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News Releases
Beth Doughty, Washington's 2017 History Teacher of the Year
Beth Doughty, Washington's 2017 History Teacher of the Year
Battle Ground teacher named 2017 Washington History Teacher of the Year (Photo) - 06/26/17

Beth Doughty, a teacher at Chief Umtuch Middle School in the Battle Ground Public Schools district, has been named Washington's 2017 History Teacher of the Year. The award is presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, a national organization dedicated to K-12 American history education.

Inaugurated in 2004, the History Teacher of the Year Award highlights the importance of history education by honoring exceptional American history teachers from elementary through high school. The award honors one K-12 teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools and U.S. Territories.

Doughty's passion for history has spurred her to to make history come alive in her classroom by creating interactive units that allow her students to really engage with history. She strives to show her students that history is relevant to the present and will always have meaning in their lives in the future.

"Beth successfully involves herself in all aspects of teaching and goes above and beyond for her students," said Chief Umtuch Principal Beth Beattie. "She is a consummate learner who searches out avenues to extend her knowledge, and she ensures that every one of her students receives a high-quality education while advocating for civic education."

Doughty received her bachelor's degree in humanities from Washington State University, where she also subsequently completed a master's degree in teaching. In 2010, Doughty was named a recipient of the Barringer Fellowship at the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello and has participated in numerous on-site historical institutes and seminars, including at George Washington's Mount Vernon, James Madison's Montpelier, and the USS Midway in San Diego. In addition to her regular teaching duties, Doughty is also the seventh and eighth grade history and language arts teacher for Battle Ground Public Schools' ASPIRE program, a magnet program for academically gifted students.

By winning the History Teacher of the Year award, Doughty will receive a $1,000 honorarium and will be recognized at an award ceremony later this year. In addition, the Chief Umtuch Middle School library will receive a core archive of American history books and Gilder Lehrman educational materials. Doughty will also receive an invitation to a 2018 Gilder Lehrman Teacher Seminar, a week-long program that offers teachers daily discussions with eminent historians, visits to historic sites, and hands-on work with primary sources. In the fall, the National History Teacher of the Year will be selected from the pool of state winners.

Andrea Johnston teaching a group of 4th grade artists
Andrea Johnston teaching a group of 4th grade artists
Battle Ground teacher named Elementary Art Education of the Year (Photo) - 06/16/17

Andrea Johnston, an art teacher at Tukes Valley Primary School, has been named the Washington Art Education Association's (WAEA) 2017 Elementary Art Educator of the Year. The annual award seeks to recognize outstanding professionalism, service, promotion and support of the arts by individual art educators in the state.

Johnston is a National Board Certified Teacher Leader, has been a delegate with the National Art Education Association to Cuba, has received a number of grants, and has served on school district committees writing scope and sequence guides and classroom-based performance assessments.

Johnston has been an art teacher at Tukes Valley Primary in the Battle Ground Public Schools district since the school first opened in 2008. She said that at the primary school, it's important to ensure that lessons are developmentally appropriate and take students' interests into account. "Art creates an opportunity to strengthen students' sense of community and identity, and I've found that you get more buy-in from students when you take the time to really get to know them and their interests," Johnston said.

After being nominated by her peers for the award, Johnston outscored other candidates on WAEA's comprehensive scoring rubric to become this year's Art Educator of the Year Award recipient. The WAEA scorers noted that Battle Ground Public Schools commended her for her collaboration with colleagues, and that numerous letters of support were submitted to the WAEA from her school community -- including past and present principals -- endorsing her nomination as a candidate for the Elementary Art Educator of the Year award.

"It's apparent that Andrea loves her job and is passionate about arts education," said Tukes Valley Middle School Art Instructor Debbie Supplitt. "She understands that visual art establishes a foundation for schoolwide culture, and she works hard to keep students' artwork displayed throughout the school and in the local community."

The award will be presented to Johnston during a WAEA gala event in the fall, with the date and location yet to be announced. Johnston will also be congratulated at the NAEA convention next spring at the downtown Seattle Convention center as part of an elementary education luncheon event. By receiving this award, Johnston also becomes eligible for future nominations for regional and national recognition.

More information about WAEA and this award can be found at

Free Summer Meals Program offers nutritious meals to kids during summer months - 06/12/17

Children and teens ages 1-18 can enjoy a free lunch this summer through the Simplified Summer Food Program (SSFP) for children. The program is funded through a grant from the Department of Agriculture and provides lunches Monday through Friday at two Battle Ground locations.

