Inside VPS – Episode, 2019-20

Hello and welcome to inside vancouver public schools, i’m coleen jamison. We have a huge show for you today. Nick voll has the details of a levy that voters will decide upon in february. Tara cox brings us the groundbreaking for a new building. Amanda richter shows us some holiday spirit. And elena buller introduces us to an amazing high school senior. Plus, a whole bunch more. But first, let’s do our top three. These are our favorite posts from social media. Number three comes from harney elementary, where these young learners are discovering one of the unheralded joys of reading, the smell of new books! They’re in the library checking out the latest offerings, and getting a noseful of those fresh pages. Here’s number two. It comes from franklin elementary, where construction projects are
going on. You can see students here checking out the action in the new parking lot they’re building. As the caption says, bulldozers are cool. Pretty tough to argue with that. We’ll see more examples of bond projects later in the show. Our number one comes from veterans day. The columbia river high school marching band braved the elements to march in the vancouver veterans day parade along officers row at the fort vancouver national historic site. A lot of smiles from those young musicians. Not to be outdone, hudson’s bay’s marching band was there too. Both bands performed well, and are active around the calendar at local parades, often including the rose festival in portland. It’s a great example of the access kids have to art at every vancouver public school. Vancouver voters will face an important decision in february. The school district is asking for a supplemental levy to maintain its current level of services. There’s a lot to consider, so joining us now to break it down,. is nick voll. Nick? Thanks jessica. Community members have a lot of questions about this supplemental levy, and how our schools are funded, so let’s start with the big question. How did we get here? In 2007, washington families sued the state, arguing that it was failing to adequately fund education, as it is mandated to do in the state constitution. The supreme court agreed in 2012, and the so-called “mccleary decision”, forced the legislature to provide more money. After a lot of wrangling, finally, in 2018, the legislature came up with a plan to provide more state money to schools. As part of that plan, it limited how much districts could raise locally, capping levies at one dollar and fifty cents, per one thousand dollars of property value. In february of this year, under that new rule, vancouver voters approved a one dollar and fifty cents levy. So far, so good, right? The problem is that when you add in the costs of long-delayed, and much deserved raises for teachers and other employees, along with other rising costs, there wasn’t enough overall money to preserve services. “”we believe that our teachers deserve to be paid as professionals, that our clerical and professional staff and our maintenance teams ought to be paid in a competitive way. the state was failing to do that”” And vancouver isn’t alone in this problem. “”what we found in 250 some school districts is the net result in terms of dollars to deploy programs and sustain positions in programs, was insufficient””
because of shortfalls in school districts across washington, the legislature raised the so-called “levy cap” to two-dollars and 50 cents, but that came too late for vancouver public schools, which had been forced to run a levy at the lower rate. Facing a 14-million dollar deficit, vps was able to budget its way through this year, with a one-time cash payment from the state, by dipping into its rainy day fund, and by making budget cuts in the central office. “”approximately four million dollars of primarily administrative cuts have already
been implemented, and we are not planning to restore those as a result of the supplemental levy. the idea that we could go deeper into that pool to achieve the 10.3 looming possible deficit, I think puts the system in jeopardy of legal compliance, I think it puts the system in jeopardy of being responsive to the community.”” So now, the district faces the choice of either asking for more levy dollars from the community, or cutting just over ten million dollars from classrooms and elsewhere. Here’s a look at the numbers. The proposed levy would collect ten million dollars in 2021, and a bit more than that the following two years. For property owners, that would be an additional 43 cents per one-thousand dollars of assessed property value in the first year. That number would fall slightly in 2022 and 2023. For example, if you own a $350-thousand dollar house, in 2021, you’d pay an additional 150-dollars. When you account for state and local school taxes, passage of this supplemental levy would bring the total bill for property owners for the cost of schools, to $6.45 per one-thousand dollars of assessed value. That’s the same amount property owners were paying in 2017, before the mccleary decision. “”we were very very mindful of the fact that as the result of flawed policies by the state legislature, we did not want to put undue excessive burden on our taxpayers. we were very very pleased that we could sustain the core student-centric services that are at stake here without increasing the overall tax burden”” The levy election is on february 11th. It needs a simple majority to pass. To learn more about