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School Board Appreciation Month: Washougal School Board's Hands-On Approach - 01/25/23

WASHOUGAL, Wash., January 25, 2023 - Throughout the school year, the Washougal School District Board of Directors visits Washougal schools to observe impacts of board decisions and inform future decision-making with on-site experiences. Board members use the school site visits as opportunities to better understand how educational improvement strategies play out in real time, observe adjustments for student needs that teachers make throughout a lesson, and engage with students in honest conversations about ideas they have for improvement. Board members review the school goals prior to the visit and conclude each visit with a debrief. As School Board Appreciation Month comes to a close, Washougal School District recognizes the positive impacts of board leadership on the educational experience of Washougal youth.

“We value opportunities to engage on-site with students and teachers very highly,” said Cory Chase, board president. “It helps us to make decisions that best serve our students and our community.” The board gains on-site insight and experiences at Washougal school visits, speaking with students and staff while observing how board decisions impact school programs. Washougal School Board visits schools to spend time in classrooms with students and teachers, seeing firsthand the excellent learning opportunities students have in our schools each day.

“Student voice is very important to our team,” said Sadie McKenzie, board member. “Students have unique insight into school programs and policies. We enjoy the opportunity to speak openly with them.” Board members eat lunch with students during school site visits, which provides a less formal opportunity to engage with students and listen to their experiences while enjoying the chef-inspired, scratch-made meals provided by the WSD Culinary Department.

“The site visits align with the strategic plan adopted by the board, which prioritizes student voice and agency,” said Washougal School District superintendent Mary Templeton. “This authentic listening ensures that Washougal knows, nurtures, and challenges all students to rise.” Student board representatives also regularly attend Washougal school board meetings, providing valuable student insight on how policy and procedures are impacting school climate. This open communication benefits our schools and community by creating a decision-making process informed by student input.

The Washougal school board consists of five citizens of the school district, elected from director districts for a four-year term. Board members volunteer their time to guide high-quality education for students in Washougal. The Washougal School District Board of Education members are Cory Chase, Jim Cooper, Angela Hancock, Sadie McKenzie, and Chuck Carpenter.

The Washougal School Board has been recognized by the Washington State School Directors Association (WSSDA) as a Board of Distinction two years in a row for their focus on student achievement for all learners. School improvement plans, the district strategic plan, and guiding pillars frame decision-making processes which achieve results for student success.

The Washougal School District Board of Education plans to visit each school in Washougal over the course of the year, and will be at Gause Elementary School in March 2023 for a visit.

You are Invited: Press Conference for Washougal High School Student-Run Food Truck Ribbon Cutting - 01/23/23

Press and VIP guests are invited to join Washougal School District for a ribbon cutting press conference for the new student-run food truck at Washougal High School. Please use this link to RSVP online: https://forms.gle/pvcaWQ4q1Rz8ciLN7 

WHEN: Thursday, February 2, 2023 from 3 to 4 pm

WHAT: Washougal School District will celebrate the opening of Panthers’ Shoug Shack, the district’s first student-run food truck, with an official ribbon cutting ceremony on February 2, 2023. Meet Washougal High School students involved in applying classroom learning to plan and operate this new food truck. Immediately following the ribbon cutting, guests are invited to taste freshly prepared food and refreshments served by students out of the Shoug Shack. Please monitor local weather conditions and dress warmly.

WHO: Students in Culinary Arts, a Career & Technical Education (CTE) program at Washougal High School, will serve food and refreshments to guests out of the Shoug Shack food truck. Washougal High School students in the Future Business Leaders of America club will be present for event assistance. Guest speakers include superintendent Mary Templeton, mayor David Stuebe, Washougal School District director of Career & Technical Education Margaret Rice, and Washougal School District board president Cory Chase and board member Sadie McKenzie. Mayor David Stuebe plans to make a special announcement during the event. Meet students from the Associated Student Body and an array of Career & Technical Education programs at the event. This event is for the press and VIP guests.

WHERE: In front of the Excelsior Building at Washougal High School: 1201 39th Street, Washougal, Washington 98671.

BACKGROUND: Washougal School District is an emerging leader in Career & Technical Education, with programs that allow students to explore meaningful job readiness skills by supporting the 16 national CTE career clusters. Students in Career & Technical Education programs including Digital Photography, Social Media Marketing and Culinary Arts applied classroom learning to solve real world problems by planning and preparing this student-run food truck at Washougal High School. Students learned the process of creating a brand, marketing, business management, restaurant operation, and teamwork through this hands-on project. Following the ribbon cutting, the Shoug Shack will be used as an extension of the Advanced Culinary Classroom where, on occasion, students will create and serve meals in collaboration with WSD Culinary Services during lunchtimes at all district schools and eventually leading to participation at community events.

Cape Horn-Skye Elementary and Canyon Creek Middle School Students gather at CCMS for an assembly to honor art teacher Alice Yang
Cape Horn-Skye Elementary and Canyon Creek Middle School Students gather at CCMS for an assembly to honor art teacher Alice Yang
Washougal Art Teacher Alice Yang Recognized as VFW Teacher of the Year (Photo) - 01/19/23

Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) recognized Alice Yang, art teacher at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary and Canyon Creek Middle School in Washougal, as a Smart/Maher Teacher of the Year at an assembly on January 17, 2023. Yang is one of two teachers in Southwest Washington this year to be honored with this award for civic engagement and patriotism.

VFW District Commander Dana Difford, Post 4278 Adjutant Bob Hitchcock, District Auxiliary President Marjorie Stetson, Post 4278 Commander Sonny Liston, Post Member Gary Andreas, and Auxiliary Member Susan Bennett presented Yang with two VFW Teacher of the Year awards. Yang was awarded the Smart/ Maher Teacher of the Year for VFW Post 4278, then advanced to the regional level and was awarded the Smart/ Maher Teacher of the Year for VFW District 6. District 6 encompasses the Southwest Washington region.

