Dear Battle Ground School District Community,
Every fall is an opportunity for me to reflect on why I became an educator: I want to help create a supportive environment in which all students can find success. If there is one theme that pops up again and again in the classroom, it's that students need to feel safe and supported before they can be attentive to learning. That is why it's of utmost importance that our district provide a safe and secure environment where students can be successful in what interests them.
Our staff does an amazing job supporting students and creating this type of environment. Still, there is more work to be done. To this end, we continue to focus on social and emotional health, academic success, and facilities.
Social and Emotional
This year our staff will continue to explore how to incorporate social and emotional learning into lessons and classroom and extracurricular activities across the district. You will see it in the form of "Safe, Respectful, and Responsible" expectations as they expand from our primary schools to our middle and high schools. Our schools are successfully implementing positive behavioral expectations into everyday learning. We are also inviting the community to learn more about social and emotional health through an opportunity to take a Youth Mental Health First Aid class. The class is made possible by the federal Project AWARE grant that our school district has received to support student mental health and wellness over five years.
In academics, one of the biggest changes this year will come for our youngest learners. All primary schools are providing full-day kindergarten. The developmentally appropriate, full-day program has proven effective in creating a foundation for school and life success. In addition, the district will continue its implementation of refreshed and new learning standards that help students learn problem solving skills by asking them to be creative and innovative and explain their answers.
And finally, the backbone of a safe and secure environment is facilities that support learning. Thanks to 18 months of work by a team of community-led volunteers, Battle Ground Public Schools has a long-range facilities plan that serves as a guide to meet the educational needs of our growing community. Battle Ground Public Schools' Board of Directors took a step toward implementing the plan last month when it voted to put a school construction bond on the November 8 general election ballot. The board based the bond resolution on Phase I of the district's recently approved long-range facilities plan, which includes the building of replacement campuses, a new campus, and replacement buildings and making renovations and improvements across the district.
These are exciting times for Battle Ground Public Schools. I hope that you share my enthusiasm for all that we've accomplished and where we are headed as a district and community.
Mark Hottowe, Superintendent
Battle Ground Public Schools
August 10, 2016