this complicated issue, visit You can find out the consequences of not passing the levy, see what you’ll pay, and a lot more. Back to you jessica. Thanks nick. For the fourth time in ten years, columbia river high school is a state champion in girls soccer. The chieftains finished a dominating season the weekend before thanksgiving, by defeating hockinson. Let’s start with the game winning goal. With the score tied at zero in the 57th minute, yaneisy “yahn-ee-see” rodriguez punched in a free kick from 36 yards, which proved to be the difference in the match. River held on to win one-nothing, putting a capper on a season that saw them go twenty-one and one. This is the fourth straight semifinal appearance for river, and their second championship in the last four years. The only loss they suffered came in the district championship, which forced them to win out on the road throughout the 2-a state tournament. Their win got them on the cover of the sports section of the columbian. The top three finishers in state all came from clark county, with hockinson finishing second and ridgefield coming in third. Here’s a look at the team after its big win. Obviously there are a lot of people who deserve credit for this big run, but the seniors are special, with two championships under their belt in high school. Here’s one of those seniors, yaneisy rodgriguez, who hit that winning shot. She had *five* of the team’s *seven* goals in their playoff run. “Reschools animation” It’s time for a revitalizing vancouver update, the latest
on school construction projects paid for with your bond dollars. Another new school is on its way to students in vancouver. This time, it’s a replacement for walnut grove elementary. Joining us now is tara cox. Tara, they’ve already broken ground? That’s right. It stopped raining just long enough for a ceremony, and the whole student body got to watch. As you can imagine, there was a lot of excitement. “Cheers” With a hearty cheer, a digger took a huge scoop of dirt in the field next to walnut grove elementary. Students and staff stood by as the first ground was broken in the project to replace the aging current building. After the pros got their turn, student leaders and staff members buried their shovels in the dirt. “I think it’s pretty cool that you get to be one of the people that are represented from your grade into digging a hole””I got to experience something that not everybody gets to do””I think it was very honoring because some people don’t really get to do that all the time and it was very exciting to see that.” bill baird has been teaching here 19 years. Loretta stewart has been here as a paraeducator since 1990, and was a pta volunteer before that. They are both retiring this year, and won’t get a chance to work in the new building. “It’s amazingly been a part of my life. it’s hard to think about not coming here everyday. it’s just kind of setting in here with me, and i’m so glad they’re building this new school and i’m happy to come back and see it and do some volunteering, too.” the school community knows that voters made this all possible. “I think vancouver’s been a great community and very supportive of education, whether its levy or bonds and getting things that are best for the students and the community.””oh it’s going to mean so much. it looks like it’s going to be a fabulous building. it’s so needed with our numbers here in this building and it’s just going to be great.” The school construction should be done by the end of next year. The design includes a secure entrance and courtyard, more parking, a second story, about 40 classrooms, and a lot more. Back to you. Thanks. That’s not the only new school coming soon. Check out this progress from king elementary school. The old king was demolished this summer, and the new building is already taking shape. You can see in these photos the bones of the building, and the new entrance. Several new schools, like walnut grove, will be built next to the old building. At king, that wasn’t possible, so students moved to the old ogden building for this school year. They’ll move back in next year. If you want to keep up to date on construction projects, check out the district website. is the address. You can get updates on current projects, and see a schedule of what’s happening in your neighborhood. If you’re on twitter, follow the vps reschools account. Thats @vps_reschools. The vps school board is welcoming three new faces. In the november election, two empty spots were filled, and a challenger defeated a long-time board member. Let’s take a look. For position number one, kyle sproul defeated 29-year incumbent dale rice. In position number four, kathy decker narrowly won with about 52-percent of the vote. And for position five, tracie barrows will assume the position, after she won handily. Congratulations to the new board members, and thank you to mr. rice for his decades of public service. As we say “hello” to new board members, the public had a chance to say “goodbye” to two board members who stepped down. Rosemary fryer and michelle giovannozzI “geo-van-nose-see” said farewell
