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News Releases
The Woodland High School PASS Class of 2022
The Woodland High School PASS Class of 2022
Woodland's PASS program for struggling students spotlighted its 2022 graduates with a special ceremony (Photo) - 06/30/22

Thursday, June 30, 2022-Woodland, WA-Woodland High School’s Positive Academic Support System (PASS) spotlighted its graduates in a special ceremony before this year’s commencement. The PASS program, started in 2019, targets struggling students and assigns staff members who help the students by offering whatever support they need to get back on-track. “Almost all of our program participants graduate on time,” said Stacy Gould, a PASS Case Manager. “I could not be prouder of these kids and the unbelievable dedication they show to turning around their studies.”

PASS pairs struggling students with dedicated staff members who mentor them throughout their high school careers by providing the students with the support they need as early as possible. “Students who end their ninth year on-track passing all of their courses are 3.5 times more likely to graduate from high school than peers who fail one or more classes,” said Assistant Principal Dan Uhlenkott, who helped develop the PASS program in 2019. “Many PASS students actually refer to their PASS mentors as ‘school moms’ who provide students with the push they need to succeed each school day.”

Cyndy Grayson, a PASS mentor, remembers the team trying to figure out exactly how the program would operate during its first year, “We learned that PASS is not about how students have failing grades, it’s about why our students have failing grades,” she said. “Students’ lives outside of school can have bigger impacts on their studies and academic success than anything that happens inside the classroom.”

PASS mentors learned that breaking through a struggling student’s barriers provides the key to the student’s success at school. Sometimes just helping a student have some food for breakfast each day can provide the extra edge they need to succeed. “Studies show that hunger can have a dramatic negative impact on student learning,” said Grayson. “We make sure our students have eaten every morning and get a good night’s sleep so they concentrate on their studies.”

Students in PASS receive assistance with homework as well as encouragement to continue working hard in addition to training in ways to become self-advocates, working with their teachers to help find the support to succeed. “We help students connect with the right people and services so they don’t fall through the cracks,” said Gould. “Essentially, we are the ‘go-to resource’ to help guide them in the right direction.”

Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates our students and serves the community, by visiting our dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd

Small group learning sessions ensure students get the dedicated instruction they need to improve
Small group learning sessions ensure students get the dedicated instruction they need to improve
Woodland was the first district to return to in-person learning plus its use of small group instruction and specialized summer sessions help ensure student learning continues and improves district-wide (Photo) - 06/27/22

Monday, June 27, 2022-Woodland, WA-The staff of Woodland Public Schools works hard to ensure Woodland’s students have the opportunities they need to recover learning that may have been lost due to the constraints of the pandemic including remote learning.

Woodland’s schools were the first in the area to return students to in-person learning following the pandemic lockdown. “Our district was the first in the area to return elementary students to full-week in-person learning and the first to return all grades K-12 to in-person learning on a hybrid schedule,” said Superintendent Michael Green. “Those incredible milestones result from the collaborative culture and can-do spirit of our amazing staff who do everything they can to ensure the most effective student learning takes place in our schools.”

Many students continue to struggle to catch up as a result of the effects of remote learning during the pandemic. As a result, Woodland’s schools have taken efforts to provide additional learning for students who need help.

Targeted small-group learning for those in need

At the elementary level, teachers have developed targeted small-group workshops in both reading and math to provide a boost for students in need. At Woodland Middle School, students significantly below their grade’s reading level have been invited to take part in special tutoring sessions. Teachers at Woodland High School provide additional tutoring in small groups as well as support through the school’s successful Positive Academic Support System (PASS) which provides struggling students with dedicated mentors to help them stay on top of their studies.

Summer school offers high school students the chance to recover lost credits

At the elementary level, teachers have developed targeted small-group workshops in both reading and math to provide a boost for students in need. A summer school program was introduced with students selected based on academic progress. “We began inviting all current kindergarten students who needed additional support with reading and math skills,” explained Malinda Huddleston, Teaching & Learning Specialist for Woodland Public Schools. Then, we invited first grade students with a similar profile as well as students with learning needs who did not meet their goals this year.”

The summer session is running from June 21 through July 8 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., equivalent to a half-day of school, five days a week. Students will be taught in small groups of five students. “We will use a direct instruction approach with an emphasis on skill mastery,” said Huddleston. “Reading will focus on phonemic awareness and decoding, and the math instruction will focus on foundation skills such as number sense.”

By using smaller groups, students will have multiple opportunities to practice new skills in an environment that provides immediate feedback, intervention assistance, and offers the opportunity to celebrate success. “Target instruction benefits students who need additional support because the skills being taught are being customized to each individual students’ weakness areas,” said Huddleston.

In order to engage students further, students will take part in fun activities including snack time, recess, and group read-alouds. “Students will also set goals, receive feedback on their progress, and celebrate their success,” said Huddleston. “Learning should be fun, and that can be accomplished when students set goals, work hard to achieve them, and then get to celebrate their success with their classmates.”

At Woodland Middle School, students significantly below their grade’s reading level have been invited to take part in special tutoring sessions. Teachers at Woodland High School provide additional tutoring in small groups as well as support through the school’s successful Positive Academic Support System (PASS) which provides struggling students with dedicated mentors to help them stay on top of their studies.

