Tukes Valley students learn advanced computer skills through robotics

posted Dec 14, 2017, 3:51 PM by Joe Vajgrt

Tukes Valley students learn advanced computer skills through robotics

December 14, 2017



Technology teacher Sherry Lilly is passionate about preparing students for the technological demands of 21st Century jobs. At Tukes Valley middle school, that means finding fun and effective ways to introduce advanced concepts like computer science and programming.

That’s where robotics comes in.

Introduction to STEM Robotics is a new elective open to eighth grade students at Tukes Valley. The course teaches foundational skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Working with robots everyday, students learn about circuits and computers; hardware, software and firmware; and lots of programming concepts such as Boolean logic and loops. Students begin each class honing their typing skills for about ten minutes, and then they pull out the robots.

Battle Ground Public Schools has been working to expand STEM offerings to middle school students. Besides Robotics, Tukes Valley also offers Design and Modeling to seventh graders and basic technology classes. Other middle schools around the district, including Chief Umtuch, and Pleasant Valley, have begun offering similar STEM courses over the past three years.

Included in the bond measure that the district is asking voters to consider in the February 13, 2018, election is funds to create flexible spaces for STEM classes at Maple Grove K-8 and Amboy and Laurin middle schools.

At Tukes Valley, eighth grade Robotics students work in pairs on LEGO robots to troubleshoot and solve programming issues and complete project tasks. They use Mindstorm software to write algorithms and program blocks and download, test, modify and reflect on their projects. Students' typing and programming skills come in handy when they write code that maneuvers their robots, incorporating technologies such as touch sensors to navigate and overcome obstacles. Students also assess each other's progress and provide feedback on projects. 

“The robotics class is interactive. Mrs. Lilly assigns fun and challenging projects, and it’s helpful getting feedback and learning from peers,” said eighth grader Makayla Loose, who caught the Robotics bug from her mother. 

“A huge benefit of using robots is that they help demystify a complex technology while teaching students how to productively channel frustration through problem solving and creativity,” Lilly said. “This curriculum teaches students a step-by-step engineering mindset and helps build solid programming skills. Every student can feel comfortable exploring the world of computer science through robotics.”  

The program at Tukes is also unique because it is hands-on. Students gain practical skills that help prepare them for future careers. Eighth grader Ben Mode turned to math, for example, to reconfigure the distance his robot needed to travel. Instead of relying on trial and error, Ben mathematically re-calculated the distance and made the necessary programming tweaks in his  computer code.

Once students achieve a project goal, they make videos of their robots successfully completing the task. They also use programs such as Scratch and LEGO Digital Designer to design and build models. 

Students can continue their work with robots outside of class in an after-school program that centers around First Lego League Robotics competitions. 

Tukes Valley’s team, the Timberwolf Techs, recently advanced to the Western Washington Semifinals after placing in the top six at the regional First Lego League Robotics competition. Teams from Daybreak and Chief Umtuch middle schools were also selected to advance to the semi-finals. 

While not every student in the Robotics class or after-school robotics club will pursue a degree or career in STEM, each student is getting valuable exposure to in-demand skills that will help prepare them for the future.


Public invited to welcome newest members of BGPS’ Board of Directors

posted Dec 7, 2017, 3:29 PM by Joe Vajgrt

Public invited to welcome newest members of BGPS’ Board of Directors

December 7, 2017


Monday, December 11, Battle Ground Public Schools will welcome new members to its Board of Directors and thank those whose terms are ending. New directors will be sworn in and a reception will be held at the 6 p.m. meeting in Room C-26 at the Lewisville Campus, 406 NW 5th Ave., Battle Ground. The public is encouraged to attend.

At the meeting the district will honor outgoing board members Jim Pegoraro, Director of District 3, and Stephanie McClintock, Director of District 5, who served four-year terms. 

Incoming board members Troy McCoy, representative for District 3, and Tina Lambert, representative for District 5, were elected on the November ballot to serve four-year terms. Board President Monty Anderson, Director of District 1, was re-elected for a four-year term and will also be sworn in.  

We interviewed newly-elected board members Troy McCoy, Tina Lambert and Monty Anderson via email so that you can get to know your directors.

