Woodland Public Schools Stories & News
Stories from around Woodland Public Schools during the COVID-19 statewide closure
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Woodland English Language Learner (ELL) teachers use innovative assignments to help students keep learning during the statewide closure
Thursday, May 21, 2020
English Language Learners (ELL) like Araceny Borja-Delgado (11th grade, left) and Veronica Machic-Cacatzum (9th grade, right) use school-provided Chromebooks to perform written and oral assignments and keep learning English even during the statewide school closure
Students in Woodland's English Language Learners (ELL) program enter public school with little to no knowledge of how to read, write, or speak English and must learn to become completely fluent while also taking the required academic classes a native speaker would take.
The statewide school closure meant Carlotta Propersi, an ELL teacher at Woodland High School, had to innovate like many of her colleagues in order to ensure her students would be able to continue learning the language while not physically at school. “Since our students have Chromebooks with webcams, I assigned the students video assignments where they must answer a series of question prompts with a written script and then recite the script on video,” she said. The assignment gives students more confidence in speaking and writing – two key components of the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21 st century (ELPA21) that each of them must pass in order to graduate.”
In addition to the assignment requirements of answering the questions, Carlotta grades the students on a variety of presentation skills to enhance their fluency including proper pacing and volume; and professional appearance and speaking style.
Carlotta assigns prompts such as having students reflect on their experiences during from Friday, March 13, the last day before the statewide school closure; what has changed in their learning and daily lives since the statewide closure and has more in store for future assignments. “I’m trying to keep the projects fun and lighthearted in order to make the best of the situation we’re all in with the Stay-at-Home orders,” she said. “For their next project, students will have to describe the physical characteristics and personalities of their family members, record the video, and, then, show it to their family – it’s a great way for students to listen to themselves speak.”
If it weren’t for Carlotta’s quick thinking, the timing of the statewide school closure could have presented a significant challenge for ELL students, in particular, as the window for students to take the required ELPA21 test closes for the school year on the last school day in March. With schools closing statewide on March 13, many of Carlotta’s students would have been unable to take the ELPA21 this year, which is required for her seniors to graduate.
However, much of Carlotta’s extended family lives in Italy where coronavirus prevention required the country to shut down much sooner than the United States. Hearing what her family members were experiencing before Washington’s statewide shutdown led Carlotta to have a hunch that a similar closure might happen in the United States. “I reached out to Principal John Shoup and the high school staff to ask if ELL students could come to my room to complete their testing over one lengthened class rather than our normal approach of spreading the test over multiple class periods,” said Carlotta. “With the support of the high school staff, all but one of my students (who was absent) were able to finish their ELPA21 tests before the statewide closure on March 13.”
For Carlotta, the school closure has made a dramatic impact on her teaching. “Having access to an actual classroom experience provides me with the opportunity to spend an hour every class to help my students practice speaking, writing, and reading in English,” she said. “With remote learning, everyone’s schedule is different with each student having other responsibilities out of school like some of my newcomers who are working full-time to help their families.”
In order to accommodate all of her students, Carlotta produces hard copies of assignments for students who don’t have access to the Internet which are delivered via the high school’s organized printed materials delivery program. “The high school staff is doing a fantastic job reaching out to students to ensure they can complete their work with teachers coming up with individual plans for students so they can continue learning and pass their classes during this difficult time,” said Carlotta. “For me, the most challenging part of the closure is how much I miss seeing my students each day.”
Yale Elementary students took a field trip to the Woodland Police Department… virtually
Monday, May 18, 2020
Woodland Police Chief Jim Kelly answers student questions during their virtual field trip
Yale Elementary School students in Teacher Sarah Taylor’s second grade class went on a field trip to the Woodland Police Department virtually using Google Classroom and webcams.
In coming up with innovative ways to keep her students engaged, Sarah came up with the idea of a virtual field trip and reached out to the Woodland Police Department to see if they’d be interested, “I’m really thankful to our police department for taking the time to do this for our students,” she said. “The class loved it and will be mailing thank-you notes and pictures to our wonderful officers.”
Officer Eric Swenningson ("Officer Eric") served as the class's tour guide
Chief Jim Kelly and Officer Eric Swenningson, “Officer Eric” to the students, used a webcam to welcome the students to the department and showed them around the entire facility. With Chief Kelly working as the cameraman, Officer Eric served as the tour guide and showed the kids the department’s holding cells, evidence lockers, armory, fingerprint station, and detective’s office. Chief Kelly also walked students through the equipment Officer Eric takes with him on every call including his vest, handcuffs, baton, and sidearm.
Bob, the practice dummy, likes to surprise officers by hiding in different spots throughout the department
Students were surprised at one point during the tour when Officer Eric opened a closet door to find a lifelike practice dummy standing menacingly in the closet. “This is ‘Bob,’ the department's practice dummy,” explained Officer Eric. “We use Bob to practice different techniques, however, it's also become a bit of a tradition to move Bob around the department to surprise other officers.”
Officer Eric gave students a tour of police cruiser and showed them all the equipment he uses
Chief Kelly and Officer Eric even pulled a police cruiser right outside the office close to the wireless network so students could receive a tour of the police car. “This is my real ‘office’ and where I spend most of my day,” explained Officer Eric. He showed students the laptop he uses to run identification and process tickets; the two radar detectors (one for when the car is in motion and the other a handheld device); the two radio systems in the cruiser (one for local law enforcement and the other for state troopers who use a different frequency); as well as the cruiser’s lights, horn, and siren.
At the end of the tour, students had a question-and-answer session with Chief Kelly after Officer Eric went with other on-duty officers to an emergency call. Students asked Chief Kelly about how to become a police officer, whether the department has any K-9 officers, and a wide range of other questions before thanking the Chief. After saying goodbye, the students shared what they learned with the class and had a brief show-and-tell.
Sarah has already started planning the next virtual field trip for her students. “I’m going to reach out to the fire department,” she said. “A parent of one of my students is a firefighter for a different city so he’s thinking about giving us a tour, too.”
Sarah Taylor takes students on virtual field trips and offers them time to share to maintain the social aspects of school
Organizing virtual field trips and other ways of connecting social has been a focus for Woodland teachers. “We meet as a class at least once a week which begins and ends with chaos as all the students say ‘hello’ to one another,” said Sarah. “We make sure to take time so students can do show-and-tell, read aloud, and do other social connections because relationships are important at every age; I miss my friends so I know my students must miss their friends, too.”
Sarah recommends parents consider arranging for virtual homework sessions using the same technology they use to connect with schools. “Classmates can work together on projects and assignments over Google Hangouts, ask their peers questions, or just chat for a bit,” she said. “We just need to keep being creative with how we use technology and other methods to make sure kids receive the social connection of school, too.”
Details about the End of School Year 2019-2020
Friday, May 15, 2020
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As the end of this unique and incredibly unusual school year rapidly approaches, we wanted to fill you in on what you and your student(s) can expect in the coming days and weeks.
Until recently, there was inconsistent information from the state regarding how late into June schools would operate distance learning. Recent decisions at the state level mean that Woodland Schools’ last day will be June 12th, as provided in the published school calendar.
For many, “home-learning fatigue” creates challenges in sustaining rich and robust learning. We are thankful for the partnership with families that has allowed students to continue to learn during this difficult time. It is the consensus of the School Board that maintaining the June 12 end to the school year is in the best interest of students and their families.
Below are some additional important details:
How to pick up your student’s personal belongings:
Schools will begin the process of allowing the pickup of any personal belongings your student(s) may have left behind prior to the statewide closure. Each school will coordinate its own pickup process and communicate the details with you soon. We expect pickup of belongings to occur in most schools beginning Tuesday, May 26.
Dropping off books, loaned technology, and other loaned supplies:
If your family borrowed remote learning materials such as books, technology like Chromebooks, or other non-consumable supplies, details on how to return these items to your student’s school will be forthcoming.
Please note: If your family received school supplies with limited use such as pencils, markers, chalk, notepads, or other usable school supplies, these items will not need to be returned and can be used for the upcoming school year.
Breakfast and lunch meal delivery:
We will continue breakfast and lunch delivery using our school buses through Friday, June 26. We may make some modifications to consolidate services. Notification of any changes will be communicated online and through notices in delivered meals.
Summer Meal Program:
At this time, we will likely not be able to continue meal delivery service over the summer months due to staffing limitations, however, we expect to be able to provide meal pickup service at the Woodland Middle School campus in line with how we have offered pickup service during the statewide school closure.
We understand many of our families rely on our summer food service as well, and we hope to have details on our summer meal program available shortly.
Stay tuned for additional updates:
While the end of the school year approaches, how the new school year will unfold is still unknown as the world finds new ways to adapt to the global pandemic. As always, we will keep you updated as we learn more about how the new school year will be affected by the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.