Special help for English Language Learners (ELL)

Woodland also takes special care to address specific learning challenges presented to particular groups such as English Language Learners (ELL), students whose native language isn’t English who were particularly negatively affected by remote learning. “Many of our Spanish-speaking families did not have experience working with Chromebooks and often did not have access to quality broadband internet access,” explained Malinda Huddleston, Teaching & Learning Specialist for Woodland Public Schools. “By targeting these students in need, we can provide them with the additional intervention they need to catch up with their grade-level peers.”

Incoming 5th through 7th grade ELL students at Woodland Middle School will be invited to attend a summer school session which will provide extra support in English, Science, and Math. Like the high school summer session, transportation and meals, including breakfast and lunch, will be provided.

Upgraded heating and cooling systems will provide healthier learning

Scientific research has demonstrated that one of the most effective methods for decreasing the spread of COVID and other airborne diseases is to improve airflow and air quality. In order to accomplish this, improvements had to be made to each school’s Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems.

At Woodland Public Schools, HVAC improvements will be implemented at every single school building to ensure that clean, filtered air circulates quickly throughout classrooms in order to prevent the spread of any disease which can pass in an aerosol form. “The COVID-19 pandemic certainly demonstrated the importance of clean hygiene on every level from the thorough deep cleaning of all buildings to every individual following proper hand-washing protocols,” said Green. “Our facilities staff have taken great steps to ensure our HVAC systems work effectively to keep our staff and students healthy in every learning environment.”

Woodland’s Summer Meal Program returns for 2022

Woodland Public Schools will once again provide meals to any child 18 years old or younger throughout summer starting Tuesday, June 21, the day after the last day of school, and running Monday to Friday through Friday, August 19, the last weekday before the new school year.

While there will be no options for meal pickups this year, children can eat breakfast and lunch free-of-charge Monday through Friday at the Woodland Middle School cafeteria located at 755 Park Street, Woodland, WA 98674. Breakfast will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The program will be closed on July 4 and 5 for the Independence Day holiday.

Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates our students and serves the community, by visiting our dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd

 

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Woodland Public Schools recognized its entire nursing staff for their tireless work during the COVID-19 pandemic
Woodland Public Schools recognized its entire nursing staff for their tireless work during the COVID-19 pandemic
Woodland Public Schools recognizes employees who have gone above and beyond with Employee of Excellence Awards (Photo) - 06/22/22

Wednesday, June 22, 2022-Woodland, WA-Each year, Woodland Public Schools invites staff and community members to nominate school employees whose efforts have exceeded expectations for the annual Employee of Excellence awards. 

The awards recognize individual employees for creating a positive, caring, and productive school environment through exceptional effort, dedication, or performance in their areas of responsibility. During the past year, constantly changing health guidelines made for challenges for all employees across the district to overcome.

This year’s Employee of Excellence Award Winners are Kelly Beasley, Kady Gates, Jodi McLendon, Sandy Owens, and the entire district-wide Nursing Staff.

Award winners were recognized by Superintendent Michael Green and Assistant Superintendent Asha Riley during an end-of-year staff gathering where each recipient was presented with a plaque recognizing their contributions.

 

WEA – Kelly Beasley

Following are a few comments from those who nominated Kelly:

  • Kelly goes above and beyond for students, parents, and staff. She advocates for students in need and helps them get shoes, clothes, deodorant, and other supplies.
  • Kelly’s students respect and adore her. She cares for her students and her students feel loved. She encourages her students and pushes them to strive for the best. Overall, Kelly is a phenomenal teacher and person.
  • Kelly goes out of her way to ensure her students succeed. She’s a kind and amazing teacher. My son loves her class and enjoys learning from her. She makes him want to do his best. Woodland’s students are blessed to have a teacher that is so supportive to their education and to them as students. As a parent, I feel blessed to have my son in her class.
  • Our family has been blessed to have Mrs. Kelly Beasley teach all three of our kids. Two out of our three kids have been placed in her advanced math class through the years. While our two boys struggle with reading and have been diagnosed with dyslexia and are on a 504 Plan, they excel at math partly because of Kelly’s support.

 

WSA – Jodi McLendon

Following are a few comments from those who nominated Jodi:

  • Jodi is always kind and respectful. She demonstrates this by how she greets parents, cares for students, and responds to the community. She is an anchor that helps to hold the school steady during difficult times.
  • Jodi is organized and professional. Not only does she complete tasks, she goes the extra mile and does a great job in a timely manner. Her sense of humor and commitment to the district continue to be commendable!
  • Jodi comes in each day and serves our kids with empathy and kindness. There have been multiple instances of her going above and beyond to try and help students and their families. She has dedicated her life to those in Woodland, and I truly do not think there is anyone more deserving than her. 

