunting Bellevueites will have affordable luxury just steps away, as part of the impending Lincoln Square expansion.

Lincoln Square is a part of The Bellevue Collection which also includes Bellevue Square and Bellevue Place. The expansion of Lincoln Square will add to what is already being called “The Bellevue Boom” of rapid growth in the city. The expansion will add 1.5 million square feet of restaurants, retail, office space, a 244-room W Hotel and 218 apartments, and of course, the new Nordies Rack.

Nordstrom is not only one of Seattle’s favorite department stores but also one of its oldest homegrown shopping institutions. Originally founded as a shoe store in 1901 by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin, the chain soon expanded its wares to include clothing, accessories and eventually high end home goods. Today, Nordstrom’s has 349 stores across 40 states (not counting Canada!) of which, 215 are Nordstrom Rack stores.

Bellevue fashionistas will gladly welcome the addition of another Rack location when it opens next year, just in time for the Christmas rush!bags

Bellevue To Get First Condo Project In Nearly A Decade

Over the last decade or so, Bellevue has really been coming up in the world. What was once known primarily as Seattle’s sister city on the East Side is rapidly becoming a full-fledged metropolis in its own right, and the skyline is expanding daily.
While apartments, office buildings and town-homes have been popping up all over the East Side for the last several years, there (surprisingly) has not been a condominium development in Bellevue in almost a decade.
With condo sales reaching new highs in the greater Seattle area of late, it’s surprising that Bellevue hasn’t seen any new condo complexes dotting its skyline, that is until plans for One88 were recently announced.

Bosa Development, the Vancouver B.C. based company and the folks behind Seattle’s already successful Insignia condo towers, has set their sights on Bellevue to build a 21-story condo development, dubbed One88.

One88 is slated to open in 2019 and will feature 143 condominiums. Units will range from 1-bedroom to penthouse units. The luxury condo project will break ground next year at Bellevue Way Northeast and Northeast Second Street, putting it in a prime location near Bellevue Square and Downtown Park.

The announcement of the One88 project is a big deal for Bellevue, as there has not been a new condo development in the city since 2008. After the housing market crashed, condo sales were severely down. So much so in fact that many condo developments were turned into apartments with developers finding renters easier to acquire than buyers.

But, times have changed. Condominiums sales have been on the rise in recent years all over the greater Seattle area. Home-buyers are turning their heads in this direction more and more as single family home prices continue to soar throughout the city, and nationwide as well. And while condos may prove to be a more affordable option there are not enough available to keep up with demand. You may remember the group of people camped out over night to buy condo units in a building that has yet to break ground. If that’s any indication, condo sales are poised to explode even further in the coming years.

One88 is touted as a luxury development which suggests that the units will be on the pricey side, and, as it is a Bosa Development project, is sure to have a host of outstanding amenities and a stylized aesthetic to boot.

Information about the project is limited at the moment, but more will become available as the project progresses. If you’re looking for your piece of the Bellevue skyline, stay tuned.

Find Your New Best Fur-iend This Weekend!

If you’re in the market for a new 4-legged friend, this weekend is the purr-fect time to find one!

The Seattle Humane Society is hosting their annual Adoption Blitz this weekend, October 15th and 16th, and there is no better time to welcome a furry new addition to your family!

This event happens only once a year and it’s your opportunity to meet your new pet, with all fees waived! All pets come spayed/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated and health checked, ready to join your family. If a pup-pal is what you’re looking for, all dogs are tested for their temperament and a rebate for behavioral courses is included with the adoption of most dogs.seattle-humane

Seattle Humane Society knows that adding a pet in to you family is a big deal and they are committed to making sure your family and your new pet are a good match by carefully vetting you prior to adoption as well.

This event is fun for both potential adopters and shelter staff and is always busy! If you’re interested in adopting, the Seattle Humane website is a great resource to use prior to the event itself. On the site, you can view available pets’ profiles before you meet them in-the-fur!

This event happens but once a year event, and is made possible by the generous black-cat-ad-dogscommunity members who donate money, food and supplies to help keep Seattle Humane alive and thriving. This is a great opportunity for adoptive families to save the money that would have been spent on adoption fees and use it instead to get the supplies needed to care for your pet, like food and water dishes, leashes, collars, beds and, of course, toys!

 

This weekend is a great opportunity for pet lovers all over the greater Seattle area. In addition to the Adoption Blitz, there are three more pet-centric events happening this weekend.

 

dogfestDogFest is a pup-a-polooza of sorts, celebrating pooches and their people at this fun, free event. Held at Marymoor Park, this event includes a 2-mile or half-mile walk, costume contest, fun games (musical chairs with dogs, anyone?), food (and dog treats, of course!), live music and dog training demonstrations.

