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8th Annual Valerie Logan Luncheon Shines Light on ISB Education

ISB’s commitment to education was on full display during the 8th Annual Valerie Logan Luncheon. The theme of this year’s event celebrating ISB Education was “Innovation to Impact.”

Valerie Logan Luncheon emcee Heather Logan

Heather Logan served as emcee at the 8th Annual Valerie Logan Luncheon, which was held at ISB on Thursday, November 7. (Photo by ISB)

The annual luncheon is named after Valerie Logan, who along with husband and genomics pioneer Lee Hood, have made significant contributions to improving K-12 STEM education for several decades. 

“Valerie launched a mission at ISB that we still strive for today. Her innovative vision for improving STEM education created a path that has impacted thousands of students,” said Heather Logan — Valerie’s niece — who served as the event’s emcee and who is a devoted ISB volunteer and supporter. “Valerie didn’t work to gain notoriety or collect awards. She worked tirelessly on improving the region’s education systems because it was the right thing to do.”

As is customary at the luncheon, the crowd of nearly 100 people took part in an educational tabletop activity where they learned about spherification — a culinary process that uses sodium alginate and calcium lactate to shape a liquid into squishy spheres that resemble caviar. 

“You did some of the same thinking and interacting that scientists do,” said Pat Ehrman, who led the activity. “Scientists follow an iterative process where they observe, experiment, wonder, analyze, share results and ask new questions in a quest to construct understanding about real world phenomena,” said Ehrman, whose 45-year professional career spanned teaching and working at ISB.

MORE: View a collection of photos from the Valerie Logan Luncheon

Following a lunch created by Barking Frog, the Renton School District was presented the Valerie Logan Leadership in Science Education Award. 

Learning about spherification at the Valerie Logan Luncheon

Attendees of the 8th Annual Valerie Logan Luncheon participate in the educational tabletop activity. (Photo by ISB)

Renton School District Superintendent Dr. Damien Pattenaude accepted the award, and thanked the ISB Education team for its partnership, advocacy, support, and work on behalf of kids. Kelly Jones, assistant principal at Nelsen Middle School, followed the award presentation with a spotlight presentation. Jones spoke about the 10-year collaboration between Renton Schools and ISB Education. “I have had the opportunity to see this partnership flourish in a number of different roles — as a teacher, a district facilitator, and as an assistant principal.”

“Gone are the days of teachers photocopying worksheets months in advance and students furiously scribbling notes from an overhead projector to be regurgitated on an exam,” Jones said. “Our science teachers are constantly trying to understand how students think, and then systematically challenge and push them to learn more. This is hard work for everyone involved — students included — but the hard work pays off.”

Dr. Tony Byrd, executive director of Teach for America Washington, asked luncheon guests to give generously and help fund ISB Education’s systems approach, which he called the “secret sauce” of ISB. “We have an opportunity in front of us to improve education for every student. I think ISB is at the center of that,” he said.

The luncheon generated $103,000 for the ISB Education team to perform its essential mission of engaging entire school systems — from principals and administrators to teachers and students — to ensure all students are literate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

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