 

KWRL – Kady Gates

Following are a few comments from those who nominated Kady:

  • Kady is always positive, upbeat, happy, and willing to go the extra mile every day.
  • Kady does everything. She is the first to jump on route or anything. When people in the office get things screwed up, they come to her to pull their butts out of the fire. She gets it done, even forgoing family life from time-to-time if that’s what it takes to get the job done.
  • Kady puts this job ahead of everything. She wears many hats and keeps the bus transportation running, all while trying to stay sane.
  • Kady is kind and considerate in her daily communications, helping us drivers to effectively complete our routes and look forward to coming back to work each day. She honestly cares about everyone.
  • Kady is always on. She always has a happy face, she’s always kind and helpful, and she’s always a pleasure to be around even though she comes to work before 5 a.m. Kady picks up the slack and stays late, if needed. She is someone you don’t want to say “no” to and is an absolute pleasure to work with.

 

SEIU – Sandy Owens

A few comments from those who nominated Sandy:

  • Sandy is very helpful; considerate to all adults and kids; and always has a great attitude! Also, she is here for the kids!
  • Sandy makes herself readily available, going wherever she is needed, and doing so at all times. She’s a positive happy face for the kids.
  • Sandy is constantly going above-and-beyond in her job duties for her colleagues and students. She’s an all-around amazing person who definitely deserves recognition.

 

Hero Award – Nursing Staff

A few comments from those who nominated the Nursing Staff:

  • Our health room members have had a heck of a year juggling normal health room duties with the stresses and responsibilities that COVID has delivered.  They have screened, monitored, tested, contact traced, and navigated sometimes very difficult situations with grace, humor, and diligence.
  • The health room team is a major reason each school was able to stay fully in-person during the dark days of Delta and the even darker days that were brought by the beast known as Omicron.
  • Our nurses have been our health warriors throughout COVID. They spend their days testing and then spend nights and weekends contact-tracing. They never complained. They’re amazing!
  • Our nurse carried a huge load through the pandemic. She has done so effectively, keeping student well-being at the forefront of all she does, and maintained an incredibly positive attitude. She has been, in a word, amazing.
  • Our school nurse handled an extremely stressful job with both tenacity and grace. She endured such incredibly difficult circumstances and remained so positive through it all. I am amazed by her poise under-pressure, and she deserves the absolute highest of accolades.

 

Woodland Public Schools accepts nominations for the Employee of Excellence Awards from both staff and community members throughout every school year from its website at www.woodlandschools.org/employee-of-excellence.

Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates our students and serves the community, by visiting our dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd

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Sharon Stuart
Sharon Stuart
Woodland Public Schools thanks retiring employees for their decades of service to public education and caring for the community's children (Photo) - 06/20/22

As the end of the 2021-2022 school year approaches, Woodland Public Schools recognizes retiring employees who will end their careers after decades of serving the community and ensuring all children receive a high-quality education. 

Read on to learn how each of the following retirees who worked five or more years for Woodland Public Schools dedicated themselves to honing their craft and providing for students in a variety of ways throughout the district (ordered alphabetically by last name).

Jody Brentin – 16 Years
Registrar – Woodland Public Schools (District)

Jody Brentin served as district registrar, helping to enroll new students as well as process any requests families may have including out-of-district transfers and so much more. 

Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:

  • “Jody’s an always-cheerful, positive first-face for parents and new students to see, a beaming bright light at the district who wholeheartedly throws herself into her job. She is a complete team player. On a personal level, she is a real, honest, good-listening shoulder to cry on. I don't know what I will do without her!”
  • “Jody has been a joy to work with. Her positive attitude and infectious smile in the office is something that is going to be greatly missed. She has a caring nature for every family who walks in the door. She also has a knack for making families feel comfortable and welcome, as well as individually important. Jody will listen to them and do whatever she can to assist with their needs. Whoever tries to replace her will have very big shoes to fill!”
  • “Jody was our first-ever District Registrar and has done a great job stepping into the job and making it her own. She is great with staff and parents, and I often receive emails about her fantastic customer service. For many families, she is the first employee they meet, and she makes them feel welcome.”
  • “It has been a true treasure working with Jody. We have been through a great deal of changes, lots of learning, adjusting, and many laughs as well as tears. To say Jody will be missed is a giant understatement.”

Kathy Burns – 13 Years 
School Bus Driver – KWRL Transportation Cooperative

Kathy Burns, a lifelong resident of La Center, graduated from La Center High School in 1977 and knows her way around the area like none other.

Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:

  • “Kathy has been a great asset to KWRL.”
  • “It has been a parents’ dream to have their child's driver to be thoughtful and caring as Kathy has with her students.”
  • “Kathy knows every one of her riders’ names, and she has positive thoughts about everyone and she has a big heart for them, too.”
  • “Kathy is known for her big Smile and cheerful attitude. Kathy will be greatly missed.”

