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News Releases
VPS partners on alternate location of downtown arts and innovation multi-use campus - 08/09/18

Project would change previously planned location for new downtown elementary school

Vancouver, Wash. ?"? Earlier this year, Vancouver Public Schools announced it was exploring the feasibility of building a new elementary school in downtown Vancouver at C Street and East Eighth Street (known as Library Square). The school district now is considering a new location for the school at 1007 E. Mill Plain Blvd., the site of the old main library. 

The City of Vancouver owns the property and leases part of it to Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries for use as an administrative headquarters. The city also owns the adjacent property, 1601 E. Mill Plain Blvd., which is being used for recreational soccer, baseball and track and field. The proposed new school campus project would optimize the use of both properties.

“This new preferred location for the downtown elementary school offers many benefits for our students and staff members,” said Dr. Steve Webb, Vancouver Public Schools’ superintendent. “I am grateful to our city and library partners who have worked with us to identify a creative and thoughtful solution to meet the needs of this community. I’d also like to thank Killian Pacific for its generosity and commitment to the community in offering the initial location at Library Square for the project.”

The Mill Plain Boulevard site offers several advantages for the new school while still fulfilling the school district’s need to serve the growing number of families who live and work in the downtown area. Advantages include access to nearby play fields; ample parking; and proximity to other schools, the Historic Reserve and Marshall Community Center.

The school district, city and library have been collaborating in a joint planning process to determine if it would be possible to create a multi-use campus for education, arts and innovation. The project could include a grades K-5 school as well as other complementary uses such as facilities for performing and visual arts and a community center for knowledge, arts and innovation.

“The school and library districts are tremendous partners,” said Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes. “The concept of a downtown arts and innovation campus is a unique opportunity that offers a lot of potential for our community. This partnership holds the promise of creating an inspiring place where people and organizations can come together in support of children and education, innovation and the arts.”

“The library district is pleased to collaborate with the city and school district on a tremendous opportunity to create a lasting legacy for the old library building,” added Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries Executive Director Amelia Shelley.

The new elementary school is one of the projects included in the Vancouver Public Schools bond measure approved by voters in February 2017 and is planned to open in the fall of 2021. Work on developing a master plan for the property is anticipated to be complete by the end of this year.

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Superintendent recognized with national award for leadership in communications (Photo) - 07/26/18

Dr. Steve Webb, superintendent of Vancouver Public Schools, received the 2018 Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award. The award, given by the National School Public Relations Association, was presented July 17 at the annual seminar in Anaheim, California. Webb was honored for his use of strategic communication in collaborative planning efforts, engaging the public in making decisions and, ultimately, improving student achievement.

As stated in NSPRA’s announcement (https://www.nspra.org/awards/recognition_awards/grossman), “VPS is known as a ‘destination’ district for families moving to Vancouver, and Dr. Webb’s advocacy and investment in school communications has been vital to building and maintaining that reputation.”

Webb embraces new communication tools and strategies, including mobile-friendly, responsive websites; social media; and one-to-one devices for students in grades 3-12. An award-winning network of 18 Family-Community Resource Centers and two mobile centers helps to ensure families, volunteers and community partners are connected to their schools. Additionally, Webb continues to support longtime VPS outreach activities such as the superintendent’s patron tour.

Public engagement and communication
Vancouver Public Schools’ strategic plan focuses on six key areas directly related to student achievement. Webb and other district leaders garner input from internal and external stakeholders to provide direction in accomplishing the mission of VPS.

  • Dozens of symposia conducted during Webb’s superintendency have engaged employees, students, parents and community and business representatives in creating a shared vision and commitment for strategic plans, facilities design and construction, magnet schools and programs of choice and technology integration.
  • The district has a proud tradition of community support for local levies that goes back more than 50 years. Under Webb’s leadership, voters have approved three operating levies, one technology levy and the largest bond measure in the history of Clark County at the time of its passage.
  • Open, transparent communication led to nearly 70 percent of voters approving a $458 million bond measure in 2017. More than 700 stakeholders participated in 10 symposia to discuss their vision of the future of Vancouver schools. Stakeholders also had opportunities to contribute to the scope of work through surveys, meetings with school and community groups and online forms. The informational campaign received a 2017 NSPRA Golden Achievement Award.

Webb is only the second superintendent from Washington state to receive the award.

NSPRA

Since 1935, the National School Public Relations Association (https://www.nspra.org/info) has been providing school communication training and services to school leaders throughout the United States, Canada, and the U.S. Dependent Schools worldwide. NSPRA's mission is to advance education through responsible communication through a variety of diverse services provided to members and school leaders.

The Bob Grossman Leadership in School Communications Award (https://www.nspra.org/sites/default/files/docs/grossman_award_nomination_form_2018-fillable.pdf) recognizes a practicing superintendent of schools or CEO of an education agency, service center or intermediate unit for outstanding leadership in school public relations and communication.

 

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