Battle Ground Public Schools demonstrates accountability with fourth consecutive clean audit

posted by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated ]

Battle Ground Public Schools demonstrates accountability with fourth consecutive clean audit

March 22, 2018

For the fourth consecutive year, Battle Ground Public Schools has earned a clean audit report from the Washington State Auditor's Office. The audit covered Sept. 1, 2016 to Aug. 31, 2017 and examined the areas of accountability, financial statements, and federal grant compliance. 

Specifically, auditors examined Battle Ground's disbursements to general vendors and those for travel reimbursements and credit card transactions, payroll disbursements, Associated Student Body cash receipting and fundraising at Battle Ground and Prairie high schools, procurement compliance, software controls, use of donations, and tracking and monitoring of theft-sensitive items.

The report concluded that in these areas, the district provided adequate controls over the safeguarding of public resources and complied with laws and regulations.

"This is good news for the district and the community," said Superintendent Mark Ross. "Our new leadership team is committed to being efficient and transparent with the public funds that we use to prepare students for a successful future, and a clean audit is significant when you consider the details that the auditors go into on their examination of district transactions."

The State Auditor's Office audits school districts annually as part of its efforts to track public money and provide essential accountability and transparency for district operations. "This information is valuable to management, the governing body and public stakeholders when assessing the government's stewardship of public resources," according to the report. 

In addition to the annual state audit, Battle Ground Public Schools also has a formal Audit Committee that reviews district expenditures on a monthly basis. District leadership proposed this additional layer of fiscal oversight four years ago after state auditors "noted one matter relating to payroll" in the district's 2012-13 accountability audit report.

After receiving the report in December 2013, interim Superintendent Duane Rose and the Board of Directors created the Board Audit Committee and hired a second fiscal specialist to support financial processes. 

The Audit Committee, which was the first of its kind in the state, comprises two school district board members, the district's Director of School Finance, and a staff member from the district's Business Services office. The committee meets monthly to go over district expenditures, including vendor invoices, payroll and timesheets. Committee members discuss the expenditures, ask questions, and pull supporting documentation. The committee reports its findings to the board at regular meetings.

"A record of accountability is critical to demonstrating our commitment to running an efficient district," said Meagan Hayden, the Director of School Finance. "Our board and superintendent decided that in addition to the annual audit, conducting a monthly review of the district's expenditures would be an effective way to maintain financial accountability."

The final reports for Battle Ground's 2016-17 audits are available on the State Auditor’s Office website.

The district’s next audit in January 2019 will cover the categories of accountability for public resources, financial statements, and federal programs.

Students show off their cooking skills in Future Chefs contest

posted Mar 14, 2018, 3:43 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Mar 19, 2018, 10:17 AM ]

Students show off their cooking skills in Future Chefs contest

March 14, 2018

Third and fourth grade students from all across the district competed in Sodexo's annual Future Chefs Challenge event on Wednesday, March 7 at Battle Ground High School. The students demonstrated their creative culinary skills by coming up with an original, healthy after school Asian-inspired snack recipe, which they prepared and presented to a panel of judges. 

This year's guest judges were Battle Ground Mayor Mike Dalesandro and last year’s Future Chefs winner, Pleasant Valley fifth grader Beau Singer, who evaluated students' entries based on criteria such as originality and taste. 

Congratulations to the winners of this year's event! 

Daybreak Primary 3rd grader Chloe Waller took 
First Place for her "Crispy Wontons with Asian salsa." 
By winning the top prize, Chloe's entry will be considered 
for a regional finalist award. The selected regional finalists 
will vie to become one of five national finalists competing 
for the public’s vote.

Glenwood Heights 4th grader 
McKenzie Wesockes won the 
Healthy award for her 

Pleasant Valley Primary 3rd grader Aksel Bristol won the Judge’s Choice award for 

Maple Grove 3rd grader 
Cade Hert won the 
Kid Appeal award for 

Glenwood Heights 4th grader 
Kaidyn Price won the 
Kid Friendly Prep award for

River HomeLink 3rd grader Brianna Gibson won the Originality/Taste award for her "Chinese Cabbage Salad."