Monty Anderson, Board President, Director of District 1

Monty Anderson has been the Board President for four years and was re-elected to a four-year term. In addition to being the President of the BGPS board, Anderson was also elected to serve on the Washington State School Directors' Association’s (WSSDA) board of directors and represent 30 districts in southwest Washington.

What’s your favorite memory from your time in school?  
In the Bicentennial year we were able to bring two items to school that were important to us and place them in a time capsule that we buried by the flagpole at the school. It was to be opened in fifty years by the students that are going to school at that time. 

Do you have any children currently in a district school?  
I had five boys who attended district schools, the last of whom graduated last year.

What is your educational background, and what is your current profession?  
I graduated from Thomas Jefferson Senior High in Bloomington, Minnesota. I have taken some college courses and continue to go to the school of hard knocks. I am currently employed as the Finance Manager for Tapani Inc., a local family-owned business specializing in a variety of construction activities.

Can you tell us a little about your role with WSSDA?  
The Washington State School Directors' Association (WSSDA) is an organization that helps set policy and guidelines for school districts, provides professional development for school directors and along with the State Board of Education (SBE) and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) provides vital input to the legislators and governor on the direction of public education. I was nominated and elected to serve on the board of directors representing the districts in Director Area 6, which consists of 30 school districts in southwest Washington.

What first motivated you to run for the board of directors?  
I was asked by some close friends.
 
What are you most looking forward to when it comes to your time serving on the board?  
Seeing the smiles on the faces of the graduates. However, every time I get a diploma in my hand, one of them takes it away from me. 

If you could have any superpower, which one would you pick, and why?  
I am who I am by the grace of God and thank Him for the gifts he has given. 

What is something that people might be surprised to know about you?  
I am red/green colorblind. I still stop at stop lights because red is always on the top. 

If you could choose only one snack food for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?  
Probably a Snickers bar so I can laugh at my own jokes and have a joyfully filling snack at the same time.

Troy McCoy, Director of District 3

Troy McCoy, a parent and local business owner, was elected as the Director of District 3.

What’s your favorite memory from your time in school?
Playing basketball in front of a packed gym.

Do you have any children currently in a district school?
Both of my children. When my youngest graduates from Prairie High School this June, both of my kids will have attended a BGPS school for all 12 of their public instruction years.

What is your educational background, and what is your current profession?
I have a bachelor’s of science in chemical engineering from Oregon State University and left the engineering world about 11 years ago to open an insurance agency here in town.

What motivated you to run for the board of directors?
I saw an opportunity to give back to the community that has provided a great place to raise a family and start a business. I also hope to help the board continue building trust with the public.

What are you most looking forward to when it comes to your time serving on the board?
I have a lot to learn, but I’m a fast learner and I hope to be a positive influence on the results and environments of our schools.

If you could have any superpower, which one would you pick, and why?
I already have one, but if I told you, my secret would be out. 

What is something that people might be surprised to know about you?
I fought forest fires to help pay for college.

If you could choose only one snack food for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
I’d have to go with tortilla chips. 

Tina Lambert, Director of District 5

Tina Lambert, a parent, musician, and community volunteer, was elected to represent District 5.

What’s your favorite memory from your time in school?
I played saxophone in jazz band in high school, and one morning before band class, my best friend Bev and I were in the instrument room. Suddenly Bev started screaming. So I started screaming. Then our band director came into the room, calmly asking, "Ladies, why are you screaming?" I told him, "I'm screaming because she's screaming!" Bev said, "I'm screaming because of this!" and she pointed to the spring-loaded snake that had popped out of her saxophone case. There was a lot of hysterical laughing coming from some teenage boys in the band room while this was happening. We knew they pranked us because they liked us. Those were good times!

Do you have any children currently in a district school?
My youngest son is a freshman at Prairie High School.
 
What is your educational background, and what is your current profession?
I have a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Idaho in Moscow. I spent 20 years homeschooling my children, and for the past nine years I have been involved with volunteering, mainly with musical groups. Currently I play in the Oregon Symphonic Band, where I am also on the Board of Directors and manage the group's marketing and public affairs.
 
