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News Releases
International photography project comes to Vancouver - 05/26/15
The world's largest participatory art project, Inside Out, has hit Vancouver. Skyview High School, to be exact.

Skyview seniors Marta Alcazar, Rubyna Ali and Shelby Sherman, working with teacher Jenna Biggs, spent months taking pictures of their classmates and staff members. The result is Vancouver Inside Out--a series of 40 large black-and-white photos that will be displayed on the school's exterior along NW 139th Street until after graduation on June 12.

Inside Out began in Paris, France, in 2011 as a way for people to convey stories, identities and causes in a public forum. Similarly, the Skyview portraits demonstrate the subjects' personality and school-wide unity. The three seniors spent months identifying standout students from a variety of cultures and abilities.

The photos were printed by Inside Out on durable, biodegradable paper and adhered with an organic wheat paste. Afterward, they will be removed by a pressure washer.
Community symposium will address facility needs in Vancouver Public Schools - 05/21/15
Vancouver Public Schools will hold a community design symposium on May 27. Approximately 70 people including students, parents, teachers, principals, district administrators and community partners will participate in the one-day symposium. Their task: examine current trends and best practices in elementary school design, and identify elementary facility design principles for VPS schools.

Dr. Robert Barr, dean emeritus of the college of education at Boise State University will speak to the group about creating a "culture of hope" in schools where all students, regardless of their background and family circumstances, can grow and thrive. Education facility planners from LSW Architects of Vancouver will bring the visioning process to life through sketches and illustrations.

The symposium is part of a comprehensive facilities planning process. District administrators began assessing school needs last fall. A community symposium held in November involved 70 staff and community members to discuss how modern school buildings could support teaching and learning now and in the future. An online survey in March generated approximately 1,500 written comments from staff and community members regarding school needs.

Ultimately, the planning process and symposium activities will help district leaders craft a proposal to bring more Vancouver school facilities up to 21st century standards. "Schools and programs that support high-quality teaching and learning outcomes are integral to the district's Design II, Chapter 2 strategic plan, which helps to ensure that all of our students are future-ready," said VPS Superintendent Steve Webb.

If approved by the superintendent and school board, a bond measure to pay for school construction and facility improvements could go before voters in 2016.
Two VPS high schools ranked among best in nation - 05/18/15
U.S. News & World Report recently placed Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and Skyview High School among the best public high schools in the nation as part of its annual ranking.

VSAA was named 11th in the state and 620th in the nation. Skyview came in at 52nd in the state and 1,925th in the nation. Both schools earned silver medals, signifying college-readiness index scores at or above 19.42, based on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate test data.

Nationwide, 500 high schools received gold medals; 2,027 received silver medals; and 3,990 received bronze.

To determine the nation's best schools, U.S. News evaluated more than 29,000 public high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to AP or IB test data, schools were ranked on overall student performance on state-required tests and math and reading proficiency rates for disadvantaged students.

This is Skyview's first ranking by U.S. News. VSAA has consistently appeared on the list in recent years, coming in 10th in the state and 357th in the nation in 2013. That year, VSAA also received a gold medal.

For the full list of rankings, visit www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools .
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Future_Ready_photo.jpg
U.S. Department of Education selects Vancouver Public Schools to tell digital transformation story (Photo) - 05/18/15
"I am writing to inform you that the U.S. Department of Education selected your district to serve as one of nine district finalists who will highlight the role leaders play in leveraging technology to create transformational learning environments," wrote Bernadette Adams, senior policy adviser, U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology.

So began the latest endorsement of Vancouver Public Schools as a leader in digital transformation to create future-ready graduates. The U.S. Department of Education selected VPS to tell its story for a series of videos about technology in education. The DOE vetted 400 districts before narrowing the field to 31 semifinalists. Interviews with superintendents determined the final nine districts for the project.

On April 23, researcher Darren Cambridge, American Institutes for Research, joined Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Powerful Learning Practice, and professional film team Prmry Inc. in Vancouver Public Schools to conduct interviews and document the digital transformation currently underway in VPS.

The video and research team visited Hough Elementary School, Discovery and McLoughlin middle schools and the middle school campus of Vancouver iTech Preparatory. They interviewed teacher librarians, classroom teachers, students, principals, technology facilitators and Superintendent Steve Webb to get the Vancouver story about using digital tools for learning.

The DOE video project will highlight research-based evidence of what it takes to support future-ready practices. It will be available to districts across the nation as they begin their own digital learning transitions.

The project is part of the ongoing ConnectED Future Ready initiative (http://tech.ed.gov/futureready/), which focuses on collaborative leadership, personalized learning, robust infrastructure and professional learning opportunities.

