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Battle Ground Public Schools has received a $25,000 grant to purchase new equipment for Prairie High School's Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) class. The grant is from Project Lead the Way (PLTW), a non-profit organization that provides hands-on curricula in the fields of computer science, engineering, and biomedical science.
The primary goals of PLTW classes are to build enthusiasm while developing in-demand skills and providing students with an opportunity to explore careers through hands-on learning and real-life problem solving. Prairie's CIM course illustrates the opportunities related to manufacturing by teaching students about modern manufacturing processes, product design, robotics, and automation.
"The Computer Integrated Manufacturing class provides a unique opportunity to prepare students for their next step after high school," said Cindy Arnold, the district's director of career and technical education. "This class bridges engineering design with a more traditional shop class, which provides excellent training for the skills required by modern manufacturing jobs."
Students in the CIM class build upon their Computer Aided Design (CAD) experience through the use of Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software. With this software, students import a digital design into a program that a Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) mill uses to transform a block of raw material into a product designed by a student. Students learn and apply concepts related to integrating robotics, such as Automated Guided Vehicles and robotic arms, into manufacturing systems.
The $25,000 grant will be used to purchase a new CNC mill and robotic arm bundle for PHS, ensuring that the classroom is properly outfitted to fully take advantage of the curriculum. Project Lead the Way was first introduced to the district at the middle school level through Pleasant Valley's Design and Modeling and Robotics courses. Since then, the district has added PLTW classes at Daybreak and Tukes Valley middle schools, providing a gateway for more students to transition to related high school courses.
PHS teacher Rob Smith has already noticed the difference. "Thanks to the middle school Project Lead the Way classes, incoming freshmen are able to hit the ground running by the time they reach my classroom," Smith said. "Technology is completely changing what's possible, and no matter whether students are looking to enter the workforce right after graduating high school or plan on going to college, these classes and the equipment provided by the grant will help our students be as prepared and qualified as possible."
Computer Integrated Manufacturing is the third and most recent PLTW class offered at PHS, joining Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering. Students have the option to take Introduction to Engineering Design in place of required fine arts credits, and Principals of Engineering can take the place of physics.
"The next generation of technology and manufacturing jobs requires highly skilled and trained employees," Smith said. "This grant will help ensure that our students are ready."
Students at Chief Umtuch Middle School made it clear in their feedback: they wanted more responsibility and opportunities to be directly involved with shaping the culture of their school. Students provided the feedback on a bi-annual Healthy Youth Survey that measures health behaviors in Washington youth.
Armed with the knowledge that their students wanted to be more involved, Principal Beth Beattie and Assistant Principal Matt Kesler collaborated with the school's teachers and developed several new groups and activities to support a variety of student interests and provide multiple opportunities for students to be heard.
"It was apparent that giving our students more ownership and responsibility was an ideal way to strengthen their connection to the school," Beattie said. "It's important for our students to have a voice and to know that their voice is being heard."
Chief Umtuch Middle School's efforts are helping the Battle Ground Public School district to reach its social-emotional goals of providing a variety of activities that enhance the educational experience and supporting and promoting the well-being of students. "Chief is a great example of a school that has listened to its students and provided supports that meet them exactly where they are," said Sandy Mathewson, the district's director of social-emotional learning.
When it comes to implementing successful social-emotional learning programs and supports, providing multiple avenues for student voice and engagement is key. At Chief, students have five new groups in which to help make a difference at their school: Chief Positive, Sources of Strength, Yearbook Crew, Green Team, and Prevention Club.
One group, Chief Positive (Chief+), supports the district's efforts to implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) in schools. PBIS is a system that helps support staff and students by creating predictable, consistent, positive and safe schools. The students in Chief+ work with sixth grade teacher Jim Thompson, who is the school's PBIS lead, to create activities and policies that recognize students who are "caught" doing the right thing.
"Chief Positive has three main messages: be safe, be engaged, and be respectful," Assistant Principal Kesler said. "Students in Chief Positive spread this message throughout the school and help us find ways to acknowledge students in ways that are most meaningful and impactful to them."
Sources of Strength, or SOS, is the largest group on campus. The 80 student leaders and eight adult mentors help communicate ways for students to be resilient, even after adverse childhood experiences. SOS takes an innovative, upstream approach to prevention by focusing on strengths, resiliency and connectedness rather than risk factors, warning signs and sources of trauma. The mission of SOS is to change unhealthy norms and culture, ultimately preventing suicide, bullying, and substance abuse by increasing help-seeking behaviors and promoting connections between peers and caring adults. The SOS students at Chief lead assemblies and organize school spirit weeks, among other activities.
In addition to SOS and Chief+, the school also has a Yearbook Crew with about 20 participating students; a Green Team with 12 students; and Prevention Club with 45 students. The Green Team helps with school recycling projects and recently conducted a school-wide trash and recycling audit to identify areas of potential improvement. Prevention Club is focused on promoting healthful behaviors and educating students about the dangers of drug, alcohol, and tobacco use.
When students first provided survey feedback that they wanted to have more responsibility in their school, the sole student group on campus was the Associated Student Body (ASB). This group consisted of 16 students who helped shape school culture by organizing and running school assemblies and other social functions such as school dances. With the addition of the five new groups, more than 130 students actively participate in shaping their school culture.
"These new clubs help students feel engaged and give them a renewed sense of ownership at their school," Principal Beattie said. "Each and every student should know that they belong here at Chief, and these new clubs are a huge step in the right direction."
Primary students from Battle Ground Public Schools will apply their creative culinary talents to making healthy comfort food recipes in Sodexo's 2017 Future Chefs Challenge on Wednesday, March 22 at Prairie High School, 11311 NE 119th Street in Vancouver.
Finalists will prepare their recipes and present them to a panel of judges, who will assess the culinary creations for originality, taste, ease of presentation, kid friendliness and use of healthy ingredients. Ninety-eight primary school students submitted healthy comfort food recipes for the contest, and 15 were selected to participate in the district-wide finals event.
The winning recipe from Battle Ground Public Schools will be considered for a regional award, and regional finalists will vie to become one of five national finalists competing for the public's vote on SodexoUSA.com.
The national initiative, now in its seventh year, was created by Sodexo to get students thinking about making healthy food choices while also encouraging them to get active and creative in the kitchen. Battle Ground Public Schools contracts with Sodexo to provide the district's nutrition services.
Students will prepare their dishes from 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 22, with judging taking place immediately after. Awards will be presented soon after judging has concluded.