Please visit our website regularly for the most up-to-date information at www.woodlandschools.org. We will also keep you informed using Skyward Family Access, text messaging, and robocalls as we learn more.
The 2019-2020 school year is surely one for the record books, and I thank all of Woodland’s families for partnering with us as learning coaches, and adapting to this new normal as we ensure our community’s children continue to have access to high-quality educational opportunities.
Michael Z. Green
Superintendent - Woodland Public Schools
Woodland Public Schools welcomes David Starkey as
new Principal of Columbia Elementary School
Thursday, May 14, 2020
David Starkey accepted the position of Principal of Columbia Elementary School
Woodland Public Schools proudly announces their selection of David Starkey as Principal of Columbia Elementary School beginning in the upcoming 2020-21 school year.
Starkey accepted the position on Thursday, May 7 when Superintendent Michael Green notified him of his selection. “David’s exceptionally strong educational background made him stand out as the best selection from a very strong pool of candidates,” said Green. “I am incredibly confident and excited to have David as our principal at Columbia Elementary.”
Starkey currently serves as the Principal of Castle Rock Intermediate School. Prior to his time in Castle Rock, he taught fifth grade and eventually served as an assistant principal in Fruitland, Idaho. He holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in educational leadership, both from Northwest Nazarene University located in Nampa, Idaho. “What I enjoy most about working in education is seeing the difference a positive educator can make in the life of a child,” he said. “Seeing the excitement students show, the confidence they gain, and the eagerness they have in wanting to share their newfound knowledge is priceless.”
Applying for Woodland’s principal position came easy for Starkey as his family has resided in Woodland for the past five years where his three children attend Woodland schools and his wife works for the school district. “Woodland is a great community and has a wonderful school district,” he said. “It’s an honor to be able to serve as Principal of Columbia Elementary School.”
Starkey’s favorite hobbies revolve around spending time with his family. An avid outdoorsman, Starkey enjoys hiking, camping, fishing, and archery hunting, “I love spending time with my wife and children and making memories with them.”
Starkey will replace Columbia Elementary School’s current principal, Ingrid Colvard, who recently accepted the superintendent position at Stevenson-Carson School District. “I am thrilled to be part of Woodland Public Schools and the team at Columbia Elementary,” said Starkey. “I want nothing more than to build a lasting partnership with our community; together we can create the best learning opportunity for our students and our students deserve nothing but the best.”
Woodland High School’s PASS support team continues to help struggling students
even during the statewide school closure
Monday, May 11, 2020
Stacy Gould, Keitra Curnutt, and Cyndy Grayson prepare to deliver
school supplies and snacks to their PASS students
Woodland High School’s Positive Academic Support System (PASS) continues to support struggling students with remote learning during the statewide school closure. Woodland High School introduced PASS in 2017 to help ninth graders who were at risk of failing one or more of their classes. The members of the PASS team work one-on-one with the students, acting as their “school parents” to make sure they get the support they need to engage with their learning.
Providing students with the support they need as early as possible may be key to their overall academic success. “Studies show that students who end their ninth year on-track by passing all of their courses are about 3.5 times more likely to graduate from high school than peers who fail one or more classes,” said Assistant Principal Dan Uhlenkott. “With the Core 24 requirements, students do not have much wiggle room to fail even a single class and still graduate, much less fail a core class.”
Students in PASS may need additional support for a variety of reasons. “Often, poor performance in school is a symptom of other issues occurring in a student’s life,” said Dan. “Our PASS staff members act as ‘school parents’ to help freshmen navigate academics, attendance, discipline, class changes, independent course curriculum; pretty much any aspect of high school.”
The PASS Program Team (photograph taken pre-closure): Catherine Pulliam, Keitra Curnutt, Cyndy Grayson, Mary Ann Sturdivan, Dana Preston, and Stacy Gould
The PASS Team includes Stacy Gould, the program’s coordinator, along with Keitra Curnutt, Cyndy Grayson, Dana Preston, Catherine Pulliam, and Mary Ann Sturdivan. In order to support the program financially, WHS Principal John Shoup and Stacy applied for and received a grant from InvestEd which provided $5,000 for PASS each year for the past two years.
During the statewide school closure, the PASS team delivers school supplies as well as a variety of other needs including Chromebook chargers, musical instruments, and quarantine essentials, too. “We miss engaging with our students, so seeing them from a socially-distant appropriate distance has been wonderful,” said Stacy Gould, PASS coordinator. “We’re also able to help them by answering questions about online learning, connecting with their teachers, lining up the right materials for home learning, and providing them with any other assistance they need.”
The PASS team is excited to see their students during deliveries... if only at an appropriate distance due to social distancing guidelines.
Nearing the end of the school year has been particularly challenging for the PASS team. “This is the time of the year when we would get to see how much our students have grown throughout their first year in high school and have become members of our community,” said Stacy. “It is tough not being able to see their progress in-person.”
Woodland community donates funds and food to help educate and feed children
during fight against COVID-19
Friday, May 8, 2020
Stacy Brown, Business Manager for Woodland Public Schools, and Gabrielle “Gabby” Meador stand with assembled weekend food bags for families in need thanks to the $3,500 donation from Fibre Federal Credit Union
Woodland Public Schools thanks the many community organizations and individuals helping to provide the area’s children with education and needed services during the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.
Fibre Federal, a community credit union, donated $3,500 to help the district purchase food to feed families in need during the weekend. Beginning in April, the Woodland Public Schools’ Family Community Resource Center (FCRC) distributes nearly 40 bags of food for families each week. “Thanks to Fibre Federal’s generous donation, we should be able to continue providing families with food for the remainder of the school year,” said Gabrielle “Gabby” Meador, Program Specialist who manages the district’s FCRC.
To help ensure all of the district’s students have the school supplies needed for remote learning, Woodland’s Dollar Tree and the SchoolHouse Connection donations helped the district assemble and distribute 60 bags of school supplies for families, too. “The amazing support we’ve received helps to bridge some of the gaps caused by this pandemic,” said Gabby. “In a time filled with closures and cancellations, it’s wonderful to see the community’s compassion has not been canceled.”
Shawn Fenmore, a driver with Landstar Ranger Trucking, drove 25 cases of unwanted cookies and crackers up to Woodland after his last stop in Vancouver to say thanks for Woodland Public Schools opening the high school as a temporary rest area for drivers during the closure
Truck drivers continued to donate snacks and meals that clients refused as a way of thanking Woodland Public Schools for opening the high school as a temporary truck stop and rest facility for long-haul drivers during March and April.
Shawn Fenmore, a driver for Landstar Ranger Trucking, delivered 25 cases of cookies and crackers including Oreo, Chips Ahoy, Ritz crackers, and Wheat Thins. “The cases were considered surplus because their shipping boxes were damaged in transit, however the product was perfectly intact inside,” said Scott Landrigan, Woodland Public Schools’ Director of Facilities and Safety. “When Russell heard about our truck stop, he drove up from his last delivery in Vancouver to drop off the food which will help supplement the meals the district provides in its daily food services.”
Earlier in April, Russell Thomas, a long-haul driver with John Christner Trucking, donated more than a thousand of breakfast sandwiches when a client refused the order (read his story on the school’s website for more details: https://www.woodlandschools.org/article/229796).
Families in need of weekend food or school supplies should contact the FCRC:
Students, children, and families in need of food and/or school supplies can reach out to their child’s teacher or contact the FCRC directly by emailing Gabby Meador at email@example.com, calling (360) 841-2718 or visiting the Woodland Public School’s Closure HQ website: https://www.woodlandschools.org/o/district/page/covid-19-updates
Students thank Woodland Public Schools staff for
preparing and delivering 2,000 meals a day
Monday, May 4, 2020
Students and their siblings made signs thanking Woodland Public Schools staff
Students and families made signs and cheered Woodland Public Schools’ staff as buses made their daily delivery of more than 2,000 meals throughout the school district’s service area on Friday, May 1.
The staff were touched by the demonstrations of gratitude. “It’s great being on the bus and seeing how happy families are to see us,” said Tiffany Wear, Behavior Support Specialist for the KWRL Transportation Cooperative. “We are getting to know all of the families in the community and the food delivery has been a great experience for everyone.”
Woodland Public Schools staff makes more than 2,000 meals each day
Woodland Public Schools staff provide free meals each weekday for children 18 years of age and younger throughout the district’s service area. Families can choose to pick up “grab-and-go” meals from Woodland Middle School from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each weekday or take delivery of both breakfast and lunch once each day at their nearest bus stop. By offering meal delivery, community members are encouraged to follow the Stay-at-Home order currently in effect through May 31.
There is no enrollment required for meal delivery. Families must simply be present at their nearest bus stop at the scheduled delivery time. Families may find their estimated delivery time, by visiting www.kwrl.org. Due to OSPI and USDA requirements, all children who need meals must either be present at the time of meal pickup/delivery or a parent/guardian may provide their name and phone number so school staff can verify the number of children living at the home using Skyward Family Access data.
