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News Releases
7th grade students in Angela Minick’s class at Daybreak Middle School working on their Chromebooks
7th grade students in Angela Minick’s class at Daybreak Middle School working on their Chromebooks
Battle Ground schools' technical innovation earns props from Google (Photo) - 12/17/18

Google is calling attention to how Battle Ground Public Schools' teachers (BGPS) use technology in the classroom. The school district has become the fourth in the Pacific Northwest region to earn the distinction: Google for Education Reference District. Reference Districts are those that have demonstrated excellence and leadership through the innovative use of technology to drive impact and positive learning outcomes. It means that Battle Ground will be a resource for other districts looking to adopt Google educational technologies.

In Battle Ground schools, students use Chromebooks that are checked out to them for the school year to complete a variety of assignments on applications such as G Suite for Education, also known to students as Google Classroom.

“Google Classroom is a unifying force that is incredibly easy to use for teachers and students alike,” said Scott McDaniel, Battle Ground Public Schools’ Director of Technology and a Google certified educator and administrator. “It’s an entire learning management system. Teachers can create classes, collect and grade assignments, provide feedback to students in real time as they’re working on a project, create schedules, and so much more. It provides a ‘one stop shop’ that makes teaching and learning far more engaging than using paper and pencils.”

Angela Minick, a seventh grade teacher at Daybreak Middle School, is taking full advantage of the opportunities afforded by having student Chromebooks and the full suite of Google educational apps. Minick and her team developed an in-depth book study program that uses several interconnected programs like Google Forms, Slides, YouTube, and more.

The kids start by working within Google slides as an introduction to the concepts from the book that they’re studying. Then, in between reading sections of the book, students find links to character study videos on YouTube, look up vocabulary words, and access their assignments quickly and conveniently.

“Students having their own Chromebooks that are already loaded with the full suite of apps for education is a very powerful teaching resource,” Minick said. “The ability to seamlessly link several different programs to complete a variety of assigned tasks is highly efficient—both for me as a teacher and for the students doing the work.”

As one of its technical education initiatives, BGPS continues to roll out its 1:1 computing initiative that will put a Chromebook into the hands of every student in grades 3-12. The program launched in January 2017 with seventh grade students and was expanded this year to include all 6th-9th grade students. Each student in these grades has been assigned a new Chromebook to use not only during the school day, but also to take home with them throughout the school year. Students are responsible for their device just as they would be for a textbook, and the computer is theirs to use for as long as they attend a school within the Battle Ground district, excepting summers. Eventually, every student in grades 6-12 will be assigned a Chromebook for take home use.  Students in grades 3-5 will be assigned a Chromebook for use in class.

“We believe technology plays a critical role in education, and we’re committed to providing tools for students to use at school and at home,” McDaniel said. “Providing this level of access prepares our students for college and careers, increases student engagement, and enhances collaboration between students and their teachers.”

The district provides support to teachers through trainings and mentoring on how to seamlessly integrate technology into the classroom and best educational practices.

Battle Ground, which adopted Google technologies district-wide just six years ago, joins a trio of Pacific Northwest school districts—Eatonville, Sumner and Edmonds—who have also earned the Google for Education Reference District designation.   

As a reference district, BGPS will serve as a resource for other districts that are considering adopting Google’s G Suite for Education and regularly host workshops, classroom trainings, IT roundtables, and conference presentations. In fact, McDaniel is presenting best practices for using Google's educational technologies in the spring alongside representatives from the company at an annual conference for IT professionals.

“Battle Ground Public Schools saw the immense potential of Google’s Chromebooks and suite of educational apps and went all in with adopting the technologies for our schools,” McDaniel said. “From both an educational and information technology perspective, Google’s program is truly transformative.”

L to R: BGPS Superintendet Mark Ross, BGeF President Coleen O'Neal, CAM Academy Assistant Principal Julie Williamson, and BGPS Director of Business & Risk Management Mitch Thompson
L to R: BGPS Superintendet Mark Ross, BGeF President Coleen O'Neal, CAM Academy Assistant Principal Julie Williamson, and BGPS Director of Business & Risk Management Mitch Thompson
Battle Ground Education Foundation donates life-saving AEDs (Photo) - 12/14/18

Battle Ground Education Foundation (BGeF) President Colleen O'Neal presented the Battle Ground Public Schools district with a donation of $3,989.12 to purchase two Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs. The donation means that every school in the district will have one of the life-saving devices.

AEDs make it possible for more people to respond to a medical emergency where defibrillation is required. Because AEDs are portable and easy to use, they can be used by non-medical people. In fact, an AED at Chief Umtuch Middle School was used in early 2017 to save a man’s life after he went into sudden cardiac arrest while playing basketball, providing a great reminder of the effectiveness of citizen CPR combined with having an AED nearby.  

