Today marks the first day of school we’ve missed this year due to inclement weather in the Camas School District. On a day like today, where the weather changed significantly over the course of several hours, I thought it would be a good time to cover the process involved in determining a school closure day due to inclement weather.
First and foremost, I want to apologize for the last-minute decisions we were forced to make regarding school closures. We know that it’s difficult to make urgent child care and other arrangements for your children at the last minute. The snowstorm came with more punch than had been predicted and the precipitation accumulated very quickly – during the most critical time when early morning bus runs had already begun. I want to assure you that many questions are asked and answered before a decision to close schools is made.
On a morning when the threat of hazardous conditions may exist, district staff members begin driving bus routes around 4:00 a.m. to examine road conditions. We consider weather-related situations that students and staff will face as well as the forecast for later in the day. We also monitor the road conditions through our county’s web site. Our school district covers a large region with remote areas and steep terrain in places. While roads may be passable in town, conditions may be very different just a few miles away—in fact, the elevation within the district boundaries varies from 50 to 2,000+ feet. Before we close schools or delay start times, we seek answers to the questions below:
- Can we ensure that buses are able to navigate streets safely?
- Will students be safe waiting for buses, driving, or walking to school?
- What are the predicted weather conditions later in the school day so we can also ensure students a safe return home?
- If we start school late (e.g. two-hour late start), will conditions be substantially improved?
Once the information is gathered, the superintendent makes the decision whether or not to close or delay school. When the decision to close schools or delay the start times is made, we inform parents, students and staff. Emergency and school closure information is communicated to the local media via the FlashAlert system. The district web site displays the information sent to media by about 5:00 AM. Families can access the FlashAlert posting from the district’s Emergency Info page by clicking the snowflake image on the district home page or by clicking this link:
The district’s automated notification system, SchoolMessenger, also calls district families at their primary number around 6:00 AM to announce late start or closure information. If snow routes are in effect, the message indicates so. In the event that schools will close early after students have arrived, parents and the media are alerted using the same tools.
Decisions are made with a great amount of thought and information about the conditions throughout the district, with our number one priority being student safety. If you have any questions, please let me know
Doreen McKercher, Public Information Officer
This fall, Camas School District students were welcomed back to school with portable technology designed to engage and inspire them to learn. One thousand five hundred iPad minis awaited the students eager to use the new technology.
Every Camas elementary school uses a cart of 25 iPad minis for each grade level of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders along with a cart of 25 portable iPad minis in each library. At the middle schools, there are three carts of 30 iPad minis per grade and one cart in the library.
The iPad minis were purchased using funds from the recent technology levy and utilize a charging station cart that syncs with a main computer to perform updates and downloads all at once.
Thanks to a partnership between the Camas Educational Foundation and the Camas School District, Liberty Middle School received a total of 140 Lenovo tablets in September 2012. This year, those Lenovo e-readers along with Samsung Galaxys and Chromebooks were moved to the high school since their use was better fitted for high school. The iPad minis are a great fit for K-8 classes because of their versatility of uses including educational apps, graphic design, writing and two-way interaction. In John Condon’s seventh grade life science class, students read an article then take a quick quiz for comprehension. The students’ quiz results are sent back to Condon’s laptop where he can assess results immediately.
Students take the wheel
Tablets put students in the driver’s seat of their own education. Self-assessments allow students many more opportunities to gain feedback on their learning and to make changes. Liberty Middle
School teacher Bobbi Bryson took note.
– Bobbi Bryson
Teachers have seen an increase in students talking more about goals for their own growth when immediate feedback is provided. “I’m getting better!” said one student after seeing an increase in her scores.
Students have been very excited about seeing their own progress and teachers have seen a positive shift. “It has been amazing to hear them talk about what they are learning. They are paying attention, they’re more aware, and seem to feel more accountable,” said Liberty Middle School teacher Hilary Gibson.
Staff set the ground rules up front by teaching students the expectations of using the devices and discussed how students could be responsible digital citizens. Students participated in the process, and, as a result, there were no issues with damage to the devices or inappropriate use. “They’re using it as a tool, and using the tablet to persevere in problem solving,” observed teacher Tom Brossia. “Teachers believe that teaching kids about care for the physical device is an important part of their quest to grow positive digital citizens.”