The food service program is largely funded by the USDA’s National School Lunch and Breakfast Program
The district’s food services program is largely funded by the federal government through the National School Lunch and Breakfast Program’s Summer Food Service Program administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
For additional questions on Food Service or to learn more about how Woodland Public Schools continues educating our students during the statewide closure, visit the district’s School Closure HQ website at: https://www.woodlandschools.org/o/district/page/covid-19-updates
Woodland community passes replacement
Educational Programs & Operations (EP&O) Levy
Thank you, Woodland!
Wednesday, April 29, 2020
Dear Woodland Community,
I am incredibly humbled by and feel immense pride for the ongoing support and dedication the Woodland community continues to show for its neighborhood schools.
Despite a time of global crises resulting from the COVID-19 novel coronavirus – both health and economic – Woodland has once again demonstrated that ensuring our children receive the best possible preparation for life after high school remains one of our community’s top priorities by voting to pass the school replacement levy.
While the funds provided by this levy remain instrumental in providing our community’s children with access to the high-quality education they need to achieve their dreams, let me assure you that your school board of directors and entire district staff are well aware of the sacrifices our community’s taxpayers continue to make in order to provide this opportunity.
Your sacrifice is not one we take lightly.
Your school district’s board of directors has promised that no matter what happens to the economy in the following three years, the actual levy rate for the replacement levy will not exceed the estimated rates. In fact, the board of directors officially passed resolution 20-03 on Monday, March 10 to officially guarantee the actual rate will not exceed the following estimates:
- TY2021: $2.37 per $1,000 of assessed property value
- TY2022: $2.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value
- TY2023: $2.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value
As we all venture forward in the ongoing war against COVID-19, I want to assure you that your neighborhood schools and staff will continue to provide the services our community needs while innovating to ensure our children receive the education they deserve, whether that be in-person or via remote learning.
Once again, I thank you all for your support of your neighborhood schools. Woodland’s ongoing tradition of supporting strong schools remains strong in the face of the most historic and challenging of obstacles.
Michael Z. Green
Superintendent – Woodland Public Schools
The 30th Annual WHS FFA Plant Sale must go on... online, that is!
Tuesday, April 28, 2020
The 30th Annual WHS FFA Plant Sale will be held entirely online due to social distancing guidelines.
After careful consideration, we have found a safe way to honor the work our agriculture students invested in the greenhouse. We are pleased to announce the 30th Annual WHS FFA Plant Sale pick up will take place Wednesday, May 6 through Friday, May 8.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Plant Sale will be offered ONLINE ONLY with a scheduled pick up time along Robinson Avenue.
It's as easy as: Order Online, Pay Online, Drive up, Pick up!
Students will be involved virtually - communicating with the public, creating marketing materials, supporting sales, and managing inventory.
A link will be provided April 29 to the Online Order Platform which includes: quick ordering of products, scheduling and pick up options and instructions, and online payment. Please contact Kendra Pearce at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Stay tuned to the dedicated 30 th Annual Plant Sale Website for additional information: https://bit.ly/WHSPlantSale2020
We greatly appreciate your ongoing support of the WHS FFA!
The 30th Annual WHS FFA Plant Sale will be held entirely online due to social distancing guidelines.
Making the Connection: How Woodland’s teachers and families
maintain the social aspect of school while learning remotely
Monday, April 27, 2020
Teachers throughout the district use video conferencing through Google Classroom to help maintain some of the social aspects of school even while learning remotely
Woodland teachers and families use technology and online learning to help maintain the social elements of school in addition to teaching the academic lessons.
Throughout the district in all grades K-12, teachers and parents have been working together during the statewide school closure to ensure students learn remotely. However, the emotional impacts of not seeing classmates and friends can have negative effects on children’s ability to stay attentive or positive. In order to combat these potential negative effects of staying isolated, teachers and parents throughout Woodland have found ways to continue making the vital social connection during the closure.
At North Fork Elementary School, teachers use the Google Classroom cloud-based application to hold class sessions and engage with their students. “I read stories to my students and then the students take the opportunity to share one thing they like about learning from home,” said Amy Craig, a 1st and 2nd grade teacher at North Fork who holds weekly read-aloud classes with her students every Friday. “Students are always excited to see each other and kept waving at each other.”
At Woodland Middle School, teachers use video conferencing to introduce different elements into their sessions to keep engaged and feeling social. Kelly Beasley, a pre-algebra and physical education teacher, invites students to have themed days such as “Hat Day” or “Bring Your Pet to Class” day. “We had 18 kids participate in the video class along with a bunch of dogs, five kitten, two pigs, and a giant teddy bear,” said Kelly. “The kids really miss the social piece of school, and I’ve had parents tell me these video meetings are the highlight of their kids’ weeks; mine, too!”
Liz Vallaire’s kindergartner, Harper, and second grader, Zoey, use video conferencing to receive assignments and stay connected with their teachers
Elizabeth “Liz” Vallaire, TEAM High School’s math and science teacher, uses video conferencing so her two children, Harper in kindergarten and Zoey in second grade, can connect with their teachers every Wednesday. “The girls’ teachers give me advice on what subjects I can work on next with them,” said Liz. “However, the girls especially love sharing what’s going on in their lives with their teachers, plus my kids enjoy the virtual tours their teachers give them of their workplace.”
Angie Plocharsky, a Woodland parent, appreciates the technological resources provided by the district and how she can keep her children working on their studies. “We are able to use the two Chromebooks our school loaned us to keep the kids engaged in learning,” said Angie. “Our teachers have done a great job of explaining how to access Google Classroom for learning.”
Angie Plocharsky’s children use Google Classroom and iReady to stay up with home learning including science such as her second grader creating a solar system Venn Diagram
In addition, Angie utilizes some of the other free resources the district offers including iReady, an online learning platform for English Language Arts and Mathematics. “I love that the programs are already set up for my kids’ knowledge level,” said Angie. “Thanks again for all the hard work and dedication the staff has made to help home learning be successful for us all!”
Woodland fourth grader uses sewing and math skills learned in school and home
to make Personal Protective Equipment for friends and family
Friday, April 24, 2020
Logan Gnade, a 4th grader at North Fork Elementary School, used math and sewing to design patterns and sew face masks for friends and family
Logan Gnade, a fourth-grade student at North Fork Elementary School, uses mathematics combined with sewing skills he learned from his teacher Patti Cutler to make face masks at home.
Since the statewide school closure, Logan took the skills he learned in class to the next level by designing and cutting out a pattern to sew facemasks from an old pair of pajamas. In addition to more-advanced sewing skills, Logan used math he learned at school to make the proper calculations to ensure his face masks would fit his friends and family properly. “He calculated a quarter-inch seam allowance where needed throughout the pattern, spaced out uniform stitches a quarter-inch-apart, and made all the necessary adjustments to ensure his pattern would work,” explained Patti. “He was also careful to observe the safety skills I teach in class to prevent any injuries from sewing needles which include keeping needles in fabric when putting down a project.”
Logan Gnade designed face mask patterns for different wearers of different sizes and age groups
Patti uses her background working as an apparel patternmaker for Nike to develop projects and teach her students life skills. “Sewing is a great way to practice practical mathematics skills including measurement and fractions,” said Patti. “In addition, sewing improves hand-eye coordination, increases dexterity, relieves stress, and improves focus and patience.”
Since the school closure started in March, Patti and the rest of her fourth-grade team develop home-learning lessons for their students centered around core subjects each week. “We want to keep our students engaged with learning by encouraging them to participate in a variety of activities that don’t involve screen-time, too much of which can cause eye strain and exhaustion,” she said. “Our team creates and designs projects to help students meet standards using step-by-step directions with kid-friendly language.”
In addition to sewing projects, teachers create activities including scavenger hunts, skip-counting while exercising, finding math problems in everyday life such measuring ingredients while cooking, going outside to plant a garden, or creating arts and crafts. “We also make fun videos for our students including teachers reading-aloud, demonstrating a variety of projects, or teaching strategies for growth,” said Patty.
To help reduce the emotional impact from the school closure and Stay-at-Home order, Woodland’s teachers also hold class meetings using Google Classroom’s Meets application. “Students stay connected with their friends and continue to feel the bond of our classroom community,” said Patti. “In addition, sharing the projects they’re working on encourages their classmates to try new ideas.”
Transitioning in-class learning to remote home-based projects presents incredible challenges for all of Woodland’s teachers. “None of us expected to teach online for the remainder of the school year but maintaining a positive attitude and a flexible mindset has been key to making the online transition as smooth as possible,” said Patti. “Woodland’s technology experts have been amazing to help navigate the pitfalls of making the quick jump to online learning; they have been working feverishly to help make technology accessible to our families and to make it as easy as possible for parents to become our learning partners with their children.”