What motivated you to run for the board of directors?
After many years of homeschooling, my husband and I enrolled our youngest son at Pleasant Valley Middle School. I was so impressed with everything I saw going on there, I wanted to help and to be involved. I saw the opportunity to run for the school board and decided to go for it!

What are you most looking forward to when it comes to your time serving on the board?
I'm looking forward to serving alongside the other board members, learning more about the great things going on inside our schools, and getting to know more of the people in the district.

If you could choose only one snack food for the rest of your life, which one would you choose?
That would have to be the nachos at Big Al's.
 

Battle Ground schools impress at Skyview Jazz Festival

posted Dec 6, 2017, 4:21 PM by Joe Vajgrt

Battle Ground schools impress at Skyview Jazz Festival

December 6, 2017


Bands and soloists from several Battle Ground schools brought home awards from the Skyview Jazz Festival in Vancouver on December 2. 

The Battle Ground High School Advanced Jazz Band placed first overall in the 4A Division and also won the Sight Reading Award. 

In the 3A Division, Prairie High School placed second overall, which marks the first time in over a decade that the school has been a top-ranked finisher. In the same division, the BGHS Intermediate I Band placed third.   

In addition to the bands’ collective accomplishments, several soloists were also honored for their individual performances. Prairie High School’s Ericka Mecham (trombone) and Donovan Benko (rhythm section) were recognized as outstanding soloists, as were Battle Ground High School’s Shane Walz (woodwinds) and Tyler Barnes (trumpet). 

In the Middle School Division, Chief Umtuch’s band placed second overall while eighth grader Dominic Mendoza (bass) was recognized as an outstanding soloist. Laurin Middle School eighth grader Isaac Moroshan (trumpet) was also the recipient of a soloist award. 

Join us in congratulating our many talented musicians!

Battle Ground schools get into the holiday spirit

posted Nov 30, 2017, 4:40 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 12:28 PM ]

Battle Ground schools get into the holiday spirit

November 30, 2017


Battle Ground Public Schools' students and staff will celebrate the holiday season with food drives, gift donations, school assemblies and musical performances. Below is a list of all the events happening this holiday season.

Primary Schools

Captain Strong Primary:
The Captain Strong Primary PTA will be having a holiday party for students and families at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, and there will be a choir performance on Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. 

Daybreak Primary: The school is hosting a community food drive to benefit the North Clark County Food Bank Nov. 27-Dec. 11. There will be a choir concert on Dec. 14 featuring the Battle Ground High School Choir, and the primary students will take part in a holiday sing-a-long.

Glenwood Heights Primary: Is hosting a canned food drive Nov. 27-Dec. 12. The choir will be performing a holiday music concert on Dec. 14 at 6 p.m.

Maple Grove K-8: The PTA will be having a Winter Wonderland in the commons on Dec. 1, 6-8 p.m. The school is also having a canned food drive the first week of December. 

Pleasant Valley Primary: The Pleasant Valley Primary PTA will be hosting a Penguin Patch Holiday Shop where students can go holiday shopping for their families during school hours. The Glee Club will be performing at the Providence Festival of Trees at the Oregon Convention Center on Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m. 

Tukes Valley Primary: The annual Tukes Valley Primary food drive is taking place now through Dec. 8, and the school will have a holiday sing-a-long on Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. 

Yacolt Primary: The North Clark Lions Club will have their annual Holiday Baskets Food Drive at both Yacolt Primary and Amboy Middle Schools Nov. 27-Dec. 15. Those who wish to donate can bring canned, boxed and nonperishable food items, as well as personal care items. Please contact Mark Miller at 360-687-4656 if you have any questions. The school will also host a community giving tree program. The second grade holiday music program will be on Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m. 

Middle Schools

Amboy Middle:
The Amboy Bazaar will be on Sat., Dec. 2 at the middle school 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Amboy Middle will be hosting a giving tree Nov. 27-Dec. 14, as well as having their annual Holiday Baskets food drive in conjunction with The North Clark Lions Club and Yacolt Primary School. Those who wish to donate can bring canned, boxed and nonperishable food items, as well as personal care items. Please contact Mark Miller at 360-687-4656 if you have any questions. There will also be a school band concert on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.
 