Mark Greenleaf – 19 Years
Teacher – Woodland High School

Mark Greenleaf has served as a teacher at Woodland High School for nearly two decades. Here are some of the comments shared by his colleagues:

  • “I must thank Mark for the many years that he invested his time, talents, and personality with our students, staff, and community. I'm grateful to Mark for the structure he brings to his classes, and the difficult balance of holding students to high expectations while supporting them towards success.
  • “Mark’s no-nonsense attitude and willingness to ask the difficult questions have made our school and district better places to work and learn. The legacy of Mark’s investment in Woodland will continue for generations, and he will be greatly missed. Best wishes on all your future endeavors. I'm glad to have been on Mark’s team for my WHS years and through June.”
  • “I couldn't work in ‘The West Wing’ for seven years next to Mark Greenleaf without hearing a few favorite quotes. Two are: ‘The Weight Room is Your Friend!’ (he probably has a trademark on that one somewhere) and, ‘We are not warm and fuzzy, fruit cups and orange slices here. This ain't Church Camp!’ However, the thing that stands out to me the most is Mark’s willingness to help. He always volunteered his own and, sometimes, his classes' help whenever I might have something difficult to do. I think he really fostered school spirit in that way. Thanks, Coach!”

Heather Gordon – 13 Years 
Teacher – Woodland High School

Heather Gordon has served as a teacher at Woodland High School for 13 years. Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:

  • “Heather was my National Boards sister! Her and I spent two years propping each other up and keeping each other going through what was a rigorous and difficult process. I would not have completed my Certification if it wasn't for her support and camaraderie through the process.”
  • “Heather’s love of teaching and care for students was so evident in everything that she did, and she was incredibly selfless in many of the sacrifices she made for the benefit of students. While it's a blow to Woodland and students that she is leaving, I am so happy that she is living her best life and taking time to actualize her dreams.”
  • “Thank you for all you've invested of your personality, compassion, and talents with the students and staff of Woodland High School. Your classes and the connection you made with some of our most struggling students were a big part of helping them hold it together to make progress towards graduation. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to work with you, helping to improve student's lives together. May your retirement be filled with new adventures and continual learning. You rock!”
  • “I remember when Heather was hired at Woodland High School. She struck me as being very kind, gentle and warmhearted. We knew right away she would connect with students and build strong relationships. On top of that she was an excellent teacher of English and Drama. All students learned under her direction and regarded Mrs. Gordon as a loving teacher. Heather will be missed. We wish her all the best in her new life.”

Dennis (Mike) Hugo – 5 Years
School Bus Driver – KWRL Transportation Cooperative

Mike Hugo has served as a bus driver for KWRL for five years. Here are some of the comments shared by his colleagues:

  • “Mike was an active member of the KWRL team in the years he worked for KWRL, volunteering countless hours to labor management meetings to work together to improve student transportation and customer service. Mike will be missed.”

Steven Miller – 6 Years
Custodian – Woodland High School

Steven Miller has served as a custodian at Woodland High School for six years. Here are some of the comments shared by his colleagues:

  • “Steven was always helpful and willing to go the extra mile.”
  • “I miss him already – every morning, Steven made my room look absolutely spotless.”

C David Moses– 25 Years 
Teacher – Woodland Middle School

David Moses served as a teacher at Woodland Middle School for 25 years. Following graduation from high school, he coached athletics where he developed an insight into working with kids. “My wife had been in education in college, so I got glimpses into what teaching was like in helping her a little bit with class projects,” he remembered. “After several years, I had been funneled in the direction of teaching, and many little paths led to my main one!”

For Moses, the interactions he shared with his students will be what he misses most following retirement, “You just never know what they’ll do on any given day and each day is different,” he said. “You get to deal with kids who have different backgrounds, hobbies, dreams, and so on; it is going to be the toughest thing to replace.”

During retirement, Moses plans to stay busy… incredibly busy. “I have about 83 directions I am dreaming of – food truck, podcasting, golf, you ministry, karaoke singer, golf, ping pong champion, landscaper, excavation person, combine driver, golf,” he said. “But first, I’ll be like Thanos from The Avengers movies, ‘sit back and watch the sun set on a grateful universe.’”

Here are some of the comments shared by his colleagues:

  • “Your sense of humor and quick wit are admirable. Students seek you out because of your kindness and get to learn math in a fun way. You will be missed. Enjoy the golf links!”
  • “You can't help but find something to laugh about when working with Dave. His great sense of humor and positive perspective is contagious. Back in the days of teaching third grade at Woodland Primary School, everyone got a pick-me-up with Dave's morning music.  After all, who can keep from tapping to the beat of ‘Surfin' USA?’”
  • “Dave has always found positive ways to approach challenges in life. Even through all the Covid Craziness, Dave sent out the ‘Daily Dave,’ inspiring and entertaining with quotes, funny stories, and messages that lifted spirits and encouraged us all through a difficult time. I will miss his lighthearted antics, but his stories will live on in our halls and hearts!”

Geoffrey Nelson – 22 Years 
Teacher – Woodland Middle School

Geoffrey Nelson spent 22 years as a science teacher in Woodland Middle School. While studying business and engineering in college, he discovered that his talents aligned more closely with education, “Working in education provided me with an avenue for my interests which included working with students, drama, art, American history, photography, and, in the end, the area I enjoyed most – science.”

Nelson spent a lot of his career teaching fifth grade. “I often combined different subjects including reading, art, and writing into creative hands-on science experiments that demonstrated concepts, like convection, by having students build hot-air balloons made from tissue paper,” he remembered. “As I get closer to my retirement, I admit that I will miss teaching very much as well as the many students and friends I have come to know over the years; one of the nice things about becoming a retired teacher is that I can still substitute.”

