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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.”

Building Readers: October 2019 / Desarrollando la Lectura: Octubre 2019

Building Readers provides the guidance, steps to take, specific direction and concrete recommendations that parents need to help their kids learn to read, and to read more proficiently.

In this issue:

  • Engage your child in frequent conversations to build vocabulary
  • Suggest fun ways to read
  • Encourage your child to write to music

This monthly newsletter is available in English and in Spanish.

October 2019
Octubre 2019

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.

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.

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.

Elementary

  • 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

Secondary

  • 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.

Building Readers: September 2019

Building Readers provides the guidance, steps to take, specific direction and concrete recommendations that parents need to help their kids learn to read, and to read more proficiently.

In this issue:

  • Make library trips an enriching part of your family’s school year routine
  • Decode unfamiliar words like a detective
  • Spend quality time reading together

This monthly newsletter is available in English and in Spanish.

September 2019
Septiembre 2019

Reading for fun is important!

Middle school student in the library reading a book.School is a place to learn to read and also to read to learn. Students begin learning letters and sounds and by the time they are through the primary grades they are reading longer passages and beginning to understand that reading is a skill they will need in all subject areas. Sometimes students begin to feel frustrated when they can’t keep up or the content begins to be challenging. Guess what helps with instructional reading skills and even improving test scores? Pleasure reading. Reading for fun! Reading without purpose, choosing their own material, and engaging with books that are not even assigned is all part of pleasure reading. And guess where students can access pleasure reading materials and also have an expert to help them find books they want to read? You guessed it! The school library. The school library is a safe place without any assessments or assignments where students are free to choose books that speak to them.

Reading Unbound by Michael Smith and Jeffrey Wilhelm shares many research studies that show that students need exposure and opportunities for pleasure reading. “Pleasure reading is a more powerful predictor than even parental socioeconomic status and educational attainment” (Wilhelm). It is our job as teacher librarians to promote pleasure reading to all students and work to provide them with a diverse collection of materials to support them.This builds lifelong readers but also builds better students and lifelong learners.

Students reading a book in the library.

What does this look like in Vancouver Public Schools? As teacher librarians, we work hard to encourage students, inspire readers, and develop collections where students can see themselves and also learn about others. Teacher librarians, with help from our clerks, purchase and process materials that are new and exciting for our students, build displays and bulletin boards, do book talks, and talk with students about great reading choices that support reading just for fun. You can find literature clubs, Battle of the Books teams, student book reviews, special collections, and even book “tastings” at all different levels in our schools. And you will also find a teacher librarian, with a clerk by their side, smiling as they add new books this fall that they just know students will love. 

You can learn more about the benefits of pleasure reading here:

The Benefits of Reading for Pleasure

How Reading for Pleasure Helps Students Develop Academically

Reading for pleasure — a door to success

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Pleasure Reading

 

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.

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.

Español

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.

Русский

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.

Chuukese

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.