Friday, May 29, 2015

CCMS bands entertain Washougal elementary schools

The student bands from Canyon Creek Middle School were “on tour” Friday, May 29, performing at each Washougal elementary school.

“There are several reasons for this field trip,” explained Lora Brandt, CCMS music teacher.  “It’s important for students to take part in multiple performances of music literature for a variety of audiences and in several new venues.  They are also getting the opportunity to play music that is recognizable to them and their audience.”  The grade level bands represented 6th, 7th and 8th grades and played many popular songs including “La Bamba,” “Theme from Mission Impossible,” “Thriller” and “Star War.”

“This tour was also a way for these very hard working students to get the chance to socialize and enjoy time together,” Brandt added.

The audiences were also introduced to each instrument with band members playing a short song that featured each instruments' unique sound.  “We hope the concert entertained and inspired future band members,” Brandt explained.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Award-winning author inspires Hathaway Elementary writers

Hathaway Elementary School students were visited on May 26 by Elizabeth Rusch, an award-winning children's book author, magazine writer, and writing teacher. She writes lively fiction and nonfiction books in the areas of science, art and the magic of discovery.

Rusch presented two assemblies for grades K-2 and 3-5 and taught three writing workshops to 4th grade students.  In her assemblies and workshops, Rusch shares her life as a writer, where she gets ideas, how she researches and develops her books and articles, her writing and revision process, and some funny and scary adventures she’s had along the way.  Besides being a celebrated author and a scientific researcher, Rusch is also a highly acclaimed writing teacher.

“Ms. Rusch creates presentations and writing workshops based on her deep knowledge and love of non-fiction subjects,” said Cathy Burrows, Hathaway Title 1 reading specialist.  “During the workshops at Hathaway, students were inspired by her interactive, common-core writing instruction.  Our students gained important insights about how to make their writing “come alive” for the reader. They were so excited about the process that they wanted to continue creating and sharing throughout the day.”

“You never know what will spark a student’s interest and feed the flame of learning,” states Rusch in her philosophy about school visits.  “For me, all subjects are connected: writing, reading, science, art, music, math, social studies. By presenting myself as a writer with wide ranging passions - for astronomy, volcanology, art, music, history, and community service – I hope to inspire not only budding writers but also budding scientists, artists, activists.”

This author visit was made possible through a grant from the Washougal Schools Foundation and from Hathaway Boosters funding.

The Hathaway library has several of her books, and teachers have been checking them out to use in instruction.  “Ms. Rusch has already provided common core discussion questions/activities to our teachers to accompany each book,” Burrows said.  “The classroom study of nonfiction text enriched our curriculum as teachers prepared the students for this event.”

For more information about Rusch and her books, go to:

Friday, May 22, 2015

Cape Horn-Skye Elementary Students Swing into Golf

Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School 3rd - 5th grade students got into the swing of golfing with a special PE lesson from representatives of the Washington Youth Golf Academy at Camas Meadows on May 21 and 22.

The short golf class gave students basic instruction and practice on how to hold and move the clubs through chip and putt swings.  The instructors were Camas Meadows Golf Pros Bryce Poulin and Chris Garrison, who will work to introduce the game of golf to approximately 3,000 students in several local school district during the 2014-15 school year.  The two used humor and visual cues to help the young golfers understand safety and swing techniques.

Poulin also invited students to participate in the upcoming Junior Demo Day on Saturday, May 30 from 3-5 p.m. at Camas Meadows.  The WYGA event is free to attend and will feature practice aiming at the large inflated Golfzilla, meeting the golf teaching staff, junior club fittings and complimentary ice cream.

“The event is completely free for all youth and the first of our many great WYGA special events at Camas Meadows this summer,” Poulin said.  “The core value of the WYGA is community outreach and providing a place for youth to learn golf and skills for life,” For more information about the WYGA contact Poulin at 833-2000 or at

Thursday, May 21, 2015

WHS student earns master certification through Microsoft IT Academy

Brendon Moen, Washougal High School freshman, is the first student in the Washougal District to earn a Microsoft 2013 Word Master Certification as a part of the Microsoft IT Academy (ITA).  Moen had to pass five exams (Word, Word Expert 1 & 2, Excel and one optional test). He passed two optional exams, 2013 PowerPoint and One Note.

WHS teaches ITA through the Computer Applications classes. “This program started late spring of 2013 and since then students have passed over 200 tests,” said Katherine Sturdyvin Scobba, WHS yearbook and digital photography teacher.  “The program has shown an increase in participants and has prepared them in the application of Microsoft Office products in the academic and job arenas.”

Microsoft ITA is a partnership between The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and Microsoft to provide the training at all Washington high schools. Microsoft ITA bridges the gap between the world of education and the world of work. It boosts Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education statewide and the employability and global competitiveness of our students and future workforce.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Washougal Youth Win Award for Community Prevention Work

Washougal School District Youth have won an scholarship award to attend The Spring Youth Forum at Great Wolf Lodge, May 13 and 14th. This scholarship will pay for forum attendance, lodging and meals for six students. These students are part of a group of  UNITE! coalition members that helped plan and organize the recent Let’s Draw the Line Community  survey and Above the Influence Project.   They have been meeting since January to organize an event to encourage youth to become more aware of the marketing strategies that affect youth alcohol consumption.

The event was held April 25th at River Rock Church, and featured a Community Assessment of Neighborhood Stores, an Above the Influence activity that encourages youth to create their own personal brand, as well as music and prizes donated by the community. The students surveyed 10 area stores to get to know their community and see how product placement of  alcohol and tobacco affects  purchase by youth. They also received training on advertising awareness as part of Maddie Gregory’s Washougal High School’s Senior Project. Maddie and her team shared their desire to work with local retailers to create a healthy community for youth.

This award will allow 6 of the youth team to attend to allow the Spring Youth Forum to give a presentation about Let’s Draw the Line and attend a conference to learn about prevention projects throughout the state. The youth team that developed this project are Maddie Gregory, Michael Stevens, Carson Connors, Sydney Mederos, Sammie Mederos, Bridgette McCarthy, and Scott Anderson.

For more information about UNITE! please visit their website.  The Unite! Community Coalition meets the 4th Thursday of every month at 4:30 pm at East County Family Resource Center, 1702 C. Street, Washougal.

For more information about other prevention efforts in our state, please visit the DHSH website.