Increasing efficiency and getting measurable results
The immediate nature of the technology allows teachers to instantly make changes based on how kids are doing, to see what they are understanding, and what areas need further work. Two-way learning opened up as teachers saw that using tablets both to gather information from students and to provide the learners with instant feedback benefits everyone.
Teachers can use free applications as well through Google such as Google docs to share student work and give tests. Meghan Johnson, Teacher on Special Assignment, is enthusiastic about their potential. “They allow for efficiencies.
Teachers have more time to analyze data and students can collaborate on the same documents.”
The district has put in place the necessary computer networking and back-end support. Every classroom is wireless and students can take advantage of the varied uses of an iPad mini. So far, students are using apps for help with frog dissection in biology, sign language, world languages, annotated book groups, collaborative music projects, language skills for children with developmental disabilities, plus a lot more. Students also take still pictures and video for classroom presentations and self-assessment, use word processing, and browse the web all on one handheld device.
TACOMA — A season of hype. A season of praise. A season of wow moments.
But only now can these Camas Papermakers say they have made school history.
Reilly Hennessey threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Papermakers to a 49-21 victory over Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma in a Class 4A state football semifinal game Saturday night in the Tacoma Dome.
After consecutive losses in the semifinals, it is this Camas team that will be the first in program history to play for a state championship. The Papermakers (13-0) will face Chiawana of Pasco in the title game next week back in the dome.
“Since November 24, 2012, this day has been on my mind,” Hennessey said, noting the loss last year in the semifinals against Skyline. “The chance to do it over again and what I’d do over again. This opportunity, I’m so thankful. And I’m so glad I’m with all these people I get to share it with.”
He shared the football with five receivers, mostly going to Zach Eagle, who caught 11 passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns.
“Just a great feeling, knowing we’re moving on, playing one more game,” Eagle said. “We came up short two years in a row. It’s a blast knowing we worked so hard in this offseason to be successful.”
Read more at The Columbian
Research tells us that children who achieve appropriate reading level in the first grade will mostly likely be academically successful all the way through high school.
Camas School District offers a range of programs to help children be ready for school with early intervention and readiness programs. At the Zellerbach Administration Center, Camas offers an early childhood preschool program for 4 to 5 year-olds with a maximum class size of 15 children. Pro-tech paraprofessionals offer research-based instructional practices designed for kindergarten readiness.
Preschoolers meet five days a week in either a morning or afternoon session where they work on social-emotional, physical, communications, cognitive and pre-academic skills. Mary Weishaar, Camas Community Education Director, is enthusiastic about the program. “We follow state core curriculum standards so students are ready for kindergarten.”
LEAP into early learning
Camas Schools’ educators know that students who start school ready to learn get ahead and stay ahead. However, 23% of the 366 Camas kindergartners are not prepared to begin school. To solve this, the District offers the Literacy and Early Advocacy Program (LEAP) for kindergartners who need the extra help for later school success. Qualified children attend regular half-day kindergarten in their neighborhood, then attend LEAP classes four days a week at either Helen Baller, Grass Valley or Woodburn Elementary schools as a supplement to their regular kindergarten class.
Diane Loghry, the LEAP Early Childhood Teacher on Special Assignment says, “The LEAP program gives our students the extra time they need to learn skills critical to their success.”
Extended Day Program
Camas offers a before- and after-school Extended Day Program for four year-olds through 5th graders at the Zellerbach Administration Center. Monday through Friday from 6:30 AM – 6:30 PM, children can enjoy a family-like atmosphere offering a safe, nurturing, and highly activity-based day. Students can choose from a variety of activities such as the art-based Creation Station, or the Literacy Station with access to computers, board games, and help with homework. For more information on programming or costs, Community Education at (360) 833-5544.
The program addresses children with limited literacy experiences, delayed language skills, minimal alphabet identification and letter and sound skills. The ratio of teacher and paraprofessional is capped at eight students per educator giving ample time for one-on-one instruction and skill building.