Battle Ground Public Schools to answer bond questions March 28

posted Mar 8, 2018, 4:36 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Mar 8, 2018, 4:49 PM ]

Battle Ground Public Schools to answer bond questions March 28

March 8, 2018

Battle Ground Public Schools will host a Bond Information Night on March 28 to provide details and answer questions about Proposition 4, the district's school construction and renovation bond that will be on the April 24 ballot.

All members of the community are invited to the public event, which will begin at 6 p.m. in the library at Prairie High School, 11311 NE 119th St, Vancouver.

At the event, school district administrators will present information about the bond and then answer questions. More information about the bond initiative and the Bond Information Night is available at

The district's Board of Directors voted to run the bond again after it failed to receive a required 60 percent supermajority by a little more than 200 votes on the Feb. 13 Special Election ballot. 

The proposition authorizes the district to issue general obligation bonds of up to $224.9 million to replace four schools that are 40 to 60 years old; build two new schools to reduce overcrowding; replace some buildings at Prairie High School (about 40 percent of the campus); develop a site for an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) site, renovate the 300 building and gymnasium at Amboy Middle; and make other safety, technology, classroom, flooring, and recreation improvements. Security and technology upgrades would be made at all schools.

If the bond passes, the district would be eligible to receive up to $61.6 million in state matching assistance. The state allocates money from its state capital budget for the construction and repair of public buildings. To be eligible, buildings must have not received matching funds in the last 30 years. Districts can also qualify for funds for new schools based on enrollment growth.

If it passes, collections for the bond would begin in 2019. It is projected that property owners in the district will see a decrease in their total schools tax rate in 2019 compared to what they pay in 2018. Total schools tax rates increased temporarily in 2018 due to sweeping changes made by the State Legislature for school funding. Even with the new bond, it is projected that property owners' tax rates will go down by more than $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value for all school taxes in 2019 than in 2018. 

Specific projects on the bond include:
  • The replacement of Glenwood Heights Primary and Laurin Middle schools
  • The replacement of Pleasant Valley Primary and Middle schools
  • The replacement of Prairie High School 500-900 buildings and the modernization of Career and Technical Education programs within these buildings
  • The renovation of Amboy Middle's gym and 300 building
  • Construction of a new K-4, 5-8 campus in the southeast corner of the district to address overcrowding and enrollment growth
  • The development of a site for an Alternative Learning Experience school on district-owned land
  • Safety and technology improvements in all schools
  • The addition of covered play areas at Maple Grove K-8, Yacolt Primary and Amboy Middle School; and recreational upgrades at District Stadium and Prairie High School.
  • Improvements to middle school STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classrooms
  • Replace flooring at Battle Ground and Prairie high schools, Maple Grove, Yacolt, and district office
The bond is part of the district's Long-range Facilities Plan developed over two years by a community volunteer committee called the Facilities Improvement Team. The plan prioritizes projects into three phases based on need and eligibility for state matching assistance. This bond includes projects in the first phase of the bond plus the ALE site. 

Connect with local employers at the March 27 Industry Fair

posted Mar 8, 2018, 10:47 AM by Joe Vajgrt

Connect with local employers at the March 27 Industry Fair 

March 8, 2018

Students, families and community members are invited to learn about careers in southwest Washington at Battle Ground Public Schools’ Industry Fair on Tuesday, March 27 at Battle Ground High School. Students and community members who attend the fair will be able to learn about career paths by talking with local employers about available job opportunities.  

Come to the industry fair with your current resume or arrive early to participate in a resume writing workshop. The event, sponsored by BGPS, Goodwill Job Connection, WorkSource, and Partners in Careers, will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at Battle Ground High School, 300 W. Main St., in Battle Ground. The resume writing workshop will be from 4:00 to 6:30 p.m. in the school’s College and Career Center.

More than 50 employers will be in attendance to discuss employment opportunities along with working conditions and special requirements. Employers from the health science, manufacturing, technology, construction, finance, hospitality, retail, human services, and transportation industries will be in attendance.  