The program will be offered in Battle Ground at:
Kiwanis Park, 422 SW Second Ave., from June 28-Aug. 18. Lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
River HomeLink School Cafeteria, 610A SW Eaton Blvd., from July 10-Aug. 4. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Sponsored by Battle Ground Public Schools, the program addresses the need for nutritious meals during the summer months when school is not in session. Children do not need to attend a Battle Ground school to participate; all children and teens are welcome.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at:, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by mail to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or by fax at (202) 690-7442; or by email:

From left: Susan Lee and Diane Lewis-Lund from Yacolt Primary School
From left: Susan Lee and Diane Lewis-Lund from Yacolt Primary School
Battle Ground Public Schools bids a fond farewell to 43 retirees (Photo) - 06/09/17

Battle Ground Public Schools is saying goodbye to many employees this year as they prepare for retirement. The following is a list of employees stepping into the next phase of their lives. Join us in wishing them all the best.

Served 35 Years or More in Battle Ground Public Schools:

Terry Kenck, Chief Umtuch Middle School, 39 years of service, sixth grade teacher
Gary Erickson, Laurin Middle School, 37 years of service, shop teacher

Served 30-34 Years:

Marion Baty, Chief Umtuch Middle School, 34 years of service, fifth grade teacher
Diane Lewis-Lund, Yacolt Primary School, 34 years of service, center-based classroom teacher
Steve Beecroft, Prairie High School, 33 years of service, science teacher
Mary Morgan, Chief Umtuch Middle School, 32 years of service, center-based classroom teacher
Laurie Thurman, Summit View High School, 32 years of service, family and consumer sciences teacher
Laurie Amash, Laurin Middle School, 31 years of service, assistant secretary
Patricia Pisarczyk, Pleasant Valley Middle School, 30 years of service, head secretary
Diane Brown, Battle Ground High School, 30 years of service, center-based classroom teacher

Served 25-29 Years:

Theresa Ryan, Tukes Valley Primary School, 29 years of service, pre-school teacher
James Brothers, Amboy Middle School, 28 years of service, eight grade teacher
Donna Watrin, Pleasant Valley Primary School, 28 years of service, math intervention specialist
Karla Kalian, Battle Ground High School, 27 years of service, assistant principal
Paul White, Pleasant Valley Middle School, 27 years of service, health and fitness teacher
Deborah Langevin, Pleasant Valley campus, 27 years of service, custodian
Diane Mason, Tukes Valley Primary School, 26 years of service, support services instructional assistant, English as a second language

Served 20-24 Years:

Terese Smykowski, Laurin Middle School, 24 years of service, basic education assistant
Emily Meek, River HomeLink, 24 years of service, drama/writing teacher
David Richardson, Prairie High School, 24 years of service, photography teacher
Evan Irwin, Pleasant Valley Middle School, 21 years of service, band teacher
Robert Winston, Glenwood Heights Primary School, 21 years of service, school psychologist
Larry Delamarter, River HomeLink, 21 years of service, history teacher

Served 15-19 Years:

Nancy Bone, Chief Umtuch Middle School, 19 years of service, art specialist
Bobbi Passant, Battle Ground High School, 19 years of service, campus security
Charles Crowson, Operations, 19 years of service, HVAC technician
Cheryl Freese, Battle Ground High School, 18 years of service, special education assistant /basic education assistant
Nadine Nakagawa, Battle Ground High School, 18 years of service, resource room teacher
Lori Walker, Chief Umtuch Middle School, 17 years of service, special education assistant / basic education assistant
Susan Lee, Yacolt Primary School, 17 years of service, resource room teacher
Ronald Jensen, Battle Ground High School, 15 years of service, resource room teacher

Served 10-14 Years:

Georgianne O'Donnell, Laurin Middle School, 14 years of service, sixth grade teacher
Brenda Richardson, Prairie High School, 14 years of service, science teacher
Dora Swart, Battle Ground High School, 12 years of service, assistant principal
Jann Byrd, Prairie High School, 12 years of service, assistant principal
Bill Penrose, Summit View High School, 12 years of service, principal
Julie Backous, CASEE A, 12 years of service, administrative assistant to the superintendent and board of directors
Barbara Maehara, River HomeLink, 11 years of service, science teacher

Served 1-9 Years:

Ginger Reyes, Laurin Middle School, 9 years of service, special education assistant
Irma Edgerly, Daybreak Primary School, 8 years of service, teacher librarian
Patti Trotter, Prairie High School, 7 years of service, special education assistant
Jana Hart, Laurin Middle School, 5 years of service, choir teacher
Mark Hottowe, CASEE A, 3 years of service, superintendent

Thank you all for your years of service to public education!

