Battle Ground Sch. Dist.
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News Releases
Chris Burt (l) with Ken Evans (R)
Chris Burt (l) with Ken Evans (R)
BG Education Foundation's March School Shout-Outs (Photo) - 04/18/14
Battle Ground, WA - Battle Ground Education Foundation (BGEF) highlighted Amboy Middle and Yacolt Primary schools for the month of March. Each school received a healthy breakfast and a $300 scholarship to support student learning. Each building principal was asked to write a short paragraph highlighting great practices in the school. Below is a photo and excerpt from each school.

Yacolt Primary School
"We love technology at Yacolt Primary and our staff is embracing it for student learning in the twenty-first century. We have computer labs; iPads for math, reading and writing interventions; and a visual arts program using laptop computers and Wacom Tablets. In the visual arts program, the focus for students is learning traditional art skills in a digital format. We are also using online reading and math programs that can be accessed from home helping all students, which is particularly beneficial for students who are below grade level in reading, writing or math. All teachers and other certified staff are enhancing their technology skills by using district iPads and continue to advance classroom learning." Ken Evans, Principal

Amboy Middle School
"Amboy Middle has been moving in a very positive direction. All of our curricular areas have been supported with the use of our new Chrome Books and the students are very excited and eager to use them for research, projects and activities. These tablets are also being used to prepare our students for the future computerized state testing. As a staff, we have been focusing our professional development on the new Common Core State Standards and working in collaborative teams to prepare for next year's implementation. Recently our 7th grade math team took first place in our district competition and our arts programs are in full swing with band performances, art displays in the building, and anti-bullying performances for students. We are soaring together as a team at Amboy Middle School! Go Eagles!" Mike Maloney, Principal
Thara Memory; Steve Montecucco; and Greg McKelvey
Thara Memory; Steve Montecucco; and Greg McKelvey
Battle Ground students compete at national jazz festivals (Photo) - 04/16/14
Battle Ground, WA - Four Battle Ground trumpet players traveled to California and New York as members of the American Music Program (AMP) Jazz Band to compete with other select bands from around the nation. Steve Montecucco (sophomore, BGHS), Mandy Quinn (junior, BGHS), Matthias Tyni (junior, BGHS), and Tyler Barnes (8th grader, Chief Umtuch Middle School) are all trumpet players and members of AMP who competed in the Next Generation Monterey Jazz Festival March 30 and the Charles Mingus Jazz Festival in New York City February 16.

Battle Ground High School sophomore Steve Montecucco won a trumpet soloist award at the Next Generation Monterey Jazz Festival as well as an award for outstanding trumpet playing at the Charles Mingus Jazz Festival in New York City.

Greg McKelvey instructs the students at Battle Ground High School, while instructor and Grammy award winner Thara Memory also works with the students after school in Portland. Both teachers were mentors and instructors for four-time Grammy Award winner, Esperanza Spalding, who also occasionally works with the students.

For more information about the American Music Program, visit
Christian Minor, Ethan Faust, Amanda Frankel (SITC Coordinator) Carter Miller not shown and Braden Tanninen
Christian Minor, Ethan Faust, Amanda Frankel (SITC Coordinator) Carter Miller not shown and Braden Tanninen
Environmental Stewardship With Salmon In The Classroom (Photo) - 04/04/14
Battle Ground, WA - Students throughout the district are learning about environmental stewardship by raising salmon in the classroom. Sponsored by Columbia Springs and Clark Public Utilities the Salmon in the Classroom (SITC) program has been providing hands on education for students throughout the county since 1991. This program engages Clark County students, teachers, parents, and community members in environmental stewardship by increasing awareness of the salmon's unique life cycle and habitat requirements. Laurin Middle, Glenwood Heights Primary, Amboy Middle, CAM Academy, CASEE, Chief Umtuch Middle, and Daybreak Middle schools participated in this year's program.

At Laurin Middle School students got hands on experience with the salmon from being able to study them through multiple stages of early life and eventually releasing them back to the wild. "Through this experience, students gain insight into the complex relationships in nature, the importance of a healthy environment, and form personal connections to nature," said Tina Patten, teacher at Laurin Middle School. This program is in connection with Laurin's After School Fishing Program managed by Darrell Kirkpatrick. With the support of grants and local donations this program teaches fishing, ecology and gives student's exposure to local rivers and streams.

The SCIT program gives students the opportunity to learn about local habitats, the interrelationships between species within their local watersheds, and the importance of keeping our environment healthy and clean. Multiple lesson plans are developed around this program allowing students to interact with material for the full year.

