Home/Amanda Richter, Communications staff

About Amanda Richter, Communications staff

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Amanda Richter, Communications staff has created 101 blog entries.

Vancouver Public Schools is committed to improving student disciplinary practices

Vancouver Public Schools is taking steps to examine and refine its disciplinary policies and practices after a 2018-19 investigation by the Washington state attorney general’s office identified disproportionate outcomes. The investigation, for which the district appears to have been randomly selected based on the attorney general’s office review of statewide discipline data, included a review of 2014-15 data compiled by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.

The attorney general’s office found that VPS, like a number of other districts, suspended or expelled students at a rate higher than the state average. The review also concluded that the district’s practices disproportionately affect black/African-American, Native American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students, as well as students with disabilities.

No complaint was submitted in regard to VPS’ disciplinary policies and practices. Other state offices of attorneys general have conducted similar inquiries of public school districts and reached similar resolutions.

“We have focused on promoting safe and supportive learning environments as a major component of our district’s strategic plan since it was adopted in 2008,” said Superintendent Steve Webb. He affirmed that VPS will sustain its efforts to improve. “We appreciate the state attorney general and his staff for highlighting these areas,” he said. “Like many districts, Vancouver is working to improve student discipline and exclusionary practices to be more equitable.”

The district provides a framework to address the academic and behavioral support needs of each student. Initiatives already underway include:

  • Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
  • Restorative practices and re-engagement plans
  • Response to Intervention (a process used by educators to help students who are struggling with a skill or lesson)
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Culturally aware practices
  • Family engagement
  • Community partnerships, including mental health service providers

Per the terms of a resolution agreement with the attorney general’s office, VPS additionally has retained the services of Daniel Losen and the Center for Civil Rights Remedies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Losen is a nationally recognized expert in the specialized area of assisting school districts to improve discipline policies and practices based on research. Losen will conduct an extensive review of the district’s records to ensure that disciplinary, suspension and due process practices are effectively implemented in a nondiscriminatory manner, and he will monitor progress for three school years.

The district already has demonstrated these positive outcomes:

  • A reduction of more than 40% in the exclusion rate for black/African-American students from 2013 to 2017
  • A reduction of 26% in the exclusion rate for students with disabilities
  • An overall decrease in the rate of exclusions from 7.1% in 2013 to 5.4% in 2017, supported by a five-year federal grant to implement restorative practices
  • VPS composition index for exclusionary discipline is well below the state index for both black/African-American and students with a disability (see Appendix A)

“We will address, as a system, the complicated factors involved in fairly imposing student corrective action without unintended discriminatory outcomes,” said Webb. “We are committed to refining our policies and practices to be appropriate and equitable. Our students, their families, our staff and our community deserve it.”

Sacajawea Elementary School to receive upgrades

Several improvements will be made to the school beginning in late 2019 or early 2020:

  • Modernization of the west wing to include a new kitchen, art/dance area and commons
  • Renovation of the current covered area of the playground to construct a new gym
  • Addition of a detached covered play area behind the school
  • Installation of a new swing set with a surface that is more accessible to all children
  • Resurfacing of the path around the field adjacent to the school
  • Refinishing of the school’s exterior with cement board/metal paneling

The work is paid for by local taxpayers through a 2017 bond measure.

Get more construction news and updates from around the district by subscribing to our e-newsletter.

Mejoras para la Escuela Primaria Sacajawea

Varias obras de mejora de la escuela se realizarán a partir de finales del año 2019 o inicios del 2020:

  • Modernización del ala oeste para incluir una cocina nueva, área de arte/danza y la cafetería
  • Renovación de la actual área cubierta del patio de recreo para construir un gimnasio nuevo
  • Adición de un área de juego cubierta y separada, detrás de la escuela
  • Instalación de un nuevo juego de columpios con una superficie más accesible para todos los niños
  • Revestimiento del sendero alrededor del campo adyacente a la escuela
  • Nuevo acabado del exterior de la escuela con paneles de cemento y de metal

Las mejoras son financiadas por los contribuyentes locales a través de una iniciativa electoral de emisión de bonos aprobada en 2017.