Chief Umtuch Middle: The Festival Choir will be performing at the Battle Ground Community Christmas Tree Lighting on Dec. 1., the band concert will be held Dec. 5 at 7 p.m., and the winter choir concert will be Dec. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria. The annual Barnes and Noble night will be Dec. 14, 6-8 p.m. at the Fourth Plain Vancouver location featuring the jazz band, festival choir, Peter Pan, cup stacking, chess club, student artwork, winter ensembles and more.


Daybreak Middle: Donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 12. A giving tree has also been set up for students and families in need. The Scholastic book fair will be Dec.12-14, 8:45 a.m.-4:15 p.m. Spirit week will be Dec. 4-8, and the Winter Ball for seventh and eighth grade students is Dec. 8, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Students in Sherylle Echlin’s sixth grade class are making holiday decorations as gifts for people in assisted living facilities. 

Laurin Middle: From now until Dec. 12, Laurin Middle will be hosting a giving tree and canned food drive for the North Clark County Food Bank. On Dec. 11 there will be a school assembly featuring a performance by the seventh and eighth grade bands. The winter band concert will be held at Prairie High School on Dec. 12, 6-8 p.m. 

Pleasant Valley Middle: The Pleasant Valley Middle School Drama Club will perform “A Charlie Brown Christmas” on Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the small gym. Entry will be $5 per person. There will be additional performances for the primary school students in the morning and afternoon performances for the middle school students. 

Tukes Valley Middle: Tukes Valley Middle will be hosting the Candy Cane Express Holiday Bazaar on Dec. 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A Winter concert will be held Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.

High Schools

Battle Ground High School: There will be a talent show on Dec. 5 where votes for the winner will be cast through the donation of canned and non-perishable food items. The annual canned food drive is taking place Dec 4-15. The annual “Christmas Doors” decorating contest is currently underway and the winner will be announced Dec. 11. 

Prairie High School: The Holiday Band and Choir concert will be Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. There is currently a toy drive for Legacy Children’s Hospital for children who are in the hospital on Christmas day. Unwrapped, packaged new toy donations are being accepted. The National Honor Society and the Future Farmers of America Clubs have partnered for the annual food drive Dec. 1-11 to benefit the North Clark County Food Bank. Students should bring donations to their first period classes for collection.

Alternative Learning Experience Schools

CAM Academy: The Interact Club at CAM Academy will be holding a Holiday Grams fundraiser Dec. 4-15 to benefit End Polio Now. The ASB will also have a winter clothing drive Jan. 8-19.

Summit View High School: A giving tree has been set up to benefit students and their families. Tags are still available and unwrapped gifts need to be dropped off at SVHS by Dec. 12. Donations for Mom’s Place, a group home for homeless women and their children, are being accepted until Dec. 15 and may include diapers, wipes, and other paper products such as paper towels, toilet paper, and tissues.

River HomeLink: The school is sponsoring a Giving Tree for those who want to take a tag, buy and wrap a gift, and return it to the Parent Hub no later than Dec. 11. Theater students will be performing “Robin Hood” in the Battle Ground High School Lair on Dec. 1 with performances at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., and on Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. Tickets will be $3 per person and can be purchased online, in the ASB Office, or at the door. The show runs about 90 minutes. 

Theater performance helps Battle Ground students take ownership of bullying

posted Nov 16, 2017, 4:23 PM by Joe Vajgrt

Theater performance helps Battle Ground students take ownership of bullying

November 16, 2017


The students at Amboy Middle School are sitting on the floor, quietly observing the stage where an actor portraying a student is being mocked and ridiculed by a classmate. All the while, a flurry of beeps, tweets, whooshes and other smartphone notification sounds continually ring out as the actors on stage portray how social media and messaging apps can be used as a tool for wide-scale gossip and public shaming, which contributes to modern bullying.  

Within a matter of minutes, the tables turned and the on-stage bully found himself  being bullied. The play, called "Above Between Below," serves as an illustration that bullying is a behavior and not an identity; that anyone can quickly become an instigator or victim of bullying; and that bystanders play an important role in preventing and stopping these behaviors.

