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News Releases
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Celebrating Tradition: BGPS AFJROTC Pass In Review (Photo) - 05/27/16
Battle Ground Public Schools' Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (AFJROTC) held its annual Pass in Review on Monday evening at District Stadium. AFJROTC cadets from both Battle Ground and Prairie high schools lined up in formation, marched for review in front of commanding officers, school board members, administrators and guests, received awards and completed a change of command. The singing of the National Anthem, which opened the event, was performed by the Battle Ground High School Jazz Choir.

Pass in Review is a long-standing military tradition that began as a way for newly assigned commander to inspect troops. The district uses this tradition to celebrate student accomplishments and dedication to the AFJROTC program. Superintendent Mark Hottowe recognized each school by delivering the Distinguished Unit Award. This award is given to the top 20 percent of the 750 corps units nationwide.

The event also highlights the change of command for each Corps unit. Battle Ground's Cadet Major Austin Harris relinquished command and Cadet Major Mariah Goff assumed command. Prairie's Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Kenny Wilson relinquished command and Cadet Lieutenant Colonel Nikki Willson assumed command.

The AFJROTC program is a part of the district's Career and Technical Education Department.
Attached Media Files: IMG_1814.JPG , IMG_1802.JPG
Angela Knight
Angela Knight
Battle Ground Public Schools announces administrative changes (Photo) - 05/19/16
Battle Ground Public Schools announces several administrative changes for the 2016-17 school year, including principals, assistant principals and directors. The administrators will begin their new positions July 1.

Principals
Brian Amundson is taking over as principal at Tukes Valley Middle School for Diana Harris, who is retiring. Amundson is currently the dean of students at Jemtegaard Middle School in Washougal, where he has served since 2013. Before that he was a social studies and history teacher at Washougal High School. Amundson has a master of science in education degree from Walden University and a bachelor of arts degree from Central Washington University.

Matt Kauffman will take the helm of Daybreak Primary School replacing Jill Dutchess, who is retiring. Kauffman has been the assistant principal of Yacolt Primary since 2014. Before that he was a reading intervention specialist at Anderson Elementary School and a first and third grade teacher at Washington and Chinook elementary schools in Vancouver. He has a master of education degree and a bachelor of science in social science from Portland State University.

Angela Knight is transferring to Captain Strong Primary School, where she will take over the principal position from Michael Michaud, who is going to Pleasant Valley Primary. Knight has been the assistant principal of Tukes Valley Primary since 2013. Prior to that she was a instructional coach at Hearthwood Elementary and a first grade teacher at Orchards Elementary, both in the Evergreen Public Schools district. Knight has a masters in education from Washington State University and a bachelor of arts degree from Central Washington University.

Assistant Principals
Jason Castro will be the athletic director and assistant principal at Prairie High School. He is replacing Andy Schoonover, who is going to be the assistant principal at Pleasant Valley Middle. Castro is currently an administrative intern and principal designee at R.A. Long and Kelso high schools. He has taught at Kelso and R.A. Long high schools and also served as a football, basketball and baseball coach. He has a master's degree in Civil War history from American Public University and a bachelor of arts degree in history from Linfield College.

Andy Schoonover is taking over the assistant principal position at Pleasant Valley Middle School for Steve Hoskins, who is retiring. Schoonover is currently the athletic director and assistant principal at Prairie High School. Before that he taught social studies and Lewisville Middle and Battle Ground High schools, served as a basketball and football coach and was the assistant principal of Chief Umtuch Middle School. Schoonover has a master's degree from Concordia University and a bachelor's degree in social studies education from Washington State University.

April Vonderharr will be the assistant principal at Amboy Middle School. She is replacing Steve Michaelis, who is retiring. Vonderharr is currently an administrative intern at Amboy Middle School. Prior to that she has been a primary school teacher in the district. Vonderharr has master's and bachelor's degrees from Washington State University.

Anna Leeper is taking over as the assistant principal of Tukes Valley Primary School for Angela Knight, who is going to Captain Strong Primary. Leeper is currently a moderate disabilities and life skills teacher at Butler Acres Elementary School in Kelso. She also has been a resource teacher at Huntington Middle School in Kelso. Leeper has a master's degree from Concordia University and a bachelor's degree from the City University of Seattle.

Lynnell Tsugawa-Murray will be the assistant principal at Yacolt Primary. She is taking over for Matt Kauffman, who is moving to Daybreak Primary. Tsugawa-Murray is currently an associate administrator at Woodland Intermediate School. Prior to that she was a teacher at the school. She has a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Concordia University and master's degrees in mathematics education from Western Governor's University.

