Student artists' work published in The Modern Orthodontist's 2017 calendar

posted Jan 19, 2017, 1:09 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Jan 19, 2017, 2:09 PM ]

student artists' work published in the modern orthodontist's 2017 calendar

January 19, 2017

Six student artists from the Battle Ground Public Schools district had their submissions selected as winners or honorable mentions in The Modern Orthodontist's annual calendar design contest. Participating students submitted their "Animals with Braces" designs. The contest is open to student artists ages 5 - 18 who are residents of Clark County. 

Laurin Middle School had three students selected as winners, while Tukes Valley Middle had two more winners and one honorable mention. In addition to the honor of being published artists at just age 13, each winning entry won a $25.00 gift card for art supplies as well as a 2017 calendar for each of their art classmates. Those who received honorable mention had their artwork published in a smaller space within the calendar.

"The art work these students send in every year is amazing, and we struggled to pick just twelve winners," said Vicki Coleman, marketing coordinator at The Modern Orthodontist. "After we finally reached our decision, we were excited to share the love and recognize the winners!"

Laurin Middle School's winning entries:

7th grader Rayna Gardea - 2017 Calendar Cover

8th grader Tricity Shold - April 2017

8th grader Bridget White - August 2017

Tukes Valley Middle School's winning entries:

6th grader Katelyn Pattison - November 2017

7th grader Avery Gunderson - December 2017

8th grader Cynthia McNameria received honorable mention

Daybreak Middle School students spend a week in nature for Outdoor School

posted Jan 13, 2017, 7:21 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Jan 15, 2017, 3:21 PM by Rita Sanders ]

Daybreak Middle School students spend a week in nature for Outdoor School

January 13, 2017

Nerves were on edge as 97 sixth graders from Daybreak Middle School embarked on a weeklong adventure in the woods at Cispus Learning Center in Randle, WA. For the next four days and three nights, the forest–more than a hundred miles from the comfortable confines of their usual classroom and routines–would be their home and their school.

Cispus Learning Center’s 68-acre campus provides an outdoor learning environment and overnight camp facilities that engage students in leadership and teambuilding activities, hands-on science instruction and character building. The students from Daybreak were accompanied by 26 student counselors from Battle Ground High School and a team of adult staff.

By the end of the week, even the shyest and most nervous of students had managed to cast aside their fears and take full advantage of the opportunity, bonding with classmates through teambuilding activities and honing science skills through hands-on field studies.

“In just a few days of Outdoor School you see a transformation occur in students,” said Andrew Ledbury, Outdoor School counselor and a senior at Battle Ground High School. “I had students tell me at the beginning of the week that they didn't want to be at Outdoor School and were only there because their parents made them. By the end of the week, they were all smiles, and several kids told me it was one of the best weeks they’ve ever had. Being a part of something that can help build confidence in younger students was a rewarding experience.”

“Outdoor school impacts the lives of sixth graders by teaching them how to stay positive, how to persevere, and to try things maybe they are afraid to try or have never tried before,” added counselor and BGHS student Danielle Morgan.

Sixth graders at Daybreak also provided glowing reviews of their experience:

“All sixth graders should attend outdoor school because it is a more hands-on way of learning," said Maddie Kohout. "Instead of trying to learn about science and nature from a textbook, you can learn outdoors and go to actual streams and rivers to collect samples and test soil taken from the forest.” 

“You simply can’t get the same experience when you’re cooped up in a small classroom all the time," said Payton Bodkin. “Outdoor school made me love science, and I know it will help others do the same.”

“Outdoor School was one of the most team-building, friendship-creating, and definitely one of the most positive experiences I have ever had,” said Brielle Bowman.

While this was the first year that Daybreak Middle School had a week of Outdoor School, the plan is for this to be the inaugural launch of an annual tradition. The program is paid for through a combination of fund-raising efforts, school funds, and family contributions.