Danielle Keerbs (center) and BGHS staff
Danielle Keerbs (center) and BGHS staff
BGHS senior receives prestigious National Merit Scholarship (Photo) - 06/07/17

Battle Ground High School senior Danielle Keerbs has been awarded a $2,500 National Merit Scholarship to Washington State University. Keerbs is one of approximately 7,500 national finalists offered a scholarship by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which has a mission to recognize and honor exceptional, academically talented students in the U.S. and encourage the pursuit of and a more profound respect for learning and academic excellence at all education levels.

Keerbs will attend WSU-Pullman next year to pursue a degree in veterinary medicine with a focus on large animals and wildlife. She would also like to be a part-time author and has already written first drafts of several books that she wants to publish.

"I have definitely changed and grown throughout my time in high school, and I have my teachers, friends, coaches, and family to thank for that," Keerbs said. "My teachers at BGHS have influenced me greatly." Keerbs credits English teachers Heather Smithline and Anna Hidden with teaching her to expand her mind and discover new, creative ways to express ideas. "They were always willing to discuss or debate any topic, which allowed me to develop a more cohesive view of the world and myself as a person," Keerbs said. Keerbs also has kudos for math teacher Chad Karlsson, who taught her to think outside the box analytically and to never give up on a problem, especially when it seems impossible. And in middle school, Keerbs said her eighth grade English teacher, Lisa Vea, encouraged her to pursue her dreams and never let anything stand in her way.

About 1.6 million juniors from more than 22,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit
Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying
Test (PSAT/NMSQT), which serves as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of about 16,000 semifinalists represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, and includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed
scholarship application in which they provide information about the semi-finalist's academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student's earlier performance on the qualifying test.

Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies, without regard to gender, race, ethnic origin, or religious preference.

The care basket that the students assembled
The care basket that the students assembled
Kindergarten class spreads warmth with quilt project (Photo) - 05/31/17

Kindergarten student Lanelle Muonio had a special request for her teacher, Samantha Tuson: instead of sharing her narrative from that day's writing workshop with just her kindergarten peers, Lanelle asked if she could also share her story with the "olders" to ask for some help.

The "olders" in this case refer to the high school students who are part of the older-younger program at Battle Ground High School. The program, which has been a part of Battle Ground Public Schools' Career and Technical Education (CTE) program for more than 30 years, pairs kindergarteners from Captain Strong Primary with high school students who are interested in pursuing careers in education.

With all the youngers and olders gathered, Lanelle shared that her cousin Katelyn, whom she is very close with, was in the hospital receiving treatment for cancer. Lanelle told her classmates and older mentors that she hoped to visit her cousin in the hospital, and she wanted some ideas that could help cheer up Katelyn.

The group held a discussion, sharing ideas until a plan was hatched: the class would create a bright, colorful quilt inscribed with sweet thoughts and well wishes to help keep Katelyn warm and cozy while she's in the hospital. The students also decided to assemble a gift basket to give Katelyn since they felt worried that she was missing out on all the fun learning opportunities that they were enjoying in school.

To make the quilt, the kindergarten students started off by brainstorming with their older mentors what they would write and draw. Each student then practiced on a blank sheet of paper the size of a quilt square before turning them in to Mrs. Tuson and Ms. Christina Wood, who teaches the high school portion of the class. Next, the olders transferred the kindergarten students' designs onto fabric, and then the olders and youngers worked together to decorate their pieces of the quilt with fabric markers and puffy paint. Once all of the students' sections were completed, the class also made a square for the entire class, and one with Katelyn's name on it.

Once all of the squares were ready, the quilt was assembled by some of Katelyn's other relatives, Mia Kaski and her sister, who both volunteered their time for the project. With the quilt completed, the kindergarten class assembled their gift basket, which included a first grade workbook, the class's favorite Dr. Seuss book, "Oh, the Places You'll Go!," a stuffed animal, the games Uno and Chutes and Ladders (the class' favorite math game), and of course, plenty of handwritten notes wishing Katelyn well.

All in all, the project took about a month and a half to complete. "It was great to see the passion that this project inspired," Tuson said. "We're always looking for opportunities to build empathy in kindergarten classes, and this was a wonderful, real-world example of how to show compassion for others and to help someone else feel better."
"The older-younger program helps develop strong, deep, personal connections," said high school teacher Christina Wood. "This project completely embodies that mission, and it was very rewarding for everyone involved."