Reciba más noticias sobre las construcciones y actualizaciones de todo el distrito suscribiéndose a nuestro boletín electrónico.

Welcome to #TeamVPS

In the past few months, we welcomed the following brand-new certificated employees to the district. These new staff members will perform a variety of crucial roles related to teaching, counseling, administration and special services.


  • Kimberley Astle, fifth-grade teacher, Hazel Dell Elementary
  • Sara Bergthold, special education teacher, Hough Elementary
  • Kelsey Bristow, behavior specialist, Ogden Elementary
  • Mary Brown, special education teacher, Hough Elementary
  • Jacquelyn Buechel, special education teacher, Hough Elementary
  • Sarah Cherry, special education teacher, Minnehaha Elementary
  • Camille Duez, special education teacher, Lincoln Elementary
  • Pamela D’Zurilla, special education teacher, Sacajawea Elementary
  • Isaiah Ephraim, fourth-grade teacher, Minnehaha Elementary
  • Jordyn Geenty, fourth-grade teacher, Eisenhower Elementary
  • Erica Godell, second-grade teacher, Felida Elementary
  • Lacey Lavin, fifth-grade teacher, Walnut Grove Elementary
  • Marian Lindner, early childhood special education teacher, Hough Elementary
  • Garrett Noah, fourth-grade teacher, Minnehaha Elementary
  • Madison Shaw, fourth-grade teacher, Walnut Grove Elementary


  • William Ashlock, math teacher, Fort Vancouver High School
  • Amber Beardmore, associate principal, Hudson’s Bay High School
  • Jeffrey Causey, counselor, Discovery Middle School
  • Luisa Childers, Spanish teacher, McLoughlin Middle School
  • Ingrid Dahl, Science teacher, Gaiser Middle School
  • Nick Davies, associate principal, Columbia River High School
  • Morgan Deklyen, English teacher, Discovery Middle School
  • Mara Friedland, art teacher, Discovery Middle School
  • Brierly Harris, English/social studies teacher, McLoughlin Middle School
  • Andrew Johnson, math teacher, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics
  • Maria Kidder, science teacher, Skyview High School
  • Nicholas Legambi, special education teacher, Discovery Middle School
  • Jesus Marcial Garcia, board-certified behavior analyst, Hudson’s Bay High School High School
  • Morgan Money, career/technical education guidance counselor/International Baccalaureate coordinator, Columbia River High School
  • Jacob Mumford, special education teacher, Discovery Middle School
  • Claire Neely, math teacher, McLoughlin Middle School
  • Katie North, special education teacher, Skyview High School
  • Michael Patten, English teacher, Hudson’s Bay High School
  • Gregory Peavey, career/technical education teacher, Hudson’s Bay High School
  • Katherine Pedersen, special education teacher, Alki Middle School
  • Sheri Schneider, English learners lead, Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies
  • Savanah Sirois, career/technical education teacher, Vancouver Flex Academy
  • Jamie Smith, career/technical education teacher, Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies
  • Christopher Stekhuizen, science teacher, Discovery Middle School
  • Jackson Stellfox, science teacher, McLoughlin Middle School
  • Xin Tu, Mandarin Chinese teacher, Jason Lee Middle School
  • Lisa Ventrella, dance/PE/visual art teacher, Vancouver School of Arts and Academics
  • Carlee Walker, science teacher, Fort Vancouver High School Center for International Studies
  • Lisa Zeta, Spanish teacher, Discovery Middle School

Special services

  • Leayh Abel, psychologist
  • Madison Donnelly, special education teacher
  • Shauna Guinn, psychologist
  • Naomi Kotkins, speech language pathologist
  • Adam Lemucchi, board-certified behavior analyst
  • Connor McCroskey, special services manager
  • Lisa Mellman, speech language pathologist
  • Maria Meza, speech language pathologist
  • Nadia Noid, occupational therapist
  • Alexis Sales-Paragola, psychologist
  • Katrice Thabet-Chapin, psychologist

Vaccine exemption change

As of July 28, 2019, Washington state law removed the personal and philosophical exemption to the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. Medical and religious exemptions are not affected by the new law.