“In the future, students can look back on the memories they made while at Outdoor School and think fondly of them," said Craig Pearson, the Daybreak teacher who leads the program. "But more importantly, students will be able to apply how they grew as an individual during this experience to many different aspects of their lives.” 

Battle Ground Announces Superintendent Retirement, Successor

posted Jan 13, 2017, 3:18 PM by Rita Sanders   [ updated Jan 13, 2017, 3:21 PM ]

Battle Ground Announces Superintendent Retirement, Successor

January 10, 2017

BGPS Superintendent Mark Hottowe announced his retirement on June 30, 2017.Battle Ground Public Schools' Superintendent Mark Hottowe has announced that he will retire this summer after a 41-year career in education and three years as head of the district. At its meeting Monday night, the board unanimously appointed Mark Ross, Battle Ground's Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, to be the next superintendent effective July 1.

During their meeting, board members noted that Hottowe had made them aware when he was hired that he would serve just three or four years as superintendent. With this knowledge, board members have been considering options, including the possibility of tapping the next superintendent from inside the district to continue the momentum of Battle Ground's initiatives in strategic planning and providing a quality education and social-emotional learning. On Monday, the board held an executive session to discuss the qualifications of Ross, the district's Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning since 2014.

After the executive session, board member Stephanie McClintock made a motion "to appoint Mark Ross as BGPS superintendent working with Mark Hottowe as of today for a smooth transition with a contract starting July 1, 2017. Mark Ross has been working with Mark Hottowe for the last couple of years in preparation for a superintendent role due to the fact that Mark Hottowe had committed to working with Battle Ground for three to four years." Board members approved the motion 5-0.

BGPS Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning Mark Ross has been appointed Superintendent effective July 1, 2017
"The board feels we have the best candidate here in the district," said Monty Anderson, president of the Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors. "Mark Ross has proven he can do the work and he knows this district and our community. We expect a smooth and seamless transition as Mark Hottowe retires and Mark Ross begins his tenure as our new superintendent. We couldn't be more pleased with his acceptance of our offer."

Ross thanked the board and said he is honored and looking forward to working with Mark Hottowe through a smooth transition. "This is a wonderful district. We have great people and a dedicated board, and we will continue in a positive direction," Ross said. "I'm very excited to be a part of what we have done in providing an outstanding educational experience, continuing the work in social-emotional learning, and ensuring that we have equitable facilities for all our students and staff."

During their discussion before the vote, several board members said Ross has demonstrated leadership during his tenure with the district and that they are pleased with the direction that the district is heading and are convinced Ross will continue this work to benefit students.

"This district needs continuity," said Mavis Nickels, board vice president. Over the last two years, Ross has overseen the district's Teaching and Learning department, including social-emotional learning, curriculum and instruction, professional development, assessment, special education, career and technical education, federal programs and grants, and instructional leadership for the district's 18 schools. He has worked collaboratively with school staff to implement social-emotional and strategic education initiatives at the district's 18 schools.

Ross started his career in 1982 as a language arts teacher and athletic coach at Camas High School. He also taught and coached in the Issaquah and Renton school districts before serving as assistant principal and dean of students at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Marysville, Wash. In 2000, Ross returned to southwest Washington where he held assistant principal, athletic director, and principal positions in the Evergreen and Vancouver school districts. He also had stints as the assistant superintendent of teaching and learning at Washougal School District and the executive director of secondary education at Evergreen School District.

Current Superintendent Mark Hottowe has led the district through many changes in his three years as superintendent. One of his goals has been to highlight the importance of social-emotional learning in the district to help supports the needs of all students. Last year he was named the Champion for Children by the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Foundation for Healthy Generations. Hottowe was instrumental in Battle Ground's receipt of the $2.5 million federal Project AWARE grant to support student mental health and wellness over five years. He also oversaw the development and implementation of a Strategic Plan and encouraged the board and community to create a Long-Term Facilities Plan for the district.

