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News Releases
Wendy Smith is newest member of Vancouver Public Schools board of directors - 11/16/17

Vancouver Public Schools welcomes Wendy Smith to the board of directors. Smith, who was elected in the Nov. 7 general election, will be formerly sworn in at the Dec. 12 school board meeting. A lifelong Vancouver resident, she teaches social studies at Heritage High School in Evergreen Public Schools.

"I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve the students and families of Vancouver Public Schools," said Smith. "As a teacher, I see the work of the school board as a natural extension of the commitment I made to public education 14 years ago. And as a parent and lifelong resident of the Vancouver community, I have a personal investment in the district's success as well. I'm proud of the work VPS has done to increase equity for students; provide choices for families; and create innovative, community-oriented schools. I'm looking forward to continuing this legacy of excellence."

Smith and her husband have two young children: George, a preschooler, and Eleanor, a third-grader at Sarah J. Anderson Elementary School. Smith herself is a product of VPS. She attended Felida Elementary School, Jason Lee Middle School and Columbia River High School. She has bachelor's degrees in history and anthropology from University of Washington and a master's degree in education from Washington State University Vancouver.

"Wendy's commitment to student learning will align well with the board's work to increase opportunity and improve outcomes for VPS students. We look forward to Wendy joining the team," said Vancouver School Board President Michelle Giovannozzi.

Photo by Maria Vara
Photo by Maria Vara
Young artists take flight (Photo) - 11/09/17

"A Codex of Flight" is an original production by students at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics.

Inspired by Leonardo da Vinci's "Codex on the Flight of Birds," the multidisciplinary production includes live music, dance, theatre and visual art woven together by narration from da Vinci's translated notebook, or codex, on birds.

Art teachers, guest artists, alumni and more than 50 students worked together to create this inspirational exploration of flight.

Showtimes:

Tuesday, Nov. 14, 7 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 16, 7 p.m.
Friday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 18, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

All performances will be held at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, 3101 Main St., Vancouver, WA 98663.

This event is open to the public. General admission is $5. Tickets for seniors and students with ASB identification are $4. Tickets are available at the door.

The production is sponsored by the student government.

Attached Media Files: Photo by Maria Vara
Graduation dates and locations set for class of 2018 - 11/09/17

The 2018 high school graduation schedule for Vancouver Public Schools has been finalized. For the second year, graduations for the district's four largest high schools will be held at Sunlight Supply Amphitheater. The venue provides abundant seating and parking for families of graduates at Columbia River, Fort Vancouver, Hudson's Bay and Skyview high schools.

"We're grateful for our partnership with Sunlight Supply Amphitheater, which allows us to once again provide this outstanding venue for our high school graduations," said Mick Hoffman, chief of operations. "The amphitheater makes it possible for more families and friends to celebrate this important milestone with their graduates."

Graduation 2018 schedule:

Columbia River High School: Wednesday, June 13, 8 p.m., Sunlight Supply Amphitheater

Fort Vancouver High School: Wednesday, June 13, 5 p.m., Sunlight Supply Amphitheater

Gateway to Adult Transition Education: Friday, June 8, 5 p.m., Gate House

Hudson's Bay High School: Thursday, June 14, 5 p.m., Sunlight Supply Amphitheater

Skyview High School: Thursday, June 14, 8 p.m., Sunlight Supply Amphitheater

Vancouver Flex Academy: Monday, June 11, 7 p.m. at Fort Vancouver Auditorium

Vancouver School of Arts and Academics: Monday, June 11, 8 p.m. at VSAA

Vancouver iTech Preparatory: Friday, June 15, 7 p.m. at VSAA

Computer science opportunities forthcoming for Vancouver students in special education classrooms - 11/07/17

Approximately 60 elementary students in five self-contained special education classrooms have opportunities to learn computer science. Two grants will fund a pilot program designed to improve equitable access to learning and innovation through the use of educational technology.

While participating schools and classrooms have not yet been identified, the district plans to provide coding opportunities and robotics for students who learn in special education classrooms. Grant funds also will pay for iPads that can be used by special education students in kindergarten through second grade and training so that teachers can support lessons and learn from one another as the program develops.

"Just like their peers, special education students want to feel academic and social success, but may not be ready to engage in activities within the general education environment," explained Meagan Williams, a special education teacher and special education instructional technology facilitator leading the pilot program. "Through professional development for teachers, support from multiple district departments and solid curriculum, this pilot program will foster student growth and support students in accessing additional science, technology, engineering and math opportunities."

Williams and other leaders hope to lay an early foundation for future career opportunities by building special education students' skills in critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

The Office of Superintendent of Public Education awarded Vancouver Public Schools a $5,000 grant in late October. The grant is one of 25 awards given to districts around the state to improve access to computer science education.

The Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools matched the grant to bring the total to $10,000. "The Foundation for VPS is pleased to join OSPI in supporting VPS and this pilot program to expand student access to enriching experiences, including computer science education," said Executive Director Nada Wheelock.

Vancouver Public Schools board member to retire - 11/02/17

After eight years, Kathy Gillespie is retiring from Vancouver Public Schools' board of directors. Her last meeting as a board member will be Nov. 28.

Kathy Gillespie already had a long record of educational involvement upon her initial election in 2009. Her work in Vancouver schools included volunteering, school improvement planning, parent advisory councils and development of the district's Design II strategic plan.

The district saw many achievements during Gillespie's board tenure. Its maintenance and operations levy was renewed three times. Voters said yes to a 2013 technology levy and a 2017 bond measure.

VPS won three national Magna Awards from the National School Boards Association for removing barriers to learning through community school partnerships and easing the transition to school for kindergartners.

Twice the board earned recognition as the Washington State School Directors' Association Board of the Year. It received a Special Merit Award in 2013 after five consecutive years as a Board of Distinction.

Gillespie's contributions to district work also included renovations of spaces at Eleanor Roosevelt Elementary and the courtyard at Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, from which both of her children graduated.

On the board she oversaw a second phase of a strategic planning process that is guiding the district through 2020. In addition, she served as an ex-officio board member of the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools.

Reflecting on her career, Gillespie said, "My greatest sense of accomplishment is improved student learning, the narrowing of the achievement gap and increased use of data analytics to identify how our students are experiencing their education and how they fare after graduation. Our district continues to enjoy the trust and support of our community. Our leadership, workforce and budget remain stable."

"Kathy cares about all children. Whether serving as a parent-adviser or director, she always is willing to initiate conversations and work that she feels will lead to better outcomes for students, their families, staff members and the community. She is a thoughtful, humble leader. We are grateful for her contributions to the district," said Superintendent Steve Webb.

Said VPS Board President Michelle Giovannozzi, "I first met Director Gillespie when she was a parent volunteer 15 years ago. Kathy demonstrated a strong commitment to education even before she became a board member, and her tireless efforts on behalf of our students have continued over all of these years. I have been inspired by Kathy's dedication to opportunity, equity and learning for every student. Her work will have lasting impact on Vancouver Public Schools."

VPS will host a reception in Gillespie's honor on Monday, Nov. 13, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Remarks will begin at 4:30. The celebration will be held at the Bates Center for Educational Leadership, 2921 Falk Rd. Everyone is welcome.