Whether learning in-class or remotely, Patti emphasizes the importance of adding variety to how students learn. “Core subject learning is important, however practical hands-on projects provide invaluable lessons about community, family, civic responsibility, and social health,” she said. “These central components of human life can also be woven into the curriculum we teach our students.”
Woodland’s special education teachers innovate
to engage their students
in home learning
Thursday, April 23, 2020
Judah Taylor, a student at Columbia Elementary School, talks with his teachers during a video call
Special Education Teachers in Woodland Public Schools use technology, photos, and home-focused lesson plans to ensure their special needs students develop the social, cognitive, and fundamental skills necessary to succeed while learning remotely.
Some skills can be particularly tricky to teach outside of the classroom. Patricia “Patty” Morgan, a Special Education Teacher at Columbia Elementary School, manages Woodland Public School’s preschool program for special education students. “Children in my classroom have diverse needs with many involving social skills which can be incredibly difficult to teach in a home setting since having classmates around is key to learning how to be social,” she explained. “I’m working directly with my students’ parents to identify the behaviors their children may be exhibiting and using social stories with visuals for them to use at home.”
In her classroom, Patty created a giant Learning Tree from the floor to the ceiling that she changes with the passing of the seasons, adding new woodland creatures which she uses to help her students understand nature science and also engage in learning. When Patty learned schools would be closing, she took pictures of the tree in different phases and seasons to use in weekly messages for parents to share with her students. “My students had been waiting all winter for Brown Bear to wake up from his hibernation so one of my first weekly messages included pictures of him awake in the tree and waving to all his friends,” she said. “Parents reported their children were all so excited to see him awake including students who joined our class after he had begun hibernating in the fall.”
Before the statewide closure, Patty Morgan took pictures of her classroom's floor-to-ceiling Learning Tree in different seasons and with different woodland characters to use in weekly messages and lesson plans for her students
In addition to animals awakening from their winter sleep and springtime activities like bees spreading pollen on flowers to grow fruit, Patty includes a variety of other lessons and activities in her weekly messages to help her students engage with learning from home including learning scavenger hunts, writing assignments, speech lessons, songs, and many more. Patty also arranges video calls with her students so she can check in on their progress and so her students can share the projects they have been working on during their home learning. “Parents have been so grateful,” she said. “I’ve had many share stories of the success they have experienced using these tools.”
For Sarah Taylor, a second-grade teacher at Yale Elementary whose son, Judah, attends Patty’s preschool program, the lessons and one-on-one teacher engagement have not only been key to her son’s ongoing home learning, but also instrumental in helping manage the emotion trauma he experienced when he learned schools were closed for the remainder of the year. “It took Judah a while for the news to sink in that we were not going back to school until Kindergarten,” said Sarah. “When it did, he was devastated and cried, ‘But I love my teachers! I want to see them again.’”
Patty and her paraeducators arranged for a video call to chat with Judah to help him cope with the emotional side-effects of the closure. “They set aside time just for him even with all the work they put in to take care of their special-needs kiddos,” said Sarah. “Judah was so happy and overjoyed to speak with them; as a parent and teacher in our district – I’m so blessed to work with such an awesome staff.”
During the video call, Judah shared everything he had been learning about outer space with his teachers. The teachers sang songs with Judah and discussed the different changes happening outside during springtime. Judah shared his packets of seeds that he intends to plant with his mom. “It was such an uplifting phone call for my little guy,” said Sarah. “We really have some truly amazing teachers in Woodland.”
Woodland Middle School honored as
State Recognized School for two years in a row
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
The State of Washington honored Woodland Middle School for growth and closing gaps
The State of Washington recognized Woodland Middle School for making great strides to improve outcomes for students by closing gaps and demonstrating tremendous growth and achievement for the second year in a row as part of the Washington School Recognition Program.
The State chose to honor Woodland Middle School for showing excellence for closing gaps for one or more student groups at a Targeted Support School along with growth for students in specific subgroups. The middle school was recognized both during the inaugural year of the state’s new recognition system in 2019 but also now in 2020.
Woodland Public Schools has the highest growth rate of student learning across all grades K-12 when compared to all school districts in both Clark and Cowlitz counties. In the 2018-19 school year, 51.7% of Woodland students experienced High Growth in Mathematics compared to the state average of 33.7% and 49.1% of Woodland students experienced High Growth in English Language Arts compared to the state average of 33.6%. “The entire staff of Woodland Public Schools focuses on providing the best educational opportunities for our community’s children,” said Superintendent Michael Green. “The results of this dedicated work shows in our students’ test results and in our schools being recognized for their performance by the state.”
Woodland Middle School was also honored as a State Recognized School in the program's inaugural 2019 year (pictured here)
State Recognized Schools are selected by the Washington State Board of Education (SBE), Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Educational Opportunity Gap Oversight and Accountability Committee (EOGOAC). The state organizations will acknowledge all schools throughout the state who received recognition during the Washington State School Recognition Week from April 27 to May 1, 2020.
“The teachers, staff and students of Woodland Middle School have now demonstrated for two years straight their hard work teaching and learning,” said Superintendent Green. “This recognition acknowledges the incredible dedication of all of Woodland Public Schools’ staff to provide an excellent education for our community’s children.”
How are schools selected to receive State Recognized School awards?
The new approach to recognition recognizes schools making gains in targeted areas as well as those on a path toward overall improvement in achievement and growth. By using three different pathways to recognition, the state seeks to identify schools serving as exemplars of growth and achievement.
The three pathways include:
• Closing Gaps: Schools previously identified for support as a result of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that demonstrate substantial improvement with low-performing student groups.
• Growth: Schools making the largest annual gains on the Washington School Improvement Framework (WSIF) where the gap between the highest and lowest performing student groups is narrowing.
• Achievement: Schools achieving the highest English Language Arts (ELA) and math proficiency, high school graduation rate and School Quality and Student Success (SQSS) measures while also meeting WSIF performance requirements with all students performing at or above 6.0 on the WSIF, a score significantly above the state’s average.
To see the list of schools receiving School Recognition Awards or to learn more about the new school recognition system, visit the State Board of Education’s website: https://www.sbe.wa.gov/2018-19-school-recognition-program
Parents and Guardians: Our partners in student learning.
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
Parents and guardians should not feel they need to be teachers.
They are our learning coaches and our partners in educating their children.
Dear Parents and Guardians,
By now you have seen the many memes about homeschooling: “Homeschooling Day 1: Wondering how I can get a kid transferred out of my class” or “Three hours into homeschooling and one is suspended for skipping class and the other has already been expelled.”
You are not alone! These are challenging times for parents, students, and teachers alike.
The goal of this letter is to share how we will work with you and you with us to help your child to progress in learning during this difficult transition to remote learning.
Please let me assure you that while we do want students to be engaged, we do not expect parents to serve the role of “teachers.” Rather, we want you to view yourselves as “cheerleaders” and “coaches” - encouraging, guiding, and providing the right conditions for your children to be successful.
Our teaching staff is dedicated to teaching and supporting your children remotely. Given the vast variety of circumstances facing each family, the support we provide may vary from family-to-family. Our goal is to encourage, promote, and support ongoing learning however we can for all of our families.
Across all grade levels, we ask parents and guardians, if possible, to support these three objectives:
- If possible, provide a dedicated space for your child to learn. Having a consistent environment, whether a bedroom, kitchen table or some other place where distractions can be limited is important to help students focus.
- Provide a structure or schedule so your child knows what is expected each day. We encourage you to work closely with your child’s teachers to develop an effective schedule.
- Seek regular information from your child’s teacher on your child’s progress. Teachers may use different tools to communicate progress with you, including Skyward, Google Classroom, etc
Each of our schools has provided a dedicated webpage where you can find more information about how to ensure students are connecting with their teachers to receive additional direction and support in their learning.
These webpages can be found from each school’s homepage or from these links:
- Grades K-4: https://www.woodlandschools.org/o/district/page/elementary-expected-learning
- Grades 5-8: https://www.woodlandschools.org/o/district/page/middle-school-learning-expectations
- Woodland High School: https://www.woodlandschools.org/o/district/page/high-school-expected-learning
- TEAM High School: https://www.woodlandschools.org/o/district/page/team-expected-learning
- Lewis River Academy: https://www.woodlandschools.org/o/district/page/LRA-expected-learning
You are not alone in supporting your child’s learning. We encourage you to lean on your child’s teachers to serve as their primary teacher. If you are not getting the support you feel you and your child need, please reach out to your child’s school principal.
Additionally, please feel free to reach out to me directly at email@example.com.
We are all in this together and your schools are here for you.
