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In the construction zone: 28 schools on track for bond work

Construction and upgrades are in progress at 28 district schools.  Here’s a rundown of the projects.

Remodel and expansion projects

  • Columbia River High School: Final design phase of remodel and expansion; construction scheduled to begin winter 2020
  • Early Childhood Special Education assessment center: Will move to remodeled McLoughlin classroom pod; remodel scheduled to begin spring 2020
  • Eisenhower Elementary School: Construction of two new K-3 classroom additions underway
  • Felida Elementary School: Construction of five new K-3 classroom additions and remodeled restrooms underway
  • Franklin Elementary School: Going to bid for expansion of parking lot, classroom additions and elimination of portables; construction to begin November 2019
  • Fruit Valley Community Learning Center: Construction currently underway of four K-3 classroom additions
  • Harney Elementary School: Four new K-3 classroom additions completed; secure entry and Family-Community Resource Center renovation underway
  • Lieser School: Programs will move to remodeled Marshall building; remodel scheduled to begin spring 2020
  • Sacajawea Elementary School: Final design phase of remodel and expansion; project out to bid
  • Salmon Creek Elementary School: Two new K-3 classroom additions completed August 2019
  • Vancouver School of Arts and Academics: Final design phase of remodel and expansion; construction to begin spring 2020

New and replacement schools

  • Fir Grove: In final design phase of new replacement school; construction to begin January 2020
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School: New replacement school under construction; scheduled to open fall 2020
  • Marshall Elementary School: Construction underway; scheduled to open spring 2020
  • McLoughlin Middle School: Construction underway; scheduled to open spring 2020
  • Ogden Elementary School: New replacement school opened Aug. 27, 2019
  • Truman Elementary School: Under construction; scheduled to open fall 2020
  • Vancouver Innovation, Technology and Arts Elementary School: Final design phase of new school; construction to begin January 2020
  • Vancouver iTech Preparatory: New school under construction; scheduled to open January 2020
  • Walnut Grove Elementary School: Design phase of new replacement school is complete; construction to begin November 2019

Upgrades and improvements

  • Hazel Dell Elementary School: In design phase of Family-Community Resource Center renovation, roof replacement and HVAC upgrades
  • Hough Elementary School: Addition of HVAC/air conditioning and replacement of windows to begin spring 2020; currently in design phase of Family-Community Resource Center renovation and secure entry
  • Jason Lee Middle School: In final design phase of classroom and Family-Community Resource Center improvements and secure entry
  • Jefferson Middle School: Safety improvements in parking lot
  • Kiggins Bowl Stadium: In design phase for upgrades to stadium, concessions, restrooms and new turf currently; track feasibility study in progress
  • Lincoln Elementary School: Renovation of Family-Community Resource Center; secure entry, HVAC and exterior lighting improvements; scheduled for summer 2020
  • Minnehaha Elementary School: Addition of secure entry scheduled spring/summer 2020
  • Roosevelt Elementary School: Renovation of Family-Community Resource Center, secure entry; scheduled spring/summer 2020

All school construction and upgrade projects are paid for with funding from the bond measure passed by voters in February 2017.

View the full scope of bond construction and upgrade projects.

Personnel changes announced for 2019-20

Positions originally identified as possible budget cuts preserved; associate principal moves

Thanks to the availability of $6.5 million in one-time state levy equalization assistance and the use of $3.81 million in one-time money from district reserves, Vancouver Public Schools will preserve many of the positions originally identified as possible cuts in the 2019-20 school year.

Among the positions restored are:

  • 21 teachers
  • 11.8 FTE counselors
  • 19 media clerks
  • 7 counseling clerks
  • 4 wing clerks at Skyview High School
  • 2 deans of students
  • 4 teachers on special assignment (instructional technology facilitators)
  • 1 teacher on special assignment (curriculum and instruction)
  • 3 maintenance grounds crew
  • 15 custodial positions

District personnel are working with union association leaders to notify recalled staff according to contract language.

Additional administrative changes announced

Several associate principal moves will take place for the 2019-20 school year. All personnel changes are subject to approval by the school board.