Through the older-younger program, high school students visit the kindergarten class for 55 minutes, three times a week. There are 21 high school students and 21 kindergartners in the program this year. The youngers in the program benefit from more one-on-one instructional time than just one teacher can provide, and working with high school students helps the kindergartners to develop social skills. The class focuses on turning unstructured play time into productive, educational time which is a component of the Full Day Kindergarten Guidelines published by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for kindergarten classes in Washington.

For the high school students in the class, the main benefit of the older-younger program is the hands-on teaching experience they receive. Students who pass the class leave with a State Training and Registry System (STARS) certification (the initial certification needed to work in the childcare field in Washington) and three technical preparation credits from Clark College.
"I approach teaching this class like it's both a job and a college-level course," Wood said. "For students who decide they want to pursue teaching or childcare as a career, gaining actual work experience and a certification makes a huge difference."

Samantha Tuson was once an older herself, an experience she credits for helping her realize that she did in fact want to become a teacher. "The older-younger program is a unique opportunity," Tuson said. "If you know a student who wants to become a teacher, this program is an amazing option."

Students in teacher Fiona Engebretson's class on a Google Hangouts video conference with medieval scholar Lydia Fleming
Students in teacher Fiona Engebretson's class on a Google Hangouts video conference with medieval scholar Lydia Fleming
Technology shapes learning for Battle Ground students (Photo) - 05/30/17

Whens students take their seats in Pleasant Valley Middle School teacher Tyler Tugaw's class, the first thing they do is open their computers and begin typing. A casual observer might assume that this class is focused on technology or computer skills, but a pilot program for Battle Ground Public Schools' one-to-one computer initiative has reshaped how seventh graders study nearly every subject, including English language arts (ELA).

In January, Battle Ground launched a 1:1 (one-to-one) computing initiative to put a Chromebook into the hands of every student in grades 3-12 for use at school and at home. The initiative will be rolled out over the next few years, beginning with seventh and eighth graders in the fall. Seventh graders at Pleasant Valley, Tukes Valley and Amboy middle schools were selected to participate in a pilot program this semester. Because students check out the devices to use both at school and at home, teachers have the opportunity to integrate them into their daily lessons.

The students in Tugaw's ELA class know that each day they will write something. Indeed, on a daily basis, Tugaw assigns his seventh graders a writing task that requires them to edit and revise their compositions and provide feedback to their peers. It's true that writing is a regular part of the typical ELA class, but having access to personal computers is changing the way students approach their learning.

Tugaw says that since the launch of the 1:1 computing initiative, his students have taken much more ownership of their learning and applied more effort, maturity, and personal responsibility to their academics. "On a far more regular, almost daily basis, students are putting in effort at home to complete homework, missing and late assignments, and project work that is not getting done in class," Tugaw said. "Several times a week I receive emails from students notifying me about assignments they have turned in, or asking questions about an assignment they're missing while at home sick."

The one-to-one initiative also allows for more collaboration between students, both in the classroom and at home. While in the classroom, students can easily share their work and collaborate, either by sharing a document or reading and commenting on blog posts of their peers to provide constructive feedback. Collaboration on assignments is also happening outside the classroom. "Students are emailing their peers to discuss assignments and provide assistance to one another, which wasn't as often the case before the students were assigned their own Chromebooks," Tugaw said.

The opportunities for collaboration aren't just limited to student interactions. Amboy Middle School history teacher Fiona Engebretson used the technology to connect her classroom with experts all around the world. In early April, Engebretson organized a Google Hangouts video conference with medieval scholar Lydia Fleming, who is currently wrapping up her Ph.D. at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. Engebretson's students submitted questions about the role of women in medieval history, then Engebretson picked 10 questions for her students to ask Fleming during the live video conference on the Chromebooks.

"This is a great teaching tool, and the face time with an expert really kept the students engaged and helped bring the topic to life," Engebretson said. "Providing our students with equal access to technology opens up incredible new learning opportunities for them." Based on the success of this project, Engebretson is planning more Google Hangouts.

Tugaw agrees that the one-to-one initiative is helping to keep students engaged. "It is my goal that all of my students learn to read and write well independently, conduct their own research, and be inquisitive about our world as a whole, all while providing them skills that will help them be successful in the twenty-first century," Tugaw said. "The one-to-one initiative has been instrumental in helping to achieve all of these classroom goals."

"The most amazing thing about this initiative is that activities such as these are occurring in all of our pilot teachers' classrooms and throughout the district every day," said Scott McDaniel, the district's director of technology. "Great things are happening in our classrooms, and I'm really proud of the work our teachers and students have put into this program."