Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Superintendent Baldwin’s Message—June 2010

High School Graduation is such an exciting celebration, and this year was no exception. First of all, it was an absolutely beautiful evening in the Fishback Stadium for Washougal High School’s graduation. We put this one in the books as a bumper crop of graduates with a total of 188 graduates receiving diplomas from Washougal High School and 26 graduates receiving diplomas from Excelsior High School. Our entire school system is geared to prepare students for living and working in the global community of the 21st Century, so the high school diploma these days signifies competence and preparation for the broad world of work and higher education. While graduation is the culmination of thirteen years of public schooling, it is really the beginning of a very important phase in the lives of our graduates. They have garnered the skills and knowledge necessary to take the next step beyond the halls of Washougal High School. We wish them all the best and look forward to hearing their success stories.

It is important to brief the community on attainment of three major areas of focus this year:
1) increasing student achievement using Professional Learning Community best practices;
2) reducing energy costs; and 3) passing the Maintenance & Operations Levy. The following summarizes District accomplishments in these areas:

Washougal staff continue to leverage student achievement using a collaborative practice known as Professional Learning Communities. This year, PLC teams focused on using authentic assessment to shape instruction, and more specifically, the kind of instruction that is intellectually challenging and engaging for all students. We call that kind of instruction I.C.E. for short!

Educational research shows that intellectually challenging and engaging instruction is meaningful and relevant, exciting and motivating for students. Our job as teachers is to create more and more learning opportunities that genuinely engage students at the deepest level of learning. Frequent, consistent use of I.C.E. instruction will continue to be a focus of PLC work next year.

It is with great appreciation that we thank community members Tim Young and Karen Rubino for their volunteer work on our energy conservation goal. The District has met several critical benchmarks this year, as noted here:

1) Board approval of Policy #6923 which specifies all of the details necessary for conserving energy, reducing waste and saving money.

2) Contract with Geert Aerts, part-time resource conservation manager, who is retro-commissioning Washougal High School, specifically improving heating and cooling efficiencies.

3) Approval from Bonneville Power Administration for an incentive reimbursement program which repays partial costs to the District for energy efficiency improvements.

4) Establishment of “Green Teams” at each school to inspire the cultural shift among staff and students around lower energy consumption. We extend our appreciation to parents and community members who have joined this effort.

Many thanks to the Washougal community and taxpayers who voted in February to approve a four-year Maintenance & Operations levy. We extend our appreciation to Phil Rohn, community member and chair of the Washougal Citizens for Better Schools, and his committee for executing a flawless levy campaign. For his part, Phil was presented with the 2010 Community Leadership Award for Washougal School District at Educational Service District 112. As a result of a successful levy campaign, $5,000,000 will be added to the general fund each year to continue the all important work of educating the children of Washougal.

I can hardly believe it, but this month concludes my fifth year in Washougal School District and my fourth year as Superintendent. It continues to be a great privilege and honor to work with the Board of Directors on behalf of the Washougal community to provide the best educational opportunity possible for the girls and boys, the young women and young men in our school system.

Best wishes for wonderful summer vacation. We look forward to welcoming students back on the first day of school, August 31, 2010!

Teresa Baldwin, Superintendent