In retirement, Nelson plans to getting back in touch with the outdoors, doing yardwork, and performing some of his fitness goals, “Teaching at Woodland School District these last 22 years has been an honor and a pleasure, and I will miss it very much.”

Here are some of the comments shared by his colleagues:

  • “Geoff’s energy and enthusiasm for science is contagious. He has a way of guiding students that is both respectful and encouraging.”
  • “Everyone knows how passionate and creative Geoff is in teaching science, but I want to highlight one of Geoff's traits that truly is exceptional: he is seriously one of the most genuinely kind people. EVER. I've never heard him bash a student or staff member in all the years of working together at Woodland Intermediate and Middle School. He ALWAYS remains respectful and finds the strengths of students and staff alike. This amazing trait inspired me to not only hold my tongue, but to reflect on where my heart truly is in how I presume the positive in others.”

Williana (Yonnie) Nichols – 6 Years
School Bus Driver – KWRL Transportation Cooperative

Williana (Yonnie) Nichols has driven school buses for KWRL since 2016, covering all grades K-12 with routes throughout Ridgefield. Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:

  • “Yonnie always did a great job year-in and year-out. She will be missed by her students and all of the KWRL staff.”

Marilyn Paul – 30+ years
Paraeducator – Columbia Elementary School

Marilyn Paul spent more than three decades serving students at Columbia Elementary School, working in a variety of classrooms and a variety of students. Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:

  • “Marilyn has a passion to help students reach their potential, and is willing to push them so they can. Woodland has been so lucky to have her serving our students and families for more than 30 years!”
  • “Marilyn is always ready and willing to jump into any situation when needed; there have been many times we have been down one or more paras in a classroom and she is always ready to help with one or more situations that are less than ideal.”
  • “Marilyn selflessly volunteers her time, including setting up Candy Cane Lane and helping out at our after-school reading clubs. She is always positive and present in the classroom!”

Ed Sorensen – 13 Years
Custodian – North Fork Elementary School

Ed Sorensen served as a custodian for North Fork Elementary School for 13 years. When he retired in October 2021, the students threw him a parade to thank him for his years of dedication and friendship.

Here are some of the comments shared by his colleagues:

  • “Ed was always friendly, kind, warm and welcoming. I miss him to this day.”
  • “Ed was truly wonderful. He was as dedicated to helping his students as he was to working hard at his job.”

Sharon Stuart – 25 Years 
Paraeducator – Yale Elementary School

Sharon Stuart served as a paraeducator at Yale Elementary School for 25 years. After helping her mom teach first grade Sunday School classes at age 16, she knew she wanted to go into teaching as a profession. 

For Stuart, she will miss her colleagues and students the most after she retires, “Working in such a small remote school like Yale means you get to see kids grow up from little kindergartners to fourth graders who are ready to move on to Woodland’s schools.”

During retirement, Stuart initially plans to take some time off… at least a day. “I plan to stay in bed and be lazy the first day after school is out, but then, my husband and I are looking forward to the birth of our sixth granddaughter,” she said. “I am looking forward to being able to spend more time with all of my family.”

Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:

  • “One of my fondest memories of Sharon is a quote, ‘Well, you know what we need to do…,’ something she says 75 times a day.”
  • “Sharon has provided our students and community with excellent service for so many years. She has been an amazing student to so many little students.”
  • “We are grateful for Sharon’s loving heart, and we will miss her very much.”

Robin Uhlenkott – 23 Years 
Teacher – Woodland Middle School

Robin Uhlenkott has served as a teacher at Woodland Middle School for 23 years. She decided to pursue a career in education because of her own fondness of school as a student. “I had a lot of great teachers who made me enjoy learning,” she remembers. “I wanted to try to make school that enjoyable for other students.”

For Robin, her favorite memories from teaching involve time with other teachers and students. “I enjoyed getting to know and teach the thousands of Woodland kids who passed through my classroom throughout my career,” she said. “I will miss being challenged every day to my very best to serve my students.”

Here are some of the comments shared by her colleagues:

  • “You are always one of the first ones to the building every morning and have done so much for WMS from running ASB to creating the Personal Finance class. Great job!”
  • “It is going to be hard to replace someone like Robin, she truly is the hardest working teacher I have ever met. Robin is so trustworthy and kind.”
  • “I’ve never taught a day without Robin next door or across the hallway. Without a doubt, she has been the absolute best mentor and colleague I could have asked for in this profession.”
  • “Robin is the most rational person I have ever met. Never frazzled, never at a loss as to what to do, consistently and calmly changing the world one kid at a time! I feel so fortunate to have spent 12 amazing years alongside my friend.”

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WHS Grads formed a Graduation Tunnel for each elementary's kindergartners students to celebrate their transition to 1st grade
WHS Grads formed a Graduation Tunnel for each elementary's kindergartners students to celebrate their transition to 1st grade
Woodland High School and TEAM High School celebrate the graduates of the Class of 2022 (Photo) - 06/16/22

Thursday, June 16, 2022-Woodland, WA-Woodland Public Schools’ two high schools, Woodland High School and TEAM High School, the district’s alternative high school, celebrated their 2022 graduates during commencement ceremonies on Friday, June 10 and Wednesday, June 8, respectively.