“Each year, there are more and more people working, learning and recreating in district buildings,” said BGPS School Health Services and Nursing Supervisor Cathy Shannon. “Improving access to AEDs in our schools is more important than ever and can literally be the difference between life and death, so we are very grateful for the donation from BGeF.”

BGeF, which has a sole mission of supporting Battle Ground Public Schools, has also donated to literacy programs, the Family and Community Resource Center, and unified sports. Thank you BGeF and its contributors!

Learning STEM is an art form at Laurin Middle School
Learning STEM is an art form at Laurin Middle School
Learning STEM is an art form at Laurin Middle School (Photo) - 12/11/18

Students at Laurin Middle School have discovered that the most intriguing thing about their STEM class is usually not the science, technology, engineering or math concepts that it takes to solve problems.

It's the art.

Take a recent assignment that STEM teacher Diana Sterle presented to her fifth and sixth grade students as an example. Studying a paper filled with nothing but 1,500 zeros and ones, the students didn't quite know what to make of it at first. How could all of these seemingly random numbers represent anything?

It didn't take long, though, for the confusion to quickly give way to curiosity and then excitement. You could almost see the light bulbs turn on above the kids’ heads as they realized that the zeros and ones unlock a secret: they’re bits of code that correlate to specific colors. And by filling in the corresponding rectangles with the correct color, pictures slowly emerge from the page.

The message is successfully received. The assignment demonstrates how computers make sense of codes to present digital images, and it's a perfect example of how Sterle is turning lessons on STEM (shorthand for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) into an art form for middle school students.

“While the name of my class is STEM, it might be more accurate to call it a STEAM class with all the art and creativity that gets incorporated into the lessons,” Sterle said. “By starting out with coordinate grids or a bunch of zeros and ones and ending up with a physical representation, students really connect the dots and understand that precision matters in science and technology.”

For sixth grader Bo Homola, the class has quickly become one of his favorite subjects. “I really like that I get to make choices in STEM class,” Homola said . “While we have to follow the project guidelines that we’re given, we also get to be creative, and that makes learning math and science a lot more fun.”

This is Sterle’s first year teaching at Laurin Middle School. While her STEM class is not officially part of Battle Ground Public School's Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, Sterle’s class helps lay the groundwork for middle school students who may be interested in taking CTE courses when they get to high school by introducing them to STEM concepts.

In addition to the computer language and digital art project, the students have learned about scaling and design. They used coordinate planes to create two-dimensional characters from popular movies and games, and then converted the characters into three-dimensional creations using beads.

Another project taught physics lessons about gravity and kinetic/potential energy. Students made a “marble run” resembling a Rube Goldberg machine with parts that the students designed and created using a 3D printer. The goal of the marble run is to engineer pieces that fit together and provide the proper forces to direct a marble a certain way once it’s been dropped into the run.

“All of these activities support students in learning how to describe a problem, identify what the important details are to solve the problem, and break it into small, logical steps so they can create a process to solve the problem, and then evaluate the process,” Sterle said. “These skills are particularly relevant to developing digital systems and solving problems using computer capabilities, and understanding these concepts will help prepare these kids for the future if they’re interested in pursuing STEM in college and beyond.”

Fifth grader Nicole Kinzie appreciates that the class is so hands on. “Actually making things instead of trying to learn from a book is so much better,” Kinzie said. “Pretty much every day, we’re doing something in STEM class that combines art with technology, so it makes learning more exciting.”

“It’s my job to introduce these kids to technology and engineering concepts and to generate excitement,” Sterle said. “I want to expose them to as many relevant STEM topics as possible in a fun and interesting way. It’s more than a typical technology class, and we’re not just using computers to study these concepts.”

A student getting a little help transforming into Santa Claus
A student getting a little help transforming into Santa Claus
Battle Ground schools get into the holiday spirit (Photo) - 11/30/18

Battle Ground Public Schools' students and staff will celebrate the holiday season with food drives, gift donations, school assemblies and musical performances. Below is a list of all the events happening this holiday season!

Primary Schools

Captain Strong Primary: Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 7, and the PTA Holiday Party will be on Friday, Dec. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Daybreak Primary: Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 10. The school will also have a school-wide sing-along assembly on Thursday, Dec. 20.

Glenwood Heights Primary: Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 11, and the Cubby Choir’s concert will be on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. in the GHP gym.  

Maple Grove K-8: Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 11.

Pleasant Valley Primary: Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 10. The Pleasant Valley PTA is selling Candy Grams. Send a sweet treat to your student, or have them send one to their friends, teachers, staff members or a whole class! Candy Grams are on sale now through Friday, Dec. 14 and will be delivered to homerooms the following week. The school is also sponsoring a Holiday Giving Tree for families that need a little extra holiday cheer. Contact the office staff for more information about how to contribute to the Giving Tree. 