Join us for an educational evening at Battle Ground High School to learn about the many career opportunities in our region. Please contact career guidance specialist Kevin Doyle at (360) 885-6598 or with questions.

Prairie Drama Club presents Pippin

posted Mar 5, 2018, 3:43 PM by Joe Vajgrt

Prairie Drama Club presents Pippin

March 5, 2018

Some lives are meant to be extraordinary

Prairie High School Drama will present “Pippin” beginning March 16. Produced by special arrangement with Musical Theatre International, the play follows the adventures of the young son of the medieval French ruler Charlemange, who is encouraged by a flashy troupe of strolling players to try his hand at war, love, and other joys before settling down.

Based on the book by Roger O. Hirson and featuring Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, PHS Drama’s show runs March 16-17 and 23-24. Performances will be at Prairie High School, 11311 NE 119th St., Vancouver. Tickets can be purchased online at and cost $6 for students, $8 for senior citizens, and $12 for adults. 

The performance dates and times are as follows:
  • Friday, March 16 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 17 at 1:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 17 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Friday, March 23 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 24 at 1:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 24 at 7:00 p.m.

Kindergarten enrollment is open for Battle Ground schools

posted Mar 1, 2018, 9:06 AM by Rita Sanders   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 9:53 AM ]

Kindergarten enrollment opens March 1 for Battle Ground schools

March 1, 2018

Calling the Class of 2031! Online enrollment is open for kindergartners who will attend Battle Ground Public Schools next year. Any child who will be five years old before Sept. 1, 2018 is eligible to enter kindergarten in the fall. Parents will need proof of their child's birth date (such as a birth certificate) and a signed and completed Washington state Certificate of Immunization Status form.

Full-day kindergarten will be offered at all primary schools so that students can benefit from the advantages of a developmentally appropriate program. Parents can find out which school their child will attend by using the district's online boundary map or by calling the district boundaries office at (360) 885-6577.

Enrolled students and their families will be invited to attend a kindergarten orientation in the spring. These orientations are a time for you and your child to get to know your school and to learn more about the kindergarten program. Enrolling your child prior to these orientations is a key step in being prepared for the school year, and helps the district plan for the number of teachers it will need to serve our youngest students. 

Orientation Schedules
Please enroll your 2018-19 kindergartner online now so that you can attend a kindergarten welcome orientation at your school. Orientations will be held on the following dates and times:
  • Captain Strong Primary, May 24, 5-7 p.m.
  • Daybreak Primary, May 17, 6-7 p.m.
  • Glenwood Heights Primary, May 31, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
  • Maple Grove K-8, May 24, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
  • Pleasant Valley Primary, May 30, 5:30-7:00 p.m.
  • Tukes Valley Primary, May 31, 6:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Yacolt Primary, May 31, 6:00-7:00 p.m.

2018-19 School Calendar
School will begin next year on Wednesday, Aug. 29. A list of key dates for the 2018-19 school year, including breaks and holidays, is available on the district website. Enrolled kindergartners will be invited to participate in an introductory program that allows small groups of students to get acclimated to the school environment, routines, their teacher and classroom, and other students on the first days of school. Parents will receive a letter before the start of school about their child's start date.

Preschool Options
Battle Ground Public Schools also offers preschool options for early learners. A free drop-in program for parents and their preschoolers called 1-2-3 Grow and Learn is offered weekly at most primary schools. Prairie High School and the BGPS Community Education Department offer tuition-based preschool programs for ages 3-5 called Prairie Preschool and Tigerland Preschool. Two and three-day programs are located on the campuses of Captain Strong Primary and Yacolt Primary, and a three-day program is offered at Prairie High School. The preschools are designed to prepare early learners for their kindergarten experience. To register for Tigerland, contact Community Education at (360) 885-6584. To register for Prairie Preschool, call (360) 885-5004. BGPS also offers preschools for children with special needs. Please contact the BGPS Special Services Department at (360) 885-5318 for more information. Information about BGPS preschool options is available on the district's preschool web page at


Students prepare for High School and Beyond

posted Feb 15, 2018, 3:08 PM by Joe Vajgrt

Students prepare for High School and Beyond

February 15, 2018

It’s first thing in the morning at Amboy Middle School, and the tables in the cafeteria are filled to near capacity with seventh and eighth graders intently focused on their Chromebooks. At the moment, these students are pondering one of life’s biggest questions: what should I do with my life?  