TEAM Commencement

TEAM High School recognized 34 graduates during a ceremony Wednesday night from its largest graduating class of nearly 40 total grads. Principal Jake Hall welcomed families and guests followed by Superintendent Michael Green’s presentation of the Class of 2022 to Board Director Trish Huddleston, who handed out diplomas. 

You can download high-resolution, print-quality versions of the photos taken during the TEAM Commencement from the following link: https://bit.ly/TEAM-Class-of-2022

Woodland High School Graduation Festivities

Woodland High School celebrated its graduating class of more than 130 graduates in a series of events culminating in the Commencement Ceremony on Friday, June 10. Graduates were recognized for their accomplishments during Senior Night, took part in the Grad Parade through the district’s schools, and concluded by walking in the 114th Annual Commencement to receive their diplomas.

Parade of Graduates

Friday morning prior to graduation practice, WHS graduates donned their graduation gowns for the annual Parade of Graduates. Graduates parade through Columbia and North Fork Elementary Schools, Woodland Middle School, and Woodland High School while each school’s students line the routes to celebrate their graduates with posters, cheers, and high-fives.

At each elementary school, the graduates formed a tunnel for the school’s kindergarten students to run through as they celebrated the end of their first year of school and their transition to first grade this fall.

You can download high-resolution, print-quality versions of the photos taken during the WHS Gard Parade from the following link: https://bit.ly/WHSGradParade2022

WHS Commencement Ceremony

The 114th Commencement Ceremony was held on the evening of Friday, June 10. The Woodland High School Jazz Choir sang the National Anthem. The Class of 2022 voted for Kyla Keefer, a Woodland High School government teacher, as their Faculty Speaker, who spoke of the life experiences this year’s graduates already saw as they survived the challenges of a once-in-a-century pandemic. 

Woodland Public Schools’ Superintendent Michael Green officially certified that the graduates had met the necessary requirements to graduate and presented the class to Board Director Tom Guthrie who handed out diplomas to each graduate. 

You can download high-resolution, print-quality versions of the photos taken during the WHS Commencement from the following link: https://bit.ly/WHSClassOf2022Photos

 

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Student and staff safety/security is the top priority for Woodland Public Schools (Old high school bell now located at WMS)
Student and staff safety/security is the top priority for Woodland Public Schools (Old high school bell now located at WMS)
Woodland Public Schools' ongoing efforts make student and staff safety and security the top priority (Photo) - 06/13/22

Monday, June 13, 2022-Woodland, WA-In light of the tragic recent events in Texas, many families may feel anxiety regarding sending their children to school. No parent should fear for their child’s safety at school, a place that should provide a safe and happy environment for students to learn, grow, discover, and develop without fear of disaster or tragedy. The staff of Woodland Public Schools knows such an atmosphere can only be possible with careful planning, practiced safety protocols, and dedicated security equipment to ensure students and staff know how to stay safe against emergency situations.

Locked entrances prevent unauthorized access

At Woodland Public Schools, the exterior entrances for all most district buildings remain locked during the school except one, singular entrances to each building leading to the main office. The only exceptions are TEAM Alternative High School, Lewis River Academy, and Yale School, all of which offer no immediate access for visitors; all visitors must first ring a doorbell which allows school staff to confirm the visitor’s identity prior to allowing access to enter the facility.

During the day, students and staff may exit school buildings from any door as building doors are locked against outside entry only to prevent immediate exit in the event of fire or other interior issue. However, no one can enter a school building without first checking in at the main office. “By requiring all visitors and late students to enter through the main office, we ensure school personnel know exactly who is on campus at all times,” said Michael Green, Superintendent of Woodland Public Schools. “Student and staff safety and security is the top priority of Woodland Public Schools with our security measures helping ensure our schools are as safe as possible.”

Security cameras provide staff a first alert 

Additionally, all building exteriors are monitored by security cameras which alert office personnel whenever a visitor has arrived on campus. School staff know well in advance when any visitor is about to enter the main office. At Woodland High School alone, there are more than 100 security cameras monitoring all activity on school grounds to help ensure safety. Additionally, Woodland Police have remote access to these school district cameras and can monitor them in the event of an emergency.

Main offices can be locked down to prevent further intrusion

Even if an unauthorized intruder should enter a main office, staff can remotely lock all entrances from the office into the rest of the building, preventing the intruder from gaining further access, effectively compartmentalizing the intruder in a single room. Within each school, every classroom door can be locked by teachers from inside, and each classroom is equipped with window coverings to prevent anyone in hallways from seeing whether a classroom is occupied or not.

The key to safety protocols is practice, practice, practice

Naturally, the best security protocols can be rendered ineffective if no one knows what to do in the event of an emergency. This is why every school building holds a variety of frequent safety drills so students and staff know exactly what to do for any disaster, not only during potential intrusions, but also in the event of fire, flood, earthquake, volcanic eruption, and more.