Tukes Valley Primary: Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 10. There will also be a school wide sing-along assembly and a class play put on by Lyla Smith’s first grade class on Wednesday, Dec. 19.

Yacolt Primary: Non-perishable food donations for the annual food drive and gifts for the school’s Giving Tree are being accepted now through Dec. 14. Second graders will perform at a pair of holiday concerts on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 3 and 6 p.m.

Middle Schools

Amboy Middle: Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 13. Amboy Middle is also participating in the Amboy and Yacolt Giving Tree program through Dec. 12. The holiday band concert is on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. in the commons.

Chief Umtuch Middle: There will be a 5th grade band concert on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. and a 6th-8th grade band concert on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. The PHS Choir will sing to Chief Umtuch students during lunch on Wednesday, Dec. 19, and the school will have a Red and Green assembly on Friday, Dec. 21.

Daybreak Middle: The Daybreak ASB is hosting a food drive the week of Dec. 3-7, and the school’s holiday band concert will be on Thursday, Nov. 29 from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Laurin Middle: The 6th grade, 7th grade and Jazz bands will perform on Tuesday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. in the LMS gym, and the 7th grade, 8th grade and Jazz bands will also perform on Thursday, Dec. 13 in the Prairie High School auditorium. On Thursday, Dec. 20, the Laurin Middle School afterschool musical theater team presents “The Winter Holiday Show” at 7 p.m. in the gym. Tickets are free and the public is welcome.

Pleasant Valley Middle: Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 11. The PVM Band concert is Thursday, Dec. 13 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and the choir concert is Thursday, Dec. 20 with the specific time still to be determined.

Tukes Valley Middle: Non-perishable food donations and personal hygiene items are being accepted for the annual food and toiletries drive now through Dec. 11. The PTA's Candy Cane Express Holiday Bazaar is on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and the Winter Concert will be on Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m.

High Schools

Battle Ground High School: Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 11. The BGHS Jazz Band will perform at the Vancouver Barnes and Noble Book Fair on Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the school is hosting a community blood drive at BGHS on Friday, Dec. 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Prairie High School: The winter band and choir concert will be on Thursday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m.

Alternative Learning Experience Schools

CAM Academy: Non-perishable food donations are being accepted for the annual food drive now through Dec. 11, and the school’s Interact Club is sponsoring a toy drive to benefit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital the week of Dec. 10-14.

MG K-4 Conversion map
MG K-4 Conversion map
Battle Ground Board seeks feedback on three boundary change options (Photo) - 11/28/18

The Battle Ground Public Schools Board of Directors is asking for the public to weigh in on three options that would alleviate overcrowding by changing primary and middle school boundaries in the district. The boundary changes would take effect in fall 2019.

Information about the boundary change options will be on the district website beginning Dec. 5 and presented at three informational forums:

  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 5 at Laurin Middle School, 13601 NE 97th Ave., Vancouver
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12 at Maple Grove School, 610 SW Eaton Blvd.
  • 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 9 at Daybreak campus, 1900 NW 20th Ave.

At the forums, district administrators will present the options and answer questions. Families and community members will be able to examine the options and then provide feedback via an online feedback survey. Families and patrons who cannot attend the public forums can review the options on the district website and provide feedback via an online feedback survey that will be open Dec. 5 through Jan. 9. The board anticipates making a decision about boundary changes at one of its regular meetings in January.

The board is considering three options suggested by the district Overcrowding Committee that comprised 29 parents, community members, and staff. The committee was tasked with developing ideas that would use existing resources to address overcrowding in the district's southern schools. Committee members met over six weeks with a facilitator to review data, a community Thoughtexchange survey, tour facilities, and draft ideas. All ideas the committee suggested to the board were boundary changes.

The Board of Directors reviewed the ideas and updated data and discussed minor revisions at a work session before voting at its meeting on Monday night to move forward with three of the options: Southern Shift, MG K-4 Conversion, and N.E.W. Boundaries. Depending on the option, the schools impacted include Captain Strong Primary and Chief Umtuch Middle, Daybreak Primary and Middle, Glenwood Heights Primary and Laurin Middle, Maple Grove K-8, Pleasant Valley Primary and Middle, and Tukes Valley Primary and Middle schools.

The board has already taken several steps to address overcrowding, including closing overcrowded schools to boundary exceptions, installing additional portables, and running a bond measure to replace overcrowded schools with larger facilities. The measure failed to pass with the required supermajority. The board began to explore other options in March, and directed the district to create the Overcrowding Committee.