Battle Ground Sch. Dist.
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News Releases
The LEGO Robotics Club at Tukes Valley Middle School will get a boost thanks to OSPI grants
The LEGO Robotics Club at Tukes Valley Middle School will get a boost thanks to OSPI grants
Battle Ground Schools awarded $11,800 in grants for science and technology programs (Photo) - 11/06/17

CAM Academy, Daybreak Middle, and Tukes Valley Middle schools in the Battle Ground district are set to receive a combined total of $11,800 in grants from the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). All the funding is allocated for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects that will enable students to work together while developing critical thinking skills.

The STEM projects students will work on are part of FIRST Washington, a nonprofit organization whose mission is inspiring kids ages 6-18 through science, technology, and teamwork. Using competitive robotics as a learning platform, kids experience the thrill and excitement of playing a sport while developing skills needed to become part of the future high-tech workforce.

CAM Academy will receive two grants totaling $9,200 for the school's robotics program, where students design, build, and program a robot to compete in FIRST Robotics challenges. Daybreak and Tukes Valley Middle schools will each receive a $1,300 grant for FIRST LEGO League competitions, where teams use EV3 LEGO kits to solve HydroDynamics challenges in front of a panel of judges. In one challenge, for example, students design LEGO solutions that improve the ways people transport water.

"It is truly an honor to receive grants that help to support our students in robotics," said CAM Academy Principal Ryan Cowl. "Without the grants, there is a huge expense in registrations and parts that puts a lot of burden on families and teams to fundraise on their own. We appreciate OSPI supporting us to help make these experiences possible for our students."

Technology teacher Sherry Lilly said the OSPI grants make it possible to have an after-school robotics program at Tukes Valley, and that the club is an ideal place for students to learn leadership skills while working as a team.

"Learning through robotics helps demystify a complex technology through creative problem solving," Lilly said . "Students learn a step-by-step engineering mindset and solid programming skills, which helps them feel comfortable in further exploring technology, engineering, and computer science."

Students who participate in the FIRST competitions apply a wide range of academic concepts along the way, including physics, computer science and technology, business, arts, and social science. The bottom line is that students in these programs build their knowledge and enthusiasm across a variety of academic subjects while mimicking real-world job experiences.

"The Game's Afoot: or, Holmes for the Holidays" event poster
Battle Ground High School Drama Club Performs Holiday Sherlock Holmes Mystery (Photo) - 11/06/17

The Battle Ground High School Drama Club is set to perform Ken Ludwig's "The Game's Afoot: or, Holmes for the Holidays," a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery comedy set during the Christmas holidays.

It is December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play "Sherlock Holmes," has invited his fellow cast members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. It's up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears. The danger and hilarity are non-stop in this glittering whodunit.

The show runs Nov. 9-11 and Nov. 16-18. Performances will be at Battle Ground High School in The Lair, 300 W Main St. with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $5 for students and senior citizens and $7 for the general public. Tickets are available for purchase at the door on performance dates and online at https://payments.battlegroundps.org.

To honor servicemen and women during the Veterans Day weekend, any active duty or former military service members will receive free admission to the shows on Friday, November 10 and Saturday, November 11. Simply show your Military ID card, or come in your uniform, and enjoy the show for free.

The performance dates and times are:

Thursday, Nov. 9, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 10, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 11, 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, Nov, 16, 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Nov, 17, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, Nov, 18, 7:00 p.m.

It is estimated that property owners in the district will see a decrease in their total schools tax rate in 2019 compared to what they pay in 2017.
It is estimated that property owners in the district will see a decrease in their total schools tax rate in 2019 compared to what they pay in 2017.
Battle Ground Schools Board approves bond for February ballot (Photo) - 10/26/17

The Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors decided unanimously on Monday to put a bond before voters that would replace aging and deteriorating schools, help alleviate overcrowding, and improve classrooms and safety at campuses across the district. The bond will be on the February 13, 2018 special election ballot and requires approval by a 60 percent supermajority to pass.

"As your elected representatives, we have spent countless hours visiting with business, community and district leaders to separate the wants from the needs," said Monty Anderson, president of Battle Ground's Board of Directors. "I believe this bond is the first of the needs as our community grows, now it is up to the voters."

