Paying it backward

Doreen McKercher : April 27, 2016 3:25 PM : News

Seth Bradshaw and Adam Ryan

CHS students Seth Bradshaw (left) and Adam Ryan collaborated on their Eagle Scout projects to create benches, birdhouses and arbors, all made from reclaimed wood, in the garden at Skyridge Middle School. (Danielle Frost/Post-Record)

When Adam Ryan and Seth Bradshaw were looking for projects that would help them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, scouting’s highest honor, they went back in time.

Not literally, of course, but figuratively, to their roots at Skyridge Middle School.

Ryan, 18 and Bradshaw, 17, contacted former teacher John Condon, who in turn alerted teacher Gayle Cooper, who heads up the school garden, to see if she could find some projects for the teens.

“I always have projects to get done,” she said. “We needed somewhere out here for the kids to sit during lunch, and we are also trying to attract native birds to the garden.”

So, she asked the boys to construct arbors, birdhouses and benches.

Since there were some fir trees to be thinned out on the school grounds, Cooper procured the lumber needed for the projects free of charge. Lutz Hardware of Camas donated the materials.

“It’s been delightful working with Adam and Seth,” Cooper said. “They really exceeded my expectations in terms of delving into the project on their own. It is nice to see students come here and ‘pay it backward.’”

Ryan, a senior, and Bradshaw, a junior, both attend Camas High School, where they participate in track, cross country and are National Honor Society students, as well as members of Boy Scout Troop 499.

“When I was starting up and looking for projects, Skyridge was my go-to place,” Ryan said. “The fact that there was already an idea here for me was a huge bonus.”

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Community Volunteer Opportunity: CHS Senior Boards

Doreen McKercher : April 27, 2016 3:07 PM : News


Here at Camas High School we are preparing for our annual Senior Board Presentations and looking for volunteers to sit on the panel of judges. This is a great opportunity to see the culmination of our seniors’ efforts and the significant work they invested in their senior projects over the course of this school year.

Senior Board Presentations will be held on May 31, June 1, and June 2 from 7:15-10:15 a.m. each day. You are invited to participate in one, two, or all three days. Training for boards will be held on May 23 at 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM at the CHS Library. We know this is a big commitment on your part, and we value your time. If it fits your interest and schedule, please click on the link below and sign up to join us!

Please respond as soon as you are able, so that we can get our schedules arranged for the Senior Board Presentations.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Amira Walcott at or Stacy Woodman at


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Middle School Math Pathways

Doreen McKercher : April 27, 2016 9:41 AM : News

The transition from elementary to middle school is an important step for students. One part of this transition is academic – ensuring that students are placed in courses that will continue their learning and offer the best balance of challenge and success. Watch this short video to understand middle school math pathways in the Camas School District.


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Join our online conversation

Doreen McKercher : April 26, 2016 11:23 AM : News

Thoughtexchange: join the conversation

Today, we are launching a tool called Thoughtexchange to begin an online learning process. We want to better understand what you think we do well and what we can improve. By answering four, open-ended questions, you are helping us achieve our mission of providing students with the ability to communicate effectively, use technology, reason, be self-confident, possess mental and physical health, and work effectively with others.

We are asking parents, staff and community members four open-ended questions to gather a broad range of perspectives. We encourage you to contribute your thoughts. We also encourage you to talk about the process with parents, businesses, and community members and encourage them to participate. It is only by understanding all perspectives that we can best serve the needs of our students.

Parents were emailed invitations to participate. If you would like to participate or didn’t receive an invitation, click this link to sign up: Thoughtexchange signup.

A little bit about the process:

  • It is a three-step process. Stakeholders begin by sharing their thoughts. Then they review and star the thoughts of others before discovering what the community values.
  • The process is confidential. The names and email addresses of participants will never be publicly associated with a thought or response. However, participants will see each other’s thoughts.
  • If the school has your email address, then you will receive a customized invitation. If you don’t receive an invitation, please let us know and we will ensure you receive an invitation.

To learn more, visit or email us at

Thank you for supporting the students in our District.

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A Camas-Washougal front

Doreen McKercher : April 20, 2016 11:32 AM : News

Hailey Oster

Hailey Oster crushes her last drive of the day at the Chieftain Invitational Thursday. The Camas High School sophomore shot a 78 on the par-72 Lewis River Golf Course, in Woodland, to win the 68-player tournament. (Dan Trujillo/Post-Record)

Two sophomores from rival high schools took the Chieftain Invitational by storm Thursday, on the Lewis River Golf Course in Woodland.