Superintendent – Woodland Public Schools
Woodland’s teachers break down the virtual barriers
of remote teaching and learning
Monday, April 20, 2020
Jazmin Rebstock, a kindergarten teacher at North Fork Elementary School, created videos
to guide her students through lesson plans
Woodland Public Schools’ teachers and staff revamp in-class lessons and develop multiple approaches to adapt to the new normal of remote teaching and learning. At Woodland’s elementary schools, staff ensure the district’s youngest students continue learning the fundamental building blocks of reading, writing, and math during the statewide school closure.
In order to fit lessons with families from all walks of life and technology capability, Woodland’s teachers prepare remote learning lesson plans in both online and offline formats. Jazmin Rebstock, a kindergarten teacher at North Fork Elementary School, wanted to offer her students a way to connect with her even if they could not see her in-person. “I wanted to film myself teaching so my students could see me and hear my voice,” she said. “When we were preparing lessons packets, I decided to film one video for each content area so my young students could receive visual and audio guidance throughout their lessons.”
Woodland’s teachers experiment with new techniques to continue developing and honing their skills at teaching remotely. “Everyone – parents, students, and teachers – is learning how to educate and promote student engagement virtually now,” she said. “In my video read-alouds, I try to pick silly books, create voices, and make learning fun; it’s a challenge to make sure I can reach my kiddos through this virtual wall.
In her videos, Jazmin uses visual aids, models, and guides students through the lessons by asking them to pause the video, finish the work for that lesson, and then restart the video from that point. Jazmin emphasizes that parents should act like learning coaches and not feel pressured to replace teachers. “I make sure my videos focus on curriculum content with simple directions for parents and students to follow,” she said. “I want to avoid feeling like I’m asking parents to reinvent the wheel when it comes to instruction; instruction is the teacher’s job.”
Carter Mullikin, a kindergarten student in Jazmin’s class, works on lessons
as he follows along with Jazmin’s video instruction
Just like with traditional classroom learning, student engagement during remote learning remains a top priority. In order to make remote learning work, teachers work with parents to create a teaching and learning team. “Partnering with parents and having their support is key to making remote education work,” said Jazmin. “I regularly have pep talks via video conferencing with parents on how to promote and enhance student engagement.”
Using the myriad of technological tools and online resources for remote teaching can present a daunting challenge for the most tech-savvy IT professional, but Woodland’s teachers have ramped up their efforts to take on the task since the start of the closure. “I’m not particularly tech-savvy, generally,” said Jazmin. “This experience has offered great opportunities for me to practice the growth mindset of always being open to learning new things.”
Given the limitations of access to online learning in rural communities like Woodland, the district’s teachers ensure to offer a variety of learning opportunities. “Several families in my class don’t have Internet access or easy ways to get a hold of resources, so making sure I reach all of my students continues to remain an important priority,” said Jazmin. “Woodland’s school staffs work as teams to make sure families can get access to learning opportunities in multiple ways; I’ve greatly appreciated the help I’ve received from the district and my colleagues to get ahold of families.”
Many families have expressed concerns feeling pressured to act as home teachers. Woodland Public Schools encourages parents to serve as learning coaches, partnering with the district’s teachers, not replacing them. “Engage in more play-based learning than a typical school day and don’t feel guilty for taking time to play with your kiddos,” said Jazmin. “While curriculum-based content is important, parents and guardians can make an impact by letting their kids learn through play and bonding experiences like gardening, cooking, and playing board games – it’s okay to embrace the fact that learning at home looks different than learning at school.”
Woodland students invited to show off their artistic skill and creativity
during The Great Woodland Chalk Out
Friday, April 17, 2020
Students are encouraged to use sidewalk chalk to create art and games during The Great Woodland Chalk Out
The Great Woodland Chalk Out offers Woodland students the opportunity to develop their artistic skills while also enjoying the outside. Students are encouraged to use the sidewalk chalk to draw pictures and games on driveways and sidewalks around Woodland from now until April 24 (while following social distancing guidelines, of course), and send photos of their work for display in an online art gallery.
Nicole Caulfield, Woodland Middle School’s art teacher, organized the delivery of sidewalk chalk with the daily delivery of meals on school buses. “While some kids have art supplies at home, I know many don’t,” she said. “I wanted to think of a project I could send all ages that everyone could use to create art.”
Nicole Caulfield, WMS Art Teacher, arranged for sidewalk chalk to be delivered to students with the district's meal delivery food service
In order to stay connected with her students and engage them in learning, Nicole has been using Google Classroom, a cloud-connected service designed specifically for teaching and learning. “I post art projects, activities, and videos to the online classroom,” she said. “It’s a great way to interact with the students as they can chat with me and their classmates using the service’s comment system.”
With the statewide school closure, Woodland’s teachers know their students may be suffering emotionally and many are simply bored. “I want to reach out to our students using any way possible to engage them and let them know things will be okay,” she said. “Since art is an elective, this work is optional and students need to remember to focus on finishing their core subject material first, however, art can offer ways for students to express their creativity and re-energize by using different parts of their brains.”
Nicole offers a variety of different art projects using media ranging from colored pencils and chalk to recyclable materials and things found in nature. “Coming up with activities and projects students can do with very limited supplies is definitely a big challenge,” she said. “Our students are engaging in my daily drawing challenge while also making incredibly creative art projects from things lying around their homes or yards.”
Any Woodland student can participate in the Great Woodland Chalk Out:
For students who didn’t receive a sidewalk chalk delivery, you can make your own chalk at home using household supplies. One website with recipes is: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-Homemade-Chalk.
Once you’ve created your chalk artwork, simply email photos of your chalk artwork (students don’t need to be in the photos but can be if they want) to Nicole Caulfield at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit the Great Woodland Chalk Out art gallery to see all the amazing artwork at: https://bit.ly/TheGreatWoodlandChalkOut
WMS/WHS parent offers advice to help coach kids
to stay engaged with learning during closure
Thursday, April 16, 2020
Colton Hall, a tenth grader at Woodland High School, works on a math test at home
Tammy Hall, a Woodland parent adapting to the new normal of serving as her two sons’ learning coach, recommends using district resources and relying on teachers to help kids stay engaged with school during the statewide closure.
Tammy’s sons Chase and Colton are in seventh and tenth grade, respectively. Having kids attending two different schools might seem like a challenge, but Tammy finds using all the resources available to parents helped her kids develop learning habits at home. “Woodland’s teachers are working hard to make it as easy as possible for kids to learn at home,” she said. “If parents are having difficulties, don’t hesitate to reach out to teachers and even classmates for help and use all of the resources available.”
Creating a schedule provides an essential learning structure for kids learning at home. “A routine is really important to keep kids from going into a slump,” said Tammy. “Being consistent each day helps the entire family stay focused.”
Tammy’s sons appreciate connecting with their teachers using online resources and the Internet. “Chase was really excited when he started receiving videos from his middle school English teacher, Ronda Oathes,” she said. “Those videos are the highlight of his day.”
Even with guidance and support from teachers, the statewide school closure can impact students emotionally. Parents should encourage their kids to connect with teachers and friends using email, Google Classroom, or just over the phone. “Both Chase and Colton miss seeing their friends and teachers,” said Tammy. “Colton was on the baseball team and really misses playing.”
While all kids should remain engaged with learning during the closure, each family will approach learning differently and parents should not feel pressured to become teachers. Parents can rely on teachers and schools to provide the lessons while they focus on giving their kids a dedicated place in the home to learn and provide a daily structure. “This is a crazy and difficult time right now with things changing so fast for everyone,” said Tammy. “I just have to remember we’re not the only ones going through this – it’s affecting everyone, so we just need to try to make the best of it.”
Keep up the great work, Tammy!
Woodland High School senior uses geometry and other math skills
to build porches and decks
Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Mara Reese, a senior at Woodland High School, and her dad, Eric Reese,
measure and cut lumber to build a deck and stairs for the family home
Mara Reese, a senior at Woodland High School, used geometry and other math skills she learned from Keith Clevenger, a math teacher at WHS, to work on construction projects for her family with her dad, Eric Reese.
Mara regularly works on small construction projects around the family home including building a back porch, helping build her grandmother’s deck, and constructing shelves and clothing bars for her closet.
Mara uses the geometry and other math skills she learned from WHS Teacher Keith Clevenger, to accurately measure, cut, and build construction projects with her dad
During the statewide closure, these projects help her extend her learning. “I’ve been working on developing habits to continue learning during the closure,” she said. “As a Running Start student, all of my classes continued online, so I had to do a lot of studying for finals, but I’ve also been baking, gardening, reading, riding my bike and doing yoga.”
For Mara, social interaction with her friends and school events are a few of the things she misses the most when dealing with the “new normal” of remote learning, “I miss my friends and I had been looking to being a part of spring senior class activities and graduation.”
After graduating this year, Mara plans to attend Pacific Lutheran University to earn a Bachelor of Art studying Vocal Performance.
