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News Releases
Many students in Woodland High School's band program also performed with the Beaver Band at football games; no longer an option due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Many students in Woodland High School's band program also performed with the Beaver Band at football games; no longer an option due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Woodland's bands perform their concerts virtually while taking a new spin on the "traditional" virtual band concert (Photo) - 12/03/20

Thursday, December 3, 2020-Woodland, WA-Woodland Public Schools’ middle and high school bands performed their fall festival band concerts while respecting all COVID-19 prevention rules, however, the students voted to take an approach far different from other school districts’ typical virtual band concerts.

Bryana Steck, Woodland Public Schools' band instructor, worked with the Woodland Middle School and Woodland High School band students to develop a way for the students to perform fall festival concerts while still respecting social distancing and other COVID-19 prevention methods. Naturally, practicing or playing as a whole band is virtually impossible since playing a wind instruments like trumpets, flutes, or trombones while wearing masks is virtually impossible.

The students did not want to follow the approach taken by other districts' bands where the entire band performs simultaneously and broadcasts a mosaic of barely-recognizable tiny video screens with every student playing. "Students voted almost unanimously against what has become the typical virtual band performance video," said Steck.

Instead, students in Woodland's bands recorded themselves playing their parts individually while playing along with rehearsal tracks. After recording each part, the students submitted their recordings to be compiled with their classmates in a single performance. “Rather than video of the students playing, students had the option of submitting fall images, Halloween holiday pictures, silly selfies, or band memes,” explained Steck. "The result is a pair of band concerts unique to Woodland that still maintain social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID."

Arranging the dozens of individual musical tracks into a single recording required a lot of effort from both students and teachers. "There was a steep learning curve figuring out how we could all perform together while remaining socially distant," explained Steck. "However, our band students sound amazing and I'm so proud of everything that we have been able to accomplish these last couple of months in the music department.”

You can listen to and watch the performances on YouTube at the following links:

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 

Stay informed with the latest updates about the eventual transition from remote learning to in-person learning and more about COVID-19 at Woodland Public Schools’ dedicated website: www.woodlandschools.org/covid-hq

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The Columbia River Maritime Museum provided each student with their own boat-building kit.
The Columbia River Maritime Museum provided each student with their own boat-building kit.
Woodland first graders learn about buoyancy and boat building during a pandemic field trip (Photo) - 11/30/20

Monday, November 30, 2020-In the middle of a pandemic, Kimberly Miller, a first-grade teacher at North Fork Elementary School, took her students on a field trip to the Columbia River Maritime Museum located in Astoria, Oregon… virtually. 

The Columbia River Maritime Museum started offering its Museum in the Schools program to increase educational outreach in 1997. Prior to coronavirus limitations, Kelly McKenzie, one of the museum’s field educators, would travel to schools across nine counties in Oregon and Washington, providing students with engaging, maritime-themed STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) learning opportunities. McKenzie still offers the same STEAM-based lessons, however due to COVID prevention measures, she does so by using video conferencing software and by shipping the projects directly to schools. 

For Miller’s class, McKenzie presented a lesson about boat building where she walked the students through concepts like buoyancy to explain how something as large and heavy as a cargo ship can still float on water. First, McKenzie asked students to participate in an experiment. She showed students a variety of items including inflated balloons, a glue stick, a toy car, a pair of sunglasses, a crayon, and several more. Then, she asked the students to act like scientists, making hypotheses for each item explaining if they thought the item would float and why. Before McKenzie dropped each item in a large glass vase of water one-by-one, she would call on students and ask for their hypothesis. She would then drop the item and students would discover the answer to their hypothesis, sometimes being surprised when an item they thought would not float – such as the glue stick and the crayon – ended up floating.

“In some cases, the reason for the item’s buoyancy – its ability to float – is trapped air, like in the case of the glue stick which was partially used and had air sealed in the container,” explained McKenzie to the students. “In other cases, the atoms and molecules that make up an item are so separated – like the wax in a crayon – that the item can float even if it feels solid.”

McKenzie asked the class if they thought extremely heavy things could float. Many of the students answered that they thought they would sink. Then, McKenzie showed a photograph of a huge cargo ship floating down the Columbia River near Astoria. “A variety of different scientific concepts explain how incredibly heavy objects can float,” she said. “The reason this ship floats is because the molecules making up the ship are spread apart, providing it with buoyancy and allowing to carry tons of cargo.”

McKenzie then walked the students through a STEAM-based project where each student built their own boat. The maritime museum provided each student with a free kit to build their real floating model boats. Before building their boats, the students decorated their boats with crayons and markers. After the decoration process, McKenzie guided students through the boat construction. At the end of the class, the students excitedly thanked McKenzie for her time and the project.

About the Museum in the Schools Program
The Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Museum in the Schools program offers several different presentations supporting Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards for students in grades K-5. The programs and materials are provided free-of-cost to elementary schools across Oregon and Washington. To learn more about the program, visit the museum’s website at www.crmm.org. 

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

Stay informed with the latest updates about the eventual transition from remote learning to in-person learning and more about COVID-19 at Woodland Public Schools’ dedicated website: www.woodlandschools.org/covid-hq
 

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Kalama and Woodland School Districts roll back in-person learning for elementary grades and pause transition for older grades due high COVID transmission - 11/20/20

Friday, November 20, 2020-Cowlitz County-Kalama and Woodland School Districts announce rollbacks in the transition of students from remote learning to in-person learning as a result of unprecedented increases in confirmed COVID-19 cases throughout Clark and Cowlitz Counties.

