Rebecca White/SPR

Hundreds of students, the youngest of which just became eligible this week, were vaccinated Friday at the Spokane Public Schools Pfizer immunization clinic.

Spokane Tribe Says No To Native American Mascots

May 7, 2021
Rebecca White/SPR

Washington has a new law that bans schools from using Native American imagery without a tribe’s consent. The Spokane Tribe says it won’t be endorsing any such proposals.

The Reardan-Edwall, Wellpinit and Spokane school districts all currently use Native American themed mascots. North Central High School in Spokane and Reardan-Edwall, which is spread between Lincoln and Spokane Counties and has many students from the tribe, both use Indians. Wellpinit uses the term “Redskins.”

Downtown Spokane Partnership

After pressure from downtown businesses, a professional soccer league and many community members, the Spokane Public Schools Board voted to build an outdoor stadium downtown.

Former EWU President Mary Cullinan Dies

May 3, 2021
Courtesy of EWU

Eastern Washington University’s former president Mary Cullinan has died.

Interim President David May announced her death to the campus in a statement Monday.

Downtown Spokane Partnership

The Public Facilities District accepted Spokane Public Schools' terms to operate a stadium downtown during their meeting Friday.

Rebecca White/SPR

North Central High School has received overwhelming support to retire its mascot, the Indians, and pursue a different symbol to represent the school.

Dozens of alumni, current students and parents called in to a public forum sponsored by the Spokane School District Tuesday night. They shared their concern about how using a stereotypical image of a Native American can be damaging to Indigenous students.

Downtown Spokane Partnership

The Spokane Public Schools Board voted 4-1 to start negotiations with the entity that owns the Spokane Arena on parameters for building an outdoor stadium downtown.

Downtown Spokane Partnership

Spokane residents can again weigh in on whether they prefer a new stadium downtown, or on Joe Albi’s current site.

Spokane Public Schools is set to begin construction on a replacement for Joe Albi on its current site starting next month. But, last week the School Board decided to ask the public if they wanted a stadium downtown after a proposal from coalition of hospitality groups and a professional soccer league.

Wikimedia Commons

North Central High School will consider officially changing its mascot after a group of Native American students raised concerns that the symbol is dehumanizing to Indigenous people.

North Central High School has had an Indian as its mascot for almost 100 years, adopting it in 1923. In the 1990s students voted to not use the symbol for athletic events, but it is still visible on school property, and the image is used by the Alumni Association.

Courtesy of Downtown Spokane Partnership

A month before the Spokane Public School Board is scheduled to start construction on a new Joe Albi Stadium, they will again ask constituents if they want the stadium to be built downtown instead.

The pivot comes after a request from a coalition of business organizations and hospitality leaders as well as a professional soccer league.

Whitworth President Leaving for Job in Alabama

Mar 10, 2021
Courtesy of Whitworth University

Whitworth University President Beck Taylor is taking another job at a private Christian School in Alabama.

Taylor will become president of Samford University in Homewood, Alabama in July. Taylor has led Whitworth since 2010 and is its 18th president. According to a university news release, he will resign May 31.

Wikimedia Commons

An employee for the company that drives school buses for the Spokane School district has died amidst a COVID-19 outbreak.

The employee was one of more than two dozen who has tested positive during an outbreak among Durham School Services workers. Durham contracts with Spokane Public Schools to provide bus services to the district.

Courtesy Downtown Spokane Partnership

The entity that owns and operates the Spokane Arena has thrown its support behind a proposal to build the new Joe Albi stadium downtown. And the entity that's building that stadium will entertain the idea.

On Tuesday, a group of business and hospitality leaders as well as a professional soccer league renewed their request to have the replacement for Joe Albi built downtown. They argue their newest proposal will save voters money by having the Spokane Public Facilities District cover maintenance and operations costs. 

Courtesy of Downtown Spokane Partnership.

A coalition of business, hospitality leaders and a professional soccer league are again asking Spokane Public Schools to consider building the new Joe Albi Stadium downtown.

Business and hospitality groups have been advocating that a new stadium be built downtown for years.

They argue it would be a boon for business and attract professional sports teams. Voters were asked if they wanted a stadium downtown, or at the current Joe Albi site in 2018.  About 64% voted no.

Wikimedia Commons

A new bill that would provide one electronic learning device for every K-12 student in the state has passed the House in Olympia.

The bill was prompted by the Covid pandemic and the closure of many, which have relied on remote learning for students isolated at home.

Rebecca White/SPR

Washington Governor Jay Inslee is urging schools to return to in-person instruction as soon as it is safe for them to do so. Inslee made the point during a visit to a Spokane school on Tuesday.

Inslee met with students and teachers at Stevens Elementary, and participated in a roundtable with Spokane Public School District staff and city officials.

He said other schools across the state should be looking at Spokane as an example.

