Battle Ground Jazz Bands Win High Honors at Skyview Jazz Festival (Photo)
Chief Umtuch Middle School Jazz Band
Jazz bands from Chief Umtuch and Battle Ground High School won trophies for top place finishes at the Skyview Jazz Festival held Dec. 6. Pictured is Chief Umtuch Middle School's Jazz Band, which is directed by Greg McKelvey, and the trophies it won at the festival, including third place overall in its division, and first place in its division for sight reading. BGHS Intermediate Jazz Band directed by Evan Irwin also won second place overall in its division. The BGHS Advanced Jazz Band directed by Greg McKelvey won second place overall and first place for sight reading in its division.
BGPS Nutrition Services Fuels Students with Nutritious, Balanced Meals (Photo)
Maple Grove students line up to pay for their school lunches.
Lunch can be one of the highlights of a student's day, and Battle Ground Public Schools' Nutrition Services is intent on making it a fresh, satisfying and nutritionally nurturing part of it. Nutrition Services prepares tasty dishes that meet federal guidelines and fuel students' bodies so that their minds can focus and remain alert during the day.
The department, which is an integral part of the school district, serves both breakfasts and lunches to students every day and organizes events throughout the year to encourage parent involvement in their children's nutritional health and to educate students about making healthy choices. BGPS contracts with Sodexo to manage Nutrition Services and provide food service staff, menu development and event coordination.
"Nutrition Services is more than just the school lunch provider," said Russ Kallwick, Battle Ground Public Schools' Nutrition Services Director. "We support what students are taught in the classroom and extend that education into nutrition at mealtimes and during events."
Events such as Scratch Cooking Week, Kids Can Cook, and the High School Culinary Competition engage students in nutritional education through hands-on cooking activities and encourage parents to join their children for a school lunch. A Fine Dining event, held at a different school each year, teaches kids proper etiquette at meal times. A two-month long free breakfast promotion at the beginning of the school year provides an opportunity for many kids to try school breakfasts and establish a routine of fueling up at the beginning of the day. This year, Nutrition Services served 60,000 breakfasts to students during the free breakfast promotion, which is partially funded with federal dollars.
Parents are invited to have a school meal with their child at any time. An adult lunch costs $3.50 and an adult breakfast is $2.35. Each month nutrition services releases menus in a calendar format that could be turned into a lesson on how to read a calendar.
The primary school menus list entree options for each day of the month, and middle school menus list a main entree. Middle schoolers also have the option of ordering or purchasing a la carte items that meet federal nutrition guidelines, such as cookies, at an additional cost to the price of a lunch. These items constantly change based on availability.
Nutrition Services works to build meals that not only meet federal guidelines, but also appeal to student taste buds, and recently brought a registered dietitian on board to help explore culinary options that are both healthy and tasty. "It's a balancing act to find foods that are nutritious but also are things the kids like to eat," said Kirsten Fox, Nutrition Services' new registered dietitian.
For example, federal guidelines require that fat in school lunches is limited to no more than 30 percent or less of the calories averaged over the course of a week, and that saturated fat is limited to no more than 10 percent of calories over a week's time. "There are lots of things you can't see, but nutritiously they are better," Kallwick said.
In its effort to create healthy and tasty foods, options such as pizza are made with a whole grain crust and low-fat mozzarella cheese. The ketchup served with meals is all natural; absent are sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. Students who eat school meals must select a serving of a fruit or vegetable with every breakfast and lunch, and can leave it at the sharing table for another student to take if they choose not to eat it. For those who would like more, the fruit and vegetable bar is an "all you can eat" feature of school meals. "We have found that younger kids are open to eating healthy options if we keep introducing them," Kallwick said.
The nutritional value of school meals is posted online at https://www.sodexoeducation.com/segment_0200/district_7111/ENM/Entry1/
by selecting Nutritional Information on the Choose a Meal Category drop down menu.
Money can be added to students' meal accounts through Family Access; and there is no longer a fee charged for this service. Also on Family Access, parents can check a box to receive automatic email notifications when their child's meal account balance falls below $5 (contact your school for login information). In addition, families can apply for free or reduced lunches at any point in the year.
BGPS Nutrition Services web page: http://www.battlegroundps.org/parents-and-students/nutrition-services-home
Menus and nutritional analysis information: http://www.battlegroundps.org/parents-and-students/nutrition-services-home/menus
FAQ about school meals and Nutritional Services:
Sodexo Foundation is accepting applications for $400 Youth Grants. The grants provide funds for youth-led service projects that bring people together to address child hunger during Global Youth Service Day April 17-19, 2015. The deadline to apply is Jan. 15, 2015 at http://www.ysa.org/sodexoyouth.
