Battle Ground Sch. Dist.
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News Releases
Sarah Crull of Summit View High School
Sarah Crull of Summit View High School
Local High School Students Write Their Way to Essay Contest Success (Photo) - 05/21/15
Three Battle Ground Public School students are winners of the international Magna Carta Essay Contest. Dakoda Hughes of Battle Ground High School, Emily McCoy of Prairie High School and Sarah Crull of Summit View High School were awarded with $500 for their accomplishment.

The Magna Carta Essay Contest is an international creative essay competition that celebrates the anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta, which is Latin for the "Great Charter," the first formal document declaring that a king was as subject to the law as his people and establishing the rights of individuals. With the Magna Carta as their source document, essay contestants create a new document that details the rights, privileges and liberties of their own country or of the whole world. The Vancouver contest is sponsored by the Clark County Magna Carta Observance Committee. A winner is selected from each high school that participates in the contest.
Mill Creek Pub and Waste Connections, Inc. each made contributions of $800 to the Battle Ground Education Foundation.
Mill Creek Pub and Waste Connections, Inc. each made contributions of $800 to the Battle Ground Education Foundation.
BGPS Libraries Benefit from Battle Ground Education Foundation Grants (Photo) - 05/21/15
The Battle Ground Education Foundation (BGEF) has awarded Battle Ground Public Schools an $8,000 grant to go towards the purchase of library materials. The grants were funded by BGEF in partnership with donations from Mill Creek Pub and Waste Connections, Inc.

The school district distributed the grant in $500 amounts to: Amboy Middle, Captain Strong Primary, Chief Umtuch Middle, Daybreak Primary and Middle, Glenwood Heights Primary, Laurin Middle, Maple Grove, Pleasant Valley Primary and Middle, Prairie High, Battle Ground High, River HomeLink, Tukes Valley Primary and Middle and Yacolt Primary schools. The funds will go towards the purchase of library materials such as books. Teacher-librarians will determine the content of the material, but it must serve the students.

Battle Ground Education Foundation was formed in 1994 to help cover the gap between public funding and the financial realities of educating children. BGEF is an all-volunteer organization serving approximately 13,000 students across 18 Battle Ground Schools. Donations can be sent to the foundation at P.O. Box 2574, Battle Ground, WA 98604; or contact Linda Gellings, BGEA Treasurer, at (360) 885-5381.
Battle Ground High School Students Revved Up to Show Off Their Cars - 05/20/15
Parents, students and automobile connoisseurs of all kinds are invited to attend the Battle Ground High School Annual Car Show on Tuesday, June 2 from 8:45 to 11:30 a.m. BGHS students will be displaying personal vehicles, giving the public a chance to see the best paint job, best import, best sound system, best diesel, the vehicle with the most mud, and more.

Three car clubs from Washington and Oregon also will be showing their custom cars. From classics to customs, plain favorites to souped-ups, there will be something for everyone to admire at the car show.

The car show will be held at Battle Ground High School's football practice field at the school, 300 W. Main St., Battle Ground. Community members are welcome to show their modified or classic cars. Please call Ed Heim for more information: (360) 885-6571.
Yacolt third graders Jordan Powell (left) and Wyatt Johnston work with teacher Jennifer Bucher on reading informational texts.
Yacolt third graders Jordan Powell (left) and Wyatt Johnston work with teacher Jennifer Bucher on reading informational texts.
Yacolt Teachers Reach for Chromebooks to Teach Reading (Photo) - 05/08/15
The state may set the standards for what students must learn at each grade level, but teachers have the responsibility to determine how they're going to teach those standards. At Yacolt Primary School, the third grade teachers have developed a method for teaching the Washington learning standards for reading informational text that incorporates technology into the lessons and provides a tool for evaluating student growth.

The teachers are using Chromebooks and Google applications to help students ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for their answers.

A typical lesson requires students to read a passage of text in Google documents and then answer questions about the text in Google Forms. Yacolt's third grade teachers formatted the lessons so that they resemble English language arts portions of Smarter Balanced Assessments. Students' responses automatically populate a spreadsheet in Google Sheets, and teachers evaluate their students' answers based on a rubric that the teachers created during time set aside for collaboration. When Yacolt's third grade teachers enter grades in Google Classroom, students can see them.

The teachers' goal is twofold: 1. they are teaching the standard in a format that lets students learn how to use the same technology used in businesses and familiarizes students with tools they will use for state testing, and 2. teachers have zeroed in on reading informational text as a way to analyze student achievement and make adjustments to their teaching based on what student needs.

"We have taken the things we normally teach and integrated it with the technology," said Jennifer Bucher, a third grade teacher at Yacolt. "Students get used to reading on the screen and taking notes using the keyboard."

Teachers across the Battle Ground Public Schools have access to Google applications and can check out Chromebooks on which students can do the work. Teachers also have access to BGPS Tech Training, which provides classes and resources to teachers who want to learn how to implement these tools into their lessons.

