Posts

Washougal WA — Volunteers at the Hathaway Elementary Gift Store are providing students the opportunity to learn the joy of holiday giving first hand. Now in its fifth year, the store is filled with new and gently used gift items that students “purchase” using “Pawsitives” coupons earned as a reward for positive behavior.

“You will find, normally before the holidays, kids can get anxious and excited and can lose some focus at school,” said Pam Clark, Hathaway Gift Store organizer. “The ability to earn Pawsititves to “spend” at the gift store for holiday giving is a powerful motivator to help students focus on positive behavior.”  The store is open each Tuesday and Thursday morning before school during the month of December.

Hathaway fourth grade student, Ruby Lacey, earned her Pawsitives by starting early on projects, being polite and listening in class. She was excited to be able to get a gift to put under the tree for her mother. “She is going to love it,” she exclaimed.

“It is really interesting to see how the kids make their choices,” said Clark.  “They will say they want something blue since it is their mom’s favorite color, or they see a type of toy or a book that they know a sibling would like. They seem to really enjoy the opportunity to surprise loved ones with a thoughtful gift.”

One year a student even bought a gift for the school principal.

Washougal School District Superintendent, Mary Templeton, also dropped in to assist shoppers on December 4.  “I love seeing how their positive behavior is rewarded in a way that allows them to give to friends and family,” she said.

“To stock and staff the store takes a large group of volunteers but each year the number of helpers grows,” Clark said. “Once you come and help you are hooked, and you’ll be back the next year.  That is just what happens!”

According to Clark it is the expression of excitement on children’s faces when they find that perfect gift that keeps the volunteers coming back.  “And the kids are always so polite and seem grateful for the opportunity we are providing,” she said.  “That is reward you feel deep in your heart.”

Finding items to stock the store takes place all year, with volunteers looking at garage sales and around their homes. The word has gotten out about the store and now local businesses and organizations are offering items.

One of the most popular gifts are coffee mugs.

“Last year we had 300 mugs and they all went!” Clark said. “Sometimes we’ll add a packet of hot cocoa mix, microwave popcorn or other small item to make them more special.”

Other gifts include ornaments, small toys, games, books, holiday décor, and even scarves and neckties.  To donate items, contact Clark at angels@airspd.net.

“I just need to thank everyone who helps with this project,” Clark said.  “Without help from the community, volunteers, businesses and my friends, we could not do what we are doing.”

Camas, WA — During this past weekend’s Camas Wellness Festival, event organizers held a 90-minute panel called “Your Teen’s Secret Life at School and Outside Your Home” in which they addressed questions about social media addiction, online bullying, effects of technology in the classroom, and when to give a child a smart phone.

Panel members Kimberly Berry, Alan Chan, and Jennifer Ireland answered questions. Berry is the founder of Being UnNormal, a consulting and advocacy group for mental health issues. Chan has worked in Clark County for six years providing services to at-risk youth with chronic and complex mental health needs. Ireland has a Master’s degree in K-12 Special Education, and is a 22-year veteran public school teacher (at Skyridge Middle School).

We report their responses to each question.

Question: Can social media be addictive?

Berry: “Yes, of course, anything can be addictive. We know that teens are spending a lot of time on their phones. Teens that spend five hours or more a day on their smart phones are more prone to be depressed. Ten percent of teens check their phone at night at least ten times per night. Chances are they’re checking it when you don’t realize it.”

Chan: “In my experience, the social media and cell phone usage is a huge conflict in their lives. The phones and social media become a social status among kids.”

Ireland: “Addiction comes with all the time children are spending on these devices. Self-esteem and confidence relies upon what they see on social media. It’s problematic.”

Question: How does social media affect mental health?

Berry: “We see the escalation of bullying being carried into the home. It also leads to isolation.
They start to get anxious about not measuring up to false standards.”

Chan: “I think the concern I have with social media is that it creates a false reality. Often times we only see all the great things. You feel like you’re missing out. It’s the fear of missing out. You feel like you’re different, like you can’t connect, like you’re a bit of an outcast.”