at a ceremony at the bates center. Fryer had been a classroom teacher for years, before running for office. Her focus was always making sure all kids have an equal chance to learn. “”well when you’re a classroom teacher you’re impacting only the students you see every day. being on the school board is so important because you’re enacting policy and budgets that help all kids learn”” Fryer will now turn her attention to her other passions. As for giovannozzi, she’s moving out of the district for work, which means she can’t continue as a board member. She says she’ll miss being a part of the district. “”one of the most unexpected experiences I had as a board member was the inspiration that I took from all the professioanls in the district from the superintendent to the cabinet down to school leadership and teachers. such an amazing, inspiring group of professionals
who really do so much”” Her message to the board going forward is to continue the collaborative environment
that helped the district find successes throughout her tenure. Thank you to both michelle giovannozzI and rosemary fryer for their work helping kids. For cooks, the thanksgiving holiday is one of the biggest days of the year. At fort vancouver high school, the culinary arts program prepares kids for future careers, and in an annual tradition,for thanksgivings to come. Amanda richter joins us now with more. Amanda? Thanks. Before the big day arrives, fort’s future chefs work together to make a massive meal. Turkey, dressing, and all the fixings, made by and for students. The kitchen classroom at fort vancouver high school is buzzing. If you didn’t know these were students, you’d swear you were behind the scenes at a busy restaurant. On the menu today, a full thanksgiving spread. Turkey, two kinds of dressing, mashed potatoes, several desserts, the works. “I love this event. it’s a break from the normal. it takes them and puts the responsibility on them because they’re feeding themselves, so the ultimate critic is them. I mean if they mess up the mashed potatoes, well, who made the mashed potatoes? you made the mashed potatoes, you know what I mean?” students lived up to the challenge. “It was really hard because it was a lot of miscommunication, a lot of people getting stressed out, but we all worked together, we all pitched in, and we got it together” gabriel hopes to be a chef someday. He already works as a line cook at wild fin at the waterfront, and can see how his training here is helping him at work. “Things like cross-contamination and sanitation,
cooking, techniques, they all follow through” he and the other students had a hand in menu planning, did virtually all the cooking, and lucky for them, all the eating. Gabriella was surprised at her favorite course. “I’m not really into vegetables, but somehow I actually liked it. i’m not going to say I didn’t like it, but I loved it, it was really good” gabriel loved the gravy, because he helped make it. “You have to make your roux with your butter and flour, and then you add your stock and heavy cream, and for the fat we used turkey drippings to add more flavor. then we cook it until its thick enough, and then we put it through a super fine strainer called a chinoise” the memory of this event is one that fort students hold on to. “We get phone calls and emails from kids that were here four or five years ago that are like “do you have this recipe?” and it’s the best compliment ever, because if four years out of high school or five years out of high school you still remember this class and what we’ve done, we’ve done our job.” and in the true spirit of thanksgiving, as much as students are learning about cooking, this meal is about connecting with one another. “You’ve got kids that will have a big family thanksgiving and you’ve got kids who will honestly go through the drive-through for thanksgiving. and for them, this is a family thanksgiving””this does mean a lot to me because this is a family to me. like, this group of people, is a family to me.” All of the dishes were pretty great, but if you ask our crew, the two dressings were the best, really moist and flavorful. If you want to sample some of the cuisine the culinary arts students produce, they do catering throughout the year for school district and other public events. Back to you. A v-p-s employee is being recognized for her work in the community. Carla feltz is the school district’s communty outreach and engagement coordinator, connecting families, schools,
non-profits, businesses, and social services, all to help kids do better in the classroom. Carla is also one of 17 members of the kaiser permanente “thriving schools 2019 honor roll.” She and the other winners were selected for their commitment to sustainable, healthy school environments. “Snapshot animation” It’s time for our snapshot profile, a look at the people who make vancouver a great place to learn. Our focus today is on a columbia river senior who is attempting to make history on the tennis court, and is preserving history in our community. Joining us now to share his story, is elena buller. Elena? Thanks. Senior wilson keller has found a lot of success on these tennis courts here at columbia river high school. He recently won the league and district singles titles, and has state to look forward to this spring. That success brings a lot of accolades, but wilson would prefer the spotlight is put on heroes, who served our country, but haven’t gotten their dues. He looks like a nice guy, but wilson keller is pretty fearsome on the tennis court. “I won both the league title and the district title” okay, wilson *is* a nice guy, just ask his coach. “To tell you what his teammates think about him, both his junior and senior year he was voted the most inspirational player on the team, and that was by his teammates” he worked