"It's great," said Yacolt third grade teacher Nancy Barney. "Students are doing complete projects on the Chromebooks, from reading and taking notes to writing and sharing their work with other kids in class."
BGPS is inviting the community to share its thoughts and opinions on our schools and the district.
BGPS is inviting the community to share its thoughts and opinions on our schools and the district.
Battle Ground Public Schools Embarks on Community Engagement Campaign (Photo) - 05/07/15
Traditional town hall meetings have a whole new look in Battle Ground Public Schools thanks to an online program called ThoughtExchange. Driven by the desire to reconnect with the communities and parents that support Battle Ground schools, the district is launching a community engagement campaign this spring. On Friday, May 8, the district is sending thousands of emails that invite parents, district staff and hundreds of community stakeholders to join a confidential online conversation where participants can share their thoughts, concerns and ideas for the future of the district.

"I want to get a feeling for the true pulse of the community and really hear people's thoughts and ideas in their own words," said BGPS Superintendent Mark Hottowe. "Previous survey efforts, although valuable, have not given our community and staff the opportunity to share their true feelings. This process is far beyond a normal survey and I am looking forward to an open, ongoing conversation with our communities."

ThoughtExchange is an online software program that engages participants in a three-step conversational process. In the first step, participants share their thoughts about their home school and the district through open-ended questions. A few weeks after the first step, participants are asked to review and prioritize the thoughts of stakeholders who responded by assigning stars to the ideas that resonate with them personally. Starred thoughts help determine the group's sense of priority and concern, enabling the district to proceed with ideas that have risen to the top through general agreement within the community. The final step takes the starred ideas from each school and develops priority areas that are shared with the community through interactive websites.

Schools and the district office can use these priorities and thoughts to make informed decisions. District administrators will use this information to update the district's strategic plan and school principals can review the information for school-level changes. "We know people are busy and recognize that it can be difficult to attend another meeting," Hottowe said. "This process lets our stakeholders engage in a community-wide conversation from the comfort of their homes and give us the community voice we need to make informed decisions."

All community members are invited to participate in this process. Community members who do not receive an email invitation can self-register to join the conversation online at http://battlegroundps.thoughtexchange.com/invitation. Stakeholders without email can get a paper copy of the survey at any school office and return it to the district office. The first step of the campaign begins May 8 and responses will be collected through May 17. The whole conversation will occur through the end of the school year. Community members can contact the district's communication office for additional information: communication@battlegroundps.org or 885-5337.
Pleasant Valley Middle School eighth grader Mary Lynn McLeod and her mother, Isabel Waite, react to the news that Mary Lynn won first place for her individual performance in the state National History Competition.
Pleasant Valley Middle School eighth grader Mary Lynn McLeod and her mother, Isabel Waite, react to the news that Mary Lynn won first place for her individual performance in the state National History Competition.
Local Students Become State History Day Champions (Photo) - 05/06/15
Pleasant Valley Middle School students snagged the top three spots for individual performance at the state National History Day competition on May 2, Three PVM students snagged the top three spots for individual performance in the junior (middle school) division, while others won for their group exhibit and group documentary in the junior division.

Eighth grader Mary Lynn McLeod took the title of state champion with her first place individual performance, "The Leadership and Legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt." Eighth grader Ethan McClintock won second place for his individual performance, "Solidarity and the Leadership and Legacy of Lech Walesa." Eighth grader Bailey McCormick won third place with "The Top Down Tiers of Leadership and Their Legacy of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League." Mary and Ethan will advance to the National History Day finals June 13-18 at the University of Maryland.

Also in the individual categories, two Chief Umtuch Middle School students won awards. Arlilah Abatayo, a seventh grader, won fourth place for her individual documentary, "Rear Admiral Grace Hopper: A Leader in a Man's World & A Legacy of Invention." Samantha Brooks, an eighth grader, won fifth place for her individual performance, "Audrey Hepburn: The Love Behind the Life."

In the group categories, sixth graders Elijah Engstrom and Jonathan Gibert won third place with their group exhibit titled "Hitler's Arrogant Leadership and Legacy of Loss." Sixth graders Courtney Beyer and Stephanie Higgins won a medal and cash award for their group documentary, "The Need for Change, the Dream, the Reality: the Leadership and Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr." They will present their documentary to the Secretary of State in Olympia in June.

Pleasant Valley history participants are coached by teacher Irene Soohoo. Working individually or in groups, students select a topic related to an annual theme. They conduct extensive historical research using primary sources, articles and books, then distill their research and analysis into a dramatic performance, multimedia documentary, museum exhibit, website or research paper. Over the years, 30 Pleasant Valley Middle School students with 14 projects have advanced to the National History Day finals since 2006.
Sharon McLaughlin, an educational support teacher at Tukes Valley Middle School, uses evidence-based practices to assist students with autism by enhancing their communicative, social, emotional, coping and imaginative skills with a goal of helping them to
Sharon McLaughlin, an educational support teacher at Tukes Valley Middle School, uses evidence-based practices to assist students with autism by enhancing their communicative, social, emotional, coping and imaginative skills with a goal of helping them to
BGPS Teacher Uses Evidence-Based Practices to Educate Students with Autism (Photo) - 04/30/15
In Sharon McLaughlin's classroom at Tukes Valley Middle School, a cozy corner is set up with a rocking chair and mats for students to lay on when they need a break. There is also a work station and a cooking station. The designated stations conform to a systematic approach that makes learning easier for students who have autism.