Ireland: “We can’t shelter them completely from it. We make sure we limit how they use social media, and monitor their usage. Parents should be on all the accounts. We have to be with them step by step, and start them with training wheels. Instagram is safer than some of the others. On Snapchat, things disappear. As a parent, look at their posts together. Have conversations with your children about the posts.

“Social media is a photo album of all the good things in life, and doesn’t represent all the reality, like the negatives and struggles. You can’t put it away, it’s everywhere now. Talk to your child about it. It’s for their health.”

Chan: “Kids have become so reliant and dependent on social media to connect with friends that it’s hard to put away.”

Berry: “I encourage parents to look beyond posts, and to look at DM’s and IM’s. Dig into social media accounts. There is often a lot of stuff happening on the back end. The social media impact on young girls is they are comparing themselves, which is creating more eating disorders. Remember that our girls are comparing themselves to the unattainable. As parents, we have control over social media, so take control of that. You are empowered.”

Laser

COME VISIT US IN DOWNTOWN CAMAS!

Question: What is online bullying?

Berry: “People send negative messages to our kids, and it’s coming from other kids. Half of teens have reported they’ve been bullied online. Twenty-five percent of those reports are coming through their cell phones. One in five children get sexual messages.

“Eighty percent of teens use cell phones regularly. The phone is always with you. It’s in your house. Your house is supposed to be a safe place, but now the bear is everywhere. You’re constantly feeling anxious. It’s really problematic because it is destroying our children’s hearts and hope. We need to responsibly reduce access. Ask your kids about whether they’ve been bullied at school.”

Ireland: “If you ask your child the R’s of bullying they will you. It happens in the halls and in the lunchroom, but the online bullying is becoming more prevalent. The kids have gotten really good at doing this in the school setting.”

Question: In general, how has school life changed in the last 10 years?

Ireland: “I feel like I’ve been in school my whole, as a student and teacher (she teaches 6th grade).
It’s changed drastically, and the big shift is the increased anxiety and mental health.
It’s a whole different ball of yarn with increases in standardized testing. As a kid, I don’t remember hearing about my results, and now these standardized tests are stressing kids out. She’s concerned about the pressure. Some kids might need five years to graduate from high school, and they shouldn’t be counted less or as not being successful. The stress of all that goes back into the education system. The teacher success is being tied to those scores. They’ve cut out music, art and recess in the middle schools. They don’t get to move, they don’t get to be outside. All those coupled with social media is causing problems. Lack of food and sleep contribute to their pressures and stresses.

“Too many parents aren’t happy with less than a 3.5 GPA. They get upset when a child gets 96% on a math test. Parents put unrealistic expectations on their kids, and that shows up in the classroom. What can we do to make good enough good enough?”

Secret

Your Teen’s Secret Life Panel spent 90 minutes discussing a variety of mental health issues.

Question: How as parents can we manage the academic stress they’re facing?

Ireland: “Talk to your kids. Talk to them about how to manage their time. Talk about their schedule and make sure they schedule in down time. Exercise and fitness are key. Cultivate friendships that aren’t online friendships. Ask what they’re going to do when they hang out.

“Make sure your child knows they need to make good, positive connections with teachers or counselors. Parents need to reach out to their teachers.”

Chan: “People learn in different ways. Be attuned to barriers and challenges that kids have.”

Berry: “We can’t blame our teachers. We need to approach teachers as allies, and not obstacles.”

Ireland: “Kids need to have chores. It seems so little, but having a job contributes to making a home run more efficiently. Praise them for the work they do. The satisfaction of a job well done is something many kids don’t have today.”

Question: At what age is a smartphone appropriate?

Ireland: “13 or older. It seems to be a middle school milestone. It’s better for their health to wait until 8th or 9th grade. It’s a major distraction at middle school and it’s not healthy for them. Too many 6th graders have cell phones. Sixth graders don’t need smartphones. There are different types of phones you can get. Give them a simpler phone at first and see how they take care of it.”

Berry: “Phones are a status symbol. It’s an intentional projection coming from home. It creates problems in the schools. Find out how do they feel when they’re away from the phone from an extended period of time.”

Teachers in the room agreed that smartphones for kids under 13 isn’t a good idea, and that it leads to more kids leading a secret life that parents aren’t aware of.