District Administration
Shelly Whitten will be the director of Human Resources, a position that has been vacant for multiple years. Whitten is currently the director of instructional leadership for secondary education. Before that she was a principal at Daybreak and Chief Umtuch middle schools, an assistant principal at La Center Elementary, and a teacher in Battle Ground, La Center and Central Valley school districts. Whitten has a master of education degree from Washington State University and a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Central Washington University.

Annie Lamberto is going to be the assistant director of Special Services, a new position in the district. Lamberto is currently a Special Services Resource Room teacher at Prairie High School, where she has taught since 2005. Before that she was a special education teacher at the middle school level. Lamberto is a National Board Certified exceptional needs specialist with a master of education degree from Grand Canyon University and a bachelor's degree from Florida Atlantic University.

Angela Allen will be the director of instructional leadership for secondary education. She is replacing Shelly Whitten, who is transferring to human resources. Allen is currently the principal of Monticello Middle School in Longview. She has also worked as an assistant principal, dean of students and teacher in Longview, Kelso and Evergreen. Allen has a master's degree in education and a bachelor of science degree in biology, both from Washington State University.
Attached Media Files: Angela Knight , Matt Kauffman , Brian Amundson
Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Mark Hottowe (with Sandy Mathewson, the district's director of social-emotional learning) was named the 2016 Champion for Children by OSPI and the Foundation for Healthy Generations
Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Mark Hottowe (with Sandy Mathewson, the district's director of social-emotional learning) was named the 2016 Champion for Children by OSPI and the Foundation for Healthy Generations
Battle Ground superintendent honored as state Champion for Children (Photo) - 05/17/16
Battle Ground Public Schools Superintendent Mark Hottowe has been named the Champion for Children by the Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Foundation for Healthy Generations. Hottowe received the second annual award last week at the state's 2016 Student Support Conference in Wenatchee. OSPI's Student Support Office and the Foundation for Healthy Generations sponsor the award to recognize an exemplary individual or team committed to providing whole-child, school-based, social, emotional, and physical support to vulnerable, underserved populations of students and their families.

Hottowe has dedicated his 40-year career in education to working for the health and wellness of children, especially vulnerable and underserved youth. As the superintendent of Battle Ground Public Schools, Mark is changing school culture and climate in the district. He leads the district with the knowledge that students need a safe, supportive environment before they can be attentive to learning. This year, Mark built on the already strong foundation of student support in Battle Ground by prioritizing initiatives that focus on social-emotional health and learning. In addition to the system of counselors, psychologists, school nurses and positive behavioral programs that Battle Ground had in place, Hottowe is expanding programs district-wide, including Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), and reaching out to community organizations and health professionals. He has given every person the responsibility of forming nurturing relationships with students that will engage them in a positive learning environment.

After graduating with degrees from Dartmouth and Central Washington universities, Hottowe began his career teaching Native American students in Neah Bay. As an administrator in Kelso, Mark worked with community partners to develop programs that reduced risk factors, built resiliency and enabled positive learning environments. As superintendent at Ocean Beach, Mark's commitment to social-emotional health grew, resulting in decreased substance use among youth and an increase in mental health and on-site prevention services at schools. At the state level, Mark has championed the development of prevention and intervention programs as the chair of the Washington State Department of Health Tobacco Disparities Coalition.
Amber Holmgren (left), Kyra Crosby and Emma McKune won the State Archivist's Special Award and first place for their Junior Group Exhibit titled Moral Choices 1975: Encountering Callousness or Compassion; Exchanging Cultures.
Amber Holmgren (left), Kyra Crosby and Emma McKune won the State Archivist's Special Award and first place for their Junior Group Exhibit titled Moral Choices 1975: Encountering Callousness or Compassion; Exchanging Cultures.
Battle Ground students win state honors at History Day competition (Photo) - 05/12/16
Students from Pleasant Valley and Chief Umtuch middle schools won awards in both group and individual competitions at the Washington State History Day finals held at Green River Community College in Auburn last month. For the competition, students conduct extensive research on historical topics and then choose a format in which to present what they've learned.

A team of eighth graders from Pleasant Valley won the State Archivist's Special Award and first place for their Junior Group Exhibit, "Moral Choices 1975: Vietnam Refugees Encountering Callousness or Compassion; Exchanging Cultures." The project will be presented to the Secretary of State before it is sent to compete at the National History Day contest in June at the University of Maryland in College Park. During their research, Kyra Crosby, Amber Holmgren and Emma McKune accessed hundreds of documents at the state archives in Olympia and interviewed former Gov. Daniel Evans, former Secretary of State Ralph Munro, Vietnam refugees and many other eyewitnesses. Their design showed waves of immigration beginning with the fall of Saigon on April 29, 1975, as well as the refugee crisis as the United States' southeast Asian allies fled the communist takeover of south Vietnam.