Said Superintendent Webb, "Our vision is to ensure our graduates have the adaptive skills they need to thrive in an increasingly interdependent economy and global community. We're delighted to partner with the Department of Education so that all students in America can benefit from this vision."

PHOTO (attached): Discovery Middle School teacher Patrick Mahaney is interviewed for U.S. Department of Education video project.
Attached Media Files: Future_Ready_photo.jpg
Vancouver Housing Authority-Vancouver Public Schools partnership receives national recognition: Case study released as VHA board votes to target Section 8 opening to families with children and health-burdened households - 05/12/15
A partnership between Vancouver Public Schools and the Vancouver Housing Authority is the subject of a recent case study conducted by the nonprofit Urban Institute.

The study explores collaboration between public housing authorities and education service providers in three U.S. cities. Authors documented how housing solutions paired with strategies for academic success can help low-income families disrupt the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Key elements of Vancouver's partnership include the organizations' efforts to reduce instability, particularly for homeless families, and increase attendance, a leading indicator of student academic achievement. Through a small pilot program, 10 families who met eligibility requirements received housing vouchers after committing to continued living within district boundaries. Families also agreed to work with VHA staff to move toward self-sufficiency and with VPS staff on attendance and school-engagement plans for their children.

In addition, the case study examines engagement with local stakeholders and partnerships with other local agencies, including the Healthy Living Collaborative of Southwest Washington and Council for the Homeless, which assumed administration of the voucher program and works with the school district's national-award-winning Family-Community Resource Center staff to identify families in need of housing and issue vouchers.

The full case study is available at www.urban.org/research/publication/housing-and-education-partnerships-case-study-vancouver-washington .

Just weeks after the case study was published, the VHA board of commissioners voted to target its upcoming Section 8 opening to health-burdened households and families with children in Vancouver, Battle Ground and Evergreen public schools, which will refer families to VHA.

"I am excited that VHA and VPS developed collaborations that result in greater stability for households in need with school-age children," said Roy Johnson, VHA executive director. "The partnership formed between VHA and VPS leverages the efforts of each organization. We hope that it will lead to more meaningful and life-changing differences for families in the future."

Added Superintendent Steve Webb, "High levels of poverty and mobility are a toxic combination that negatively impact student achievement in our urban/suburban district. Partnerships such as the one with VHA are essential to the success of our Family-Community Resource Centers' work to remove barriers to learning. We can't do it alone."

"Family-Community Resource Centers are helping to transform our district into community schools where families and the community interact as partners to strengthen opportunities for children to learn and grow," said Alishia Topper, FCRC director of strategic partnerships. "The pilot and upcoming program with the Vancouver Housing Authority are perfect examples of how cross-sector partnerships can make an immediate and long-term impact on a student's success."
Vancouver Public Schools announces administrative changes for 2015-16 - 05/12/15
Vancouver Public Schools has announced several administrative changes for the 2015-16 school year. Personnel assignments are subject to final approval by the school board.

At the district administrative office, Travis Campbell has been hired as chief academic officer, a new role dedicated to school improvement. Campbell has been director of K-12 Student and School Success at the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction since 2012. Previously, Campbell held leadership and teaching positions during a 16-year tenure at Clover Park School District in Lakewood, Wash.

Mark Ray will assume the role of chief digital officer filling the vacant position left with the departure of Chief Information Officer Jay Keuter. Ray, currently director of instructional technology and library services, will provide overall leadership to Information and Technology Services and VPS' weLearn one-to-one digital transformation plan.

Skyview Principal Kym Tyelyn-Carlson will fill a new position as executive director of teaching and learning at the district administrative office. Tyelyn-Carlson joins the current teaching and learning team of Kathy Everidge, Marianne Thompson, and Chris Olsen who supervise programs and operations across the 35 schools in Vancouver. Tyelyn-Carlson will provide leadership with the district's on-time graduation initiative and growing alternative learning programs.

Replacing Tyelyn-Carlson as principal at Skyview High School will be Jim Gray, current associate principal at Skyview. Luke LeCount, associate principal at Jason Lee Middle School, will move to Skyview next year as associate principal.

Joseph Accuardi-Gilliam and Andy Meyer will transition from interim to associate principal status at Hudson's Bay High School. Casey Greco will be associate principal at Gaiser Middle School where he is currently serving as interim associate principal. Discovery teacher Lisa Reed will be associate principal at Jason Lee Middle School.

Two elementary principals have announced their retirements effective at the end of the school year. Laura Dilley, principal at Franklin Elementary, will retire in June with 34 years of service. Eva Unger, principal at Hough Elementary, will retire in June with more than 21 years of service.