“We award the Teacher of the Year recognition to teachers who get students engaged in good citizenship and patriotism,” said Hitchcock. “Alice Yang is concerned about the younger generation and makes sure that they follow their dreams.”

Students from Cape Horn-Skye Elementary and Canyon Creek Middle School gathered at a combined assembly to honor Yang. Applause erupted as VFW representatives announced that the Washougal art teacher earned the awards. “Mrs. Yang’s elementary and middle school students are so energized to celebrate their teacher,” said Dr. Mary Templeton, superintendent of Washougal School District. “The sense of community that Alice Yang builds in the classroom is reflected in moments like this. Yang exemplifies Washougal School District’s mission to know, nurture, and challenge all students to rise.”

Students at Gause Elementary apply robotics basics to build a robot prototype.
Students at Gause Elementary apply robotics basics to build a robot prototype.
Washougal School District, Community Libraries Host K-5 Robotics Programs (Photo) - 01/10/23

WASHOUGAL, Wash., January 10, 2023 - This December, Washougal School District and Washougal Community Library partnered to bring hands-on robotics lessons to students in kindergarten through 5th grade at Gause and Hathaway Elementary schools. Alongside school and community librarians, students in 3rd grade through 5th grade created robot prototypes in the school library media centers. The partnership began in fall 2018 and continues to bring computer science concepts to life for young students.

Librarians guided elementary school students through computer science and robotics basics, using Hummingbird robotics kits on loan from the library. STEM activities like these help children engage with concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math, in a hands-on real-world way that encourages students to think critically, solve problems, use creativity, work as a team, and develop a variety of other skills,” said Zoe Nash, Washougal Community Library Branch Manager. “Taking these kits into schools is also a way for the library to connect and share resources with members of the community who may not come into the physical library building.” 

Washougal School District emphasizes real world applications of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics for students of all ages. The activity brought vocabulary words like circuit, code, and command to life. "With the rise of computer science jobs and not enough programmers to fill those positions, this is a lucrative career path,” said Hillary Chapman, Library Media Specialist at Gause Elementary and Hathaway Elementary. “We’re exposing students to computer science through foundational skills of creating a simple circuit with the Circuit Blocks STEM kit in Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Our older 3rd through 5th graders use a Microbit and Hummingbird prototyping board to learn the basic components of how a robot works.”

Instructional support staff, such as school librarians, are partially funded by the Washougal School Levy. The levy supports great opportunities for students to explore their interests, develop their talent, and share their passion with our community. 

Hands-on experience with robotics kits opens a world of coding and programming to students at an early age, challenging students to practice job readiness skills in the classroom. Washougal School District knows, nurtures, and challenges all students to rise.

Left to Right: Anika Adams, Aundre Pitts, Paula Guerrero, Zach Bobeck, Eva Watts, and Lauren Filipczak participate in a class activity during ASL 3/4
Left to Right: Anika Adams, Aundre Pitts, Paula Guerrero, Zach Bobeck, Eva Watts, and Lauren Filipczak participate in a class activity during ASL 3/4
CORRECTED RELEASE: American Sign Language Students Showcase Learning at Washougal School District (Photo) - 01/06/23

Please see the admission fee corrected in the below press release, which was originally published on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. Admission to the ASL Showcase at Washougal High School on January 19 & 20 is $5 per person. Full release is included below for reference.


WASHOUGAL, Wash., January 6, 2023 - The American Sign Language (ASL) program at Washougal High School presents the annual American Sign Language Winter Showcase on January 19 and 20, 2023 at 7 pm. The showcase is held in the Washburn Performing Arts Center at Washougal High School. During the performance, students demonstrate their knowledge and skills by signing the lyrics to popular songs with use of props, costumes and choreography. The event is $5 per person and open to the public.

The ASL Showcase is an opportunity for American Sign Language students to demonstrate their proficiency with the language while building confidence in performance, public speaking, and dance. “The ASL showcase is something that students in the American Sign Language program look forward to every year. It’s amazing to see students so passionate about the ASL performances and the ASL after school club,” said Tami Grant, American Sign Language teacher at Washougal High School. 

American Sign Language is one of three language options offered in the World Language Department at Washougal High School. For many students, the courses help to narrow their focus on marketable skills and envision themselves in post-high school careers. The American Sign Language program at Washougal School District is a valuable addition to many students’ High School and Beyond Plan, a personalized learning plan which maps skill development and career pathways from 7 to 12th grade. This Career & Technical Education (CTE) program prepares students for careers in sign language interpretation, childcare services, employment counseling, social work, audiology, speech pathology, clinical psychology and more. 

“Learning ASL is important because it gives an opportunity for you to communicate with a whole new group of people. At work, I’ve even used ASL to communicate with customers,” said Anika Adams. Adams works at Motoco, a motorcycle repair shop in Washougal that her family owns and operates. In American Sign Language 4, a dual credit course, students can earn 4 college credits by completing this class at Washougal High School.

American Sign Language showcases are planned and presented by students in the ASL after school club. Student officers in the ASL club review video audition submissions and select performances for the stage. They also prepare staging, lighting, sound, and music. Club events like this one are funded by the Washougal School Levy. The levy supports great opportunities for students to explore their interests, develop their talents, and share their passion with our community. These events help us know, nurture and challenge all of our students to rise.

American Sign Language proficiency is one of many ways that Washougal School District students find passion in learning. Strong community support enables Washougal School District to serve the educational and developmental needs of our students.