Pouring rain, chilly wind, soggy fairways and waterlogged greens did not stop Hailey Oster, of Camas, and Kallie Sakamoto, of Washougal, from scoring 78s on the par-72 course.

“I felt pretty good about the round,” Sakamoto said. “I couldn’t complain, considering the weather.”

This was Sakamoto’s lowest score since moving to Washougal from Fairfield, California. She learned quickly that the weather here is different than it is in the Bay Area.

“It’s tough, but I’m adjusting,” Sakamoto said. “I don’t feel like I’ve proved anything yet. Golf is a tough sport. You just have to have fun with it. Remember, it’s just a game.”

The tournament featured 68 golfers from 14 Southwest Washington high schools. The winner was determined by their performances on the 16th hole. Oster made par and Sakamoto had a bogey.

“It’s cool for our side of the county to see a Camas and a Washougal golfer on top,” Oster said. “I just want to keep learning from my mistakes, and limiting them more and more.”

Oster burst out of the gate with pars on holes one and two, a birdie on five, and three more pars on seven, eight and nine. She made the turn at 1-over par.

“I usually start off rough, but I didn’t today. I started off stronger,” Oster said. “I tried not to think about how wet and cold it was. After a few holes, you get used to it.”

Read the full story at The Post Record.

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Camas heads off Union in rivalry soccer game

Doreen McKercher : April 20, 2016 11:18 AM : News

Camas v Union April 19

Bennett Lehner and Danny Wing keep an eye on Erik Brainard as he battles a Titan for the soccer ball Friday, at McKenzie Stadium. These three Papermakers connected on two goals to help Camas defeat Union 2-0. (Dan Trujillo/Post-Record)

Both teams had opportunities, but shots on goal sailed wide or were defended and recycled.

Ten minutes into the second half, Camas burst through the seams when Erik Brainard served the ball up on a silver platter and Danny Wing connected with a beautiful header into the back of the net.

Ten minutes later, Bennett Lehner finished off another assist by Brainard and the Papermakers rolled along to a 2-0 victory against their rivals.

“I was just feeling it today,” Brainard said. “All my crosses were on.”

Brainard had the best seat in the house watching the first goal go in. Wing seemed to be suspended in mid-air, waiting for the ball to get to him off Brainard’s foot.

“It was a beautiful ball by [Brainard],” Wing said.

“I just touched it by the defender,” Brainard said. “I’m glad [Wing] got on the end of it.”

Lehner described the second goal as textbook. Brainard had the hot foot again. All the captain had to do was steer the ship and send the ball into the net.

Read the full story at The Post Record.

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Give us your input on the New HS

Doreen McKercher : April 18, 2016 4:30 PM : News

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Several Camas schools named 2015 Washington Achievement Award winners

Doreen McKercher : April 18, 2016 4:05 PM : News


The Washington Achievement Awards are sponsored by the Washington State Board of Education and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. They celebrate Washington’s top-performing schools and recognize achievement in many categories. This highly-selective award is based on our school’s performance on the Washington State Achievement Index.

Schools are recognized as top performers in one of seven categories:

  1. Overall Excellence
  2. High Progress
  3. English Language Arts Growth
  4. Math Growth
  5. Extended Graduation Rate (only awarded to high and comprehensive schools)
  6. English Language Acquisition
  7. Achievement Gap

Achievement GapOverall excellence, high progress, reading growth, math growth, extended graduation rates and English language acquisition.

Camas schools receiving the 2015 honor are: Grass Valley Elementary School (English Language Arts Growth), Helen Baller Elementary School (High Progress, English Language Arts Growth), Lacamas Heights Elementary (High Progress), Liberty Middle School (Overall Excellence, English Language Arts Growth, Math Growth), and Skyridge Middle School (Overall Excellence, Math Growth).

These award-winning schools will be honored at a ceremony on May 10 at Union Gap School in Union Gap School District.