Donations are welcome for this event and go to benefit the Canine Companions organization, a wonderful charity that provides trained assistance dogs to people with disabilities, free of charge.

 

If you’re interested in a little Cat-itude, head to Maple Valley for CAToberfest! There you’ll catoberestfind a silent auction, raffles,and cat themed gifts and activities. This feline-festival is hosted by South County Cats, a non-profit that offers affordable spay/neuter services, T-N-R (Trap-Neuter-Release)  services, fostering and adoption services, and seeks to reduce the euthanasia rates among cats in animal shelters.

This annual event is free, (though donations of food or cash are gladly accepted) and so much fun, they have expanded to a larger venue this year! CAToberfest is a great way to learn more about this amazing organization, contribute to it, grab kitty-swag for your own cats and celebrate the fabulousness of felines.

22nd-annual-seattle-reptile-expo-87

If you prefer your pets with scales, no legs, or more than 4 legs, head down to the Seattle Reptile Expo.  Held at the Washington State Fair Grounds in Puyallup, you’ll find plenty of lizards, snakes, amphibians and spiders (as well as tons of vendors related them) at this unique event. Admission is only $10, and kids get in free!

Is your child a fan of these creepy-crawly critters, but you’re not so much? Not to worry! All the animals at this event are bred in captivity, and no unsafe or venomous breeds are allowed, and you can peruse the selection of  related supplies, artwork, gems and minerals, plants that are  available for purchase.

No matter what breed or species of pet you’re interested in owning, or just learning more about, this weekend is an animal lovers dream, and a great time to get into giving to some great organizations!

 

Seattle Humane Adoption Blitz
Time: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15-16.
Cost: Free; carriers, leashes, collars required, not included, bring or buy at the shelter.
Location: Seattle Humane, 13212 S.E. Eastgate Way, Bellevue.
More info: 425-641-0080 orseattlehumane.org/events/adoption-blitz.

 

DogFest
Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., check-in opens 9 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 15.
Cost: Free; suggested $125 walk fundraising goal.
Location: Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond.
More info: support.cci.org/site/TR?fr_id=1257 & pg=entry.

 

CAToberfest Celebration of Cats
Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15.
Cost: Free, cat food and cash donations appreciated.
Location: Rock Creek Elementary School, 25700 Maple Valley-Black Diamond Road, Maple Valley.
More info:sites.google.com/site/catoberfest2016.

 

Seattle Reptile Expo
Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15-16.
Cost: Admission $10, ages 10 and younger free.
Location: Washington State Fair Events Center, 110 Ninth Ave. S.W., Puyallup.
More info: 425-861-7964 or beanfarm.com/nwcbe/index.html.

The Bellevue Boom Continues With WeWork

It seems Bellevue is rapidly becoming the place to be!

Just last week we reported Amazon’s rumored plan to head across the lake to our fair city, but now, word has it another business giant is on the way, and this time it’s confirmed.

WeWork is a New York based company that provides shared work spaces for people all across the country, and boasts an impressive 70,000+ members. They came to Seattle initially in 2014 and already have 3 locations in town, with sights set to open a fourth. Now Bellevue is in the mix, making their Seattle area total a whopping 5 locations, in just 2 years.

WeWork has their sights set on 80,000 square feet of space at the Lincoln Square project for their new Bellevue home.

According to their website-

“In the newest premier tower downtown, you’ll find unparalleled Bellevue office space at WeWork Lincoln Square,” reads marketing material on WeWork’s Web site. “Enter through the contemporary, upscale lobby with fireplace, and discover our coworking space where high ceilings, natural finishes, outdoor terraces, and stunning mountain and lake views provide a refreshing work environment. With global gaming giant Valve in the building, Amazon right next door, and Microsoft in the neighborhood, your business is in good company.”

The news of WeWork’s coming to Bellevue along with the rumors of Amazon’s Eastward expansion and other fabulous companies like Salesforce.com and Valve having big presence’s in town means very good things for Bellevue, especially with Expedia planning on moving its Headquarters to Seattle a few years down the road.

If this trend continues, Bellevue is poised to become the next big hot spot in the PNW, but, we never really understood why it wasn’t in the first place.

 

 

 

Amazon (Possibly) Journeys Eastward

Bellevue Skyline and Lake Washington

Bellevue Skyline and Lake Washington

 

By now, everyone in Downtown Seattle has seen the construction of Amazons’ new headquarters in the South Lake Union neighborhood. With 11 buildings and interesting architecture to boot, it would be hard to miss. But the local tech powerhouse is thinking bigger and it seems, they’re thinking Bellevue may be in their future.