“Teachers can really tell when their kindergartners have participated in LEAP. Not only are literacy skills much improved but they are ready to learn and know how to actin school,” says Loghry of the program’s success.
Preschool-aged students with special needs can attend a structured half-day program that includes typically
developing children where they can engage with their peers in play and activities.
The Step Ahead Preschool Program at Woodburn Elementary and the Papermaker Preschool Program at Camas High School offer this blended model. All of the preschool children receive early reading skills, exposure to rules, and language development. Step Ahead at Woodburn serves a combined 22 children with special needs and 16 children without special needs, split between the morning and afternoon sessions.
Papermaker Preschool at Camas High School serves 20 children per half-day session. Children with developmental disabilities work and play together with typically developing students to prepare for school. High school students help two certificated teachers and early childhood paraprofessionals work with the children, learning valuable work skills and experience in early childcare.
Dana Lighty, Director of Teaching, Learning and Special Services points out that, “Every piece of research shows that early intervention is ideal. Creating a team between school and parents will set children up for a great deal of success. It is effective for all students but is essential for students with developmental disabilities.”
The Camas-Washougal Rotary Club kicked off its Gift of Words project November 19 at Lacamas Heights Elementary School in Camas. Throughout November and December, the club will deliver and present nearly 700 dictionaries-giving one to every third grader in Camas and Washougal. Mrs. Wiest’s students at Grass Valley Elementary are pictured below.
Rotarians across the U.S. participate in the Gift of Words Project to promote literacy in their local communities. The project in Clark County is sponsored by Beaches Restaurant, IQ Credit Union, Columbia Vista Corporation, Diana Acuesta Designs, Columbia Litho and Clark County Rotary Clubs. In total $11,000 was raised to help provide dictionaries to students.
Dictionaries are presented by representatives from the Camas-Washougal Rotary along with Camas Superintendent Mike Nerland and Washougal Superintendent Dawn Tarzian. As the books are handed to the students, many quickly thumb through the pages, write their name on the bookplate and attempt to pronounce the “longest word,” which is an unpronounceable medical term with 1,909 characters.
Mike Nerland stated, “students are eager to get the dictionaries, and they are extremely proud of them. This project is of great significance in the lives of these students.”
Owing to the popularity of this tradition, many of the third graders’ older siblings still have their dictionaries and remember the day when they were presented.
As these students quickly discover, the book is much more than just a dictionary, it also includes over 150 pages of supplemental information. Key features include the Constitution of the U.S., the Declaration of Independence, brief biographies of all U. S. presidents, world maps, and information about all 50 states, countries of the world, and the planets in our solar system. It ends with the longest word in the English language.
The Gift of Words Project targets third graders specifically because it has been identified as a key year for language development and vocabulary improvement. Having a dictionary of their own allows students to have a resource right at their fingertips, one which can be easily stored in a backpack or desk and doesn’t require internet access. Owing to the popularity of this tradition, many of the third graders’ older siblings still have their dictionaries and remember the day when they were presented. Nerland stated that “students are eager to get the dictionaries, and they are extremely proud of them. This project is of great significance in the lives of these students.”
This year, the project included Interact students from both school districts, who were enthusiastic about being involved. Interact is Rotary International’s service club for young people ages 12 to 18. Camas and Washougal High Schools each have active clubs that are sponsored by the Camas-Washougal Rotary. Interact Club members lent a hand in readying the books for distribution by affixing bookplates in the front cover and inserting bookmarks into all 700 dictionaries.
Rotary International is a service organization with over 1.2 million members in more than 160 countries. The Camas-Washougal Rotary meets at 7 a.m. on Thursdays. For more club information, visit www.cwrotary.com.
Here is your post-season update for this week! Just a reminder that post-season contests charge WIAA ticket prices. Unfortunately, family and season passes cannot be used for free admission until Winter Sports season begins. There will be no presale of tickets for state competition. WIAA ticket prices for First Round and Quarterfinal games are:
$8 Adults and Students w/o ASB
$6 Students w/ ASB and Senior Citizens
$6 Elementary students
Children under the age of 5 are FREE
Friday, November 15
Girls Swimming at State Swim Meet at Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center – Federal Way, WA
Volleyball at State Tournament – Saint Martin’s University – Lacey, WA – Start time 9:45 AM
Saturday, November 16
Girls Swimming at State Swim Meet – Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center – Federal Way, WA
Volleyball at State Tournament – Saint Martin’s University – Lacey, WA
Girls Soccer @ Central Valley. Start time 1:00PM
Football v. Cascade @ Doc Harris. Start time 4:00 PM. Ticket gate opens at 2:30 PM – No Presale of Tickets
Best of luck to our scholar-athletes this weekend and Go Papermakers!