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80’s Music Dance Party & Auction

Doreen McKercher : April 12, 2016 2:02 PM : News

Supporting Camas School District

Athletics is Back With A New Theme

80s_dance_partyLocal and regional sponsors support the Camas Athletic Boosters Club in a night of fun – fundraising! Mark your calendars, arrange a sitter, you definitely don’t want to miss this one … the Boosters are switching it up with a live concert by Nu Shooz. This 80’s Dance Party is sure to be a hit and will be held once again at Westlie Ford, located at the Port of Camas/Washougal on Saturday, April 30th.

Click here for more details.

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Camas Schools paving, paying the way for individuals to become drivers

Doreen McKercher : March 31, 2016 3:58 PM : News

The Camas School District is not shy about its need for school bus drivers–and it’s breaking down barriers to fill that need.

Substitute Bus Drivers Needed

In the past two years, multiple pleas have gone out to the Camas community as the District sought to fill its ever-dwindling substitute driver pool. However, as unemployment rates have decreased, the shortage of substitute drivers has steadily increased.

“It’s not a new problem for Camas or other districts in the state,” commented transportation director Laura Nowland. “When regular driver positions open in the district, we tend to hire staff from our substitute pool. This is great for our substitute drivers, but leaves us the challenge of filling that vacancy in the pool,” she added.

That challenge of filling the substitute pool is monumental as driver training time and licensure costs are significant. It costs a potential driver about $600 in fees, out of his/her own pocket, just to become eligible to drive a school bus. That investment is often too high for an individual who is looking for part time work.

The District recognizes that innovation, and investment, may be the answer and has implemented its first-ever bus driver incentive program. Beginning in April, people who apply and are selected to become substitute drivers will be paid minimum wage during the required training (40-60 hours). Additionally, the District will pay up to $600 of the fees to gain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL). Once an individual has received their CDL, they will be required to work at least 500 hours for the District. Substitute drivers earn $16.68 per hour and can expect to work between 1-4 hours per day when they cover shifts for regular drivers.

Nowland said she hopes to find and train six more substitute drivers, which would put the District in a great place.

“If you have good people skills, enjoy working with children, and consider safety a top priority, driving a school bus would be a great job for you! We have an amazing team in the transportation department, and we can’t wait to expand our family of drivers,” Nowland commented.

Interested individuals should call the transportation department at 360-833-5585 for information. Applications are available online at under Employment.

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Camas girls golf has record day in matchup with Union

Doreen McKercher : March 31, 2016 8:00 AM : News

Filuk shines as Papermakers shoot school record team score

Camas' Elise Filuk hits toward the 12th hole as teammate Connie Wang looks on Tuesday afternoon, March 29, 2016 at Camas Meadows Golf Course. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

Camas’ Elise Filuk hits toward the 12th hole as teammate Connie Wang looks on Tuesday afternoon, March 29, 2016 at Camas Meadows Golf Course. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian)

A showdown between two of the top girls golf programs in Southwest Washington on Tuesday turned into a celebration day for Camas.

Elise Filuk shot a even-par 35 and Hailey Oster shot an 1-over 36 as Camas beat Union 148-170 at Camas Meadows.

The victory set a school record for team score by the Papermakers, while snapping Union’s 44-match winning streak.

“We just beat (the record) last week at Fairway Village against Mountain View, and now we’re beating it again,” Filuk said. “It’s a great feeling beating it last week and now this week, so things are only going up.”

Things are only going up at Camas, where 18 of the 26 girls out for golf this spring are freshmen.

Union coach Gary Mills said before the match that he thought the second group of golfers to go out Tuesday would decide the winner.

Camas’ first group — seniors Filuk and Connie Wang — bested Union’s Reilly Whitlock and Taylor Hartley by one stroke. Whitlock and Hartley both finished with 38s. But Camas’ second group provided a 21-shot edge behind sophomore Oster and freshman Emma Cox, who shot a 37.

“I think we’re watching a changing of the guards here,” Mills said as he watched the second group work their way up the 18th fairway.

But one the old guards was the standout Tuesday.

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Skyridge teachers developing professional skills, learning from each other

Doreen McKercher : March 29, 2016 3:25 PM : News

Rob Mattson shares about the Power of Studio Residency at Skyridge Middle School.

What is a studio residency?