Hottowe began his career teaching Native American students in Neah Bay before serving as an assistant principal at Sumner School District, a principal in the Longview School District, the director of student services and the executive director of supervision and human resources for the Kelso School District, and the superintendent of Ocean Beach School District in Long Beach.

Hottowe said he has enjoyed his time in Battle Ground. "We have accomplished many of the goals we established when I was appointed superintendent three years ago. What we have put in place will continue in years to come, providing the best education for our students."

Established in 1909, Battle Ground Public Schools (Battle Ground School District No. 119) is the 24th largest school district in the state of Washington. The district is home to 18 schools, serving the educational needs of 13,000 students. With more than 1,700 employees, Battle Ground Public Schools is the largest employer in Battle Ground.

Community invited to tour Summit View’s new location

posted Jan 10, 2017, 11:28 AM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Jan 10, 2017, 11:39 AM ]

Community invited to tour Summit View’s new location

January 10, 2016

Battle Ground Public Schools invites the community to tour Summit View High School on Thursday, Feb. 2 from 3 to 6 p.m. Visitors will be escorted by current Summit View students, giving the public an opportunity to see the school in action at its new location in the CASEE C building at 11104 NE 149th Street, Brush Prairie. Students, parents and community members interested in the Summit View program are encouraged to visit.

Summit View provides an individualized learning environment that encourages academic and personal growth and prepares students for the challenges of the future.Their mission is to provide educational opportunities to students whose needs are not met by traditional high school programs. 

“Some students simply need a different experience than what the typical high school provides,” said Renee Andrews, a counselor and teacher at Summit View. “Many of our students work full time jobs, have health issues, have kids of their own or family needs to attend to that make the traditional approach to high school difficult for them to be their most successful. The program was created with these students in mind, and we’re proud of their success.”

Summit View students complete most of their assigned work independently off-campus and then meet with teachers at Summit View at least once each week to turn in work, take tests and track academic progress.

Summit View serves high school students up to 21 years old who have unique and diverse educational needs. Independent students, working teens, at-risk students and teen parents are able to complete diploma requirements through a one-on-one instructional model and prepare for life after high school. Get more information about Summit View High School on the school's website or by calling (360) 885-5331.

Battle Ground High School Drama presents 'Almost, Maine'

posted Jan 6, 2017, 10:39 AM by Joe Vajgrt

Battle ground high school drama presents almost, maine

January 6, 2017

The Battle Ground High School Drama Club is set to perform “Almost, Maine” beginning February 2. 

Directed by Stephan “Cash” Henry, “Almost, Maine” is a beautiful play made up of short vignettes all about different aspects of love. The play takes place during one day in a little town in Maine called Almost. The stories are heartfelt and honest in their content and are all intertwined in some way. 

The show runs February 2-4 and 9-11. Performances will be at The Lair at Battle Ground High School, 300 W. Main St. in Battle Ground. Tickets cost $5 for students and senior citizens, and $7 for adults and the general public. Tickets can be purchased at the Battle Ground High School ASB Office, at the door just prior to the performance, or online at

The performance dates and times are as follows:

Thursday, Feb. 2 at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 3 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 4 at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 9 at 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 10 at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7:00 p.m.

Battle Ground Public Schools to host Levy Information Nights

posted Jan 5, 2017, 1:45 PM by Joe Vajgrt   [ updated Jan 9, 2017, 4:26 PM by Rita Sanders ]

Battle ground public schools to host levy information nights

January 5, 2016

Battle Ground Public Schools will host three Levy Information Nights to provide details and answer questions about Proposition 2, the district's replacement levy for Educational Programs, Maintenance and Operations that will be on the Feb. 14 ballot.