Tony Liberatore, associate principal at Columbia River High School, will move to Fort Vancouver High School. Liberatore is replacing John Schultz who is leaving the district.

Nick Davies, a teacher at Jesuit High School in Portland, will fill the associate position at Columbia River.

Luis Castro, currently associate principal at Gaiser Middle School, will move to Fort Vancouver High School as associate principal.

Allison Watson, associate principal at Fort Vancouver High School, will fill an associate principal role at Thomas Jefferson Middle School. Watson is replacing Andrea Sperry who is leaving the district.

Mandie Arai-Green, currently a teacher and administrative intern at Ogden Elementary School, will become associate principal at Gaiser.

Scott Sartorius, current associate at Discovery Middle School, will be associate principal at Eisenhower and Lincoln elementary schools.

Katie Ronning, current associate principal at Felida Elementary School, will be associate principal at Discovery Middle School.

Mike Meskel, associate principal at Hudson’s Bay High School, will fill the associate position at Felida Elementary School.

Greg Roberts, currently associate principal at Eisenhower and Lincoln elementary schools, will be associate principal at Hudson’s Bay High School. Roberts is replacing Patrice Woods who is leaving the district.

Amber Beardmore, a teacher and administrative intern in the Camas School District, will be associate principal at Hudson’s Bay High School.

Budget survey prioritizes use of financial reserves, cuts to central administration

An online survey seeking community input on how to address a projected budget shortfall for Vancouver Public Schools in 2019-20 shows most respondents favoring the use of the district’s ending fund balance along with reductions in central administration and support services.

From a list of choices, survey respondents overwhelmingly chose these top four budget solutions:

  • One-time use of ending fund balance, or financial reserves ($3.75 million)
  • 5% reduction in central office/support services budgets ($1.2 million)
  • 15% reduction in central office administrative positions ($800,000)
  • 50% reduction in travel for professional development ($400,000)

The district received 1,836 completed surveys. An invitation to take the survey was sent to district employees, families and community members.

In the survey, VPS requested that participants prioritize budget reductions to address the deficit. They were asked to select from a list of 15 possible solutions that add up to an $8 million funding gap.

“Clearly, survey respondents want to preserve direct services to students,” said Steve Webb, superintendent of VPS. “This feedback will help inform the final budget recommendations, which will be presented to the board on May 28 after review by a district advisory group.” Formal adoption of the budget will take place at the August 13 board meeting.

“Thanks to Senator Cleveland’s securing of $6.5 million in one-time levy equalization money for 2019-20, I’m optimistic that we’ll be able to present final recommendations to the board that minimize the impact on our classrooms and schools,” said Webb.

“Our challenge going forward will be to secure sustainable funding of more than $10 million for the 2020-21 school year to replace the $6.5 million of one-time state money (levy equalization) and $3.75 million of one-time local money (fund balance),” said Webb. “Otherwise, we’ll be right back here a year from now, with fewer options to consider.”

District receives clean audit report

Vancouver Public Schools received a clean audit report for the 13th consecutive year. The official audit released by the Washington State Auditor’s Office evaluates the integrity of district financial statements, internal controls and compliance with state and federal laws and grant funding requirements. There were no findings of deficiencies or management letters calling for significant improvement in any area.

“This report validates our diligence and responsible management of public tax dollars,” said Board President Rosemary Fryer. “We are grateful to this community for its continued trust in our public schools.”

The audit period was from Sept. 1, 2017, through Aug. 31, 2018.

Said Brett Blechschmidt, chief fiscal officer, “Thirteen consecutive years of clean audits can only happen when countless professionals throughout the district take seriously the responsibility of properly handling the public funds with which we are entrusted. Our community has repeatedly and overwhelmingly stepped up to support our students, so it is gratifying to reward that trust with yet another clean audit.”

Construction update: downtown elementary, Columbia River High School and more

Photo: Concept design of the new K-5 elementary school (back right), which will be built adjacent to the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Operations Center at Mill Plain Blvd. and Fort Vancouver Way.

Update June 3, 2019: Construction on the downtown elementary school is expected to begin in January 2020.