Improvement through collaboration

However, even with detailed and strictly enforced security measures in place, district staff and administrators regularly review and improve on safety practices. The district works closely with local and state emergency personnel including law enforcement, first responders, and firefighters. The Woodland Police Department takes part in frequent drills to test response time and to offer feedback on how particular security measures work and may be improved.

“We do not take school safety lightly – it is a top priority,” said Green. “We continually evaluate our practices and improve them, so our schools remain happy and safe places of learning for students and staff alike.”

Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates our students and serves the community, by visiting our dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd

 

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Taylor Curnutt (Class of 2022) received the Silent Service Award for exceptional community service
Taylor Curnutt (Class of 2022) received the Silent Service Award for exceptional community service
Woodland class of 2022 graduate Taylor Curnutt receives award for community service (Photo) - 06/08/22

Wednesday, June 8, 2022-Woodland, WA-Woodland High School’s Taylor Curnutt received the Silent Servant Student Award from the Peter R. Marsh Foundation which includes a special plaque along with a $500 grant for use toward Taylor’s future plans.

Taylor received the award for the countless hours of community service she performed in the Clark County Executive Horse Council’s Adopt-a-Horse Program. “I foster horses acquired from the Clark County Animal Control with care including transportation, feeding, grooming, cleaning stalls, and delivering hay to other foster homes throughout Clark County,” she said. “Sometimes, this work includes holding horses as they pass on in their final hours.” In addition to her work as a foster for rescued horses, Taylor also volunteered at Healing Steps, an agency which uses occupational therapy with horses to help patients reach their goals including recovering from physical trauma.

Taylor has participated with the City of Woodland’s Make a Difference Day every year since she attended middle school. “This annual day of caring sees our community come together,” she said. “Everyone helps out one another with whatever needs to be done.” While at Woodland High School, Taylor served as a Beaver Crew leader since 2019, worked at the FFA Plant Sale for the past two years, and received the Woodland High School Service Award in 2018.

About the Peter R. Marsh Foundation

The Peter R. Marsh Foundation is dedicated to honoring those who serve others. You can learn more about the organization from their website: www.prmfoundation.org 

 

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Grace Riesterer, second from right, graduated in two years at age 16, and Kylie Fredricks, far right, graduated with an Associate Degree from Clark College, too.
Grace Riesterer, second from right, graduated in two years at age 16, and Kylie Fredricks, far right, graduated with an Associate Degree from Clark College, too.
Woodland Public Schools spotlights two amazing TEAM High School alternative grads -- one graduating at 16 years of age and another graduating with an Associate Degree (Photo) - 06/06/22

Monday, June 6, 2022-Woodland, WA-TEAM High School, Woodland Public Schools’ alternative high school, recognizes two outstanding graduates – Grace Riesterer, who earned her high school diploma in just two years and will graduate as a sophomore, and Kylie Fredricks, who will graduate with an Associate Degree (AA) earned through Running Start before she moves on to attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

TEAM lets students work at their own pace

Both Grace and Kylie attribute their amazing success to the alternative approach TEAM High offers its students along with the amazing teaching staff dedicated to supporting them. “I don’t know if I’d be where I am if I didn’t transfer to TEAM from Woodland High School,” said Kylie who attended Clark College through the Running Start program while finishing her high school studies at TEAM. “The teachers are really helpful and so great – it’s been wonderful to work at my own pace.”

Kylie decided to enroll in Running Start, the district’s partnership program with Clark College which allows high school students to take college classes and earn college credit while still in high school. “I felt like going to Clark would be great for a feeling of what college is like,” she said. “Thanks to Running Start, I’ll be graduating with my AA degree which allows me to take an exploratory track in Business Administration when I attend the University of Tennessee at Knoxville this fall.”

“I love all of the teachers at TEAM; every single one of them is so supportive and I don’t know what I would have done without them,” said Grace. “TEAM is all about putting yourself into the right mindset and getting in the zone; put your phone away, remove distractions, and you can accomplish so much.” 

Grace certainly did accomplish a lot – she finished her high school diploma in just two years, graduating at 16 years of age. “She had accomplished so much in her freshman year that she likely could have finished in a single year had she wanted to,” said Elizabeth “Liz” Vallaire, a Math and Science teacher at TEAM. “She was in her junior classes by the end of her freshman year and is the school’s quickest graduate ever; she just has such an incredible and dedicated work ethic.”

TEAM – a true alternative to the traditional high school experience

Kylie transferred to TEAM after spending a few difficult months at Woodland High School. “I didn’t get along with anybody and felt like I couldn’t see myself succeeding there,” she remembered. “When I first started at TEAM, I was hesitant because alternative high schools have the reputation of being where all the ‘bad kids’ go; that couldn’t be further from the truth for TEAM – I would tell any student to give TEAM a chance if they’re interested; if they don’t like it, they can go back to the traditional high school but I think a few weeks or months of experience will transform any student’s view.”

Grace agrees with Kylie. “I’m one of those people who gets in my own zone, I didn’t want to deal with any high school drama, so I wanted to go with an alternative route,” she said. “I’d tell anyone considering switching to TEAM to do it; being able to work at your own pace and take breaks when you need them was great.” 