hard to get to this position, with a chance to win the 2-a singles state title in may. “Well, state’s in 7 1/2 months, so it’s kind of weird for the tennis program to do that. so over the break i’ll be playing in tournaments, going to lessons, things like that, so it will be a grind.” wilson’s used to grinding. In september, he completed a project to become an eagle scout, an arduous process that few students complete. “I did my eagle scout project was for the buffalo soldiers. it was a bench and panel to memorialize both an african america veteran named willie morehouse, who served at the historic reserve who was a pow guard, and to honor the buffalo soldiers involvement in vancouver in the times of the early 1900’s.” buffalo soldiers were african-american soldiers who mainly served in the western u-s. They were segregated from white troops, and although they served with honor, their legacy has often been overlooked. Wilson saw a presentation about buffalo soldiers in vancouver, and found his eagle scout project. “After I saw that presentation I saw that representation was needed.” he raised five-thousand dollars to install the memorial at the fort vancouver national historic site, the first in the county to specifically honor an african-american veteran. “I got to meet many many interesting people through that project. I got to grow my leadership skills especially.” at a ceremony in september, wilson was joined by the mayor, the superintendent of the fort vancouver historical site, and local members of the buffalo soldiers cavalry association, a non-profit devoted to preserving the soldiers’ history. With the project completed, and just a few months left in his senior year, he can start thinking about what comes after high school. But first, a little tennis. “Tennis ball hit” It took a lot of determination for wilson to finish this project. Not only did he have to raise the money for the memorial, he had to get the national parks service, the city, and multiple native american tribes to say “ok.” As for tennis, wilson hopes to make a little history himself. The state championships are in may. Back to you. Thanks elena. Young artists competed in a poster contest with some pretty cool prizes, including lunch at the fire station. And for the winner, it turns out, this sort of thing runs in the family. Our nick voll has that story. Families and school staff eat mcdonald’s at the clark county fire district six station in hazel dell. “Happy meals for all the kids, and adults. you know I haven’t had a happy meal in a long time” they’re all here to honor student artists, who made fire safety posters for a contest, sponsored by the hazel dell – salmon creek business association. Third, fourth, and fifth graders submitted their posters, and the winners are here to collect their prizes. “For a third, fourth, and fifth grader, to have their artwork hanging somewhere, to get recognition for it, it’s really nice, it’s something kids will really like as a memory” one by one, they’re called to the front. Savannah bennett, from sarah j. anderson elementary, was confused. “She didn’t hear her name with the third graders, she’s like “oh no, they forgot me.”” but then, “Savannah bennett””I was like, huh?” she was named grand prize winner, earning a one-hundred dollar target gift card for herself, and two hundred dollars in art supply money for her school. This was a contest close to the heart of savannah’s mom, holly. “I was pretty excited when she came home to tell me that they were doing it again in third grade, because I won in third grade. I went to hazel dell at the time” that’s right, two winners in one family. The contest was to promote fire safety, and in the bennett family, it worked. “I think it’s awesome because before that we hadn’t really talked much about it it with the kids and so we actually practiced going out of the windows and showed the kids how to get out so it was a good idea””always be safe. never ever play with fire, and make sure you get out of the house very quickly” it’s a safety lesson, and a fun day at the fire station, that savannah, her family, and all of the other young artists, will never forget. Several businesses contributed to the contest and event, and this is just one of a number of community events put on by the hazel dell – salmon creek business association throughout the year. Time for the big picture, our favorite image from social media, and this one is an awesome trick basketball shot at skyview high school. The “our time – storm nation” twitter account posted this backwards half-court shot video. They didn’t say the name of the student who made the shot, so we can’t share that with you, but it’s pretty amazing nonetheless. Speaking of basketball, vps game time, the district’s sports broadcasting program,
has a full slate of boys and girls games this winter, including skyview’s. You can find the schedule on the district website. Let’s take a look at what’s happening in vancouver public schools, and this month, winter break looms large. The last day of school in december is friday the 20th. Winter break stretches all the way into early january this year, with the first day back set for january sixth. That’s it for us. We hope you have a wonderful holiday break, and we’ll see you in the new year. For nick voll, tara cox, amanda richter, and elena buller, i’m coleen jamison. Thanks for watching inside vancouver public schools.

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