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Washougal Elementary Students Participate in Battle of the Books (Photo) - 04/24/15
Washougal, WA - Elementary students in Washougal School District battled it out in a most unlikely location, their libraries, as a part of the district-wide Battle of the Books competition.

"The Battle of the Books competition is sleuthing out the intricate comprehension details of each novel," said WHS Library Media Specialist, Hillary Marshall. Students read at least six books from a pre-determined list of 15. During the competition students are given questions about content and answer by identifying the book title for five points and the author for an additional two points. Teams have 30 seconds after the reading of the question to give its response through the team captain. If the team gives an incorrect title or author, the opposing team may then pick up points for that question with the correct answer.

The competition is for 4th and 5th graders at all Washougal elementary schools. Teams consist of four to six players. The preliminary rounds were held Friday, April 17, with the top two teams from each school battling it out at the Grand Battle on Friday, April 24 at WHS. The winning team, from Cape Horn-Skye, was Ryan Langston, Immy Hinchliff, Rose Hinchliff, Sophia Krasnogorov, Gavin Keyser and Trey Keyser.

Participation in this second annual event was high. Gause Elementary had 30 students qualify for their school's battle and Hathaway Elementary had 35 students. Cape Horn-Skye Elementary had a whopping 80 student compete at their school level. "All together almost 30% of the district's grade 4 and grade 5 students read enough books to qualify for a school battle and a trip to Washougal High School to support their classmates competing for the title," said David Tudor, WSD Curriculum Director. "The students and library staff have worked very hard to make this a fun and exciting event."

Planning for the event began in Fall with Marshall and the elementary library assistants, Kathy Stanton, Hathaway; Marlene Leifsen, Gause; and Tammy Asbjornsen, CH-S.

"The students who participate love the competition," said Leifsen. "As a librarian, I see students check out a book every week, do their 20 minutes of reading and return the book, unfinished. I love seeing the kids enjoying and finishing books. It's also really fun for me to get to know students better personally."

"The students get a lot out of this competition by learning what team work is all about," said Asbjornsen. "Our students build valuable speaking skills while giving verbal summaries of the books they have read. Students are also exposed to different types of genres that they have never read before. They gain self-confidence and pride within themselves but most of all a love for reading."

This year's theme, "Race into Reading." Guest speaker, Sam Reigel, talked to students participating in the Grand Battle about biodiesel technology and how he converted his automobile to run on refined vegetable oil. The theme also inspired some extra fun during the preliminary battle days. At Gause, students were treated to a "gas station lunch" featuring corn dogs, and at CH-S, motocross and race car driver, Kelly Harness of Camas, brought his racing bike and talked to students after their outside picnic lunch. Harness stressed the importance of reading in his line of work. "When I have to get into an engine and do repair work, I have to be able to read the instruction manual to know what I need to do," he explained.

High school students also participate by volunteering to read the battle books to help create questions for the competition. They also served as team leaders, escorting the elementary student to each battle venue, and time and score keepers during the battles. They also planned and ran indoor recess activities for entertainment during the luncheon. "Our high schoolers love this leadership opportunity to inspire younger readers and they are always amazed how well the elementary students know the intricate details of each novel," said Marshall.

The final grand battle and award ceremony took place in the WHS auditorium. Jamie Dotson from iQ Credit Union was on hand to present books purchased through their Read With Me literacy program that gives a $75 grant to literacy programs that inspire lifelong reading. "This money was used to purchase books from the Scholastic Warehouse to reward our high school students for all of their help with the event," Marshall said. "Each high school student who participated received a book they selected to call their very own."

"I think for young children to pick up a book with more than 30 pages is very daunting to them," Asbjornsen said. "When they first look at the battle books, any books for that matter, they think that the book is too big and that they can't finish it. But once they do, it is very gratifying for them. I love it when students come up to me and tell me that they really like a certain book."

"For me it is all about the love of reading," said Stanton. "I enjoy reading as entertainment and through this experience these students are getting the chance to develop that love and become lifelong readers."

Laura Miltenberger joins Washougal School District as Curriculum Director (Photo) - 04/22/15
Laura Miltenberger has been hired as the new Curriculum Director for the Washougal School District. She will be assuming the position on July 1, 2015 when the current Director, David Tudor, moves into the principal position at Hathaway Elementary.

Miltenberger is currently the district director for Curriculum Instruction and Assessment for the Pendleton School District in Pendleton, Oregon. She brings with her experience in delivering or organizing professional development at all levels including para-educators and administrators, supporting Professional Learning Communities, overseeing state and district assessment alignment, training, and implementation, data collection and analysis, supporting the talented and gifted (HiCap) program, collaboration with Special Programs to ensure equitable outcomes for all students, and more. Miltenberger also worked as a principal in the PSD.