Your bond dollars at work

Construction projects are underway throughout the district thanks to voter approval of the bond measure in 2017. Bond dollars, by law, are used only for capital building projects including school renovations; new and replacement schools; and upgrades such as roof repair and replacement, secure school entrances and  heating and cooling system upgrades.

Here are updates on a few projects. You can find more information on our bond construction website.

Downtown elementary school
The projected opening of the K-5 school, which will be built adjacent to the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Operations Center, is fall 2021.

The learning environment of the school program will focus on:

  • High quality instruction
  • Integration of arts and innovation
  • Computational thinking
  • Project/problem-based learning
  • Fun and joy
  • Flexible schedules and spaces
  • Community/business engagement/involvement
  • Inclusive practices
  • Assembly spaces for demonstration of learning

Columbia River High School
Construction is expected to begin June 2019 and be completed fall 2020.

  • New 500 wing with direct access to school building
  • Improvements to science classrooms, band and choir rooms
  • Secure entrance
  • Small Family-Community Resource Center
  • Stadium restoration, new concessions and restrooms
  • Track resurfacing
  • Additional parking

Franklin addition and improvements
Construction is expected to begin July 2019 and be completed fall 2020.

  • Five-classroom expansion and elimination of portables
  • Additional restrooms
  • Additional parking
  • Improved area for drop-off and pick-up traffic

Sacajawea major upgrades
Construction is expected to begin July 2019 and be completed fall 2020

  • New gym and covered play area
  • Larger commons
  • New kitchen
  • New dance/creative movement studio
  • Family-Community Resource Center
  • New exterior siding and/or brick

Fir Grove Children’s Center
Construction schedule to be determined

  • Replacement K-12 school to be built on Norris Road near GATE property
  • Separate classroom wings will provide areas for older and younger students
  • Secure courtyard for outdoor activities; a second sensory courtyard will support program needs
  • Addition of a Family-Community Resource Center

Walnut Grove Elementary School
Construction schedule to be determined.

  • Design phase is complete
  • Replacement school will be built behind current school
  • The new school will feature a large outdoor learning courtyard

A message from the superintendent

Dear VPS community,

If the legislature doesn’t act on a comprehensive set of solutions to provide full funding for basic education, vital programs and services that serve students will be at-risk throughout the state. Today, the Seattle Times reports that 253 of the 295 Washington districts expect to face a budget shortfall next school year. Further, more than one-third of the districts anticipate the need to draw down their entire cash reserves over the next three years. A district insolvency crisis looms on the horizon.

I urge you to read the following article for more details. VPS advocacy efforts are highlighted in the story.
https://www.seattletimes.com/education-lab/legislatures-solution-to-mccleary-school-funding-case-leaves-most-state-districts-projecting-budget-shortfalls/

As I’ve said, again and again, we did not create this situation. Now, more than ever, we all need to advocate for sensible policy solutions to the “McCleary mess” handed to us by elected leaders in Olympia.

Sincerely,
Steve Webb

Read the VPS budget shortfall press release.

New last day of school year is June 19 | Español | Русский | Chuukese

Due to a weather-related closure on Feb. 5, the following schedule will be in effect for the last week of the 2018-19 school year:

  • Monday, June 17—schools will be in session and will release at the usual time
  • Tuesday, June 18—schools will be in session but will release students two hours earlier than usual
  • Wednesday, June 19—last day of school; schools will be in session but will release students two hours earlier than usual

Students and staff members should report to school on the above days. Going forward, if schools close again due to weather, this schedule may change.

Spring break, regular 40-minute early releases on Mondays and graduation dates are not affected. The last day for seniors remains June 12.

Chuukese

Minafén ekkesiwin: Sáingónón ráánin sukkun a sereni nón Suun 19

Pokiten e kesip sukkun nón ewe Fapéwéri 5 ren púngúmwóngún sno iká an iwe ais ekkewe aan, epwe ne iei ussun kókkótun néúch schedule ren ewe sáingonón wiiken sukkun ren ei ier 2018-2019:

  • Sárifan, Suun 17- Mei wor sukkun; meinisin sukkun repwe fiti ewe kunókun sár nón ei ráán
  • Oru, Suun 18- Mei wor sukkun; chóón sukkun repwe sárekái (wón 2 awa)
  • Éúnúngát, Suun 19-Sáingonón ráánin sukkun; mei wor sukkun nge chóón sukkun repwe sárekái (wón 2 awa)

Meinisin chóón sukkun me chóón angang repwe etto sukkun me angang nón ekkei ráán. Iká pwe epwan kesip sefán sukkun ren púngúmwóngun sno me an ais ekkan aan, iwe ina epwe pwan siwin masowen nón schedule.

