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Hathaway fifth graders enjoy lesson in etiquette (Photo) - 02/26/15
Washougal, WA -- Hathaway Elementary fifth grade girls had the chance to learn and practice good table manners with a special field trip for lunch to Hearth Wood Oven Bistro in Washougal on February 25. The experience was a part of the Young Women in Action (YWIA) program, sponsored and staffed by the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club.

"The girls were all very excited to participate," said Meridee Pabst, Rotary's YWIA coordinator. "They had fun getting dressed up and practicing what they had learned about restaurant etiquette."

The lunch began with a silly skit prepared by YWIA adult mentors on what bad manners looks like. At the table were "Table Manners Menus" that gave the girls tips such as laying your napkin on your lap, bringing bites of food to your mouth and to how to lay your fork and knife in the "finished" position on your plate. "We wanted to leave the girls with a feeling of confidence that they know what to expect and how to conduct themselves at a nice restaurant," Pabst explained. "This was the first time some of them had been in this type of setting. Sometimes it can be confusing to even know which water glass is yours or how to use a table knife." Each girl was also supplied a dollar bill to leave as a tip.

The menu, prepared by Hearth owner, David Garcia and served by Will Callaway, included salad, chicken and pasta and bacon wrapped dates for dessert. "David offered the dates for dessert to help the girls expand their palate and try something that they may never have tried before," Pabst said. "We are very grateful to David for opening up for us at a time when the restaurant is usually closed."

"What the Rotary is doing, mentoring these young girls, is really great and I think we will all be better in the future for their efforts. I was proud to be a part of it," said Garcia. "I hope the girls had an appreciation of what Hearth is about and how to enjoy a dining experience. They seemed very happy and eager to learn about appropriate behavior based on the environment that one finds themselves in."

"I thought it was a lot of fun to get dressed up and go out with friends that I usually just see at school," said Hathaway fifth grader, Jocelyn Bowman. "We got to visit at our table and I learned some things about some of the girls that I had not known." Bowman also gained more appreciation for no technology at the table in public. "It is rude to talk loudly on a cell phone in a restaurant," she pointed out. "And besides, you want to talk to friends and family at the table with you."

As a follow up, the girls convene in small groups to talk about what they enjoyed and learned. One member takes notes of the discussion and another is chosen to present their thoughts to the entire group. "This carries on the lessons to working as a team and practicing public speaking," Pabst said.

YWIA is a free, eight-week program for all Hathaway fifth grade girls that focuses on development of life skills such as friendship, health, hygiene, career, manners, etiquette, and "envision your life" exercises, while being fun and age-appropriate. "The program also provides them an opportunity to get to know and interact with peers who are not in their circle of friends," Pabst explained. "It all fits neatly into the school week on Wednesday afternoons, when school dismisses early."

Another highly anticipated field trip will be on March 11 to the Manning Academy of Cosmetology to review basic hygiene and personal care and provide each student with a self-esteem boosting hair style makeover.

Other sessions include learning about relationships and trust, money management, careers, nutrition and exercise. The program ends with a farewell celebration in which the girls practice social skills they have learned, receive a photo of themselves and friends they made during the program, certificates, flowers and cake. "We hope this program becomes a much-loved part of their Wednesday routine and a fondly remembered part of their final year in elementary school," Pabst said.

Young Women in Action, and its boys' counterpart Young Men in Action which begins in April, are always looking for passionate, dedicated volunteers from the community. The programs are paid for by the Camas-Washougal Rotary Club and are made possible with the help of local organizations who make donations, provide special pricing, or facilitate field trips to their businesses. Participation in Rotary is not a requirement to be part of the programs. To get involved, either as a sponsor or mentor visitcwrotary.com and click on the YMIA/YWIA link at the top of the page at cwrotary.com.

Rotary International is a service organization with over 1.2 million members in more than 160 countries. The Camas-Washougal Rotary meets at 7 am on Thursdays at Orchard Hills Golf and Country Club, 605 39th St., Washougal, WA 98671. For more club information visit cwrotary.com.

Washougal School District leaders participate in Future Ready Regional Summit in Vancouver - 02/23/15
A team of Washougal School District leaders attended the Future Ready Regional Summit in Vancouver, February 17-18. The summit was one in a series offered across the U.S. designed to help school district leaders improve teaching and learning through the effective use of technology. The event was hosted by the U.S. Department of Education and the Alliance for Excellent Education.

Already deeply immersed in a technology plan involving a 1:1 iPad model, Washougal staff is committed to preparing students for the digital future. Washougal leaders affirmed this commitment by engaging in a series of workshops that offered expert support to build upon the existing digital learning plan that aligns with instructional best practices, is implemented by highly trained teachers, and leads to personalized learning experiences for all students.