Created specifically for a middle school audience, the play demonstrated the quickly shifting status of bully, bullied, and bystander. The program at Amboy Middle featured the performance followed by a facilitated discussion about bullying and how everyone can help by taking personal responsibility for their own power to harm or help others. 

Middle Schools in the Battle Ground Public Schools district have introduced such programs to students as part of its educational efforts in Social Emotional Learning to improve overall school climate. Since 2012, the district has seen a reduction in reports of bullying from 36.7 to 26.7 percent among eighth graders.

“This program allowed students to see and talk about the different forms of bullying that can occur,” said Amboy Assistant Principal April Vonderharr. “It’s important for kids to see examples of how bullying behavior often isn’t physical, and that our actions can easily have hurtful, unintended consequences. The interactive discussion at the end of the performance provided a great opportunity for our students to talk about how they could help a friend or how they might respond if they were being bullied themselves.”

The performance was put on by Kaiser Permanente’s Educational Theatre Program in collaboration with the Oregon Children’s Theatre. The program is available free of charge to middle schools in the region. More information about the program is online at http://www.etpnorthwest.org/programs-list/above-between-below.
 

Equine enthusiasts bond at BGHS

posted Nov 9, 2017, 1:49 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Dec 1, 2017, 11:50 AM ]

Equine Enthusiasts Bond at BGHS 

November 9, 2017


The equestrian group at Battle Ground High School can be seen during Clubs and Activity time discussing all things equine. The students in the group have a passion for horses and compete outside of school. Of the 15 members, 3 of them are seniors, and many have belonged to the group their entire high school careers. 

Equestrian is not the only club and activity that students can choose from. Clubs and Activity time at Battle Ground High School allows students to get together and discuss things they are interested in. Every three weeks during Tiger Time students are able to stay in their classroom to study, or can participate in clubs and activities. Students can pick from a list of more than 30 ASB approved clubs and activities to be a part of, such as Drama Club; Unity, Toughness, Class (UTC); and more. Nearly all of the middle and high schools in the Battle Ground Public Schools district have student clubs and activities.

“School clubs are a great way to connect students to something they’re passionate about,” said Heather Ichimura, one of Battle Ground High School’s assistant principals. “We hope to harness those interests and build relationships; both peer to peer, and peer to adult, that will help students connect to and be successful in school." During the first club meeting of the year in October, more than 200 students signed into a club or activity meeting, and the school expects the number of club and activities participants to grow.  

Over the last four years, the equestrian group at Battle Ground High School has seen a resurgence of members after teacher Katie Cholewa took over as advisor. The general consensus is that the students love the equestrian group because of the competitions, horses, and friendships that are formed. Emma Massie, a sophomore who has been in the group for two years, appreciates the opportunity to bond with other horse enthusiasts. “I love my team,” she said. Massie competes with her three horses, Kit, Maggie, and Slick. 

Some equestrian group members who own horses participate in shows and events with the Washington High School Equestrian Team (WAHSET). BGHS Senior Dana Waddell enjoys competing in WAHSET events with her horses Cooper and Britches. WAHSET offers a variety of disciplines, including gaming, drill, cow work, hunter, hunter under saddle, dressage, and more. Among the members of the equestrian group, barrel racing, cow sorting, pole bending, and reining are the most popular. 

Ellie Ballensky, a sophomore at BGHS, likes equestrian because the group “works together as a team” during outside competitions. She also participates in 4-H with her horses Mazie, Scarlet, and Jessica. 

The main goal of the group is to bring together students interested in equestrian activities and to promote good fellowship, and sportsmanship. All you have to do is attend one group meeting to get a sense of the participants' “cooperative horsemanship,” Cholewa said. Any student interested in learning more about horses and horsemanship can join. Students do not have to own a horse to participate. 

Junior Taylre Byford, who has been in the group for three years, said she decided to join the equestrian group over other clubs “because I enjoy it!” She has three horses, Kola, Dozer and Willie. 



Schools awarded $11,800 in grants for science and technology programs

posted Nov 2, 2017, 4:07 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Nov 2, 2017, 4:14 PM ]

Schools awarded $11,800 in grants for science and technology programs

November 2, 2017


CAM Academy, Daybreak Middle, and Tukes Valley Middle schools in the Battle Ground district are set to receive a combined total of $11,800 in grants from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). All the funding is allocated for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects that will enable students to work together while developing critical thinking skills.