Esapw wor ekkesiwin ngeni ekkewe ráán a fen kefininó pwe esapw wor sukkun nón fan itten asésén spring break. Esapw wor ekkesiwin ngeni ewe kunókun sár ren iteiten sárifán. Meinisin chóón sukkun repwe sárekái iteiten sárifán (wón 40 minich). Sáingónón, ewe ráánin sochungio ese pwan siwin. Ráánin sochungio ren mwiichen engon me ruan epwe chék fiis nón Suun 12.

Español

El nuevo último día del año escolar es el 19 de junio.

Debido al cierre de las escuelas por causa del clima el día 5 de febrero, el siguiente horario estará vigente durante la última semana del año escolar 2018-19:

  • Lunes, 17 de junio — las escuelas estarán en sesión y los estudiantes saldrán a la hora habitual
  • Martes, 18 de junio — las escuelas estarán en sesión, pero los estudiantes saldrán dos horas antes de lo habitual
  • Miércoles, 19 de junio — último día de clases; las escuelas estarán en sesión, pero los estudiantes saldrán dos horas antes de lo habitual

Los estudiantes y los miembros del personal deben reportarse a la escuela durante los días anteriormente mencionados. En el futuro, si las escuelas cierran nuevamente debido al clima, este calendario puede cambiar.

Las vacaciones de primavera, la salida de clases los lunes 40 minutos antes y las fechas de graduación no cambiarán. El último día para los graduandos sigue siendo el 12 de junio.

Русский

Новая дата последнего дня занятий в этом учебном году – 19 июня

В связи с тем, что 5 февраля школы были закрыты из-за плохой погоды, следующие изменения будут внесены в календарь на последнюю неделю 2018-19 учебного года:

  • Понедельник, 17 июня — занятия в школах будут проходить и заканчиваться по обычному расписанию
  • Вторник, 18 июня — в школах будут проходить занятия, но уроки закончатся на 2 часа раньше обычного
  • Среда, 19 июня — последний день учёбы; уроки закончатся на 2 часа раньше обычного

Учащиеся и сотрудники должны присутствовать в школе в вышеуказанные дни. В дальнейшем, если школы будут закрыты из-за неблагоприятной погоды, в календарь могут быть внесены новые изменения.

Даты весенних каникул, даты, когда по понедельникам занятия в школах заканчиваются на 40 минут раньше, и даты торжественных мероприятий для выпускников остаются без изменений. Последним днём занятий для выпускников остаётся 12 июня.

Important update about Friday evening and weekend activities

All Friday, Feb. 8, after-school and evening activities will be held as scheduled.

  • The Friday night (2/8/19) basketball game at Columbia River High School vs. WF West has been canceled. 

All weekend activities, athletic events and community use of schools are canceled for Saturday, Feb. 9, and Sunday, Feb. 10. All district buildings, including Propstra Aquatic Center and the Jim Parsley Community Center and pool, will be closed.

The WIAA has canceled or rescheduled most district and regional sports events for teams traveling outside the area, as well as events being held within Southwest Washington. Rescheduled events include the bi-district swim meet in Kelso and the 4-A wrestling tournament in Camas which will occur today (Feb. 8) only. The District Gymnastics Meet at Northpoint will move to next Saturday, Feb. 16.

Weather conditions will continue to be monitored throughout the weekend. Please watch for more information regarding possible delays or closures next week.

Deadline to turn in school levy election ballots is Feb. 12

Ballots are due on Tuesday for Vancouver Public Schools’ levy election. Two levies—an  education and operations levy and a technology levy are on the ballot. These levies are not new taxes. They will replace the levies expiring this year.