If approved, the bond projects would be eligible for up to $61.6 million in matching funds from the state for construction assistance. The local cost of the bond is $224.9 million, and collections would begin in 2019. It is estimated that property owners in the district will see a decrease in their total schools tax rate in 2019 compared to what they pay in 2017. It is projected that property owners will pay two cents less per $1,000 of assessed property value for all school taxes in 2019 than in 2017.

The decrease in the total property tax rate for schools is attributed to state changes in funding under the McCleary decision. In 2019, a school levy swap will see the Battle Ground Schools local levy rate drop to $1.50 (less than half of 2017), while the state schools levy rate is projected to be $2.90. The 2019 rate for the new and existing bonds is projected to be $1.60. The district worked with local agencies to estimate tax rates.

The bond would fund the replacement of Glenwood Heights Primary and Laurin Middle schools and Pleasant Valley Primary and Middle schools and the construction of a new primary and middle school campus in the southeast corner of the district. The new schools would be built on land that the district purchased last year on the west side of Northeast 152nd Avenue between 99th and 119th streets. The bond also would fund the replacement of the 500 to 900 buildings at Prairie High School and improvements to the Amboy Middle School 300 building and gymnasium.

The bond proposal also includes the development of an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) program site on land that the district owns on the south side of Northeast 199th Street just east of 72nd Avenue. The project could include the construction of a multipurpose building and the installation of modular buildings to house CAM Academy, which is currently located in a building that the district leases.

In addition, safety and security and access to technology would be improved at schools across the district, classrooms would be modernized for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and skilled jobs courses in middle and high schools, and student recreation would be enhanced at several schools, including Maple Grove, Yacolt Primary, Amboy Middle, Prairie High School and District Stadium.

As the board considered which highest priority projects to include in the bond resolution, it turned to the district's volunteer Facilities Improvement Team for guidance. The team and the board conducted several workshops beginning in July to consider the district's needs and what has changed since the district put a bond proposal before voters in November 2016. Since that time, enrollment has increased, buildings have required additional maintenance, and construction costs have risen in the region.

"This bond covers the needs of the district," said Roger Jarvis, a member of the volunteer Facilities Improvement Team. "Security and safety are a big concern. They are big in my book. You can see the growth happening. Our team decided overwhelmingly that we should put the whole bond before voters."

To help accommodate growth, the board has installed portables and revoked boundary exceptions at the four schools that will be replaced if the bond passes. At Glenwood Heights and Laurin Middle School, where 42 percent of the schools' classrooms are in portables, the board has designated district funds to begin work connecting the schools to the public sewer this spring. The schools' septic systems have reached capacity use, and the district cannot place additional portables on the campus without the public sewer connection.

In their discussions, school board and Facilities Improvement Team members alike noted several challenges at the schools selected for replacement:

Glenwood Heights Primary:

- 61-year-old building rated "Poor" on condition assessment
- Structure shows effects of decades of natural wear and tear, such as deteriorating boards and a leaky roof
- School lacks secure building access, making it impossible to manage visitors
- Learning needs not being met because building lacks modern infrastructure to support technology
- Built in 1956 for 484 students, current enrollment is 800 students
- Core facilities (library, parking lot, office space) cannot efficiently support enrollment
- No space for small group work that supports different learning needs
- Portable cafeteria cannot handle student population; fourth graders eating lunch in nearby Laurin cafeteria

Laurin Middle School:

- 52-year-old building rated "Poor" on condition assessment
- Structure shows effects of decades of natural wear and tear, such as deteriorating facade, sagging breezeways, a leaky roof, and poor drainage
- School lacks secure building access, making it impossible to manage visitors
- Learning needs not being met because building lacks modern infrastructure to support technology, audio and video resources
- Inadequate access for people with disabilities
- Inadequate fields
- Built in 1965 for 600 students, current enrollment is 684 students
- Core facilities (library, parking lot, office space) cannot efficiently support enrollment

Pleasant Valley Primary and Middle schools:

- 41-year-old buildings rated "Poor" on condition assessment
- Structures show effects of decades of natural wear and tear, such as deteriorating facade and leaky roofs
- No cafeteria; students eat in classrooms and carry lunch trays through halls
- No library; books, computer "classroom" and checkout desks in hallways
- No space for small group work that supports different learning needs
- Learning needs not being met because building lacks modern infrastructure to support technology
- Built in 1975 for 993 students, current enrollment is 1,139 students
- Core facilities cannot efficiently support enrollment