August 2017 Superintendent update

What it means to be 'Battle Ground Strong'  


In my last article for the Reflector, I closed with the line “together we are Battle Ground Strong.”  Since then, I have been asked by several people what I meant by this.


When I started working for Battle Ground Public Schools three years ago, it didn’t take me very long to realize that a unique community supports our school district. The district itself stretches over 273 square miles and is one of the largest and most diverse districts in the state.


Our district serves approximately 70,000 residents in the communities of Amboy, Battle Ground, Brush Prairie, Vancouver and Yacolt. We range from the foothills of Mount St. Helens to the outskirts of a major metropolitan region. We know that on some wintry days, parts of our district can be covered in snow, while other areas are several degrees warmer with no snow. 


That being said, I see all of us in this expansive school district having one thing in common: supporting the educational, social and emotional needs of every student that walks through our doors on a daily basis.


Consequently, when I use the term “Battle Ground Strong,” I am not just referring to a particular school or city, but rather the entire community of citizens and students that encompasses the Battle Ground School District. If it’s true that it takes a village to raise a child, then we certainly have the distinct advantage of having several villages to wrap support around our children.


In the past few years, our community has suffered some terrible tragedies involving youth fatalities. I am always so impressed that in our darkest moments the Battle Ground community has rallied to support the emotional needs of students and staff in our schools. We continue to lead the state in the number of local citizens who have been trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid. This program helps those trained to recognize the signs of students in emotional distress and provides information about where to access help for those students when needed. We will continue to offer this training throughout the community. If you are interested, please contact the district for information on future classes.


This past February we experienced the passage of a school maintenance and operations levy which, for the next few years, will help the district meet the educational needs of students preparing to be productive citizens with 21st Century skills. This successful levy vote would not have been possible without the support of a community that puts the needs of students as its primary focus.


It’s difficult to drive around the southern part of our district without seeing new home developments springing up. We know that the number one question prospective buyers coming to our area ask realtors is, “How are the schools?” We can anticipate that they are being answered with statements such as, “Our schools are great, teachers care about kids, and this community cares about its schools.” 


As we move towards the start of a new school year on Aug. 30, we hope that you will continue to partner with your Battle Ground schools to support the needs of all of our students. No matter what part of this vast district you are from, our future will someday be in the hands of the students we are educating today. I sincerely believe that together we are wiser, together we are better, and together we are Battle Ground Strong.

 

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and I look forward to meeting many of you as I travel around the great communities that make up the Battle Ground School District.


Mark Ross, Superintendent

Battle Ground Public Schools
ross.mark@battlegroundps.org