In addition to raising salmon, the SCIT program offers a unique fish dissection learning opportunity as students get a true hands-on experience exploring the external and internal anatomy of a trout. Through this program, students not only understand how the body of a fish is similar to their own, but how they adapt for survival in their own unique environment.
For more information on SITC please visit the Columbia Springs webpage at
Smarter Balanced Field Testing Now In Session - 03/28/14
Battle Ground, WA - This spring students at Pleasant Valley Middle, Captain Strong Primary, Tukes Valley Primary, and Yacolt Primary schools will participate in the Smarter Balanced Field Test, a practice run of assessments for grades 3-8 in English and mathematics. The first round of tests began March 25 at Pleasant Valley and Captain Strong. The Smarter Balanced assessments are a key part of implementing the Washington State Common Core State Standards and preparing all students for success in college and careers. Battle Ground schools join over 650 schools across the state who are participating in this year's field testing.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment System will replace existing state assessments in English language arts/literacy and mathematics, providing an academic checkup by measuring students' real-world skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. In addition, they will provide information during the year to give teachers and parents a better picture of where students are succeeding and where they need help. This field test will help ensure the assessments are accurate and fair for all students. The field test also will provide teachers and schools a chance to practice test administration procedures in advance of the first operational assessments in spring 2015.

"This is a practice run of the assessment, and will be used to evaluate the testing software, ensure the quality of test questions, and evaluate the effectiveness of the test administration and training materials," said Mike Michaud, Captain Strong Primary School principal. "It also provides teachers and students at our school an opportunity to preview the types of questions that will be part of the Smarter Balanced assessments." The assessments will be administered over multiple days for the selected schools. Participation is confidential and will not impact a student's grade.

"Participating in this field test helps us prepare our district for full implementation in the coming years," said David Cresap, BGPS director of school improvement and assessment. "This field test allows the state to assess the difficulty of the questions and create a valid assessment for future use." The test is administered online through classroom computers and tablets. "Our advancement in technology over the past several years puts us in an excellent position to administer this field test," said Cresap. "We have a strong internet network and new mobile devices that will allow us to implement this test now and in the future."

A recent press release from Smarter Balance Consortium summarized the role of the new assessment when it stated, "The work of Smarter Balanced is guided by the belief that a high-quality assessment system can provide information and tools for teachers and schools to improve instruction and help all students succeed-regardless of disability, language, or background." You can visit the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium's website for more information on the Smarter Balance Assessment including timeline, outcomes, and alignment with Common Core State Standards.
Hottowe presenting at Chief Umtuch during the Community Forum on March 15
Hottowe presenting at Chief Umtuch during the Community Forum on March 15
Battle Ground Public Schools Announces Mark Hottowe As New Superintendent (Photo) - 03/25/14
Battle Ground, WA - The Battle Ground Public Schools' Board of Directors announced their selection of Mark Hottowe as the new Superintendent during the Board Meeting on Monday, March 24, 2014. The announcement of Hottowe was greeted with a round of applause in the packed board room.

"We had three really solid candidates," said Monty Anderson, board chair. "We greatly appreciate the hundreds of staff, students, parents, and community members who participated in this process. Their comments and feedback gave the board the information we needed to make our decision."

Hottowe was selected from three finalists who toured the district and met with administration, staff and community groups on Friday March 14, and Saturday, March 15. Over 250 staff, community, and students submitted comment forms with their opinions about the finalists.

Hottowe is currently the superintendent for Ocean Beach School District in Long Beach, which has an enrollment of 975. His previous experiences include executive director of supervision and human resources for the Kelso School District, director of student services for the Kelso School District, elementary and middle school principal for the Kelso School District, principal in the Longview School District, assistant principal at the Sumner School District and a teacher at Central Kitsap School District. Hottowe obtained his bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College in 1975, his master's degree in education from Central Washington University in 1982 and superintendent credential from Washington State University in 2013.

"This is a solid decision," said Lynn Hicks, interim deputy superintendent. "The next step is contract negotiations between the board and Mr. Hottowe."

Current interim superintendent Duane Rose will work through his contract ending June 30. Hottowe will take over as the district's new leader on July 1, 2014. "It has been my great pleasure to come back and serve this district," said Rose. "I believe this new leadership will be able to work well with staff, students and community members and be able to meet the challenges ahead face on. We are excited for the future of Battle Ground Public Schools."