Rumor has it that Amazon has recently finalized negotiations and leased a whopping 354,000 square feet in the heart of Downtown Bellevue at the brand-spanking-new 425 Centre.

 

Amazon's new SLU HQ

Amazon’s new SLU HQ

Set at the corner of NE 4th St and 106th Ave NE, the 425 Centre makes a great location for a tech company that has broken from tech tradition by settling in heavily urban areas before. It seems Amazonia, as it is fondly referred to, and its inhabitants prefer being in the midst of the city’s hustle and bustle than the more remote areas other tech giants tend to call home.

 

While Amazon has not officially announced anything regarding the potential journey Eastward, this is not the first bout of rumors surrounding Bellevue and tech giants. Just a few months ago there was much talk of Apple possibly moving into (would you believe it) the 425 Centre.

 

425 Centre

425 Centre

Projects like the 425 Centre have been great for boosting Bellevue and its reputation. While often viewed as a (albeit, very large) suburb of Seattle, over the course of the last several years, it has grown considerably and undergone a rather impressive face-lift. Additions like renovations to Bellevue Square, Lincoln Square and The Bravern have added considerable appeal to the city. Appeal which has not gone unnoticed by businesses and residents alike.  Much like it’s sister city across the lake, Bellevue has become home to a laundry list of high end retailers, restaurants and even cooperate mammoths such as T-Mobile (HQ), Expedia (HQ) and Microsoft, giving her a run for her money.

All in all, Amazon would (and likely will) make a fabulous addition to the Eastside. Bringing with it the fun, friendly and environmentally conscious attitude that Amazon prides itself on, as well as plenty of opportunity, both for jobs and for the city to receive a wealth of vibrant new residents.

Not to mention, Bellevue was Amazons’ very first home, when it was merely the brain child of it’s founder, Jeff Bezos. So, perhaps this would be more homecoming than journey.

Mercer Island’s Inaugural Pumpkin Walk Coming in October

127231-glowing-pumpkinsPack up your lil’ pumpkins and join the community for a fun, festive and family friendly Pumpkin Walk! This event is new to the Island and tons of festive fall fun for families of all ages, with no scary monsters spooking your little ones.

Head down to Mercer Island’s Pioneer Park on October 22nd from 6-8 p.m. and you will find a gorgeous, glowing parade of carved pumpkins framing the northwest edge of the trail.

You’ll start your stroll on the trail across from Starbucks, near the South Fire Station, with legions of luminous pumpkins along the trail, adjacent to 84th Avenue Southeast.
This fabulous addition to the Island community’s Halloween festivities will join other Island favorites such as the Mercer Island Preschool Association Halloween party and the Monster Dash.

Pioneer Park makes the perfect setting for this event, with leaves changing color and strewn about the ground, not to mention that crisp autumnal chill in the air.jacktrail

Mercer Island’s first ever Pumpkin Walk is a unique event  and sure to become a local favorite, but they need your help! Organizers will be accepting carved pumpkins to add to the trail on the day of (Oct. 22nd) at the corner of 84th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 68th Street, between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. No candles are needed as they will provide them.

We encourage you to round up your kiddies and their friends, or just your own grown-up friends (pumpkin-tinis, anyone?) for a super fun pumpkin carving party to make your own special contributions to the trail, then join the walk and see where yours are displayed, along with all the other creative ideas put forth by your neighbors!

Let’s come together this October and make this wonderful new event an annual East side tradition, and help it grow over time. The more pumpkins and people, the more fun we’ll all have!

Please remember to dress appropriately for the weather, as this event is outdoors. Halloween costumes are optional.  fallkitty

Paying for Parking in Kirkland??

The Kirkland Parking Board is proposing charging $1 per hour for parking in Kirkland from 9am-9pm at the two most popular lots and eliminating the 3 hour limit on daytime parking.  Right now the parking is free before 5pm and $1 per hour after 5pm.  Parking would remain free in the 339-stall garage located underneath the Kirkland Library.  The city manages 338-on street parking spaces and 586-parking lot spaces.  The is forecast to bring in around $100k per year.  The possible uses of this money would include maintenance of parking lots, rain shelters over pay stations, bright paint and security cameras at the Library garage and additional parking spaces in the future.  Kirkland employees are eligible for free all-day work passes at the Library Garage and others may park for free up to four hours.  If this proposal is passed this could start as early as this summer and Kirkland would have the most extensive paid-parking network on the Eastside.  In Bellevue and other cities on the Eastside have privately owned and operated parking lots and are free to retail customers.