"It was valuable to hear what other districts are doing, and to learn from their experiences with digital learning," said Canyon Creek Middle School Principal Sandi Christensen. "It confirmed that we are in a good place with our 1:1 roll out, and we're ready to support all teachers as they transform their instruction. I feel this event encourages me to use social media more to communicate with parents, recognizing that two way communication with parents and listening to their needs is imperative."

"We are on the right road with technology and how we are using it to support student learning." said Jemtegaard Middle School Dean of Students Brian Amundson. "The information shared through this summit affirms the need to continue to provide technology coaching and professional development for staff."

Director of Technology Les Brown called the event "eye opening". "The topics presented were timely and very relevant to the 1:1 work the district is engaged in," said Brown. "Working with our team from Washougal, I realize how lucky we are to have the resources, willing teachers, and supportive community to implement and get where we are. We are well positioned to take the tools and resources provided during this event and put them to work to help make our schools even better."

"Superintendents provide critical leadership to ensure that every child in their district benefits from what we know matters and what we know works for kids," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "The Future Ready Regional Summits will be a forum where local leaders can share knowledge with their peers, engage leaders from outside their region and better equip themselves with skills and tools necessary to provide students with what they need to be successful in life."

The summits are an important step toward realizing the goals of the ConnectED Initiative announced by President Obama in 2013 to connect 99 percent of students to high-speed Internet and empower teachers with the technology they need to transform teaching and learning. The regional summits are expected to engage more than 1,300 district leaders nationwide.

The summits are open to district leadership teams that have made a commitment to developing the human and technological capacity needed to transform teaching and personalize learning using digital tools, by signing the Future Ready District Pledge. Already, more than 1,500 district superintendents nationwide have taken the pledge.

For more information about the OET, including resources for students, parents and educators, visit http://tech.ed.gov. #FutureReady

Washougal High School CTE Director Announces Retirement (Photo) - 02/19/15
Washougal, WA - Marsha Spencer has announced her retirement at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. Spencer serves as the Washougal School District Career and Technical Education (CTE) Director.

Spencer's career in education spanned 37 years, 17 of those in Washougal. She began in Oregon at the Bend/LaPine School District for 10 years prior to moving to Vancouver in 1988. At this time, she was hired as an administrative assistant for the Evergreen School District and held several different jobs before being hired as a business teacher for Washougal in August 1988. For five years, Spencer taught computer applications, accounting, career choices, and work-based learning. In 2002, she transitioned into the Career Specialist position. "This job was one of the most rewarding of all my experiences," Spencer said. "I loved influencing young lives and watching light bulbs go on. I have the best job in the whole district."

Being a life-long learner, Spencer went back to school and completed the CTE Administrative program in 2009. This allowed her to move into the position that she will be leaving, CTE Director.

"Marsha has given so much to the Washougal School District," said Aaron Hansen, WHS Principal. "As CTE Director and Career Specialist, Marsha worked hard to provide engaging and 21st curriculum and state-of-the-art equipment for staff and students to prepare them for their future, using fiscally sound practices and a deep desire to do what's best for kids."

Her work has brought many new courses to the high school including American Sign Language, Digital Photography, and Medical Terminology. She has also helped to revive a middle school CTE program that includes Robotics and Desktop Publishing. Spencer helped to start the JAS (Job Acquisition Skills) program, as well as many career day events. "She is a tireless advocate for vocational learning and consistently searches for ways to support students," Hansen added. "We will miss Marsha's leadership, compassion and dedication to the Washougal Community."

The CTE Director position will be posted by the end of February and can be found at www.washougal.k12.wa.us.

Attached Media Files: Marsha_1.jpg
Brian Wallace announces resignation, Washougal School District seeks business manager (Photo) - 02/17/15
Washougal School District Business Manager Brian Wallace has announced his resignation effective May 1. Wallace has accepted a position with the Coeur d'Alene School District in Idaho starting on May 4, 2015. Wallace has been with the Washougal School District since July 2013.

Superintendent Dawn Tarzian praises Wallace's work, especially that of opening the district's budget process to increase participation in its development, breaking down the complex state revenue system to make information more understandable, and supporting staff and administration in prioritizing district resources to target student needs.

Wallace's home and family have remained in Idaho as he has worked for Washougal. "We are sorry to lose Brian but understand that this opportunity in Coeur d'Alene will support his personal goals to live and work in the same community," said Dawn Tarzian.

"Washougal has been a tremendous experience for me," said Wallace. "I have learned so much professionally and cannot imagine a better team of people to work with. It is a difficult decision as I weigh the needs of my family."

The district is seeking a business manager to allow for a smooth transition and the opportunity for Wallace to work with the new professional. Applicants can find a list of items required for a complete application, as well as qualifications, responsibilities, and information about the Washougal community by viewing the brochure for this position (http://www.washougal.k12.wa.us/blog/Business_Manager_Brochure.pdf)

Applications can be found online: https://washougal.tedk12.com/hire/index.aspx.

