Vancouver Sch. Dist.
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News Releases
No fireworks on district, school grounds - 07/02/20

Due to fire risk and the presence of construction material and equipment at several schools, fireworks are again prohibited on all VPS grounds and parking lots this summer. The discharge or use of fireworks is not allowed on any district or school property, whether it is located outside of or within the limits of the city of Vancouver, which has an ordinance preventing the sale and use of consumer fireworks. Increased security patrols will monitor activity.

Camara Banfield appointed to board of directors - 07/01/20

Camara Banfield has been appointed to fill the vacant position on the Vancouver Public Schools Board of Directors. The board interviewed 13 candidates and voted unanimously for Banfield to fill the vacant seat left by board director Mark Stoker, who resigned June 1.

“I am honored to be chosen to serve our school district and I look forward to adding yet another new perspective,” said Banfield. “I am passionate about making a positive impact for our students with the assistance of our ever-growing diverse community and the other directors of the board.” 

Banfield has practiced law in Clark County for nearly 20 years. She has served the community as a deputy prosecutor and has worked as a supervisor for the past 12 years. She currently serves as the chief criminal deputy prosecuting attorney. Banfield grew up in Vancouver and attended public schools in this community. She has three children who have attended, or currently attend, schools in the district.

“Camara is an outstanding applicant, and we are excited to work with her,” said Board President Wendy Smith. “She will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the board. I also want to thank all of the other applicants. This was a difficult decision as we had many exceptional candidates. We look forward to finding opportunities to work with them and include their voices in the future.”

Banfield will be sworn in at the July 14 board meeting. The appointment will be temporary until the November 2021 general election, when a permanent board member will be elected to the position.

VPS students, parents and staff want a safe return to "traditional" school in the fall - 06/26/20

A recent Vancouver Public Schools survey shows strong majority support among students, parents, teachers and staff members for returning to “traditional” school in the fall with precautions to protect their health.

The Center for Educational Effectiveness conducted the online survey for the district over the past two weeks. Participation included 7,669 parents, 3,308 students, 1,759 school-based employees and 494 district-level staff members.

If appropriate precautions were in place, 95% of school-based staff, 93% of district-level staff, 92% of students and 89% of parents responded that they would return to school “always, often or sometimes.” Those indicating they would “seldom or almost never” feel safe were 5% of school-based employees, 7% of district-level staff, 8% of students and 11% of parents.

The most pressing needs expressed by parents and students were in-person, teacher-led instruction and socialization. An important but lesser need was access to elective programs. Most respondents indicated that athletics and activities should resume when full-time, in-person instruction begins for all students, although some support also exists for resuming athletics and activities with 50% of the student population in attendance.

A large majority of respondents rated daily cleaning and disinfecting practices, a 14-day mandatory quarantine for people testing COVID-19 positive and a low number of cases in the county as the top three safety measures. Staff were more supportive than parents and students of other state-mandated precautions including social distancing and facial coverings. Staff also were more concerned than parents and students about exposure to other people and frequency of handwashing.

Areas where respondents believe students will be safest at school include parking lots, classrooms, recess/outdoors, commons areas and bus stops. Areas viewed as less safe are buses, gyms/locker rooms, bathrooms and lunchrooms.

The survey also shows that 73% of high school students could “almost always or often” transport themselves to and from school, and 75% parents could “almost always or often” transport their children. Ten percent of students and 13% of parents indicate that they must rely on bus transportation.

VPS will factor the survey results into the development of a plan for reopening schools for 2020-21. As required by the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the district’s board of directors will adopt a plan by mid-August for a Sept. 1 reopening.

Directors to interview candidates for appointment to the school board - 06/25/20

Thirteen people applied for a vacant seat on the Vancouver Public Schools board of directors. Mark Stoker, who previously held position 2 on the board, resigned June 1. 

The person selected for the appointment will serve until December 2021, when the term ends. The position will be up for election in November 2021. 

The board of directors will interview candidates on June 29 and 30. All interviews will be conducted remotely on Zoom. The interview schedule will be posted by the close of business on Friday, June 26. The public is invited to watch using the following links.

Please click the links below to join the webinars for each day.
June 29 
https://vansd.org/events/board-candidate-interview-june-29/

June 30
https://vansd.org/events/board-candidate-interview-june-30/

The board also invites members of the public to submit questions for consideration by emailing them to vpsboard.directors@vansd.org by Sunday, June 28, at 2 p.m. 

Applicants are: 

  • Sarah Arslanian
  • Camara Banfield
  • Felix Braffith
  • Cristhian Canseco
  • Shona Carter
  • Jennifer Hernandez
  • Joseph Hernandez
  • Lindsey Luis
  • Lisa Messer
  • Oscar Novelo
  • Shantel Nulph
  • Dale Robertson
  • Jared Smith

The board will deliberate following the final interview and hopes to reach a final decision on June 30. The new director will be sworn in at the July 14 meeting.

To serve on the school board, one must live within the boundaries of Vancouver Public Schools and be eligible to vote. By law, school district employees and their spouses, in most instances, are not eligible to serve on the board.

The appointment process follows the district’s policy 1114, “Board Member Resignation and Vacancy.”

Inclusion preschool for 3- and 4-year-olds - 06/23/20

Parents can apply now for a new preschool program that will start this fall in Vancouver Public Schools. The half-day program is free and will be held at Ogden Elementary School.