The STEM projects students will work on are part of FIRST Washington, a nonprofit organization whose mission is inspiring kids ages 6-18 through science, technology, and teamwork. Using competitive robotics as a learning platform, kids experience the thrill and excitement of playing a sport while developing skills needed to become part of the future high-tech workforce.
 
CAM Academy will receive two grants totaling $9,200 for the school’s robotics program, where students design, build, and program a robot to compete in FIRST Robotics challenges. Daybreak and Tukes Valley Middle schools will each receive a $1,300 grant for FIRST LEGO League competitions, where teams use EV3 LEGO kits to solve HydroDynamics challenges in front of a panel of judges. In one challenge, for example, students design LEGO solutions that improve the ways people transport water.

"It is truly an honor to receive grants that help to support our students in robotics," said CAM Academy Principal Ryan Cowl. “Without the grants, there is a huge expense in registrations and parts that puts a lot of burden on families and teams to fundraise on their own. We appreciate OSPI supporting us to help make these experiences possible for our students."

Technology teacher Sherry Lilly said the OSPI grants make it possible to have an after-school robotics program at Tukes Valley, and that the club is an ideal place for students to learn leadership skills while working as a team.
 
“Learning through robotics helps demystify a complex technology through creative problem solving,” Lilly said . “Students learn a step-by-step engineering mindset and solid programming skills, which helps them feel comfortable in further exploring technology, engineering, and computer science.”
 
Students who participate in the FIRST competitions apply a wide range of academic concepts along the way, including physics, computer science and technology, business, arts, and social science. The bottom line is that students in these programs build their knowledge and enthusiasm across a variety of academic subjects while mimicking real-world job experiences.


Battle Ground High School Drama set to perform 'The Game’s Afoot: or, Holmes for the Holidays'

posted Oct 31, 2017, 4:30 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Nov 3, 2017, 3:25 PM ]

Battle Ground High School Drama club to Perform 'The Game’s Afoot: or, Holmes for the Holidays'

October 31, 2017


The Battle Ground High School Drama Club is set to perform Ken Ludwig’s “The Game’s Afoot” or “Holmes for the Holidays,” a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery comedy set in 1936. 

It is December 1936, and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his on-stage portrayal of Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears. The danger and hilarity are non-stop in this hilarious whodunit set during the Christmas holidays.

The show runs from November 9-11 and 16-18. Performances will be at Battle Ground High School in The Lair, 300 W Main St. with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for students and senior citizens and $7 for the general public. Tickets are available for purchase at the door on performance dates and online at https://payments.battlegroundps.org.

To honor servicemen and women during the Veterans Day weekend, any active duty or former military service members will receive free admission to the shows on Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11. Simply show your Military ID card, or come in your uniform, and enjoy the show for free. 

The performance dates and times are as follows: 
  • Thursday, Nov. 9, 7:00 p.m. 
  • Friday, Nov. 10, 7:00 p.m. 
  • Saturday, Nov. 11, 7:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, Nov, 16, 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, Nov, 17, 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov, 18, 7:00 p.m. 



BGPS Events Honor Veterans

posted Oct 27, 2017, 10:52 AM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Oct 27, 2017, 11:00 AM ]

BGPS Events Honor Veterans

October 27, 2017



Battle Ground Public Schools’ students and staff will honor veterans during school events, including assemblies and a panel for high school students. Community members and veterans are invited to attend. Schools will be closed on Friday, Nov. 10 in observance of Veterans Day. Events will be held at:

Primary Schools

Captain Strong:
The school will be hosting a breakfast for veterans at 8:45 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9 and then holding a school-wide assembly at 9:30 a.m. following the breakfast.

Daybreak Primary: An assembly will be held on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 10:15 a.m. Primary students will sing songs in honor of those who have served our country. Veterans who wish to attend are encouraged to call the front office at (360) 885-6950 in advance.

Glenwood Heights Primary: Student assemblies will be held Thursday, Nov. 9. First and second graders will attend from 12:35-1:20 p.m., and third and fourth graders from 1:40-2:25 p.m.