To learn more, visit www.CamasWellnessFestival.com

Teacher Salaries and Property Taxes

Our children, parents, teachers and tax payers deserve nothing less than a predictable secure stable funded public school system. As your Clark County Assessor, I don’t determine level of taxation. Instead, I am in charge of certifying property tax collection requests are legal, calculated correctly and equitably distributed. Through this work, I am deeply knowledgeable of the impact property taxes have on districts and citizens. With the debate over teacher contracts, I’ve been asked, “How will the new contracts impact the financial sustainability of school districts into the future?”

To answer, we need to turn to the legislature’s methodology for determining property tax collections.

In Washington State, schools are primarily funded through property taxes. An increased expense to our school districts such as teacher salaries necessitates an increase in property tax collection or some other funding mechanism. In 2017, the state legislature passed ESHB 2242, adding a new state property tax to end insufficient state school funding, as determined by the state supreme court in the McCleary Decision. The result was in 2018 most property owners saw a sharp increase in property tax.

Assessor

Clark County Assessor, Peter Van Nortwick.

In Clark County, the state required collection of $61.5 million in additional taxes. The goal was to increase collections by the state and significantly decrease the reliance on local levies. In 2019, property tax collection for maintenance and operations levies will be limited (capped) to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. For districts like Evergreen, it is estimated to reduce their local levy collection by $27.6 million in 2019. To complicate matters, school districts with levy equalization which help generate more funds for property poor districts, will continue to receive $1,500 per student. Districts such as Ridgefield that don’t get levy equalization could have their collection limited to the $1.50 per thousand, costing them an estimated $2.2 million in 2019. Therefore, the sustainability of the new teacher contracts is dependent on state funding.

Will state property tax collections be sufficient to cover the increased costs statewide? This is more difficult to predict. The Legislature implemented a fixed rate rather than approving a budgeted dollar amount for property tax collection, like our other taxing districts. The challenge with a fixed rate in a market value assessment system is property value swings are difficult to predict, making property tax collection revenues and property taxes for homeowners difficult to budget. Larger than planned market increases will collect more from tax payers than is needed to properly fund schools. Insufficient increases, or worse yet, decreases in property values would impact the state’s revenue collection necessary to support our school districts.

With insufficient tax collections, the State would either need to find additional sources of new revenue or require districts to cut staff. The other challenge is equity in teacher compensation between districts. With the Edmonds district offering starting teachers a 19% raise is it equitable to ask taxpayers of Battle Ground School District and all our other districts to fund Edmonds’ teacher salaries more than their own districts? The increased compensation is to be paid by the State and puts further pressure on the State retirement system. Inequity in the system was one of the main issues the McCleary decision was asking to address. When teacher salaries were partially funded locally, the district voters had the ultimate decision to levy increases in their taxes for teacher salary. With the state funding basic education, equity in the system between districts is paramount to financial stability, a strong education system and fairness to school district taxpayers. The state introduced regionalized funding factors based on median home values in a County. In Clark County that factor was 6% compared to 18-24% in the Puget Sound region. The same methodology could be utilized to setting teachers’ and administrators ‘salaries off of a base state salary schedule.

The unpredictability of the new state schools tax methodology, coupled with inequity in teacher salary increases sets up the educational system, and our tax payers, with potential for an even bigger school funding crisis down the road. Therefore, it is imperative that we urge and support our State Legislature in creating a multi-year budget for school property tax collections, create equity in teacher pay throughout the State and abandon the volatility and unpredictability of a fixed rate tax system. These changes would help deliver a predictable secure stable funded public school system.

Get ready, Clark County! A high-flying, slam-dunking, rim-rattling basketball show is coming to town!

The world-famous Harlem Wizards will visit Union High School on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 for an evening of great fun and fundraising. The Wizards will play a game against a team of Evergreen Public School administrators, teachers, community leaders, and community members. Proceeds will benefit Harmony Elementary.

The event will feature a variety of fun interactive extras to complement the Wizards’ dazzling demonstration of hoops artistry: Pregame “Wiz Kids” warm-up, contests, comedy, awesome slam dunks, audience participation, merchandise giveaways, and more. The game will conclude with the Wizards’ signature dance extravaganza that will have the crowd on their feet!