The new program is an inclusion model, connecting children with disabilities to their peers without disabilities. Teachers will intentionally promote active engagement and social interaction among peers. The goal is for all students to achieve kindergarten-readiness skills in the most natural and inclusive setting.

Program highlights:

  • Free half-day program, four days per week
  • For children who will be 3 or 4 years old by Aug. 31, 2020, and live in the boundaries of a Title I school
  • Brings together children who have special needs with their typically developing peers in a collaborative setting
  • Transportation is not provided.
  • Located at Ogden Elementary School

Apply now. 

The application deadline is Friday, July 10. Call 360-313-1266 for more information.

Students, families to receive additional community services - 06/18/20

Children at eight Vancouver elementary schools will benefit from expanded or additional services in the coming years. An agreement among Vancouver Public Schools and 13 local organizations to establish full-service community schools recently received a boost in the form of a nearly $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. 

The funds will be used to bolster services at eight schools that serve higher numbers of students who are underrepresented or affected by poverty. Fruit Valley, King, Marshall, Ogden, Roosevelt, Washington elementary schools already have on-site Family-Community Resource Centers. Centers will launch at Eisenhower and Sacajawea elementary schools in fall 2020, bringing the total number of VPS schools with on-site FCRCs to 20. Two mobile FCRCs support schools without centers on-site.

Over five years, the grant will help pay for a variety of services for an estimated 10,000 children and adults:

  • Early learning opportunities

  • In-school and out-of-school programs

  • Family and community engagement activities

  • Post-high school and workforce-readiness services

  • Community-based support

  • Social, health, nutrition and mental health services

  • Juvenile crime prevention programming

Goals include supporting children’s kindergarten readiness; fostering successful transitions from one academic year to the next; helping students read at grade level; enhancing student and family engagement; and increasing students’ social, emotional, behavioral, physical and mental health.

The model for full-service community schools will be developed and implemented sustainably as part of the Strengthening Neighborhoods Collaborative. The agreement to provide a comprehensive, coordinated pipeline of services includes the following organizations:

  • Vancouver Housing Authority

  • Free Clinic of Southwest Washington

  • Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health

  • Clark County Public Health

  • Share

  • Council for the Homeless

  • Bridgeview

  • Partners in Careers

  • The Children’s Center

  • Children’s Home Society of Washington

  • Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools

  • Educational Service District 112

  • Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington

“Access to high-quality early education opportunities have proven to have lasting gains, leading to better educational, health, social and economic outcomes later in life,” said Lead Early Childhood Education Specialist Kelly Mainka. “Our community’s children are the promise for a brighter future. It is our commitment to use these resources to pave a better path forward for our children and families.”

Vancouver Public Schools seeks applicants for school board position - 06/15/20

Vancouver Public Schools is seeking applicants for position 2 on the board of directors, from which former director Mark Stoker resigned on June 1.

Starting today, June 5, an application with instructions is available on the district’s website. In addition to completing an application, candidates also will be asked to participate in a public interview with current board directors and the superintendent.

Appointment timeline: 

  • June 24: Applications are due by 5 p.m.

  • June 29 (and 30, if necessary): Board interviews candidates in public, holds an executive session to deliberate and reconvenes the public meeting for possible action on an appointment

  • June 29 or 30: Board notifies the selected candidate and other applicants

  • July 14: New director is sworn in

To serve on the school board, one must live within the boundaries of Vancouver Public Schools and be eligible to vote. By law, school district employees and their spouses, in most instances, are not eligible to serve on the board.

The appointment process follows the district’s policy 1114, "Board Member Resignation and Vacancy."

The new director's term will end in December 2021. To remain on the board beyond December 2021, the director must file for office and win the November 2021 general election.

Vancouver Public Schools launches equity initiative - 06/11/20

As a call to action to address issues of equity and justice grows across the U.S., Vancouver Public Schools will launch a district equity initiative in 2020-21.

“For the past 12 years, a commitment to equity has been embedded into our mission statement and the six goal areas of our district’s strategic plan,” said Steve Webb, superintendent. “Now we will take a major step by elevating and bringing greater focus to this work. It is our moral imperative.”

In announcing this initiative, VPS commits to the following actions:

1. The superintendent will form an equity advisory group. This group will include representatives from student and parent communities of color, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, League of United Latin American Citizens, Vancouver Education Association and others. This group also will have an appointed school board director who will serve as a liaison to the VPS Board of Directors. The purpose of this group will be to inform the response to a district-initiated equity audit to be performed this fall. 

2. VPS will hire a chief equity officer, which will be a cabinet-level position. The position will interface routinely with staff responsible for student attendance and welfare, school operations, teaching and learning, community schools, human resources and student discipline. This role will be integral to advancing efforts to cultivate more culturally responsive schools and classrooms. The chief equity officer also will provide direct leadership of the district’s equity initiative.

3. The district will initiate a third-party equity audit of the following areas: board policy, district programs, curriculum/assessments, district instructional practices, district hiring and placement practices, school building resource allocations and culture and climate. Other areas could be added later. This work will begin in the fall. As soon as the audit is completed, the equity advisory group will be engaged in examining the findings, prioritizing the actions, reviewing the plan and monitoring the district’s progress.

4. VPS will continue to work with UCLA Center for Civil Rights, Washington State Attorney General’s Office and the district-formed Discipline Equity Steering Committee on more equitable student discipline outcomes. 

“We can, and we must, work together to create a more just and equitable school system,” said Webb. “I am hopeful that together, we can address the issues of inequity, institutional and implicit bias and racism. Our students deserve nothing less."