In collaboration with county health experts, the districts made the decision to limit any in-person learning beyond kindergarten and first grade students to small groups. The decision was made after seeing rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases, increased hospitalization rates, test positivity rates, and increased virus reproduction rates (the number of new people infected by a single infected patient). These data points are increasing at such a dramatic rate that safe in-person learning for all elementary grades is no longer possible.

Both districts chose to continue offering in-person learning to students in kindergarten and first grade as these students are in the critical years of early reading development and are most in need of in-person learning. Without in-person instruction, kindergartners and first graders will experience the biggest challenges of any elementary-aged students in remote-only learning environments.

To enable the schools to practice social distancing and make mitigation efforts such as contact-tracing more effective, the health department advised the districts to reduce the number of students regularly attending schools to two grades. By allowing only two grades to attend, the likelihood of potential virus spread will be substantially reduced while prevention and mitigation efforts such as contract-tracing will be more effective with fewer people in each building.

For Woodland Public Schools, students in grades K-4 have been attending a hybrid in-person schedule, so this change means all students in grades 2-4 will return to remote-only learning. The return to remote-only learning for all students in grades 2-12 starts this upcoming Monday, November 23. 

For Kalama School District, only kindergarten and first grade students were attending full-day in-person learning at the time of this release, so this decision pauses any further transition to hybrid learning for higher grades. Additionally, regularly-scheduled small group rotations for students in grades 6-12 will be put on hold beginning on Monday, November 23.

The decision to restart the transition to greater in-person learning will be made in collaboration with county health professionals and will involve a substantial and sustained reduction in the number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases.

For regular updates from each of the school districts on the efforts they are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while still educating students, visit their websites:

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Working from the high school's library, students have access to high-speed internet and help from staff members, if needed.
Working from the high school's library, students have access to high-speed internet and help from staff members, if needed.
Woodland High School uses lessons learned from the National Basketball Association to provide struggling students with the help they need (Photo) - 11/09/20

Monday, November 9, 2020-Woodland, WA-Woodland High School’s highly successful Positive Academic Support System (PASS) identifies struggling students and provides them with the help they need to succeed, however, during an era of a pandemic with social distancing and remote learning presenting even more challenges for students, the PASS staff used lessons learned from the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) 2020 season to continue reaching students.

Woodland High School’s PASS program connects first-year Freshman students with dedicated staff members who help mentor and guide them to a successful freshman year. However, learning remotely presents an increase in the variety of challenges facing students ranging from inadequate or no internet service, no dedicated quiet space to concentrate, or simply the inability to adapt to learning from home. “Many students told us that they simply couldn’t focus when they tried to learn from home with distractions everywhere,” explained Stacy Gould, the PASS program coordinator. “Between an increasing number of struggling students when compared to average years combined with students who were not attending at all, we knew we needed to take action.”

The idea to bring struggling students in for in-person school started over the summer but crystallized when the NBA brought the concept of bubbles into the limelight. Working together with Principal Dr. Phillip Pearson and Assistant Principal Dan Uhlenkott, the PASS Program developed a way of bring students to the school for in-person learning based on the approach taken by the NBA for its 2020 season where the league’s teams and related staff lived in a secluded “bubble” on the Disney company’s theme park in Florida to prevent the spread of Covid-19 while still allowing the season to continue.

In a similar fashion, the PASS team separates groups of students to enable contract-tracing and limit the spread of the virus. “We bring students in small groups of around six students to the school where they remain in their cohort or ‘bubble’ for the entire day, returning home with the same students and not interacting with other students from other bubbles,” explained Pearson. “Students wear masks the entire day except when eating and even their meals are brought to them at their study area.”

Students use their chromebook laptop computers to work from the school’s library which provides access to high-speed internet and staff support. By keeping students in dedicated bubble groups and using health department guidelines which include keeping students in the same group sitting at least six feet apart and arranging bubbles at a minimum of 30 feet apart, the bubble approach limits the potential for a virus breakout to spread. “Furthermore, students must attest to their health and receive temperature checks each day to ensure no symptoms of the virus are present before attending schools,” said Pearson.

An optional program, the PASS team identifies students who may need assistance and reaches out to their families to see if the students would like to participate in the bubbles. Most students jump at the chance. “I’ve had students who hated attending school in-person before the pandemic tell me how excited they were to come back and return to a sense of normalcy,” said Gould. “In addition to having access to internet, these students also have access to staff members who can provide guidance and additional assistance when students need more help learning new material.”

The students participating in the program have been more than willing to adhere to the strict health guidelines required for in-school learning. “It's in the kids’ self-interest to follow the rules,” explained Dr. Pearson. “The better our students are about restricting the spread outside of the school, the more likely it is that we'll be able to expand these bubbles and invite more students to attend.”

Families with students interested in participating in the PASS Program can reach out to Principal Pearson at son@woodlandschools.org">ppearson@woodlandschools.org, Assistant Principal Uhlenkott  at uhlenkod@woodlandschools.org, or call the Woodland High School main office directly at (360) 841-2800.

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