Battle Ground Sch. Dist.
BGPS Hires Communications Specialist (Photo)
Battle Ground Public Schools announces that it has hired Rita Sanders as its new communications specialist. Her first day was Monday. This is a full-time position in the district office at CASEE. Rita has lived in the district for seven years and brings to the job a range of experience in communications and publishing.
"I've always been so happy that my kids attend school in such a great district," Rita says, "and now I get to shout out about all the good things happening here and support the wonderful people dedicated to our children's education."
Most recently she planned communications for and helped manage the scientific journals of the American Ornithologists' Union and Cooper Ornithological Society. Prior to that she was the executive editor of iPro Developer, a digital and print magazine for software developers. In that role she was responsible for building external relationships with readers and authors and also for managing the content of the publication. Rita began her career as a newspaper reporter at the Corvallis Gazette-Times, where she covered Oregon State University on the higher education beat.
Rita has an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Oregon and a master's degree in technical communication with an emphasis on public relations from Colorado State University. Her husband, Todd, is a migratory bird researcher. They have two children who attend Battle Ground schools.
Rita will work with teachers and staff to communicate district and school happenings to parents and the community. She plans to use social media, existing district email newsletters, district phone calls, and other means to get information to parents. "I want to constantly assess the methods we are using to notify parents and the community about district news and what is happening in classrooms to make sure everyone has access to the information they need," she says.
The district will continue to work with the ESD 112's communications team to provide support, including crisis communications, strategic planning, and graphic design and video production.
BGPS' Teachers Benefit from Professional Development Days (Photo)
Captain Strong Primary Teachers
Teachers in Battle Ground Public Schools met this past Wednesday afternoon to start the year's professional development series. The district has scheduled 11 early release days designed for professional development opportunities for teachers and staff. This week's focus was examining student data and work on this year's school improvement plans. Teachers and specialists use collaborative time to identify student needs and create plans to support students' academic success. The remaining professional development early release days will allow administrators, teachers and staff to focus on the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Teacher Principal Evaluation Project, assessments and proven instructional practices.
"The past few years the district has realized that teachers need time to work together and collaborate around the new standards, new testing, and new report cards," said Mark Ross, Battle Ground's assistant superintendent of teaching and learning. "There are a lot of things we are asking teachers to do in addition to assessing student growth and creating goals."
CCSS represents a shift in the teaching of English language arts (writing, reading, listening, and speaking) and math. The standards were designed to ensure that all students are learning what they need to know to graduate from high school prepared for college or a career. The district has been preparing for CCSS over the past several years and will be joining all districts across the state with full implementation this year. Professional development time has been an essential element in preparing for this year's implementation.
The district has asked educators to focus some professional development afternoons on goals and collaboration within their schools, while on other afternoons teachers will come together across grade levels or subjects to share and learn the most effective teaching methods that will increase student achievement. "We want to make sure all teachers have the same understanding of what we expect the kids to know and be able to do," Ross said.
Teachers at Tukes Valley Primary spent the afternoon with their new principal, Jennifer Paulsen, discussing how teaching methods affect student achievement and what teachers can do to increase student achievement. "Teachers did a pre-assessment that told them about where their kids are at," Paulsen said. "Now they're looking deeper at student work to determine students' strengths and weaknesses, and teachers are using that information to plan instruction."
Teachers can also use student assessment data to discover more effective teaching methods. "If one class is doing better than another, then we want to find out why and share those teaching strategies across classrooms," Ross said.
The school district is constantly assessing the need for teacher collaboration and reevaluates the school calendar each year. "We want our teachers in classrooms and students in school, so it's important to determine the most effective balance," Ross said. Additional early release days are scheduled throughout the year for parent-teacher conferences and to monitor student progress and assign grades.
The Battle Ground Public Schools calendar is available on the district website at http://www.battlegroundps.org/about-us/school-calendars
More information about Common Core State Standards is available on the district website at http://www.battlegroundps.org/district/common-core
BGHS Students Summertime Jazz (Photo)
Battle Ground High School students and trumpet players, Steve Montecucco, Matthias Tyni, Tyler Barnes, and Mandy Quinn are spending their summer performing on stage as members of the American Music Program's (AMP) Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra.
Students from around the region participate in the orchestra and are mentored by BGHS teacher Greg McKelvey and Grammy award winners Thara Memory and Esperanza Spalding. AMP is a local non-profit organization dedicated to educating 7th-12th grade students in jazz. Students are recruited from culturally diverse backgrounds throughout the Portland metro area and work on advanced performance skills and understanding the art form of jazz. The group spent the summer touring the country to compete in jazz festivals including the Next Generation Monterey Jazz Festival in California, the Charles Mingus Jazz Festival in New York City, and dozens of local competitions in the Pacific Northwest.
AMP's next performance will be on Friday, September 5, as part of the "Giants of Jazz and Blues" music festival at the Winningstad Theater in Portland, OR. The students will be playing alongside jazz greats Bennie Maupin, Terell Stafford, Rebecca Kilgore, Andy Stokes, LaRhonda Steele and Thara Memory. To learn more about AMP and upcoming performances please visit www.ampjazz.org.