Also in the Junior Group Exhibit category, Chief Umtuch eighth graders Sandra Fachiol and Noel Lantz won sixth place for their project, "The Harlem Renaissance." The students conducted research into the history of Harlem, examining the cultural transformation that occurred there in art, music and social rights as New York natives struggled with the integration of migrants into their neighborhoods, labor force, and entire way of life.

A second team of eighth graders from Pleasant Valley won the Special Award for Preservation of Archaeological and Historic Properties in Washington State and fifth place Junior Group Documentary, "Chinook Wawa: The Language of Exploration, Encounter and Exchange." Grace Adams, Jaylee Aho and Erik Hughes researched original documents and interviewed Chinook Chairman Tony Johnson, Vice Chairman Sam Robinson and others to tell the story of how the Chinook saved their language from extinction.

Among the individual entries, Chief Umtuch student Arlilah Abatayo won sixth place for her Junior Individual Documentary, "North Korean Defectors: The March of Suffering." The eighth grader explored the struggles of North Korean citizens who attempted to escape forced isolationist policies of the Communist regime that has controlled that country since the the 1950s.

Pleasant Valley history participants are coached by teacher Irene Soohoo. Chief Umtuch teachers Jon Nesbitt and Beth Doughty lead participants Chief's history participants.Working individually or in groups, students select a topic related to the contest's annual theme and then conduct extensive historical research using primary sources, articles and books. Students distill their research and analysis into a dramatic performance, multimedia documentary, museum exhibit, website or research paper.

Also a participant in the National History Day program, Prairie High School sophomore Ally Orr is researching the life of U.S. Army Private First Class Lester E. Whitesel, Sr. for the Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute. Orr is looking for help finding information about Whitesel, Sr. from residents of the Grays Harbor community. She hopes to uncover the story of the soldier and tell it in a eulogy that she'll read in June at the Normandy American Cemetery in Normandy, France. Anyone with information about Private First Class Whitesel, Sr., who served in the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne, please contact Orr's history coach, Irene Soohoo, at isoohoo@comcast.net.
Bob Peck Award winner Monzerrat Garcia-Rico, 3rd grade, Pleasant Valley Primary
Bob Peck Award winner Monzerrat Garcia-Rico, 3rd grade, Pleasant Valley Primary
Battle Ground District Art Show Honors Late Founder with Namesake Award (Photo) - 05/12/16
Battle Ground Public Schools recognized the winners of its 57th annual District Art Show on Monday during a school board meeting held at Captain Strong Primary. A new award this year, the Bob Peck Award, honors the late Bob Peck, a former Battle Ground High School teacher and the founder of the District Art Show who died earlier this year. Peck taught art at the high school for more than 37 years. The school's art gallery is named for him.

Hundreds of art pieces created by K-12th graders are on display through May 24 at the school. The public is invited to view the art free of charge from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on school days from May 3 to 24 at the school, 1002 NW 6th Ave., Battle Ground.

You can watch an online slideshow featuring the art of the first place winners. https://drive.google.com/open?id=1s0w4HRSTaSDnAwJ-C2_KyWH5Vjy8WzAMmlUAmeeTZB0

Awards were given to:

Bob Peck Award
Monzerrat Garcia-Rico, 3rd grade, Pleasant Valley Primary

Superintendent's Award
Ashley Conjugacion, 8th grade, River HomeLink

Best of Show
Christina Protsenko, 10th grade, Summit View
Laela Richards, 5th grade, Daybreak Middle

12th Grade
1st Place: Alexis Hood, Battle Ground
2nd Place: Natalie Whitesel, Prairie
3rd Place: Allison Womak, Prairie
Honorable Mention: Shelby Anderson, Battle Ground

11th Grade
1st Place: Lizzy Rybalka, River HomeLink
2nd Place: Tatum Howlett, CAM
3rd Place: Julia Shabura, Summit View
Honorable Mention: Sierra Nevton, Prairie


10th Grade
1st Place: Christina Protsenko, Summit View
2nd Place: Ella Zherebenka, River HomeLink
3rd Place: Hailey Pitman, Summit View
Honorable Mention: Emrie Elliot, Prairie

Ninth Grade
1st Place: Elena Lobanova, River HomeLink
2nd Place: Marianne Rozyodoyskiy, River HomeLink
3rd Place: Gabrielle Elliot, River HomeLink
Honorable Mention: Kaylene Yandell, River HomeLink