Keep up the great work, Mara!
Fourth grader dissects frog during home science lab
Tuesday, April 14, 2020
Bladyn Silveria, a 4th grader at Columbia Elementary School performed a frog dissection at home
Bladyn Silveria, a fourth-grade student at Columbia Elementary School, performed a dissection on a frog purchased from a science supply vendor during a home learning lesson.
“I’m incredibly proud of Bladyn for seeking out such a rich scientific experience,” said Tina Hood, Bladyn’s teacher. “Bladyn identified the different anatomy and organs of the frog as he dissected it, just as any student would during a standard biology lab.”
Keep up the great home learning, Bladyn!
Woodland Public Schools identifies $3,000,000 in cuts
if replacement levy fails April election
Monday, April 13, 2020
If the community fails to pass a replacement levy, the board must make
$3,000,000 in budget cuts for the upcoming school year.
Woodland Public Schools’ Board of Directors identified $3,000,000 in cuts to educational programs and services that must be made if the community doesn’t approve the district’s replacement Educational Programs and Operations (EP&O) levy on the ballot for April during a board workshop on Wednesday, April 8, 2020.
In addition to budget reductions to nearly every program district-wide, the failure to replace the existing levy will result in nearly 50 school employees losing their jobs. “There is no cut on the list that won’t substantially hurt student education in our community,” Superintendent Michael Green instructed the board at the start of the meeting. “These cuts will reduce staff and drastically hamper efforts to maintain the county-leading growth in student learning our district has enjoyed in recent years.”
Board members scrutinized every program over the course of nearly three hours to develop the following list of program reductions and eliminations that will happen for the 2020-21 school year if the community doesn’t pass the replacement levy on April 28:
- Eliminate two (2) or more Teaching Positions in grades 4-12
- Eliminate one (1) teacher at Yale School (0.6 FTE)
- Eliminate twelve (12) paraprofessional/Program Specialist positions
- Eliminate 2-3 Classified support positions at Yale School
- Eliminate Elementary School Social Worker/Counselor positions
- Eliminate nine (9) custodial positions
- Eliminate two (2) building-level secretarial positions
- Eliminate ALE secretarial position (0.5 FTE)
- Replace Assistant Principal with Dean of Students at middle school
- Eliminate Vocal Music Accompanist position
Learning Support Program Reductions
- Eliminate one (1) School Psychologist position
- Eliminate Physical Therapist position
- Eliminate one (1) certificated and two (2) classified positions from ELL Program
Extracurricular and Athletic Program Reductions
- Reduce high school athletics program to Varsity and Junior Varsity only
- Reduce District Athletic Director 0.4 FTE
- Reduce coaching staff by 20%
- Double athletic participation fees
- Eliminate extracurricular transportation for all clubs and sports
- All equipment and officials must be paid by ASB student fundraising
District-wide Support Program Reductions
- Eliminate two-and-a-half (2.5) Administrative Support positions
- Eliminate the Truancy Specialist position
- Eliminate the Behavior Support Specialist position
- Eliminate two (2) full-time Maintenance & Grounds positions
- Eliminate all new curriculum expenditures
- Reduce Staff Professional Development
- Eliminate Assistant Superintendent position
- Reduce Technology Budget by 33%
- Reduce in Communications Supports by 50%
- Increase WCC Childcare Fees
Since the school’s budget year (September-August) does not run concurrent with the calendar year, the half-year of levy funding received in 2020 will be distributed throughout the 2020-2021 school year, resulting in the need for $3,000,000 in cuts instead of $5,000,000 for 2020-2021.
However, if a replacement levy isn’t passed, the board will need to cut an additional $2,400,000 in programs and services from the 2021-22 school year budget in addition to the cuts listed above to stay within the funding requirements for the district.
“The Board understands that these are unprecedented times and many of our families are under significant economic stress, however, if the community chooses not to pass the replacement levy, our schools will not be able to continue to provide the same high-quality educational opportunities which have led to our district seeing the strongest student performance growth in both Clark and Cowlitz counties,” said Superintendent Green. “Woodland has a long tradition of supporting and valuing the education we provide our community’s children, and we hope the voters will continue that tradition this April.”
The special election for Woodland Public Schools’ replacement levy is April 28 with ballots already mailed to registered voters. Community members can register to vote anytime up until April 20 online at: https://voter.votewa.gov/WhereToVote.aspx.
Community members unable to register online can contact their respective counties' election offices:
For more information about Woodland Public Schools’ replacement levy, visit the district’s website at: https://www.woodlandschools.org/levy-2020 or call the district office at (360) 841-2700.
Board of Directors guarantees replacement levy rates not to exceed estimates
Sunday, April 12, 2020
Woodland Public Schools' Replacement Levy election is Tuesday, April 28 with ballots sent on April 10
Woodland Public Schools’ Board of Directors approved a resolution guaranteeing the maximum levy tax rates for the April replacement levy will not exceed the estimated rates in a regular board meeting on Monday, March 10.
In a demonstration of the district's ongoing dedication to fiscal responsibility, the directors unanimously passed Resolution 20-03, guaranteeing the rates for the district’s replacement levy will not exceed the estimated rates of $2.37 in 2021, $2.36 in 2022, and $2.36 in 2023.
Woodland’s replacement levy on the ballot April 28 is not a new tax nor will it increase the levy rate from the current levy which expires at the end of 2020. Taxpayers will pay the same tax rate per $1,000 of assessed value next year as they do this year if the replacement levy passes.
If the replacement levy doesn’t pass, the district must cut $3,000,00 in educational programs and services for the upcoming 2020-21 school year which may include the following levy-funded programs:
- Fewer school staff - teachers, nurses, counselors, class aides, custodians, secretaries, maintenance staff - means larger class sizes and poorly-maintained facilities.
- No more extracurricular clubs could mean no art, music, athletics or any other after-school club or activity.
- No more Advanced Placement or specialized courses means fewer opportunities for academic advancement.
- Reductions to school bus transportation means longer bus rides for all students.
- No more up-to-date curriculum or technology means unprepared graduates after high school.
- No more summer school means no way for students to recover missed credits.
- No Family Community Resource Center means leaving students and families in need with no options for employment, housing, or food.
- No investment in academic growth means eliminating all of the progress Woodland has seen over recent years and potentially poor test scores for all grades.
The district will not need to cut the full $5,000,000 in levy funding received from the expiring levy as half of the expiring levy's funding will be generated in the last half of 2020. That funding will be distributed throughout the 2020-21 school year, necessitating $3,000,000 in cuts rather than $5,000.000.
However, if the community does not approve a replacement levy, the district must cut $5,400,000 from the budget in 2021-22 with increasing cuts each subsequent year.
The special election for Woodland Public Schools’ replacement levy is April 28 with ballots scheduled to be mailed to voters on April 10. Community members can register to vote anytime up until April 20 online at: https://voter.votewa.gov/WhereToVote.aspx. Community members can also register to vote in-person at their county’s election office up until 8 p.m. on April 28, Election Night.
For more information about Woodland Public Schools’ replacement levy, visit the district’s website at: https://www.woodlandschools.org/levy-2020 or call the district office at (360) 841-2700.
Trucker donates enough food to serve more than 1,000 meals to Woodland’s children as thank-you for Woodland High School truck stop
Friday, April 10, 2020
Russell Thomas (pictured) donated 52 cases of breakfast sandwiches to Business Manager Stacy Brown (right) and Food Services Director Laura Perry (left)
Russell Thomas, a long-haul trucker for John Christner Trucking (JCT) knew that Woodland Public Schools was providing a free rest stop for all truckers by opening Woodland High School’s facilities free-of-charge for drivers in the vital trucking industry to use during the travels north and south on the Interstate 5 corridor.
When a client refused delivery of a shipment of frozen breakfast sandwiches, Russell decided to give back by donating the sandwiches to Woodland Public Schools for use in their daily food service. “I’m just so grateful to the district for helping truckers,” he said. “I wanted to help Woodland’s students and community.”
Russell Thomas delivered the 52 cases of food directly to the district's food preparation center
Rather than simply drop the 52 cases of sandwiches at the high school, Russell quite literally went the extra mile by delivering them directly to the district’s middle school where all food prep takes place for the 2,000+ meals served to children in need every weekday during the statewide school closure. Business Manager Stacy Brown said the number of sandwiches will supply more than 1,000 meals for our community's children.
The 52 cases of breakfast sandwiches will provide over meals for more than 1,000 of Woodland's children
To learn more about John Christner Trucking, you can visit their website at www.johnchristner.com.
Thank you for thinking of us, Russell, and thank you for the critical work you perform every day, but particularly during the era of COVID-19 prevention!