A studio residency is best described as time, “set aside for you and an expert coach to develop your professional skills” (Boatright, et al.). Teachers “in residency” work together with the coach and other resident teachers to move through three stages of learning:

  1. Pre-observation discussion and planning
  2. Teaching and observation
  3. Post-observation debrief

I studied, planned, taught, observed, debriefed, and retaught multiple lessons this year. As a result, my instructional practice has shifted and grown.

We are fortunate in Camas School District to have a progressive administration that recognizes and supports teacher leadership. At Skyridge Middle School, the studio residency model was adapted to meet our faculty’s needs by replacing the expert coach with the expertise of our teachers, Teacher Learning Leaders, and TOSAs, who work with each PLC. While in residency with my PLC, I studied, planned, taught, observed, debriefed, and retaught multiple lessons this year. As a result, my instructional practice has shifted and grown.

Read Mattson’s full post at the CORElaborate website.

CORElaborate is a website brought to you by Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD) and Ready Washington (ReadyWA).

ReadyWA and PSESD believe teacher leadership is essential for successful, large-scale systemic change in education. ReadyWA and PSESD also believe that the use of social media is an effective means of helping to sustain systemic change in instructional practice.


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Washington State’s New Chickenpox Vaccine Requirement for Grades 7 – 12

Doreen McKercher : March 28, 2016 10:24 AM : News

chickenpox-smallProtecting teens against chickenpox is important. The new vaccine requirement will start in fall 2015 for students in 7th and 8th grades. They will need two doses of the vaccine.

In fall 2016 all students in 9th through 12th grade will also be required to have two doses of the vaccine. Students who already had two doses of the vaccine do not need to repeat it. The vaccine prevents chickenpox and its serious complications.

Teens are at higher risk of severe complications if they get chickenpox.

The new requirement helps protect these young people. Washington State has required only students in kindergarten through 6th grade to have two doses of chickenpox vaccine, until now. The new requirement is based on national recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Where Can I Learn More? Talk to your school nurse, healthcare provider, or visit the Department of Health at:

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Girls Learn students travel to NY for UN conference

Doreen McKercher : March 28, 2016 9:43 AM : News


Kris Ahn and Corinne Bintz

Each spring, women from around the world convene at the UN’s annual Commission on the Status of women. The Feminist Majority foundation is the parent organization of Girls Learn and, as active participants in the Commission on the Status of Women, they see how the voices of girls are important when considering policy changes and implementation of social programs. After starting our local Girls Learn chapter, CHS students Corinne Bintz and Kris Ahn saw attending the Commission as an opportunity to explore future careers and become more familiar with human rights issues on a global scale. Both girls wanted to experience examining these issues with women from different cultures. They applied and were selected to attend the week of March 21 in New York City at the United Nations! CHS teacher Sarah Widdop serves as the Girls Learn Club Advisor and accompanied Corinne and Kris on the trip.

After sitting in on numerous UN and NGO sessions, Corinne realized, “It is easy to limit yourself to only caring about local issues but being exposed to other cultures who struggle with so much more really gives one a broader perspective on global issues. Being exposed to these cultures really motivated us to take action to help all genders overcome struggles.” Both girls realized how much more action they could take on a local level, “I learned a lot more about the issues affecting girls and women worldwide. I now have more ideas about how to involve the Camas community in advocacy issues relating to human rights. I want to work along side members of the Camas community to build a stronger dialogue about pressing human rights matters.”

WOW! What an amazing experience for Corinne and Kris. Our students are making a difference in our community and in our world. Now that is a great example of #CamasHOPE!

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A head start

Doreen McKercher : March 28, 2016 8:56 AM : News

CHS soccer team wins first four games at Doc Harris

Dominic Fewel chips the ball out of the back for the Camas High School boys basketball team Friday, at Doc Harris Stadium. The sophomore used his head to score the first of three goals for the Papermakers against Archbishop Murphy.

Dominic Fewel chips the ball out of the back for the Camas High School boys basketball team Friday, at Doc Harris Stadium. The sophomore used his head to score the first of three goals for the Papermakers against Archbishop Murphy. (Dan Trujillo/Post-Record)

Dominic Fewel gave the Camas boys soccer team a head start Friday.

The sophomore center back headed a corner kick by Erik Brainard into the net to put the Papermakers up 1-0 against defending 2A state champion Archbishop Murphy, of Everett.

“I tried to get the ball back in the center, but the keeper came out and it just went over him,” Fewel said. “It gave us a leg up, and it sparked our intensity.”