What’s next after graduation from TEAM

Grace finished two years early at age 16 thanks to a dedicated work ethic and a motivation to experience what the world has to offer after school. “There are so many opportunities in the world, and I want to get out there to see what I can do,” she said. Grace plans to earn a degree in massage therapy while also working on cake decorating on the side. “I greatly enjoy massage and learning how the different muscle groups in the body can affect mood, feeling, and general health,” she said. “I used to massage my mom’s feet when I was younger and really enjoy the interaction with people as well as making them feel better.”

For Kylie, she wants to leave Washington State where she’s lived her whole life to experience life in a completely different place. “I’ve lived here my whole life and I’ve never quite fit in,” she said. “I visited a few colleges and fell in love with the University of Tennessee and totally saw myself going there.” 

Kylie’s love of business, finance, and accounting motivated her to pursue an exploratory track in Business Administration which will allow her to pivot to any of those majors should she discover a greater interest in one subject over another. “I don’t know what I want to do for a living, but I do want to run my own business one day,” she said. “I could also see myself going into finance or accounting, so I wanted to keep my options open.”

About TEAM High School:

TEAM High School offers Woodland’s students a path to earning a high school diploma which accommodates individual students’ life circumstances including full-time work, family responsibilities, or simply wanting the chance to finish high school early and get a jumpstart on their future.

The staff of TEAM try to help people think of alternative high schools differently. “Many people hear ‘alternative school’ and think it’s a place for ‘troubled’ kids” said Liz. “We want to change that perception: we don’t have ‘typical’ students – we have high-achieving students; students with life responsibilities; and students whose life circumstances make TEAM’s approach to learning a better fit.”

“TEAM can be great for students because we meet them where they are academically and offer a myriad of supports and flexibility with classes to help them succeed,” said Jillian Domingo, who teaches English Language Arts, Social Studies, Art, and Computer Science at TEAM. “Since we have time to work with our students one-on-one, they share information about their work, hobbies, and home lives; I feel having that knowledge helps me be a better teacher by allowing me to adjust my instruction to fit their specific needs and learning styles.”

To learn more about TEAM High School, how to enroll, or how your organization can partner with Woodland Public Schools, visit the TEAM website at www.woodlandschools.org/team

Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates our students and serves the community, by visiting our dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd

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When students attend BizTown, they take on the roles of CEOs, Sales Managers, Customer Service Representatives, and more.
When students attend BizTown, they take on the roles of CEOs, Sales Managers, Customer Service Representatives, and more.
Woodland's sixth graders return to Junior Achievement's BizTown for the first time in years to experience personal finance by becoming sales managers and CEOs for a day (Photo) - 06/03/22

Friday, June 3, 2022-Woodland, WA-Woodland Middle School’s sixth graders worked as customer service representatives, store managers, and even CEOs when they attended JA BizTown, the culmination of their financial literacy class where students take part in a day-long visit to a simulated town developed by the Junior Achievement program.

This year marks the class’s first time returning to BizTown since 2019 due to pandemic restrictions in both 2020 and 2021. For Robin Uhlenkott, the Woodland Middle School teacher who teaches financial literacy, attending BizTown in person provides pivotal learning experiences for her students. “Physically going to BizTown is everything since it’s a chance for students to use some of the skills we learn in class in a hands-on ‘real’ way,” she said. “The students were all so excited to go on a field trip since this was our first visit to BizTown in 2-1/2 years.”

Key to making the whole day work smoothly is the close partnership between Woodland Public Schools and the dedicated parents and guardians who support the program. Around 20 parent volunteers joined the students at BizTown to help and provide guidance during the day. “We’re so excited to have volunteers back in our schools,” said Assistant Superintendent Asha Riley. “Our dedicated parents make field trips like these possible, and we are so grateful to have such a supportive community of everything we do here to help our students experience new ways of learning.”

Prior to the field trip to BizTown, students learn about a variety of different key subjects when it comes to personal finance and citizenship in Uhlenkott’s class, including the differences between debit cards and credit cards; how to balance a checkbook; and studying how interest rates and compounding interest affects loans and investments.

While the key elements of BizTown remain the same year to year, the companies change. “For example, BizMart has become Wal-Mart because the company sponsored the change,” explained Uhlenkott. “Also, BizTown added direct deposit for students’ second paycheck meaning they don’t have to visit the bank unless they want to withdraw ‘cash’ from their virtual accounts.”

For Uhlenkott, teaching students how to understand their finances remains a top priority for preparing students for life after graduation. “I hope my class provides students with a better understanding of all the elements that go into managing personal finances such as investing; credit and debit cards; services offered by banks and credit unions; the importance of insurance; and how to pay taxes,” she said. “I believe my students will use at least some of what they learn to help them make wise money decisions in the future.”

For community members who would like to volunteer and for local businesses who would like to sponsor a “store” at BizTown, you can learn more about the Junior Achievement of Oregon & SW Washington’s JA BizTown program, visit their website: https://jaorswwa.org/ja-biztown.

Learn more about how Woodland Public Schools educates our students and serves the community, by visiting our dedicated news webpage at www.woodlandschools.org/news/wsd

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