Woodland Public Schools welcomes Board Director Tom Guthrie for Director District 5
Thursday, April 9, 2020
Board Director Tom Guthrie (Director District 5) with his family
Woodland Public Schools appointed Tom Guthrie as the interim board representative for Director District 5 during a regular board meeting on Monday, March 23, 2020.
Serving as board member for Woodland’s schools isn’t the first time Guthrie has served in a leadership role for an organization during tough economic times. “I served on the board of directors for my community church for six years including during the Great Recession from 2008-2009,” he said. “I have experience helping organizations get through economic struggle – you have to figure out what your top priorities are.”
Guthrie’s wife and children take part in a variety of extracurricular activities and volunteer opportunities throughout Woodland Public Schools, however, he never considered becoming a board member until he was approached by Superintendent Michael Green. “For me, if there’s a way for me to help our schools, I want to do it,” said Guthrie. “Woodland has excellent teachers, and if you have excellent teachers, your schools will offer the community’s children an excellent education.”
Guthrie’s top priority for schools are the safety of the students followed very closely by providing a great education. “One of the main reasons we moved to Woodland was for the quality schools,” he said. “The teachers and staff just care so much about our kids.”
The family nature of how the staff of Woodland Public Schools treats their students had such an impact on the Guthries’ oldest daughter that she chose to take classes at Woodland High School rather than participate in the Running Start college course program. “She realized that taking part in Running Start would mean leaving her teachers at the high school and she decided not to do that,” said Guthrie. “She says she’s never regretted making that decision even for an instant.”
In addition to the Guthries’ oldest daughter, a senior at Woodland High School, the family has two daughters attending North Fork Elementary School, a fourth grader and a second grader. Once again, Guthrie points to the Woodland community’s family feel as the reason his family moved here 16 years ago. “We were so tightly packed in a small starter home in Vancouver and wanted to be somewhere a closer-knit family feel as well as some property,” he said. “That’s when we decided to come out to Woodland in October of 2004.”
Guthrie’s educational background includes an associate degree in Biblical Studies received from Northwest Christian College (now Northwest Christian University) in Eugene, Oregon follow by a bachelor’s degree in human resources with a focus on negotiation and motivation from Washington State University in Vancouver.
Both Guthrie and his wife work for Clark Public Utilities, helping to ensure the area’s utilities continue to serve the community. Guthrie works with the 24-hour dispatch response team while his wife works in the social services department of the company.
In his spare time, Guthrie coaches the fourth-grade basketball team and intends to continue coaching them as they head into fifth grade. He also enjoys raising chickens for eggs on his property, going hiking in the mountains, and visiting the beach. “We just love living in Woodland and the Pacific Northwest,” he said.
American Sign Language students at Woodland High School
use sign to introduce their pets
Wednesday, April 8, 2020
Students in Kim Novak’s American Sign Language (ASL) class used sign to introduce and describe their pets
Students enrolled in American Sign Language (ASL) at Woodland High School have always used their Chromebooks and cloud computing to complete their assignments, so when the state closed schools to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, Kim Novak, Woodland High School’s ASL Teacher, immediately came up with ideas to engage with her students and continue student learning.
Since ASL is inherently a visual language, Kim’s students have always used Chromebook computers to film their assignments, submitting their finished projects via cloud computing over the Internet. By reviewing videos rather than in-class demonstrations, Kim’s able to efficiently grade all of her students without requiring the entire class to wait as each student demonstrates proficiency. “With no written component other than English, the visual requirement of ASL means I can’t watch each student all the time in-class, so I’ve always need students to film themselves so I can monitor their progress and offer instruction,” explained Kim.
With her students now learning from home, Kim decided to use the relocation as a strength in a project with students in her ASL 1 class who had already been working on a unit featuring pets. “The unit focuses on students using the skills they are developing in ASL to share details about their pets using entirely sign language,” said Kim. “However, since my students are home, I thought it would be fun for them to introduce their pets to me ‘live’ as they describe them with sign language.”
In addition to cats and dogs, some ASL students introduced more exotic animals like pet pigs
Students shared videos of their cats, dogs, and even pigs and other pets. “One student had a variety of pets – including a pig – who I was able to ‘meet’ first-hand through her video introduction,” said Kim. “I really enjoyed seeing the responses from my students.”
Great job, Kim, and keep up the great projects, students!
Welcome Dr. Phillip Pearson as
the Principal of Woodland High School starting 2020-21
Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Dr. Phillip Pearson will be WHS's new principal when John Shoup relocates at the end of the 2019-20 school year
Woodland Public Schools proudly announces their selection of Phillip Pearson as Principal of Woodland High School beginning in the upcoming 2020-21 school year. Pearson accepted the position on Wednesday, March 25 when Superintendent Michael Green notified him of his selection.
Pearson currently serves as the principal of Corbett High School located in Corbett, Oregon. He started his career in Corbett in 2000 as a math and science teacher before taking on a variety of administrative roles including middle school principal and director of technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Oregon, a Master of Science degree from Oregon Graduate Institute (now a part of OHSU), and both Master and Doctorate of Education degrees from Portland State University.
The thriving Woodland community attracted Pearson to apply for the high school principal position. “At the outset, it was really apparent that Woodland High School is a busy and happening place with lots going on,” he said. “The test scores also tell a positive story of students and staff who are keen on seeing every student reach for their highest aspirations; that’s something that motivates me from my boots.”
Due to the statewide school closure for the novel coronavirus COVID-19, the principal interview process involved a hybrid of in-person interviews observing appropriate social distancing guidelines and virtual interviews with some interviewers participating online via videoconferencing. For Superintendent Michael Green, Pearson was the clear choice, “Phil was clearly the top candidate from a strong field of applicants for his position,” said Green. “His success in Corbett is a testament to the strong leadership he will bring to Woodland High School; we are incredibly excited to have attracted Dr. Pearson to Woodland.”
As Pearson met with WHS staff throughout the interview process, he realized Woodland was where he wanted to be, particularly noting that current Principal John Shoup who is relocating at the end of the school year had been the school’s principal for 22 years, an indication of someone who loves where they work by any measure. “Woodland School District is filled with high-quality individuals who care deeply about the work they’re doing, all the way from the superintendent to the staff and to the students,” Pearson said. “This is a school where I can help build big dreams and aspirations for kids, where I can serve with team members who start every day with their feet on the gas pedal, and where I can learn and grow as a person and professional; what else could a person ask for?”
Pearson and his wife plan to move north to be closer to the Woodland community, however they currently reside equidistant between Corbett and Woodland with their 16-year-old daughter, Elie. “Our daughter will decide where she wants to finish her high school career and we’ll honor whatever decision she makes,” he said. “She’s very much a young woman with a mind of her own.”
When he’s not working, Pearson enjoys swimming, biking, and hiking. “I’m also a pretty avid reader of presidential history – history, in general, really, and I’m slowly learning carpentry and woodworking,” he said. “I sneak off to Home Depot occasionally to buy another tool; my favorite is my pneumatic-finish nailer.”
Woodland’s rural location also caught Pearson’s eye who grew up in Minnesota’s countryside. “When I was in Kindergarten, I rode a horse to my bus stop,” he remembered. “Those early experiences on the farm played a big part in forming my outlook and are probably why I find myself looking for big open space to live, work, and play.”
Woodland parent-teacher uses video conferencing to create a team learning solution
Monday, April 6, 2020
Brody Brewer, a second grader at North Fork Elementary School, works with his cousin to learn how sand is made on the website Mystery Science
The statewide school closure has inspired new parent-teachers to find new ways for their students to work on assignments with “classmates.”
Jessica Brewer, a Woodland parent, arranges for her son Brody, a second grader at North Fork Elementary School, to work on assignments with his cousin Logan, a first grader who lives in Renton, Washington. By using a combination of video conferencing and free educational websites like Mystery Science, Brody and Logan can learn together while still maintaining social distancing.
The social dynamic of learning with a classmate makes a big difference for Brody and Logan. “Since we’re all in this together, the more we can work together, the more resources we’ll have to teach our kids,” said Jessica. “My sister and I came up with this idea to have our sons work on projects– they have so much fun when they do it ‘together.’”
Jessica recommends reaching out to others for assistance, even if it must stay on the Internet. “I have found talking with family and friends has been a huge help during this time,” she said. “In addition, working with others, doing projects, and playing outside can help change up the day a bit.”
Keep coming up with great ideas, Jessica and Brody!
Physical Education and Tips for Staying in Shape during the Stay-at-Home Order
Sunday, April 5, 2020
Ethan Farrant (Freshman) demonstrates the FITT Principle and 5 Components of Fitness while working out at home
Mark Greenleaf, a Physical Education Teacher at Woodland High School, distributed physical documents and content via Google Classroom for his students to learn the elements of proper physical health while working out home.
Two key elements in staying healthy are the FITT Principle and the 5 Components of Fitness. “We stress these two concepts each and a every day in my PE classes,” said Greenleaf. “They are the basis for all my classes regardless of your current fitness level.”