Eighth Grade
1st Place: Ashley Conjugacion, River HomeLink
2nd Place: Rubi Llanos, Pleasant Valley Middle; Avalin Smithline, Amboy and Heaven W., Tukes Valley Middle
3rd Place: Ashley Conjugacion, River HomeLink and Isabella Strano, Amboy
4th Place: Gabby Burris, Amboy; Jocelyn Clark, CAM and Lewis K., Tukes Valley Middle
Honorable Mention: John Amajan, CAM and Shelby Allen, Chief Umtuch

Seventh Grade
1st Place: Kristina Deryavko, River HomeLink
2nd Place: Olivia Elizondo, River HomeLink and Nicholas Newberg, River HomeLink
3rd Place: Mallory Meyer, Chief Umtuch and Kari Maulding, Laurin
Honorable Mention: Morgan Payne, CAM

Sixth Grade
1st Place: Geneva Ricardo, Daybreak Middle
2nd Place: Logan Reutter, River HomeLink
3rd Place: Elsa Steigman, Laurin
4th Place: Arina Shevchenko, Maple Grove
Honorable Mention: Gina Muonio, Chief Umtuch; Gabby Hill, Pleasant Valley Middle and Terra Pierson, Amboy


Fifth Grade
1st Place: Laela Richards, Daybreak Middle and Ryley Engstrom, River HomeLink
2nd Place: Amber Huynh, Pleasant Valley Middle and Marissa Boyd, Laurin
3rd Place: Allie Lanhart, Amboy and Paige Maier, Pleasant Valley Middle
4th Place: Luciana Schrater, River HomeLink
Honorable Mention: Audrey, Amboy and Michael Manzyuk, Daybreak Middle

Photography: Black and White
1st Place: Arline Gonzales, Battle Ground
2nd Place: Emily Davidson, Battle Ground
3rd Place: Logan Bushnell, Battle Ground

Photography: Color
1st Place: Larissa Lepro, 9th grade, River HomeLink
2nd Place: Ty Parker, 12th grade, River HomeLink
3rd Place: Lucy Charleson 10th grade, Battle Ground
4th Place: Magan Luisi, 9th grade, River HomeLink
Honorable Mention: Stephanie Kane, 12th grade, Battle Ground and Callie Rich, 10th grade, Battle Ground

Computer Art
1st Place: Anna Drygas-Miller, 9th grade, River HomeLink
2nd Place: Mercedes Mehr, 11th grade, River HomeLink
3rd Place: Jacob Niles, 10th grade, River HomeLink
4th Place: Morgan Ackerland, 3rd grade, River HomeLink
Honorable Mention: Rafael Myers, 5th grade, River HomeLink

Ceramics: High School
1st Place: Taylor Steuben, 12th grade, Battle Ground
2nd Place: Kylie Smith, 12th grade, Battle Ground
3rd Place: Dakota Goets, 12th grade, Battle Ground
4th Place: Michael Opdycke, Prairie

Ceramics: Middle School
1st Place: Alea Hallstrum, 8th grade, Amboy
2nd Place: Anatoliy Barylyak, 8th grade, Daybreak Middle
3rd Place: Emma Reddig, 7th grade, Daybreak Middle
4th Place: Morgan Godfrey, 5th grade, Amboy

3D Sculpture
1st Place: River HomeLink Cooperative Project, 9-12th grades (Larissa Lepro, Elena Lobanova, Andrey Germanov, Timothy Bobrick, Marianne Rezvedovskiy, Ella Zherebenko, Tessa Higginson, Ty Parker, Maddy Nutter and Courtney Garris)
2nd Place: Beth Jouppe, 7th grade, Tukes Valley Middle
3rd Place: Rebecca Andueza, 7th grade, Maple Grove
4th Place: Edward Checkhun, 8th grade, Daybreak Middle

Battle Ground Art Alliance Winners

Best of Show
Christina Protsenko, 10th grade, Summit View

High School
1st Place: Lizzy Rybalka, 11th grade, River Home Link
2nd Place: Dina Berezih, 11th grade, Summit View
3rd Place: Mariah Darling, 12th grade, Battle Ground

Middle School
1st Place: Anastasia Lobanova, 8th grade, River HomeLink
2nd Place: Kristina Deryavko, 7th grade, River HomeLink
3rd Place: Jade Stewart, 6th grade, River HomeLink