Battle Ground Public Schools serves 103 students who have been identified as autistic. Autism is the general term for a group of brain development disorders that may be caused by rare gene changes or mutations, environmental factors and autism risk genes. People affected by autism experience struggle with social interaction and communication. The district assists students with autism by enhancing their communicative, social, emotional, coping and imaginative skills with a goal of helping them to achieve their independence. Assistance ranges from special care and parent-teacher consult to full-time placement into a classroom devoted to meeting their needs.

April is Autism Awareness Month. Schools in the district observed the occasion with different events, including a day earlier this month during which students at Captain Strong Primary wore blue for "Light it Up Blue" World Autism Awareness Day.

As an undergraduate at Central Washington University, Sharon student taught at CO Sorenson, a school in Woodinville that provides services for people ages birth to 21. At the school, McLaughlin found herself drawn to a student who experiences Autism. "I was fascinated with her and the way she moved in the world," she said. "I was hooked!"

Since the beginning of her career, McLaughlin has seen the incidence of autism increase from 1 in 10,000 people to 1 in 68. As an educational support teacher who serves students with special needs, McLaughlin is attuned to autism and how to address and approach it in ways that are beneficial to her students. She takes a personal approach to instructing her students, encouraging individuality and independence through unique educational plans. She uses Evidence-Based Practices, which integrate clinical expertise, scientific evidence, and client/patient/caregiver perspectives to provide high-quality and personal services. Denny Waters, Executive Director of Special Services, is especially appreciative of McLaughlin's knowledge and expertise, "She is an amazing teacher," he said. "We are lucky to have her here in the district."

The assignments that McLaughlin gives her students are systematic to encourage independence. Students might copy the teacher's instructions to practice handwriting or match cooking directions to specific images during a cooking lesson. Students keep track of what task they are on by moving a clothespin with their name on it to a paper with a label that matches their task. The byproduct and benefit of these assignments is that students are engaging in important skills such as writing, cooking and managing their own schedules.

Students also have individualized educational programs (IEPs). When one student with autism gets frustrated during a lesson, for example, McLaughlin has cones set up in the hall for walking and counting laps. When that same student successfully completes a certain amount of group work--a task that he finds uncomfortable at times--he marks the work completed on a chart so that he may have time on the computer--a task he enjoys. "The benefit of an individualized learning plan is independence," McLaughlin said. "It helps kids with lifelong goals and improves their quality of life. It benefits them, their families and their communities by teaching students to rely on a system rather than a person. When our students graduate from public schools, they no longer have the high degree of support that we provide. It is critical students learn to be as independent as possible while in school, so these skills transition to the rest of their lives."

Using a visual schedule, writing down expectations instead of just saying them helps the student's flexibility and communication. Teaching students how to be in groups, make friends, and respond when the teacher asks a question assists in growing their social skills. "If you teach the student a system, using visual and physical structure, they can do any work presented to them," McLaughlin said. "It almost seems like magic! It works!"
Prairie High School junior John Walsh prepares pork sausage patties for his team's Breakfast Burger.
Prairie High School junior John Walsh prepares pork sausage patties for his team's Breakfast Burger.
Prairie and Battle Ground Win Top Awards at Culinary Competition (Photo) - 04/27/15
Prairie High School pulled out all the stops this weekend at Sodexo's sixth annual High School Culinary Competition and whipped up an award-winning breakfast burger and side of hash browns that took the Grand Champion award. Teams from Battle Ground, Camas, Prairie, and Washougal high schools took on the challenge of constructing supper yummy gourmet burgers for judges.

The Prairie High School culinary team, led by family and consumer science teacher Michelle Freed, took the Grand Champion award with the best-tasting burger in the competition. Team members Lauren Rebitzke, Trevor Thayer, Georgia Tytler and John Walsh cooked up a Breakfast Burger based on a recipe from The Cooking Channel: http://www.cookingchanneltv.com/recipes/kelsey-nixon/breakfast-burger.html

Two teams from Battle Ground High School, led by family and consumer science teacher Jessica Drake, participated in the competition. BGHS Team #1 took runner-up with its Aloha Burger and a side of Hawaiian mac salad. Team members included Stefani Ludahl, Mitchell MacDonald, Mandy Quinn and Ashley Spencer.

BGHS Team #2 members Brady Brick, Ryan Hoffman, Cole LeBlac and Carson Petricevic received the Team Spirit Award. Camas High School's culinary team received the Market Plan & Team Presentation Award and Washougal's culinary team received the Food and Physical Safety Award.