The FITT Principle teaches students that in order to receive any benefit from exercising. FITT is an acronym meaning:
- Frequency: In order to experience effective fitness, you must workout at least 3-4 days a week
- Intensity: To have an impact, the exercise must get your heartrate within 60-90% of the maximum beats-per-minute for your age
- Time: You must work out for a minimum of 12 minutes for any effect
- Type: The type of exercise such as jogging, walking, calisthenics, or weight training
The 5 Components of Fitness are:
- Body Composition: The ratio of body fat to lean body tissue which can be improved through proper diet and an exercise regiment composed of the FITT Principle
- Cardiovascular Endurance: The heart’s ability to supply oxygen to the body in order to continue an activity over a period of time which includes activities like running or jogging; swimming; cycling; walking; dancing; and climbing or walking up and down stairs.
- Muscular Endurance: The muscular system’s ability to perform repeated contractions over a period of time which includes push-ups, sit-ups, planks, etc.
- Flexibility: The range of motion of a joint involved in stretching, calisthenics, yoga, and agility training
Ethan Farrant shared a video of his workout with us to demonstrate these two concepts. “Ethan is a very motivated and hard worker in my class every day,” said Mark. “He is a prime example of a student who has improved since the beginning of the school year who will continue to improve doing these workouts at home – I’m very proud of Ethan and his efforts.”
For Ethan, physical education is more about how he feels afterward. “While working out, it can be hard to keep pushing myself even though it’s fun to see what I can push myself to do,” he said. “However, I like the way it makes me feel afterward – it makes me feel better about my physical appearance and I am able to do a lot of things during the day easier than if I didn’t work out.”
Great job, Mark and Ethan – maybe your tips can help all of us stay in shape during the statewide closure!
Tips for home learning from a brand-new parent-teacher
Saturday, March 4, 2020
Scarlett and Piper Hadaller work on projects like math posters
Sarah Hadaller, administrative secretary for the district, has been balancing her work duties with teaching her two daughters, Scarlett (3rd grade) and Piper (Kindergarten). Just like all the other families in Woodland, adapting to the “New Normal” takes time and effort.
Sarah uses a variety of online and offline resources to keep her girls learning. Both Scarlett and Piper use the iReady and EPIC online software (free for all families) to work on English Language Arts and mathematics. In addition to online work, Sarah’s girls pick books to read and make projects like creating math posters so not all their learning is done in front of a screen.
Free online resources like iReady and EPIC can be valuable tools of instruction
In order to be an effective parent-teacher, Sarah recommends avoiding spending too much time on Facebook. “I feel like I see all these positive experiences and posts on Facebook which make me feel like I’m not doing as good a job as a parent as I should,” she explained. “I'm working hard to pay more attention on how to do the best job we can do together - my girls and me - and how to navigate through this learning-at-home time.”
Physical offline projects like art and math posters provide ways to learn while also unplugging
Breaking up the day can also be key to managing the stress levels that come from both working and teaching from home. “The highlight of our day – mine included – is going out to the bus for meal delivery,” said Sarah. “The kids run into the house to see what is in the food bag each day, and, then naturally, the negotiations begin for deals between the two for different food - ‘do you want my pudding?’ ‘sure, but you can’t have my bagel for it…’.”
Making deals during food negotiations are a favorite time for Sarah's girls
For young children, home-schooling may be confusing. “The girls are stressed about not being allowed to go to school and they don’t really understand what’s going on,” said Sarah. “They miss their friends and teachers so much – I am hopeful that there may be online classes where the kids will be able to see each other soon.”
Keep up the great work, Sarah, Scarlett, and Piper!
"Woodland Reads" moves online to continue
student learning in English Language Arts
Friday, April 3, 2020
Joshua Graham, a student at North Fork Elementary and the son of Board Director Tammy Graham, works through his English Arts Lessons as he listens to Superintendent Michael Green read a chapter of “The Chocolate Touch”
Students at North Fork Elementary School have long enjoyed the “Woodland Reads” program. A few times each school year, the whole school reads one book together. However, with the statewide school closure due to COVID-19, the staff had to use a little ingenuity mixed with some technology to get the job done.
In order to continue the program, Principal Denise Pearl asked for staff volunteers who would like to record themselves reading a chapter of the book, “We wanted to support kids who were reading the book at home,” she said.
This time, the school read “The Chocolate Touch” by Patrick Skene Catling. The story takes a spin on the fabled King Midas where everything he touched turned to gold, except now everything is about chocolate. “Given that the book needs to be written for a second or third grade reading level, a story about chocolate seemed like a good fit,” said Denise.
Staff from around the district including Superintendent Michael Green volunteered to each read a chapter with a new video being released each day on Class Dojo, an app the staff and students use, as well as the school’s Facebook Page at https://fb.com/WoodlandNorthForkElementary.
In addition to watching the videos, all students are invited to participate either online or through paper packets and take advantage of the iReady online program’s learning opportunities. “These lessons support grade-level learning standards,” said Denise. “Teachers reach out to families on a weekly basis through Class Dojo or Google Classroom to help families with the English Language Arts elements of the assignment.”
Keep up the outstanding work, North Fork Elementary!
Grace and Abigail Heffernan continue learning by practicing their musical instruments
Thursday, April 2, 2020
Grace (oboe) and Abigail (flute) perform “Call of Duty”
Grace Heffernan, a seventh grader at Woodland Middle School who plays the oboe, and her sister, Abigail who’s in sixth grade and plays flute, both take Bryana Steck’s Beginning Band class and have continued working on their performance pieces as well as playing new songs from their books during the statewide school closure.
Grace also participates in the Trojan Band where she plays the flute. Abigail, a budding artist, has been taking part in daily art projects following WMS Art Teacher Nicole Caulfield’s inspiration prompts at #Bunkerart. (https://bunker-art.com/)
Both sisters take part in school athletics. Abigail’s basketball season was cut short and both of them are missing track and field, however, their dad has helped them stay in shape by coaching them both in running.
Way to go, Grace and Abigail!
Columbia Elementary staff prepared and delivered learning packets and school supplies for home learning
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Kim Bearden, CES ELL Teacher, (pictured) and Principal Ingrid Colvard packaged and delivered 80 packets of school supplies for families without computers or internet access at home to enable home learning for students
Columbia Elementary Principal Ingrid Colvard and ELL Teacher Kim Bearden assembled and delivered 80 packets of school supplies to students in need the week before Spring Break. Careful precautions and social distancing were used to help prevent any potential COVID-19 contamination.
Lori Cline and Candice Littleman, Columbia Elementary school secretaries, made over 50 packets of learning materials selected by Columbia’s teaching staff. These packets were mailed to students without internet access or who the teaching staff were able to contact.
The packets provide additional content to supplement the comprehensive English Language Arts and Mathematics packets which were distributed immediately following the start of the statewide closure to assist a large number of families without internet access or access to computers or tablets.
Keep up the great work, Columbia Elementary!
Early Childhood Education students use technology to continue learning during closure
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Isaac Hall, a senior, reads “A Little Spot of Kindness” to his preschool buddies.
Each year, students taking Early Childhood Education classes at Woodland High School are paired with preschoolers, called “buddies,” from the Woodland Preschool Cooperative. Throughout the year, the high schoolers use lessons and techniques learned during class with their buddies each week to make connections and help teach their younger pupils.
As you might imagine, connecting with their buddies during social distancing and Stay-at-Home orders has complicated the high schoolers’ attempts to connect with and educate their pint-sized counterparts.
Technology to the rescue!
Kimberly Miller, WHS’s Early Childhood Education and Culinary Arts teacher, assigned her students a reading project – read a children’s book to their preschool buddies using YouTube.
This project spotlights how Woodland’s staff and students are finding new and innovative ways to continue student learning and create meaningful connections even while staying isolated to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Great job, Kim, and great job to your Early Childhood Education students!
Michelle Reyes-Escobar creates art and music as part of her home learning during the COVID-19 closure
Monday, March 30, 2020
Michelle Reyes-Escobar, an eighth grader at WMS, shared some artwork she made during the statewide closure
Michelle Reyes-Escobar, an eighth grader at Woodland Middle School, has been spending time during the statewide school closure creating artwork as part of her school studies at home.
Michelle has always been interested in art and has taken a variety of classes during her time in middle school. “I took my first art class in sixth grade, advanced art in seventh grade, and then another advanced art class earlier this year,” she said. “I like to do other forms of art, too, however, painting is my favorite.”
In addition to art classes, Michelle also loves her band class, “I enjoy music a lot and playing an instrument also allows me to be very creative.”
Michelle is very passionate about both art and music classes. “Art and music should receive more recognition because these are subjects that inspire creativity while also requiring students to work hard.”
Keep up the great work, Michelle!
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