Danny Wing and Bennett Lehner delivered goals in the second half to solidify a 3-0 victory. Brian Murray dove left, right and over the top of the Wildcats to snag a dozen saves for Camas.

“He’s like a huge security blanket for us,” Lehner said of Murray. “You know he’s going to come up with the ball.”

Wing finished off a long possession by Lehner down the field to give Camas a 2-0 advantage with 29 minutes left to play. Lehner then fired a laser beam into the goal to make it 3-0.

Read the full story at the Post Record.

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Camas School District announces student film festival program lineup

Doreen McKercher : March 22, 2016 2:56 PM : News

Student Film Festival - March 24

The Camas School District announced today the official program selections for its second Student Film Festival. These budding filmmakers were given the prompt: “The Impact of Giving Back.”  Interpretations and innovations abound in their short vignettes.

On March 24, 2016, parents, staff, and citizens are invited to view the film entries at Liberty Theatre in downtown Camas. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m., and the films will begin at 6:00 p.m. The program is expected to run for approximately one hour.

Camas Mayor Scott Higgins and Superintendent Mike Nerland will emcee the event and help to present awards for the young filmmakers.  The event is free, and concessions will be available for purchase inside the lobby.

  • The Ultimate Toy Battle by Lance Johnson; grade 7 at Liberty Middle School
  • Meet Lily by Elizabeth Harris; grade 6 at Liberty Middle School
  • Giving Back to Nature by Lindsay Owen; grade 8 at Skyridge Middle School
  • Send It On by Kennadee Cuff; grade 9 at Camas High School
  • Hayes Gives Us Hope by Maddy Lange, Shay Wyatt, Maggie Alexander and Trinity Dingle; grades 9 and 10 at Hayes Freedom High School
  • Giving Back with Molly and Jack by Lily Walsh; grade 6 at Skyridge Middle School
  • The Mentors of Team 2471 by Hunter Colwell; grade 10 at Camas High School
  • Impact of Giving Back by Megan Bauer; grade 8 at Skyridge Middle School
  • Welcome to the U.S. by Atison London; grade 1 at Helen Baller Elementary
  • Help Others Stay Connected by Madhuri Parasa, Shelby Reid, Anabel Jiang, Alexa Warner, Lillian Brewster, Lena Trieu, and Sofie Montovino; grade 5 at Prune Hill Elementary

“A huge thank you goes to Rand Thornsley, owner and manager of Liberty Theatre, who has generously opened his doors to us yet again in support of our students,” commented Deputy Superintendent Jeff Snell. “We wanted the film festival to be a fun and exciting event for the students and their families. Screening the films at The Liberty Theatre elevates the experience for everyone,” he added.

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Hayes Freedom HS info night for families

Doreen McKercher : March 9, 2016 4:35 PM : News


Did you know that Hayes Freedom High School is an innovative school of choice for ninth-twelfth grade students?

You are invited to come find out what Hayes Freedom High School, a smaller, high school of choice in Camas, has to offer. Parents and potential incoming students seeking admission for fall 2016 are encouraged to attend the meeting on Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 6:30 PM.

If you are not able to attend and would like more information, please contact Kristi Thomas at 360-833-5600.

Hayes Freedom High School was founded on the principle that not all students thrive in a large, comprehensive high school environment. If your student may benefit from any of the following hallmarks of HFHS, she or he might want to get to know us!

Hayes Freedom High School offers:

  • Small class sizes; usually about 20 students per class.
  • Longer, intensely focused classes; students take three 1:40 core classes with a 30 minute advisory each day. This allows students more time with teachers, time to work on projects in class, and a deeper understanding of material.
  • Intentional, project-based learning; Hayes students are encouraged by teachers to approach assignments and projects in creative ways focusing on the learning styles of individual students.
  • Strong relationships; with only a maximum of 200 students and eight teachers, students will have the same teachers for several subjects over time. This cultivates a tight-knit community where students know teachers and teachers know students. Attending Hayes is like joining a family “where everybody knows your name.”

Students and parents are invited to come to Hayes Freedom High School to find out about our program on Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 6:30 PM.  Please call Kristi Thomas at 360-833-5600 if you have any questions.

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Child Find dates for 2016

Doreen McKercher : March 9, 2016 3:43 PM : News

Click to view flyer

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