All members of the community are invited to the public events, which will be held:
  • Jan. 17, 6-7 p.m. at Chief Umtuch Middle School, 700 NW 9th St, Battle Ground
  • Jan. 24,  6-7 p.m. at Laurin Middle School, 13601 NE 97th Ave, Vancouver
  • Jan. 31, 6-7 p.m. at Yacolt Primary, 406 W Yacolt Rd, Yacolt
At the events, school district administrators will present information about the educational programs, maintenance and operations levy and then answer questions. More information about the levy and the information nights is available at

In December, Battle Ground Public Schools' Board of Directors voted to put the replacement levy on the Feb. 14 special election ballot. This levy is not a new tax. It will replace the school district's current levy, which provides about 23 percent of the district's total operating budget and expires at the end of 2017. The tax rate for the replacement levy is projected to stay the same as the 2016 levy rate.

Levy dollars make up the difference between what the state provides for K-12 education and what it costs to operate schools while providing a quality learning environment. Levy dollars are pooled with state funds to help keep class sizes small, maintain facilities, supply technology resources to students, and provide for staff that enhance security, learning experiences and after-school activities.

Much of what the levy pays for is people. People are key to providing a quality education and getting students the support they need in both academics and social-emotional learning.  Battle Ground's levy helps keep class sizes small by providing an additional 260 teachers and school and district support staff above what the state funds. Teachers lead classes and programs and classified staff provide educational and administrative support in multiple areas, from health services and safety to office staffing and maintenance.

Below are just some examples of what the levy funds:
  • About 25 percent of teachers, support and administrative staff. This includes:
    • 10 nurses, 92 certificated staff, 20 school psychologists, 7 security staff, 64 teaching assistants, and 7 assistant principals, among others
  • Small class sizes
  • Art, music, drama
  • Textbooks and curricula
  • After-School Activities
  • Security and communications
  • Transportation
  • Professional Development
  • Building maintenance
If approved by voters, the four-year levy will raise: $31,680,000 in 2018, $33,260,000 in 2019, $34,930,000 in 2020, and $36,670,000 in 2021. The levy rate is projected to remain the same as the 2016 levy rate, which is $3.66 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The actual impact on property owners will depend on the increase or decrease in assessed value.

CASEE students place first at annual forestry competition

posted Jan 4, 2017, 3:45 PM by Joe Vajgrt

CASEE students place first at annual forestry competition

January 4, 2017

In mid-December, high school students from Battle Ground Public Schools’ Center for Agriculture, Science and Environmental Education (CASEE) program placed first at a Future Farmers of America (FFA) forestry career development event (CDE) competition.  

Hosted by the Grays Harbor College (GHC) Forestry and Natural Resources program, students from all across Washington competed in the eighth annual event at the GHC forest located at the Satsop Business Park. 

The competition took place across two separate venues. During the indoor competition, students interpreted forestry maps and then identified trees, tree disorders, equipment and chainsaws. This indoor portion of the competition that tested the students individually.

The competition shifted outdoors for the latter half of the day. Upon entering the GHC forest, the participating schools competed as teams in compass and cruising practicums. Students used compasses to learn navigation techniques and measured trees by height and diameter at breast height, which is the standard practice of cruising timber. Student volunteers from the forest technology program at GHC monitored each station and helped answer the high school students’ questions. 

Once the college volunteers tallied up the competition results, participants gathered in the main hall for the awards presentation. Overall, 14 teams comprising 62 competitors from 12 high schools competed in the event.

The top five teams placed as follows:
  1. CASEE (part of the Battle Ground Public Schools district)
  2. Cedarcrest High School
  3. Puyallup High School
  4. Toutle Lake High School
  5. Longview High School

Battle Ground Public Schools Board approves replacement levy for February ballot

posted Dec 15, 2016, 12:04 PM by Rita Sanders   [ updated Jan 9, 2017, 9:51 PM ]

Battle Ground Public Schools Board approves replacement levy for February ballot

December 15, 2016

The Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors approved a resolution this week to put a replacement levy before voters on the Feb. 14, 2017 ballot. This educational maintenance and operations (M & O) levy is not a new tax. It will replace the school district's current levy, which provides about 23 percent of the district's total operating budget and expires at the end of 2017.  