Honorable Mentions
Katelyn P., 5th grade, Tukes Valley Middle
Ellie Ritter, 6th grade, Tukes Valley Middle
Gabby Steinbrenner, 7th grade, Chief Umtuch
Isac Robinson, 8th grade, Chief Umtuch
Marianne Rozvodovskiy, 9th grade, River HomeLink

Photography
Havilah Swanson, 10th grade, River HomeLink

3D
1st Place: Brittney Biggerstaff, 11th grade, Battle Ground
2nd Place: CheyAnne Robertson, 8th grade, Daybreak Middle
3rd Place: McKenna Talbert, 11th grade, Battle Ground
Yacolt Primary first graders Sasha Bolsoy and Bella Merriman complete an art assignment on the computer with a digital pen and art tablet.
Yacolt Primary first graders Sasha Bolsoy and Bella Merriman complete an art assignment on the computer with a digital pen and art tablet.
Digital art helps Yacolt students overcome fear of failure (Photo) - 05/05/16
Sasha Bolsoy tapped her digital pen on the art tablet, and the circle on the computer screen turned a bright shade of pink. Another tap, and the circle behind the first turned a deep red. Tapping a third circle, Sasha chose to fill it with a sunny yellow color. And so it went, tapping and filling circles with a rainbow of colors from the warm side of the color wheel.

Art teacher Jan Leppert strolled around her classroom at Yacolt Primary School, peeking over students' shoulders and answering questions as first grade hands shot into the air. Students focused on the task: use either warm or cool colors to experiment with the special effects in an online art application, pausing only to demonstrate something cool to a fellow student, or to ask a question. "They help each other, and learn how to give constructive criticism," Leppert said.

Leppert, who has been teaching art since before computers made their way into the classroom, could have pulled out the paints or crayons and asked students to put the colors on paper. But then, paint and paper come at a consumable cost, is messy, and don't let students back up and make changes so easily as the tap of a digital pen or the click of a mouse.

Today's assignment in Leppert's art class at Yacolt Primary School is part of her desire to immerse students in the technical world of digital art and meets the requirements for Washington Art Standard 1.1.6, which requires students to differentiate between warm and cool colors. It just so happens that Leppert's digital art lesson also meets several Washington state learning requirements for educational technology, namely: 1.1.1, Generate ideas and create original works for personal and group expression using a variety of digital tools; 2.2.1, Develop skills to use technology effectively; 2.2.2, Use a variety of hardware to support learning; and 2.3.2, Select and use online applications.

Leppert is just one of many teachers in Battle Ground Public Schools who seamlessly integrates technology tools into lessons that empower students to reach their highest potential. Watch videos of more technology integration on the BGPS YouTube channel.

Yacolt's Leppert began using digital art tools in the creation of her own art projects several years ago, and was so enthused by the medium's creative power and flexibility to do something over, that she began taking her art students to Yacolt's computer lab at least once each week. There, students learned how to create using free art programs such as paint.NET, an open-source image editing program developed by a computer science student at Washington State University.

She loved teaching digital art lessons so much that Leppert was ecstatic when Yacolt principal Ken Evans offered to purchase technical art equipment for her classroom, including pressure-sensitive digital pens and art tablets that let students draw images that appear on the computer screen, much the same as typing on a keyboard. "Technology skills in the 21st century are essential in the fields of architecture, graphic design, computer programming and many other fields," Evans said. "Children at the primary level need to begin developing these skills with continued learning through middle school and high school."

"Now, I can't imagine teaching without it," Leppert said.

Besides the ability for students to quickly undo something in their digital work, Leppert said, one of the coolest aspects of digital art is that even the most mundane computer tasks become relevant. Even the youngest primary students are excited to learn how to use a mouse and save files in different formats so they can share a photographic file (.jpg) of their artwork with their families on a computer at home. All they have to do is access their school account on Google Drive through the web.

Leppert estimates that her art students spend one half to two thirds of their time creating with digital mediums. "Digital is faster," she said, "and students get over their fear of failure because they can make changes so easily on the computers."

As first grade art class draws to an end, Leppert heads toward a student finishing his project on the monitor. "Look at this," Gabriel Deffenbaugh said as Leppert approaches. With a circular movement of the digital pen on the art pad, the circles on the computer screen turn into a rainbow swirl of warm colors.

"Some people worried that students would lose their creativity if they used digital tools to create art pieces, but I've seen just the opposite," Leppert said. "The students get really excited when they get their hands on new creative tools."

Links
Watch videos of more technology integration on the BGPS YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPhKGwqa8U5LjLPF6AClP99b-X-yVFhuu
paint.NET: http://www.getpaint.net/index.html