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News Releases
Battle Ground Public Schools Director of Career and Technical Education Cindy Arnold
Battle Ground Public Schools Director of Career and Technical Education Cindy Arnold
Battle Ground Public Schools Director of Career and Technical Education earns national recognition (Photo) - 09/29/22

Cindy Arnold, Battle Ground Public Schools’ director of career and technical education, has been named the Association for Career and Technical Education’s Region V Administrator of the Year. She is one of five finalists for the 2023 national title, which will be announced on Nov. 30, 2022. 

In her current role, Arnold launched middle-school CTE programs by creating design modeling and robotics classes that pair woodworking with science, technology, engineering and math. All six of the district’s middle schools now offer this successful program. 

Arnold also developed several new classes and programs at the high school level, including an HVAC, plumbing and electrical program; computer programming classes; and math for health care professionals, a unique offering in the state of Washington. In addition, Arnold created Battle Ground Public Schools’ STEM strategic plan, which has since been used as a model for other districts.

Prior to her current position, she was principal at Captain Strong Primary, where she implemented a leadership program to help students develop their skills. They acted as greeters as their peers entered the building in the morning, led assemblies, oversaw aspects of their classrooms, served as recess monitors and even participated in teacher interviews. The result: Captain Strong was named a School of Distinction by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and the school’s scores on standardized math and reading scores increased.

“We should be providing a wide range of learning experiences for all of our students, spanning many different career tracks, fields and industries,” said Arnold. “This type of learning should not be reserved for CTE and seventh through 12th grades alone.” 

Arnold also is a former assistant principal/athletic director at Prairie High School and taught business at Clark College and Columbia River High School in Vancouver Public Schools. Her private sector experience includes working as an office manager and biological laboratory technician. 

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business and biology education from Truman State University and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Washington State University.

The Administrator of the Year award recognizes administrative CTE professionals at the school, district, county, state or federal level who have demonstrated leadership in ensuring teacher and student success and have made significant contributions toward innovative, unique and effective career and technical education programs.

Region V includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and Guam.

The US Air Force Singing Sergeants perform during a special 75th anniversary event at Audi Field in Washington, DC. Photo courtesy US Air Force Concert Band
The US Air Force Singing Sergeants perform during a special 75th anniversary event at Audi Field in Washington, DC. Photo courtesy US Air Force Concert Band
Battle Ground High School to host U.S. Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants (Photo) - 09/27/22

Battle Ground High School was selected as one site for the United States Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants during a special tour celebrating the 75th anniversary of the USAF. This free event is happening on Monday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. and is open to the public. Tickets are available online.

The U.S. Air Force Concert Band and Singing Sergeants are two of the six performing ensembles within The United States Air Force Band, the premier musical organization of the U.S. Air Force. These performances are part of a 12-day tour through Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

“After the last few years of pandemic isolation, I'm really looking forward to traveling and connecting with live audiences across the United States once again,” said Senior Master Sergeant Matt Nudell, who will be playing trombone during the tour. “I’m also honored to stand in front of this incredible ensemble whose members represent the best of the United States Air Force.”

The United States Air Force Band honors those who have served, inspires American citizens to heightened patriotism and service and connects with the global community on behalf of the U.S. Air Force and the United States of America. Battle Ground Public Schools is honored to be hosting this special event. More information about the Air Force Band is available online.

NOTE: The US Air Force Concert Band may require proof of vaccination or cancel the event if Clark County rises to a high risk level for community transmission of COVID-19 on or after Oct. 20. Currently, Clark County is considered low risk for COVID-19 according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.

SBI CEO Raymond Near talks with students at Prairie High School after awarding their CloverBots program with a $10,000 grant
SBI CEO Raymond Near talks with students at Prairie High School after awarding their CloverBots program with a $10,000 grant
CloverBots robotics club at Prairie High School earns $10,000 award (Photo) - 09/16/22

Students across the Battle Ground School District who are interested in robotics, engineering, design and technology will benefit from a $10,000 grant awarded to the CloverBots program run by Prairie High School photography teacher Todd Ferris, a former engineer who came out of retirement to teach. The CloverBots 3674 program was chosen out of dozens of applicants for the annual Pegasus Award, given by Saxton Bradley, Inc. a company based in Kent, Washington, that designs furniture for schools around the country.

SBI CEO Raymond Near said Ferris’ grant application stood out due to his “passion for what you’re doing for this program and for these students.”

“You guys are the future,” Near said to the half-dozen students who gathered in the Prairie High School career center to commemorate the award. “You are the people who will be driving this country 15 or 20 years from now.”

CloverBots is a club that accepts students from across the district. Last school year was the first time since the start of the pandemic that students were able to work together in person on building a robot for the FIRST Robotics competition. They ended up finishing second in the regional competition at the Oregon State Fairgrounds.

“It was a lot of fun,” said Prairie junior Noah Pape, who will be entering his second year with the program. “Especially when you get into the competition, there’s just something to it that’s exciting.”

Battle Ground Public Schools offers nearly 500 Career and Technical Education (CTE) courses each year to middle and high school students across the district. The courses span nearly every industry, from engineering and automotive technology to welding and culinary arts, and give students the opportunity to try different career paths. In higher-level CTE courses, students often can earn college credit and learn the same skills that they'd have to pay to learn in college.

Ferris and lead program mentor Scott Femling, also a retired engineer, said they hope to use the $10,000 award to continue rebuilding the CloverBots program. 

“It takes a lot of money to take part in competitions like this,” Ferris said. “You have to buy all the parts and materials and pay entrance fees to the competitions. So this grant will go a long way toward building this program and making it viable for years to come.”

Femling said their goal is to keep the size of the team relatively small so that students get to experience all aspects of designing a robot, from computer-aided design, to milling, electronics, programming, assembly and strategic planning.

“From my experience in the engineering field, the challenge that they give these kids over seven weeks is harder than I gave engineers at HP,” Femling said. “You get the challenge, and then you have to take them through the whole design process starting from scratch.”

Femling’s son, Jared, is also a sophomore at Prairie and part of the program. “The competitions are really fun because teams even share parts or advice. The atmosphere is really nice and there’s a lot of teamwork.”

Femling said he’s looking forward to having more experience this year and getting a chance to mentor new students joining the program.

“I’m excited to get back to state this year and maybe even qualify for the world competition,” he said. “It’s going to be a really tough challenge, but I’m excited for that.”

Ferris said the FIRST Robotics competition represents a chance for students to tackle a project that’s more similar to what they’ll face in a real-world engineering job.

“Throughout the rest of the year students are working on smaller projects that are designed to succeed,” Ferris said. “This competition is three months; the robot may work or it may not. It involves all the aspects of design, so it’s really challenging, and it’s the only program I’m aware of that incorporates all of that.”

Ferris said he’s already been hearing from more students interested in joining the CloverBots club and getting involved. He’s hopeful the grant will help with growing the program and building it up to be more student-led. 

“I enjoy watching the transition of students going from being intimidated by even the thought of doing all of this to realizing ‘I can do this,’” Ferris said. “The students are learning a ton, but they’re having a lot of fun through the process, and that’s what I enjoy.”

You can learn more about the CloverBots program on their website. Information about Battle Ground Public School’s Career and Technical Education pathways and opportunities is also available on the district website.