These Battle Ground Public Schools students are participating in a rite of passage that every high school student in Washington experiences: the High School and Beyond Plan. Since 2009, it has been a state graduation requirement that every high school student in Washington must have a plan to guide their high school experience and prepare them for postsecondary education, technical job training, and other career development activities.

“High School and Beyond Plans help students answer three vitally important questions: Who am I? What can I become?, and How do I become that?,” said Gail Comeskey, BGPS’ Career Guidance Transition Facilitator. “The plans are an important tool that helps students understand how their high school curriculum is directly tied to the college or career programs they choose to pursue after graduation.”

In Battle Ground Public Schools, students begin the process in seventh grade by completing an interest inventory on a web-based system called Career Cruising. The seventh graders complete interest surveys, conduct career research, and begin thinking about course selection for high school and postsecondary planning. The idea is to generate excitement about the opportunities they’ll have in high school and get them focused on the coursework needed for success in a variety of careers.

Then, in eighth grade, students go more in depth and begin working on High School and Beyond Plans. The students create electronic portfolios that they can update to align with changing interests or educational and career goals. The portfolio helps students develop a Personalized Pathway of classes that is shared with school counselors, teachers, and parents. If a student’s goals change, the Pathway changes too. 

Amboy eighth grader Katie Taylor says she wants to go into nursing after high school and that starting to plan now is helpful. “Learning how to prepare for high school and understanding what classes I should take takes some of the pressure away,” Taylor said. “Instead of worrying about starting high school next year, I’m excited about having more freedom to choose classes that match what I want to do.”   

The entire process is designed to encourage students to take ownership of their high school experience and choose coursework and activities that are most relevant to their goals. The plan also provides a means of tracking high school graduation requirements and student progress when it comes to meeting criteria for acceptance and entry into postsecondary programs and careers.

“Above all, High School and Beyond plans help all students think about their future so they can get the most out of high school,” Comeskey said. “No matter whether a student intends to go to college, seek technical training, or intends to enter the workforce right after high school, having a plan is the best way to achieve success and meet students’ long-term goals.”

Battle Ground High School AFJROTC Students Participate in National Space Challenge

posted Feb 15, 2018, 11:33 AM by Joe Vajgrt

Battle Ground High School AFJROTC Students Participate in National Space Challenge

February 15, 2018

A team of Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) cadets from Battle Ground High School is among a select group of teams nationwide that will participate in the fourth annual StellarXplorers National High School Space Competition. Led by Lt. Col. Andy Woodrow and Senior Aerospace Science Instructor and team captain and senior Carson DeRoo, the Tiger Titans is one of just 180 teams nationwide admitted to this national competition.

Early competition rounds take place locally and include education and training to prepare the team. After this initial training, the team takes part in two practice rounds, then three 6-hour online competition rounds where only the top teams qualify for the finals. These top teams receive an all-expense-paid trip the finals in Colorado held in early April.

“I now know there is a lot of activity required to get a satellite and rocket into space,” said freshman Wyatt Moody. “I really enjoyed the teamwork we used to solve the problems.” 

Created by the Air Force Association (AFA), StellarXplorers is designed to inspire and motivate high school students and their educators to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) through a challenging space system design competition. Building on AFA’s successful CyberPatriot National Cyber Education Program, StellarXplorers will make an additional and significant positive contribution to STEM education across the nation.

The program is made possible through the support of the Air Force Research Laboratory’s STEM Outreach Office; Analytical Graphics, Inc.; Kratos Defense & Security Solutions, Inc.; OrbitalATK Inc.; and the Space Foundation.