"This levy will help Battle Ground maintain the funding for essential student programs and services," said Board President Monty Anderson. "Local support is critical due to the state inadequately funding basic education and not providing for the maintenance of facilities as we would our own homes."

Battle Ground's levy pays for basic services that are key to providing a quality education and getting students the help they need both socially and academically. The levy enables the district to keep class sizes small, supply technology resources to students, and provide for security and learning experiences such as electives and Advanced Placement (AP) courses and after-school activities. Battle Ground's levy pays for an additional 260 teachers, school and district support staff, and administrators over what the state funds.

Levy dollars also pay for health services, music and art classes, drug prevention education, instructional technology, security monitors, education for students with special needs, utilities, and insurance. The levy also funds textbooks and curricula, staff positions and salaries and professional development, transportation, and building maintenance.

Across Washington, nearly all of the 295 districts rely on levy money to provide important student programs and services. 

The levy funds, which will provide approximately $31.7 million in 2018, $33.3 million in 2019,  $34.9 million in 2020, and $36.7 million in 2021, bridge the gap between the basic education funding provided by the state and the current operating budget of the district. In addition, If voters approve the levy, the Battle Ground district will be eligible to receive up to $26 million in levy equalization funds from the state over the four-year period. The tax rate for the levy is projected to stay the same as the 2016 levy rate, which is $3.66 per $1,000 of assessed value. The actual impact on property owners will depend on the increase or decrease in assessed value. The total amount of the levy collected cannot increase even if the district's assessed value increases.

Levy information will be available on the district's website and social media outlets, and through public presentations. In addition, questions can be emailed to or called into (360) 885-5470.

Established in 1909, Battle Ground Public Schools (Battle Ground School District No. 119) is the 24th largest school district in the state of Washington. The district is home to 18 schools, serving the educational needs of 13,000 students. With 1,500 employees, Battle Ground Public Schools is the largest employer in Battle Ground.

Businesses encouraged to participate in BGPS’ Industry Fair

posted Dec 14, 2016, 12:02 PM by Joe Vajgrt

business encouraged to participate in bgps' industry fair

December 14, 2016

Calling all businesses! Would you like to connect with soon-to-be graduates and local community members and help educate them about career opportunities in southwest Washington? 

If so, then look no further than Battle Ground Public Schools’ 2017 Industry Fair. The event, sponsored by BGPS, WorkSource and Partners in Careers (PIC), will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017 at Battle Ground High School, 300 W. Main St., in Battle Ground.

Battle Ground Public Schools is accepting reservations from employers located in and around Clark County for tables at the event, where employer representatives can meet with students and community members about career opportunities. All industries are encouraged to participate, including healthcare, manufacturing, technology, construction, finance, hospitality, retail, apprenticeships, transportation, and more. 

We hope you’ll join us for this worthwhile and educational evening at Battle Ground High School. Please sign up for an event table by Feb. 15 online at, and contact career guidance specialist Kevin Doyle at (360) 885-6598 or with questions.

BGHS Again Wins Top Prize at Skyview Jazz Festival

posted Dec 14, 2016, 11:58 AM by Joe Vajgrt

BGHS Again wins top prize at skyview jazz festival

December 14, 2016

Jazz Bands from Battle Ground High and Chief Umtuch Middle schools recently brought home trophies from the Skyview Jazz Festival in Vancouver on Dec. 10. 

In the Advanced Division, BGHS’ band won first place overall for the second year in a row and also won the festival's sight-reading competition. The BGHS Intermediate Jazz Band won third place overall, and Chief Umtuch’s Jazz Band earned second place in the Middle School Division. 

In addition to the bands’ collective accomplishments, several soloists were honored for their individual performances as well. Eighth grader Mallory Meyer from Chief Umtuch won the outstanding trombone soloist award; and from BGHS, senior Cade O'Haver won the outstanding rhythm section soloist award on piano; junior Tyler Barnes won the outstanding trumpet soloist award; and senior Riley Brown won the outstanding trombone soloist award.

Join us in congratulating our many talented musicians!

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