Woody Howard, current principal of Hazel Dell Elementary, will be principal at Franklin Elementary. Mychael Irwin, an elementary principal in Reynolds School District (Ore.), will become principal at Hazel Dell. Steve Vance, a former VPS special services administrator, will be principal at Hough Elementary. Vance currently is an elementary principal in White Pass School District (Wash.).

There will be several new and full-time associate principal positions added next year at the elementary level. Sara Tackett, currently a teacher on special assignment in the Learning Assistance Program, will be full-time associate principal at Ogden Elementary. Jessica Graham, half-time associate principal, now will be full-time associate at Roosevelt Elementary. Mark Jordan, associate principal at Walnut Grove and Chinook, will be full-time associate principal at Walnut Grove. Matthew Fechter, associate at Anderson, will be full-time associate at Chinook. Katie Arkoosh, special services manager, will be full-time associate principal at Anderson Elementary. Katie Ronning, associate at King and Felida, will be associate at Hazel Dell and Felida. Jaime Silva, from Pasco School District (Wash.), will be full-time associate principal at King Elementary.
Jason Lee Middle School celebrates 50 years of greatness - 05/12/15
Jason Lee Middle School opened its doors on Sept. 7, 1965. Next week, it will observe its 50th anniversary with a public celebration. The theme is "Finding Your Greatness."

When: Thursday, May 21, 2015, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Jason Lee Middle School commons, 8500 NW 9th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98665
Who: Members of the community and current and former Jason Lee students and employees
Cost: Free

The celebration will include student musical performances, an art walk, building tours, historical displays and a reception.
Please join the Jason Lee community on May 21 to celebrate the past and cheer on the future!
Fort Vancouver High School celebrates its multicultural community - 05/11/15
Fort Vancouver High School students and families are invited to attend International Family Night at the school on Friday, May 15. The free event celebrating Fort's multicultural community will take place in the school commons from 5 to 8 p.m. Fort Vancouver High School is located at 5700 E 18th St., Vancouver.

The evening will include a potluck meal and will feature student performances. If able, participants are asked to bring a cultural food to share, however, it is not required. Student performances will include traditional Mexican dances, Moroccan belly dance, the school band, Ukrainian fashion show and national song, African fashion show, raffle and much more.

Fort Vancouver High School will be the site of Vancouver Public Schools new Center for International Studies opening fall 2015. The school-wide magnet is for students in ninth through 12th-grade. The program will feature expanded language offerings and learning opportunities both within the U.S. and internationally. To learn more go to www.vansd.org/choices/cis/.

For more information about International Family Night, please contact Stephanie Colantino, 360-313-4000, or stephanie.colantino@vansd.org.
Vancouver Public Schools will be open on May 13 - 05/08/15
School classes and activities will be held as usual in Vancouver Public Schools on Wednesday, May 13.

Several Southwest Washington school districts have canceled school on May 13 as individual teachers' unions have voted to hold a one-day walkout to protest a lack of state legislative progress in adequately funding schools.

A vote of members of the Vancouver Education Association (VEA) did not receive the supermajority of 80 percent approval needed to support a planned walkout. Instead, VEA will conduct other activities after the school workday on May 13 to protest the legislature's insufficient progress in fully funding public education.

Vancouver Public Schools is supportive of the Supreme Court's McCleary decision mandating the state to provide full funding for basic education.
Three VPS students earn top 2015 National Merit honors - 05/06/15
Three students from Vancouver Public Schools have received top honors from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Jason Anderson, Columbia River High School, and Samir Sen, Skyview High School, were named 2015 National Merit Scholars. Jessica Ekeya, Columbia River High School, was named a 2015 National Achievement Scholar. Each of these students will receive a $2,500 scholarship underwritten by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Sen and Anderson are among only 2,500 Merit Scholar designees chosen from a talent pool of more than 15,000 outstanding Finalists in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program. Ekeya is one of 700 recipients of the National Achievement Scholarship, which honors the most outstanding scholastically talented Black American youth.

Jason Anderson is a full-International Baccalaureate (IB) student at Columbia River High School. Anderson lettered on the Columbia River golf team, and has earned awards in violin for All-State two years and All-Northwest this year from the Washington Music Education Association. Anderson plans to study biology and physics in college.

Samir Sen is a Science, Math and Technology student at Skyview High School. A National Chess Master, Sen founded a chess club at the Boys and Girls Club. He also volunteers at PeaceHealth and Oregon Health & Science University, and founded the North American Chapter of Humanity Hospital to raise $2,700 for a hospital in India. Sen plans to further his education in the sciences and research.

Jessica Ekeya is a full-IB student at Columbia River. She is a member of National Honor Society, Knowledge Bowl, Spanish Club and Model United Nations. Ekeya lettered in tennis and played on the varsity soccer team. She plans to major in Spanish and biology in college and hopes to pursue a career in pediatrics.