Battle Ground Students Exhibit Art in Vancouver (Photo)
Laurin Middle School student artwork will be on display Sunday through Jan. 7 at New Seasons Market in Vancouver.
Works of art created by Laurin Middle School students will be on display beginning Sunday in a public art exhibit. The winter show will feature 160 pieces of student art that will be on display at New Seasons Market on Southeast 164th Avenue in Vancouver through January 7. An artists' reception will be held Saturday, Dec. 13, 10-11 a.m. at New Seasons.
BG Education Foundation Receives $1,600 in Donations from Local Businesses (Photo)
Left to right: Sean Chavez, Scott Campbell, Mark Hottowe, Linda Gellings, Chris Burt, MaryBeth Lynn, Jeanine Brigham and Russell Brent
The Battle Ground Education Foundation received $1,600 in donations this week from the Mill Creek Pub restaurant in Battle Ground and Waste Connections. Mill Creek Pub owner Russell Brent donated $800 to the Battle Ground Education Foundation this week during its annual pulling of the coins event. Brent removes the coins once each year on the restaurant's anniversary from its waterwheel fountain and donates the money plus a personal donation to a local charity. Waste Connection matched the donation to support local schools. Battle Ground Education Foundation is a local nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting teachers and students in Battle Ground Public Schools for lifelong success. Also part of the event, local resident Jeanine Brigham had the closest guess ($777) to the total amount of the coinage removed ($780.51) and won a $100 gift card to Mill Creek Pub.
Columbia University Training Immerses BGPS Teachers in Writing Curriculum (Photo)
Battle Ground Public Schools K-8 teachers are trained on the best methods for teaching the district's new writing curriculum.
Writing is a fundamental part of learning, and Battle Ground Public Schools is taking steps to make sure its writing education will prepare students for careers and college. More than 80 K-8 teachers were trained last week by Lauren Kolbeck, a consultant from the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University Teachers College, on how to teach the district's new writing curriculum to students. The consultant, who is one of the authors of the curriculum, spoke about the writing materials, the philosophy behind them, and the teaching practices that will enable BGPS teachers to effectively incorporate the curriculum into their lessons.
"I now have a much clearer idea of how to implement this curriculum," said Kristie Glock, a Pleasant Valley Primary third grade teacher who took the training. "It was valuable to see all the resources that are available. The training fueled my passion for teaching writing."
Each of the BGPS teacher leaders took a full day of training on the district's new K-8 writing curriculum, called Units of Study in Opinion/Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing. This training is the first stage in a two-year, K-12 implementation plan that will result in a consistent curriculum and teaching method across all grade levels that is focused on 21st century writing skills and meets new Washington State Learning Standards.
The Units of Study writing curriculum builds on the writing skills that students learn at each grade level to create a consistent continuum of writing education. "This will enable our students to build on the skills they learn in each grade level and give them a common vocabulary that is consistent from year to year," said Paula Koehler-Martin, Battle Ground Public Schools' executive director of curriculum, instruction and professional development. In BGPS' high schools, the new curriculum is called Come to Class: Lessons for High School Writers and provides a continuation of the skills found in the K-8 Units of Study curriculum.
A consistent, skills-building curriculum also will give district teachers the ability to monitor student progress as they advance to the next grade level. "The new curriculum will enable teachers to analyze student work and share results through collaboration in professional learning communities," Koehler-Martin continued. "Teachers will benefit by knowing what is expected of their students each year and in knowing which writing skills their students would have learned before they get to their classrooms."
BGPS is taking a phased approach to rolling out the new curriculum. This year, a representative teacher at every grade level from each school attended the Reading and Writing Project training, and will be able to answer questions from other teachers within their professional learning communities as they familiarize themselves with the new material.
Next year, teachers will use the entire writing curriculum; but not just in English classes. 21st century career and college readiness guidelines emphasize the need for students to be able to write well in all subjects and in all situations. The district is exploring options for providing training to teachers across the district, not just those specifically focused on English language arts subjects. "Everyone is a writing teacher," Koehler-Martin said. "In the new learning standards, more emphasis is put on writing for career and college readiness."
Options for district-wide training on the new K-8 writing curriculum materials include after-school workshops and summer classes. The possibility also exists to collaborate on training with Evergreen Public Schools, which also has selected the writing curriculum.
The BGPS Board of Directors approved the Units of Study and Come to Class curricula at its July 2014 meeting based on a committee recommendation. The committee used research on writing instruction to create a rubric that identified the components of an effective writing curriculum. Then the committee evaluated various writing curricula against the rubric and made a recommendation to the BGPS Board of Directors.
Information, writing samples and rubrics for K-8 from the curriculum: Units of Study in Opinion/Argument, Information, and Narrative Writing are online at