Maple Grove: Assembly will be held Wednesday, Nov. 8, from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in the large gym.

Pleasant Valley Primary: The primary and middle schools will have a joint assembly on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 9:30 a.m. in the large gym. 

Tukes Valley Primary: The second graders will perform “All American Me and You” on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the school cafeteria. Red, white and blue flags, spirited smiles and songs from the heart will inspire as the kids honor and celebrate the service and sacrifice of our veterans. The public is invited to join for the special evening. Students will give all veterans their very best to say "Thank you for your service!"  

Yacolt Primary: On Tuesday Nov. 7, Yacolt Primary School will have two Veterans Day assemblies. The first begins at 9:45 a.m. and the second at 6:30 p.m. The third graders will be performing a variety of patriotic songs. 

Middle Schools

Amboy Middle: The Amboy Middle School band will be playing in the Veterans Day Parade on Saturday, Nov. 11. Students at the school will also watch a video about Veterans Day earlier in the week. 

Chief Umtuch Middle: An assembly will be held on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 1:55 p.m. It will include a color guard, poetry readings, choir and band performances, and a slideshow presentation. 

Daybreak Middle: Will have a school-wide assembly from 9:10-10:00 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 9.

Laurin Middle: Will be having an all-school assembly on Thursday, Nov. 9 from 1:55-2:45 p.m. Laurin's band will perform and the eighth grade art class will have a slideshow presentation set to music and pictures of staff veterans. A group of veterans have also been invited to speak at the assembly. 

Pleasant Valley Middle: The middle school will have a joint assembly with the primary school on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 9:30 a.m. in the large gym. 

Tukes Valley Middle: In honor of Veterans Day, Tukes Valley Middle would like to welcome any active or retired servicemen and women to join in a reception held in their honor on Thursday, Nov. 9 at 9:00 a.m, followed by a Veterans Day assembly in the cafeteria at 9:30. The school will be hosting the Prairie High School JROTC cadets for the presentation of the flag. In addition, students will be sharing what freedom means to them. If you or someone you know would like to attend, please RSVP by Nov. 4 to Assistant Principal Erin Thompson at (360) 885-6252. 

High Schools

Battle Ground High School: The AFJROTC cadet corps will host a Veterans Day panel on Thursday, Nov. 9 in the BGHS library beginning first period and extending through each period of the day. The JROTC classes and select social studies classes will join a group of seven veterans from various eras to discuss "what it means to serve."

Prairie High School: On Thursday, Nov. 9, students will watch a Veterans Day video and hear from a guest speaker from Battle Buddies, an organization that pairs veterans with service dogs. The first assembly is from 9:05-9:35 a.m., followed by a second assembly from 9:50-10:20 a.m.

Alternative Learning Experience Schools (ALEs)

CAM Academy: There will be a school-wide assembly on Monday, Nov. 6 from 1:00-2:00 p.m. The event will be held at the Battle Ground Baptist Church, 1110 NW 6th Ave. in Battle Ground.

Battle Ground Schools Board approves bond for February ballot

posted Oct 26, 2017, 9:38 AM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Nov 20, 2017, 11:20 AM by Rita Sanders ]

Battle Ground Schools Board approves bond for February ballot

October 26, 2017


The Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors decided unanimously on Monday to put a bond before voters that would replace aging and deteriorating schools, help alleviate overcrowding, and improve classrooms and safety at campuses across the district. The bond will be on the February 13, 2018 special election ballot and requires approval by a 60 percent supermajority to pass. See the BGPS Bond Fact Sheet.

“As your elected representatives, we have spent countless hours visiting with business, community and district leaders to separate the wants from the needs," said Monty Anderson, president of Battle Ground's Board of Directors. "I believe this bond is the first of the needs as our community grows, now it is up to the voters."

If approved, the bond projects would be eligible for up to $61.6 million in matching funds from the state for construction assistance. The local cost of the bond is $224.9 million, and collections would begin in 2019. It is estimated that property owners in the district will see a decrease in their total schools tax rate in 2019 compared to what they pay in 2017. It is projected that property owners will pay two cents less per $1,000 of assessed property value for all school taxes in 2019 than in 2017.