Voters should vote both sides of the ballot. Ballots can be dropped in the mail (no postage necessary) and must be postmarked by Feb. 12. Ballots also may be dropped off in one of the 24-hour drop boxes located in several Vancouver locations. On election night ballots must be dropped off by 8 p.m.

Depending on weather, on election day only, voters may drop off ballots at several school drop-off locations from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, if schools close due to snow or ice, these ballot drop-off locations will close as well.

  • Anderson Elementary School, 2215 NE 104th Street
  • Chinook Elementary School, 1900 NW Bliss Road
  • Felida Elementary School, 2700 NW 119th Street
  • Hazel Dell Elementary School, 511 NE Anderson Road
  • Minnehaha Elementary School, 2800 NE 54th Street
  • Salmon Creek Elementary School, 1601 NE 129th Street
  • Walnut Grove Elementary School, 6103 NE 72nd Avenue

Due to forecasts of snow this weekend and next week, the Clark County Elections Office is encouraging voters to mail their ballots as soon as possible.

Learn more about the levies.

Blended learning: Student tested, teacher approved

Blended learning graphic

 

Since its introduction nearly seven years ago, Vancouver Public Schools’ one-to-one technology program has expanded to provide digital tools to all students in grades three through 12. Training and professional development for teachers and administrators are major components of VPS’ successful one-to-one technology program.

Instructional technology facilitators—teachers on special assignment—lead the work to ensure educators have what they need to use technology effectively for teaching and learning. Professional development focuses on the use of educational applications, communication and collaboration tools, innovative instructional practices and robust coaching. The goal is to use the power of technology to amplify student growth and access to rich learning experiences.

At Salmon Creek Elementary School, third- through fifth-grade teachers have embraced digital tools in a blended learning model to offer students choice and ownership of their learning.

“Blended learning can be defined as face-to-face learning combined with self-paced learning and online learning,” said Principal Heath Angelbeck. “We’ve leveraged student voice and choice as a key component at Salmon Creek Elementary.”

Salmon Creek fourth-grade teacher Daphne Russell describes students as digital natives—users of technology at a very young age. Teachers, on the other hand, have adopted technology-rich classrooms, but are not digital natives—they weren’t born into it.

“It’s something we’ve had to embrace,” said Russell.

When she began teaching at Salmon Creek last year, Russell received her iPad and computer. While she was familiar on how to use them, she didn’t know what to do with them as a teacher. She set a goal to attend all the trainings so she could learn to use the devices as a teaching tool. She describes her first training as transformative. The skills she acquired in her trainings led her down the path to learn more.

“I had an opportunity with my teammates to go to a blended-learning professional development, which as a professional development was a blended experience itself,” said Russell. “As a teacher, I sat in a classroom setting and I also did online learning. It was a blended experience to teach me and to teach my colleagues about a blended-learning experience. There was no going back.”

Using digital tools in a classroom environment allows students to work on lessons at their own pace, and at the same time allows the teacher the freedom to work with students in small groups or with those who may need extra help. Digital tools also allow students to be creative in demonstrating their learning and understanding in multiple ways.

Students take ownership of their learning because they can control it. Many educational applications provide online feedback and support. If a student’s response to a problem is incorrect, the student is able to review and learn the material before moving on. In addition, students can take the iPads home and still collaborate with their teacher and classmates online. Parents also can be active partners in their child’s learning through login access to their child’s device.

“The most important thing to me is the equity that happens when you have the iPads and the technology,” said Russell. “When you leverage all these tools, it levels the playing field. It gives each child the same materials that they can use at home.”

As teachers and administrators become proficient with digital tools, they are valuable mentors and leaders with their colleagues. The focus on mentoring creates a model of innovation and change as school technology leaders lead the way for others. Providing educators with tools and support is critical in sustaining the program into the future and improving learning for all students.

“This is not a finished product, it’s a work in progress. With all the tools I have, I can customize the experience for each child,” said Russell. “It’s truly a journey. I suspect this will be a lifelong learning experience for me, and it’s my hope that it empowers students and that it supports their families. It really gives me the opportunity to love what I do all the more.”