Courtesy of Nine Mile Falls School District

Spokane area school districts are heeding the call of Governor Inslee and President Biden to bring more students back to school.

Most, if not all, have had at least some children attending since day one of the academic year. But now individual districts are moving at their own pace in easing in older students or expanding the number of days in the classroom.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

More than 26% of Spokane County voters have returned their ballots for next Tuesday’s special election. That ballot includes levies from 14 school districts.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Washington’s state school superintendent say students are going back to school this fall. On Thursday, Chris Reykdal announced his coronavirus advice for school districts.

Later in the day, the Community Colleges of Spokane became the latest institution of higher education to announce that they, too, will welcome students back to the classroom this fall.

Covid has greatly complicated the process of teaching students and keeping them safe.

Gizmo Continues In Major "Making" Mode

May 5, 2020
Courtesy of Gizmo

A few weeks ago, we told you about Gizmo, the Coeur d’Alene-based non-profit innovation lab that was making face shields for first responders and health care workers in Kootenai County.

“It’s just been a high-energy time of transferring our knowledge and re-creating things in a better way. It’s just been beautiful," said Gizmo co-owner Barb Mueller.

We checked in again a few days ago and found that Gizmo is busier than ever.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Thursday on the Inland Journal podcast, prison time isn’t always down time for inmates. At the Washington state prison in Airway Heights, hundreds of inmates are studying for their GEDs and a handful will soon collect associate’s degrees through the Community Colleges of Spokane. We’ll go to the prison and talk with the man in charge of the program that helps inmates build skills that will earn them jobs after their terms end.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

A Coeur d’Alene High School student has created a phone app that helps people who have reading problems. He’s testing it with the help of a special education teacher in the Lake City.

Morgan Dixon’s app is called Outloud Reader, which gives you an idea of what it’s all about.

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

On this day when children are opening gifts, it’s a good time to tell a story about a new partnership program between Spokane Public Schools and the Spokane city libraries. The goal is to help kids who don’t have the right technology at home.

Sue Reynolds/Everyday Native

Some states require their public schools to teach a bit of Native American history to their students before they graduate. Sue Reynolds is encouraging teachers to do more than that. Reynolds calls herself a social documentary photographer.

“I went to my first Native American pow wow on the Flathead Reservation in Montana back in 2005," Reynolds said. "When I walked in there, I immediately felt very at home with those people."


Democrats in the Washington state Senate have chosen Andy Billig as the new Senate majority leader. 

Billig has been in the state Senate since 2010, and served as minority whip, deputy minority and deputy majority leader. He says being majority leader should put him a good place to work on issues important to Spokane.

It’s no secret that the aviation industry is facing a shortage of airline pilots. But that isn’t the only aviation career grappling with a labor shortage. Aircraft mechanics and flight simulator technicians are also in high demand.

Enrollment Continues to Grow at Spokane Charter Schools

Sep 26, 2017
Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Enrollment is expanding in at least one of Spokane’s two public charter schools and there’s a significant waiting list. That school, the Spokane International Academy, has expanded from one building to two and teaches kindergarten through eighth grade, except for the fourth grade. The second charter school, PRIDE Prep, teaches sixth-through-ninth graders.

Both opened their doors to reporters Tuesday.

Spokane Public Schools is holding a series of public forums to explore options for reducing class sizes in the district’s lower grades. That may lead to changes in which grades are assigned to which schools.

The state of Washington has required school districts to lower class sizes to a 17:1 student-teacher ratio for kindergarten through third grade.

Associate Superintendent Mark Anderson says Spokane will have to build more schools to meet that mandate.But the question is, should the district stay with its current alignment of kindergarten-through-sixth graders in elementary schools? Or should it tweak that structure?

Inland Journal, April 6, 2017

Apr 6, 2017

Inland Journal for April 6, 2017

    ▪    We’ll talk with one environmental organization that is supporting efforts in Washington’s legislature to include logging as a way to reduce wildfire risk. It’s even cutting on its own land.
    ▪    We'll learn more Avista’s work to build a network of electric vehicle charging sites in the Inland Northwest.
    ▪    We'll talk with a St. Maries, Idaho man who helps weather forecasters keep an eye on flooding of the St. Joe River.
    ▪    Austin Jenkins from the Northwest News Network reports on a project that shows Washington legislative leaders aren’t eager to share their email messages with the public.
    ▪    Celebrating books and food Saturday in Pullman

Some Idaho lawmakers have an idea on how to get more qualified teachers into the state, by helping them pay their student loans.

Since 2110, the number of teachers in Idaho has been dwindling. By 2013 the number of teachers leaving Idaho classrooms was twice the number of teachers seeking certification, about 1800 versus 900.

Now comes a new proposal in the form of a bill that would grant new teachers in rural areas some relief to their student loans. The bill is sponsored by North Idaho Democratic representative Paulette Jordan.