  • Parents who have claimed a personal or philosophical exemption for their children must provide updated immunization information to their child’s school on or before Aug. 27, the first day of school.
  • Parents who wish to claim a medical or religious exemption must get the paperwork from their child’s doctor.

Children without two doses of MMR vaccine, laboratory evidence of immunity, or a medical or religious exemption will be excluded from school if they do not provide updated immunization status within 30 days from the start of school.

More information about the new law is available from the Washington State Department of Health.

No Monday early releases in June | Español | Русский | Chuukese

There are no more Monday early releases for the reminder of the 2018-19 school year. Students will get out of school at the standard time on June 3, 10 and 17.

There are two-hour early releases on June 18 and 19, the last two days of school.


Queremos recordarles que los estudiantes ya no saldrán temprano los lunes por lo que resta del año escolar. Los estudiantes saldrán de la escuela a la hora de salida regular los días lunes, 3, 10 y 17 de junio.

El martes, 18 y miércoles, 19 de junio, que son los dos últimos días de clases, saldrán dos horas más temprano.


Напоминаем вам, что сегодня 3-го июня, а также в понедельник 10 и 17 июня, занятия в школах будут заканчиваться в 2:50 дня. В последние два дня учёбы в школе, 18 и 19 июня, занятия будут заканчиваться на 2 часа раньше.


Sia mochen áchema ngonuk pwe esapw chiwen sárekái sukkun nón ekkei Sárifan poputá seni ikenái tori nesópwonón ei ierin sukkun. Meinisin chóón sukkun repwe ne fiti néúr ewe kunókun sárin sukkun iteiten ráán nón Suun 3, 10 me 17.

Nón ekkewe sáingonón ráánin sukkun, ren Suun 18 me 19, sukkun epwe sárekái (wón 2 awa).

Iká e wor kapas eis, kose mochen kékkéri ei 360-771-5343.

Final VPS budget recommendations will preserve direct services to students

After taking public input into consideration, VPS officials will recommend on May 28 that the school board address an $8 million budget shortfall for 2019-20 in ways that preserve direct services to students. But a district advisory group is concerned that the use of one-time money from the state and the district’s financial reserve will result in another large shortfall for 2020-21.

VPS initially projected a total budget shortfall of $16.8 million for next year. Approximately $2.3 million was due to a forecasted decline in student enrollment. District officials said that they would adjust staffing to cover that part of the deficit. A one-time appropriation of $6.5 million in state levy equalization assistance further reduced the shortfall to $8 million.

Over the past few weeks, VPS conducted an online budget survey with more than 1,800 respondents, solicited written correspondence to the superintendent and the board of directors, listened to constituents testifying at board meetings and met with a district advisory group composed of parents and business and community leaders. Based on that input, a preliminary/recommended list of $8 million in potential budget reductions was revised to include mainly cuts from central administrative services and a drawdown of the district’s financial reserves.

The VPS management task force, a longstanding district advisory group chaired by John McDonagh, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and associate publisher and owner of the Vancouver Business Journal, concluded that the final budget recommendations are consistent with the community survey results. Survey respondents showed a strong preference for minimizing the impact of budget reductions on direct services to students.

But the district advisory group noted that VPS is relying on $6.5 million in one-time state levy equalization assistance and $3.75 million in one-time district money from the ending fund balance to close the funding gap.

“The task force supports the final budget recommendations, but we are concerned that the use of $10.25 million in one-time money only pushes much of this problem down the road for a year,” said McDonagh. “We advise the superintendent and his team to identify a sustainable revenue source, including a possible supplemental levy measure, to meet the district’s financial needs in 2020-21 and beyond.”