The deadline to apply is March 5, 2015 at 4:00 p.m.

Attached Media Files: brian_wallace.jpg
Washougal Voters Approve Bond for Safer Schools - 02/13/15
Washougal, WA - Washougal voters showed their support for schools by approving Proposition 5, a capital improvement bond that will address safety, student capacity and facilities needs for Washougal School District students. At the time of this writing 4,457 returns from Clark and Skamania Counties were counted with 60.94% voting in favor. The vote will be formally certified by the Clark County Election Office on February 24, 2015.

"We are grateful to the citizens of Washougal for demonstrating their support of education in our community by voting yes for this important work," said Dawn Tarzian, Washougal School District Superintendent. "We saw a higher than normal turnout of parent-aged voters and appreciate that they are modeling to their children the importance of being involved in the democratic process by voting."

The $57,685,000 bond will raise property taxes by $.48 per $1,000 of home value, costing homeowners with a $300,000 home around $12 per month or $144 per year. These taxes will go into effect in 2016.

District staff will begin working with Bond counsel to work to sell the first wave of bonds, with the first sale likely taking place in July 2015. The district will also plan timelines for the work, including permitting, design, and construction activities to take place over the next three years.

Safety was a main focus of the work outlined in the bond. Security enhancements to the foyers at all district schools are expected to be completed in the summer of 2016.

The new Jemtegaard Middle School and new K-5 school were included in the bond to address safety as well as overcrowding and should be open in Fall 2018. Community input will be sought in a process to reconfigure district boundaries as the new K-5 school is completed. Some Gause students may start the school year in 2018 at the new school. The redrawn boundaries would work to balance enrollment among the four elementary schools. The new Excelsior High School and new transportation facility would also be expected to open in the Fall of 2018. Roofing work and some of the HVAC projects at Gause and Hathaway will be completed in the summer of 2016.

Planning for the bond began with the nearly year-long work of the Long Range Facilities Planning Committee. This group of local experts in construction, architecture, engineering and facility management worked diligently and thoughtfully to identify the most critical facility needs of the district. "Our Board considered every aspect of their recommendations," Tarzian said. "They then acted on those improvements most important to insuring our Washougal school facilities support a safe, positive environment for student learning and success. With this bond's success we will be prepared for future growth of our schools and community."

Superintendent Dawn Tarzian announces retirement from Washougal School District (Photo) - 02/11/15
Superintendent Dawn Tarzian announced at the February 10 School Board meeting that she will retire as head of the Washougal School District at the end of the 2014-2015 school year.

Tarzian, who has served as superintendent since 2011, has worked in education for 37 years. She brought with her experience as a former teacher, principal, curriculum director, and superintendent. In the past four years, Tarzian led the district's efforts to refocus on instruction, student achievement, and building trust with the staff and community. Much of this work has culminated in the current Proposition 5, the WSD Capital Improvement Bond that, if passed, will result in safer schools and provide greater capacity to end overcrowding and improve the learning and working environment throughout the district.

Another legacy left by Tarzian is her work with local stakeholders to develop a new district vision and mission through a comprehensive Strategic Planning process. This project resulted in a clear focus for the district and a commitment to the community to create a supportive and welcoming environment that fosters student success. "I have deeply appreciated the involvement of the community and the dozens of community members who helped create a new direction for the school district," shared Tarzian. "The engagement and support of the Washougal community in the leadership initiatives has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career."

During her tenure, Tarzian worked to ensure that students of all backgrounds and abilities are afforded opportunities to learn and grow, and to ensure that the district strives to engage and support parents as partners in educating our community's children. Summer school programs, after school interventions, and partnerships with community to provide parents tools to help children build the critical skills they need to succeed have all flourished under Tarzian's leadership.

A favorite part of Tarzian's job was spending time in the classroom to stay in touch with the challenges teachers face, and see firsthand the work that students are doing. Teachers around the district have shared stories about being personally touched by her feedback letters left after classroom visits.

In announcing her retirement, Tarzian said that should Proposition 5 pass, she "understands the importance of the work that lies ahead and the need for community involvement in the next steps of the process." She added "I feel that the superintendent who engages in these conversations needs to be here through the completion of these projects in 2018-2019."

Tarzian's husband of 35 years, Peter, who retired last year from Mt. Pleasant School District, will retire from the Sherman County School District at the end of this school year. The Tarzians have six grown children, three of whom are in the field of education, and six grandchildren.

Tarzian began her career in 1978 as an elementary school teacher in Eagle Point School District in Southern Oregon and later moved to the Eugene 4J School District. She served as principal in the Falls City and Albany School Districts in Oregon before a move to Corvallis in 2001. Her first superintendent post was with Corvallis School District from 2005-2011.

The Washougal School Board is working with BWP and Associates to find a replacement superintendent to begin in July 2015.

Attached Media Files: dawn_tarzian.jpeg