The Camas High School Drama Department presents their version of “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream” beginning tonight at 7 pm at CHS Theatre (located at the school).
The actors have been working many weeks to prepare for this fun and enchanting story.
“In our version of Shakespeare’s classic fantasy, five Steampunk-clad Athenians become the unwitting victims of the Fairy King’s plots,” said play director, Sean Kelly. “Our Anime-inspired Oberon and his queen Titania have been together for a very, very long time. They have just completed a tour of the Far East, but on the night of their return they feud over possession of a young boy – the child of one of Titania’s loyal followers who died in childbirth. Titania’s ardent refusal to give up the boy results in a rift in the fairy kingdom. Oberon seeks to acquire the boy through subterfuge: he will give Titania a potion that will distract her long enough that he can convince her to give him the child. Oberon orders his trusty hench-woman Puck to handle the dirty work while he entertains himself with a few new arrivals to the forest.”
In early fall, Daimler Trucks of North America (DTNA) launched a new campaign, Daimler’s Education in Motion, to encourage high school students to pursue programs focused on manufacturing career path development by making significant donations to local high school science programs. The Camas High School Career and Technology Education program was the recipient of $7,000 as part of this effort.
Camas High School’s Associate Principal Derek Jaques was thrilled by the donation which will be utilized in the purchase of a computer numerical control (CNC) machine. “The purchase of the CNC machine will impact a large cross section of our technology offerings including woodshop, CAD, and robotics programs. It will significantly help our F.I.R.S.T. Robotics team as they will now have the ability to manufacture custom components for their robots.” commented Jaques.
Daimler’s Education in Motion campaign is a collection of corporate giving initiatives benefiting science, technology, engineering and mathematic (STEM) and Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs in 34 Portland metro area and Southwest Washington schools. Two of the campaign’s more significant initiatives are Pathways in Manufacturing and the Daimler Educational Outreach program. Today, the company announced donations totaling close to $330,000 to help support these two programs.
Along with Vigor Industrial, DTNA is a founding sponsor of IMPACT NW’s Pathways to Manufacturing program. The company’s partnership will create, launch, and implement training programs for high school students interested in a career path in manufacturing. In 2013, Pathways to Manufacturing introduced a manufacturing career path to more than a dozen students from Centennial High School in Gresham, Ore., and Franklin High School in Portland, providing them with professional soft-skills training, informational site visits, and mentored internships.
“There is a significant gap between available manufacturing jobs in Portland and the pool of skilled workers in Portland,” said Roger Nielsen, chief operating officer, Daimler Trucks North America. “By supporting today’s students to get ahead in science, technology, engineering, and math, we hope to encourage them to stay in school and prepare to pursue the rewarding careers available to them in manufacturing.”
Daimler’s Educational Outreach Program operates on the volunteer efforts of more than 50 DTNA employees who serve as Education Outreach Liaisons to 34 schools in the Portland metro area and Southwest Washington. In September, at an employee celebration at Jeld-Wen field, DTNA donated a total of $230,000 to these schools to benefit their STEM and CTE programs.
More than $1,450 was raised for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) through a Camas High School DECA project which aimed to raise not only funds, but also awareness about the disorder.
DECA Chapter members created four competing hot dog stands that each formed their own brand and tried to generate more revenue than the other teams. Some items used to run the stand were donated by businesses such as Corwin Beverage and Quality Food Centers (QFC). All profits from the project went directly to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
The Hot Dogs for MDA event is a part of a DECA Community Service Chapter Project, headed by Amanda Shi and Courtney White. A second event for the project was Menchie’s Night on October 23 when the 192nd Avenue Menchie’s donated a portion of its evening’s profits to the project.