The final budget recommendations include the following:

  • One-time use of ending fund balance, or financial reserves ($3.75 million)
  • 10 centrally budgeted teachers on special assignment ($1,266,667)
  • 5% reduction in central office/support services budgets ($1.2 million)
  • 15% reduction in central office administrative positions ($800,000)
  • 5 central office professional-technical positions ($450,000)
  • 50% reduction in travel for professional development ($400,000)
  • 1 grounds maintenance position ($75,000)
  • 1 wing clerk position ($58,608)

The superintendent and his team will present the final budget recommendations to the board on May 28 at a work session scheduled for 4 p.m. in the Bates Center for Educational Leadership, 2921 Falk Rd.

Related: District receives clean audit report

Girls Lead the Way Summer Robotics Camp

The Girls Lead the Way Summer Robotics Camp provides opportunities to program robots and work with other students on fun, technical projects.

  • When: Aug. 5-9, 2019
  • Time: 9 a.m. to 12 noon
  • Where: McLoughlin Middle School
  • Cost: Free

Students who will enter sixth through eighth grades in fall 2019 may apply. All campers will receive:

  • Camp T-shirt
  • At least one project to take home
  • A week filled with fun, making new friends and learning

Download the application and return it by June 14.

Questions? Contact teacher Cyndy Hagin.

Survey will gather community’s input for 2019-20 budget reductions

Vancouver Public Schools has a projected budget shortfall next year that will necessitate reductions in staff and support. The overall deficit has been lessened thanks to a one-time addition of $6.5 million from the recently released state’s consensus budget. At this point, the district is anticipating an $8 million shortfall.

The district is asking for input from district families, staff and community members to prioritize the reductions. Participants will be asked to suggest preliminary/recommended reductions from a potential list identified over the past three months.

Survey timeline

  • The survey will be open May 6-14.
  • Results of the survey will be released May 20.
  • District advisory committee discussion will take place May 23.
  • Final budget recommendations, reflecting the survey results, will be made at the May 28 school board meeting.

Если Вы хотите, чтобы Вам прочитали этот документ, пожалуйста, позвоните по телефону: (360) 936-9574 или (360) 771-5548

Si desea que le lean este documento en español, favor llamar al: Señora Estefanía, 360-771-5479.

Iká pwe ke mochen epwe wor emén epwe ánea ngonuk masowen ei taropwe nón fóósun fénúomw ren ómw kopwe weweiti, en mei tongeni kéri Juanita Yasu, 360-771-5343.

New elementary school naming

In May 2019, students, staff members, families and community members suggested potential names for a new elementary school.

The final name will be announced in June.

Projected to open in fall 2021 behind the site of the current headquarters of the Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries, the project-based learning school for approximately 500 students will focus on arts and innovation. Construction is funded through a bond measure that voters approved in 2017.

Kindergarten registration begins April 9

Parents may register their children for kindergarten starting Tuesday, April 9. Any child who will be 5 years old on or before Aug. 31, 2019, is eligible to enter kindergarten in the fall. Full-day kindergarten is offered districtwide in Vancouver Public Schools.

Parents can find out which school their child will attend by using the district’s online boundary map or calling the elementary education office at 360-313-1010 or communications office at 360-313-1230.

Parents should bring proof of their child’s birth date, immunization records and emergency contact information to their neighborhood school to register their child.

School offices are open for kindergarten registration Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration can take up to one hour. Some forms can be downloaded and printed in advance.

Applications also are being accepted for the district’s Mandarin Language Learning Program and Spanish/English Dual Language Program. Enrollment in these programs begins in kindergarten.

Applications are available on the district’s website and in school offices. They are due by May 3. Each school also will hold an information night for interested parents.

Visitation schedules

Registered students and their families will be invited to visit their elementary school, meet teachers and learn more about the kindergarten program. The following dates/times are subject to change. Parents should confirm with the school.

Jump Start

Parents who register their children for kindergarten also will have a chance to sign up their child for Kindergarten Jump Start, a program for incoming kindergarteners that takes place a few weeks before the school year begins. Students will meet teachers and other kindergartners; learn routines; become familiar with school surroundings; and participate in math, literacy and hands-on learning activities.

Kindergarten enrollment

1. Register your child in the school’s office.

2. Attend a kindergarten visitation.

3. Have your child participate in Jump Start.