Apply now for Battle Ground Public Schools’ specialized programs

posted Feb 7, 2018, 4:46 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Feb 13, 2018, 1:10 PM ]

Apply now for Battle Ground Public Schools’ specialized programs

February 7, 2018

Parents of students in Battle Ground Public Schools (BGPS) are invited to attend information sessions and open houses for the district's specialized programs and submit applications for enrollment for the 2018-19 school year.
Battle Ground Public Schools offers four alternative programs for students in kindergarten through high school. Each is designed to help students pursue their interests and gain the knowledge and skills needed for college and careers. The programs offer a variety of education opportunities, from a parent-partnered homeschool and a rigorous academy focused on academics, to a half-day science-focused program for high school students and one that supports self-learners.
Current students may apply for any of the programs that serve the grade they will be in next year. Enrollment in the programs is free; however, students must apply for admission. The admission process is specific to each program and directions to apply are described below. Admission is based on qualifications, not the order in which the applications are received. Recommendations or counselor approval may be required.
Students who live within district boundaries will be given priority over students from other districts. Transportation is not provided to/from these programs unless specified in the description.

CAM (Character and Academics for the Marketplace) Academy (grades 3-12)
CAM Academy offers a rigorous alternative education for students in third grade through high school. Students attend school four days each week. The program requires parent participation. CAM's mission is to support and promote the academic success, positive character development and acquisition of marketplace skills in students that will facilitate their success both in college and a global society. In the classroom, students study a core curriculum that comprises English language arts, history, science and mathematics and instruction in computer technology. At-home learning covers health and fitness and visual and performing arts and is completed in partnership with parents. You can find information about the application process under the enrollment tab of the CAM Academy Website at You can also call (360) 885-6803 if you have additional questions.
CAM Informational meetings: Thursday, Feb. 22, 3-4:30 p.m. or 6-7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, March 6, 6-7:30 p.m. The application deadline is Monday, March 12 at 3 p.m.

Center for Agriculture, Science and Environmental Education (CASEE) (grades 9-12)
The Center for Agriculture, Science, and Environmental Education (CASEE) provides a unique opportunity for students to experience science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) classes integrated with English and career and technical education (CTE) classes on an 80-acre site. This four-year program provides a college bound experience and is aligned with Washington State learning standards. Students have access to the latest technology and learn in classrooms, science and computer laboratories, and out in the field. The CASEE site includes ponds, greenhouses, shops, organic gardens, forests and wetlands for projects and extended study. Opportunities exist for involvement in Future Farmers of America (FFA), Envirothon, CASEE Yearbook and the Newsletter. Transportation is provided from PHS and BGHS for the 3-hour block classes.

Open House at CASEE: Thursday, Feb. 15, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at CASEE Building B, 11104 NE 149th St., Brush Prairie, WA 98606. Applications are available online at The application deadline is Tuesday, March 27. Please call (360) 885-5361 with any questions. 
River HomeLink (grades K-12)
River HomeLink is a parent-partnered school that serves students in kindergarten through grade 12. Students choose from a variety of educational options: taking one or more elective classes, ongoing homeschool assistance through regular meetings with school staff, and blended classroom/at-home learning. Online learning for students in grades 6-12 is also available. A high level of parent involvement is expected and required.

Registration for River HomeLink:
Parents must attend one of three March meetings to enroll at River HomeLink. Incoming high school students for the 2018-19 school year must attend this meeting with a parent. Please register to attend a meeting: Get more information about River HomeLink at or by calling (360) 334-8200.
Summit View High School (grades 9-12)
Summit View High School offers an individualized learning experience to self-directed learners up to 21 years old. Summit View serves independent students, working teens, at-risk students, students who want to return to school and teen parents who have unique and diverse educational demands. The high school assists students in completion of courses, credit and assessment requirements for graduation, transitioning into another educational setting, and preparing for life after high school. The school is located in the CASEE C Building at 11104 NE 149th Street, Brush Prairie. 
Get more information about Summit View High School at or by calling (360) 885-5331.