The decrease in the total property tax rate for schools is attributed to state changes in funding under the McCleary decision. In 2019, a school levy swap will see the Battle Ground Schools local levy rate drop to $1.50 (less than half of 2017), while the state schools levy rate is projected to be $2.90. The 2019 rate for the new and existing bonds is projected to be $1.60. The district worked with local agencies to estimate tax rates.

The bond would fund the replacement of Glenwood Heights Primary and Laurin Middle schools and Pleasant Valley Primary and Middle schools and the construction of a new primary and middle school campus in the southeast corner of the district. The new schools would be built on land that the district purchased last year on the west side of Northeast 152nd Avenue between 99th and 119th streets. The bond also would fund the replacement of the 500 to 900 buildings at Prairie High School and improvements to the Amboy Middle School 300 building and gymnasium.

The bond proposal also includes the development of an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) program site on land that the district owns on the south side of Northeast 199th Street just east of 72nd Avenue. The project could include the construction of a multipurpose building and the installation of modular buildings to house CAM Academy, which is currently located in a building that the district leases.

In addition, safety and security and access to technology would be improved at schools across the district, classrooms would be modernized for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and skilled jobs courses in middle and high schools, and student recreation would be enhanced at several schools, including Maple Grove, Yacolt Primary, Amboy Middle, Prairie High School and District Stadium.

As the board considered which highest priority projects to include in the bond resolution, it turned to the district's volunteer Facilities Improvement Team for guidance. The team and the board conducted several workshops beginning in July to consider the district's needs and what has changed since the district put a bond proposal before voters in November 2016. Since that time, enrollment has increased, buildings have required additional maintenance, and construction costs have risen in the region.

"This bond covers the needs of the district," said Roger Jarvis, a member of the volunteer Facilities Improvement Team. "Security and safety are a big concern. They are big in my book. You can see the growth happening. Our team decided overwhelmingly that we should put the whole bond before voters."

To help accommodate growth, the board has installed portables and revoked boundary exceptions at the four schools that will be replaced if the bond passes. At Glenwood Heights and Laurin Middle School, where 42 percent of the schools' classrooms are in portables, the board has designated district funds to begin work connecting the schools to the public sewer this spring. The schools' septic systems have reached capacity use, and the district cannot place additional portables on the campus without the public sewer connection.

In their discussions, school board and Facilities Improvement Team members alike noted several challenges at the schools selected for replacement:

Glenwood Heights Primary
  • 61-year-old building rated "Poor" on condition assessment
  • Structure shows effects of decades of natural wear and tear, such as deteriorating boards and a leaky roof
  • School lacks secure building access, making it impossible to manage visitors
  • Building lacks modern infrastructure to support 21st century learning
  • Built in 1956 for 484 students, current enrollment is 800 students
  • Core facilities (library, parking lot, office space) cannot efficiently support enrollment
  • No space for small group work that supports different learning needs 
  • Portable cafeteria cannot handle student population; fourth graders eating lunch in nearby Laurin cafeteria

Laurin Middle School
  • 52-year-old building rated "Poor" on condition assessment
  • Structure shows effects of decades of natural wear and tear, such as deteriorating facade, sagging breezeways, a leaky roof, and poor drainage
  • School lacks secure building access, making it impossible to manage visitors
  • Building lacks modern infrastructure to support 21st century learning
  • Inadequate fields
  • Built in 1965 for 600 students, current enrollment is 684 students
  • Core facilities (library, parking lot, office space) cannot efficiently support enrollment
Pleasant Valley Primary and Middle schools
  • 41-year-old buildings rated "Poor" on condition assessment
  • Structures show effects of decades of natural wear and tear, such as deteriorating facade and leaky roofs
  • No cafeteria; students eat in classrooms and carry lunch trays through halls and outside main building to portables
  • No library; books, computer "classroom" and checkout desks in hallways
  • No space for small group work that supports different learning needs 
  • Building lacks modern infrastructure to support 21st century learning
  • Built in 1975 for 993 students, current enrollment is 1,139 students
  • Core facilities cannot efficiently support enrollment



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