"What really intrigued me about Washougal was when I asked members of the interview team what made them most proud of their district, many team members responded that it was the relationships that have been established. A strong sense collaboration centered around the importance of working together as a team to support the whole child was very evident," Miltenberger said. "It is clear that everyone in this district works as a strong team to achieve the best outcomes for all students."

"Laura has multiple years of teaching experience that she will bring to the Director position," said WSD Superintendent Dawn Tarzian in a note to staff. "The interview committee was impressed with Laura's knowledge and experience." In the selection process is was pointed out that Miltenberger has experience as an administrator both at the school building and district level, and has the heart of a teacher and really knows what is going on in the classrooms in her district. Those who have worked with her say she is "sharp, hard-working, visible, a wealth of experience, has credibility with people, a highly successful teacher herself, and provides support through transitions."

Miltenberger admits that it is difficult to leave PSD. "But what drew me to this position were the many similarities between Washougal and Pendleton. After interviewing for this position, I knew it was a perfect fit. It is apparent that educators in Washougal are excited about the work they are engaged in." she said.

A mother of three grown children, Miltenberger has family in the greater Portland area. "I like the rural feel of Washougal. It is apparent that this is a very connected community. It feels really comfortable to be," she said. Miltenberger has spent the last 30 years in Pendleton.
Attached Media Files: Laura_Miltenberger.jpeg
Mike Stromme
Mike Stromme
Stromme selected as new Washougal School District Superintendent (Photo) - 04/17/15
Washougal, WA - Michael Stromme has been selected as the new Superintendent for Washougal School District. Stromme is currently the Associate Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in the Vancouver School District. He brings with him a rich background of experience that includes instruction, facility use planning, budgets, professional development, partnership engagement, and strong communication skills. Stromme has served as the interim Superintendent for the Green Mountain School District and Associate Superintendent and Chief Information Officer for the Vancouver School District before assuming his current position. He served as the planning principal and associate principal for the new Skyview High School. He was a teacher for eight years before moving into district leadership.

"Mike scored very high with the entire Board in all qualities identified by the community, staff, and the Board as important for our new superintendent to possess," said Elaine Pfeifer, WSD Board Vice President. "He is a dynamic, professional leader with a passion for education. He has the experience to enhance the excellent work being done in the District and has demonstrated the expertise required to oversee the successful completion of the upcoming bond projects. The Board believes Mike is a good fit for Washougal and that he will use his leadership skills and innovative thinking to further advance the goals of the District."

"It is clear from meeting with the principals, staff and community members there is great passion and commitment to the children and families of the Washougal community," Stromme noted. "I am impressed with their focus on student achievement and meeting the personal needs of each child. I look forward to living in the Washougal community and working with students, parents, highly engaged school partners, and a great team of professional educators."

"I was very impressed with Mike's knowledge of the district and the initiatives we have been engaged in," said Dawn Tarzian. "He asked very thoughtful questions about the work being done by classified staff, teachers, administrators and the school board. It was obvious to me that he is inspired and eager to become a part of our professional team."

Stromme's goal in his first year will be to learn about the district by spending time with staff, teachers, and principals, and working to build relationships with our community partners. "I look to building a strong relationship with the school board and the continued work to achieve the goals and strategic plans established for the Washougal School District."
Attached Media Files: Mike Stromme
Washougal School Board narrows search for new leader to four finalists - 04/14/15
The Washougal School District Board of Directors has selected four finalists to interview for the position of Superintendent of schools. The selected candidate will succeed Dawn Tarzian who retires in June.

Martin Brewer, Shelton, WA.
Martin Brewer is currently Superintendent of the Pioneer School District in Shelton, WA, a position he has held since 2011. Prior to joining the Pioneer School District, Brewer worked in the Richland School District as elementary school principal and director of Gifted Programs. He previously worked as elementary and middle school principal in the Grandview, Prosser and Sunnyside school districts in Washington. Brewer earned his Bachelor's Degree from Eastern Washington University and his Master's Degree from Heritage College.

Chris Fritsch, Longview, WA.
Chris Fritsch has served as Assistant Superintendent in the Longview School District since 2011. Fritsch has worked for the Longview School District for much of his professional career, previously as executive director of Leadership and Learning, principal and assistant principal of Mark Morris High School, and assistant principal of Monticello Middle School. He has taught social studies in Longview and also in Texas where he began his teaching career. He has extensive coaching experience at the high school and middle school levels. Fritsch earned his Bachelor's Degree from Pacific Lutheran University and his Master's Degree from Portland State University.