Report predicts significant enrollment increase for Battle Ground Public Schools

posted Feb 1, 2018, 4:10 PM by Rita Sanders

Report predicts significant enrollment increase for Battle Ground Public Schools

February 1, 2018

Battle Ground Public Schools' enrollment is projected to increase by as many as 2,735 students over the next decade, according to an enrollment report prepared this month for the district. The Enrollment Forecast Analysis, conducted by E.D. Hovee & Company Economic and Development Services, concludes that "after nearly a decade of stable to declining enrollment due in large part to the Great Recession, the Battle Ground School District appears to be poised for renewed enrollment growth driven by a resurgent residential development."

The report describes two scenarios for future enrollment growth in Battle Ground Public Schools. A conservative baseline scenario predicts enrollment will increase by 1,535 students between 2017 and 2027 to a total headcount of 14,650. An alternative, high-growth scenario predicts that the district could see 2,735 new students over the same time period, putting total enrollment at 15,852 students by 2027. The high-growth scenario reflects a nearly 21 percent increase in headcount over the district's current enrollment of 13,117.

The report confirms district-wide data presented to the volunteer Facilities Improvement Team in its effort to create a Long-Range Facilities Plan for the district and brings clarity to which schools will be most impacted by growth over the next decade. The district commissioned the report in preparation for a new state requirement that districts create a four-year budget projection and to provide an update for long-term facilities planning. 

"This report confirms for us what the Facilities Improvement Team heard during the planning process for the bond: that our District will continue to see a surge in enrollment growth for the next 10 years and beyond," said Mark Ross, Superintendent of Battle Ground Public Schools. "The report will also help guide our projections for student growth that are critical in future budgeting processes."

The primary schools that are expected to see the largest increases in enrollment over the next 10 years are Glenwood Heights Primary with an additional 378 to 445 students, Captain Strong Primary with an additional 129 to 182 students, and Pleasant Valley Primary with 136 to 245 more students. Tukes Valley Primary is expected to see 75 to 135 students.

Among middle schools, Laurin, Chief Umtuch, Pleasant Valley and Tukes Valley are predicted to increase with the largest influx happening at Laurin, which is projected to see an additional 381 to 442 students over the next 10 years.

The report examines trends in enrollment, demographics (including birth rates) and residential development to project the district's enrollment through 2027. The analysis takes into account the district's enrollment history, current developments in the district, developable land assets located within the district, population data from a private firm and both the 2000 and 2010 U.S. Census, and county birth rate data. 

Besides providing enrollment projections, the report also confirms the accuracy of the rate the district uses to project how many students will come from new single and multi-family home developments in the district. These numbers are used to project enrollment and in the calculation of impact fees charged to developers.

In addition, the analysis shows that the district is experiencing more growth than ever before from multi-family housing developments.

The report also shows
  • Over the next 10 years, the number of residents living in the district is expected to increase by 9,700 in the baseline scenario and by 16,802 residents in the high-growth scenario.
  • Battle Ground Public Schools' 71,900 residents accounted for an estimated 15.3 percent of the Clark County population in 2017. In 2000, Battle Ground district residents accounted for 13.6 percent of the county's population. If the district's share of county-wide population continues to increase, the district could reach nearly 87,000 residents by 2027.
  • Birth rates declined from 2000 (especially during the Great Recession) to 2013, but are expected to stabilize or increase through 2025.
  • As of 2017 there were 28,300 existing housing units in the district, with another 2,350 total single and multi-family units pending development.
The report also calls attention to the potential for future development within the Battle Ground Public Schools district. The Clark County Vacant Building Lands Model shows the district has remaining capacity for the equivalent of 16,851 single-family housing units under current zoning. "When developed, [vacant buildable land] may represent a 60 percent increase in the district's housing inventory—indicative of substantial as yet untapped growth capacity ahead," the report concludes.

The district has taken measures to address growth throughout the district, including installing modular buildings and revoking boundary exceptions at the rapid-growth campuses of Glenwood Heights Primary and Laurin Middle School and Pleasant Valley Primary and Middle schools. The district's Board of Directors has placed a bond on the Feb. 13 Special Election ballot that will replace these four schools and build a new primary and middle school campus in the southeast section of the district to help accommodate growth. The directors also could explore redrawing district boundary lines.

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