Mike Stromme, Vancouver, WA.
Mike Stromme is currently Associate Superintendent of Teaching and Learning with the Vancouver Public Schools. Stromme has worked for Vancouver Public Schools in various positions, including associate superintendent and chief information officer, chief of secondary Education, high school principal, associate principal, athletic director, and teacher. Stromme previously served as interim superintendent for Green Mountain School District and Associate Superintendent of Instructional Services and Technology at Educational Service District 112 in Vancouver. He earned his Bachelor's Degree from Oregon State University, his Master's Degree from the University of Portland, and his Doctorate Degree from Washington State University.

Ann Varkados, Spanaway, WA.
Ann Varkados is Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning for the Bethel School District, a position she has held since 2004. Varkados has worked for the Bethel School District since 1998, previously as executive director of Curriculum and Instruction and principal. Prior to joining the Bethel School District, Varkados was a principal in Kalama School District. She has experience as a learning specialist and teacher, working in both the Camas and Vancouver School Districts. She also served as director of Staff Development for Hi-School Pharmacy. Varkados earned her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees from the University of Portland. She holds an Ed.D. Degree from Washington State University.

"We were very pleased with the number of qualified candidates applying for the position," said Board President Ron Dinius. "We had a difficult time narrowing the field down to four candidates," he said. "We are looking forward to meeting the candidates and introducing them to the Washougal community."

The finalists will visit Washougal School District on Tuesday, April 14 to meet district staff, students and community members and tour schools. On Wednesday, April 15, the finalists will have formal interviews with the Board of Directors.

Community members are invited to an open house to meet the candidates on Tuesday, April 14, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Washougal High School Commons, 1201 39th Street, Washougal.

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members from Washougal High School and Jemtegaard Middle School to participate in state competition (Photo) - 03/31/15
Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members from Washougal High School and Jemtegaard Middle School will participate in the state competition in Spokane April 15-17.

Fifteen Washougal High School students qualified for state based on their performance at the 2015 FBLA Regional Competition.
* Rory Csanky--1st: Business Ethics (team); 4th: Emerging Business Issues (team).
* Adam Krout--1st: Business Calculations; 1st: Business Ethics (team); 1st: Business Law; 3rd: Economics; 4th: Emerging Business Issues (team).
* Ryan Krout--1st: Business Ethics (team); 1st: Business Math; 1st: Business Presentation (team); 4th: Emerging Business Issues (team).
* Jeannie Jones--5th: Creed.
* Kayla Donahue--5th: Hospitality Management (team); 5th: Parliamentary Procedure (team).
* Adela Osorio--5th: Parliamentary Procedure (team).
* Ryenn Soule--5th:Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure; 5th: Parliamentary Procedure (team).
* Kyel Fisher--4th: Global Business (team); 5th: Parliamentary Procedure (team).
* River Pike--2nd: Introduction to Business; 5th: Parliamentary Procedure (team).
* Millie Munster--1st: Business Presentation (team); 4th: Global Business (team); 1st: Job Interview.
* Shannon Leininger--2nd: Personal Finance.
* Tiffany Brock--5th: Client Service; 5th: Hospitality Management (team).
* Meredith Collins--1st: Accounting I; 1st: Accounting II.
* Matthew Hickey--1st: Business Presentation (team); 2nd: Computer Problem Solving; 5th Electronic Career Portfolio.

Ten Jemtegaard Middle School students will participate in the state competition:
* Rose Elsensohn--1st: Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure; 3rd Parliamentary Procedure (team).
* Kaitlyn Fullbright--1st: FBLA Principles and Procedures.
* Brooke Hinson--3rd: Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure.
* Kyra Pierce--2nd: FBLA Principles and Procedures.
* Chloe Seymour--3rd: Creed; 4th Parliamentary Procedure (team)
* Jazmyne Williams--3rd: Parliamentary Procedure (team)
* Hailey Maddix: 3rd Parliamentary Procedure (team)
* Isaac Hernandez: 3rd Parliamentary Procedure (team)
* Imagen Huey: 4th place Parliamentary Procedure (team).
* Clara Harris: 4th place Parliamentary Procedure (team).
* ShaylaRae Tyner--4th: Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure; 4th: place Parliamentary Procedure (team).

"Participating in FBLA is so much fun," said JMS student ShaylaRae Tyner. "I imagine myself speaking in front of the school as I participate in events like Public Speaking 1, Impromptu Speaking and Parliamentary Procedures. I hope to participate in FBLA in high school."

As one of the few middle school FBLA teams in the region, Jemtegaard Middle School's team competes against high school student in our area. Susan Nesmith is the adviser for Jemtegaard Middle School's team and Nicole Simek and Kathy Scobba are the WHS advisers.

Attached Media Files: JMS FBLA , WHS FBLA