“We are excited to host the Wizards,” says Katrina Roberts, Harmony Elementary PTA President. “They are superb showmen who deliver fantastic all-ages entertainment for a great cause.”

Founded in 1962, the Wizards have played over 15,000 games throughout the US that have raised over $25 million for schools and charitable causes. The Wizards have also played in over 25 foreign countries on five continents

Tickets are priced as follows:

  • Student Admission – $10 (pre), $12 (door) General Admission – $15 (pre), $17 (door)
  • General Admission – $15 (pre), $17 (door)
  • Reserved – $25 (available only online) Courtside Plus – $35 (available only online)
  • Courtside Plus ticket holders receive first or second row seating and meet privately with selected Wizard players before the game for a meet-and-greet and show. Only 75 of CSP seats) Courtside Plus tickets are available.
    To purchase tickets, and for more information, visit www.harlemwizards.com
Wizards

Coming to Harmony on April 18.

The home team players will be thrilled to play in front of family, friends, and fans, and spectators will delight in seeing their beloved teachers, principals, and community leaders run the court. Come out and cheer – you will not want to miss this fantastic experience that will benefit our most precious resource: The kids!

About the Harlem Wizards

Howie Davis was a larger-than-life entrepreneur, impresario, promoter, and visionary whose passion for sports, entertainment, and philanthropy culminated with his creation of the Harlem Wizards in 1962.

The idea for the Wizards started in 1959, when legendary basketball showman Goose Tatum approached Howie to organize a tour for Goose’s “Harlem Stars.” The Stars had a short but successful run that opened Howie’s eyes to the enormous potential of “show” basketball. Three years later, Howie launched the Wizards.

Under Howie’s leadership, the Wizards grew into a choice basketball destination for some of America’s best basketball talent. As the team’s reputation spread, professional athletes from across the sports spectrum took notice and joined the Wizards’ roadshow:
• Connie Hawkins, one of the top 50 NBA players of all time
• Nate “Tiny” Archibald, a member of the NBA Hall of Fame
• Elvin Hayes, one of the top 50 NBA players of all time
• Hawthorne Wingo, a New York Knicks fan favorite
• Mario Elie, a three-time NBA champion
• Nancy Lieberman, a WNBA star and Hall of Fame member

The summer vacation season is shorter for most Southwest Washington families, given the extended snow make up days from the 2016-17 school year, so it seems early to get a jumpstart on Back to School (B2S) shopping, but it’s really a good time to find the best deals.

Deloitte recently conducted its 10th annual Back to School (B2S) survey, which takes a detailed look at this year’s shopping and spending trends. Total B2S shopping in the United States is expected to reach $27 billion, and department stores fall from second to sixth place as favorite shopping destinations. Mass merchants have jumped to first place.

That $27 billion projection would make 2017 the second biggest B2S shopping season on record.

B2S is the second biggest shopping season of the year, affecting 29 million U.S. households, 53 million children, and accounts for 50 percent of all school-related expenditures, according to Deloitte.

In this B2S shopping season, Deloitte says “consumers are focused on different retailers and items to fill their carts. Mass merchants and off-price retailers are becoming the go-to venues while traditional department stores and specialty clothing retailers take a back seat.”

Here are some of the survey’s findings:

  • 81 percent of respondents plan to shop at mass merchants. This is a 24 percentage point jump over of last year.
  • 28 percent plan to shop at off-price stores. This is up from 10 percent in 2016.
  • 28 percent say they’ll shop traditional department stores, which is down from 54 percent last year.
  • Just eight percent of parents plan to visit specialty clothing stores, falling from 25 percent in 2016.
School

Welcome back to school written on a sheet of paper school with colorful pens

Local retailers have seen an earlier spike in traffic this year, and many attribute that to the heat.

“We think they’re coming in to escape the heat,” said one Target employee.

Retailers also get the most dollars spent at their stores the earlier they advertise their sales, according to the survey.

“I love to save money,” said Marcia Wahlman, a Wal-Mart shopper. “I love finding the best deals.”

The statistics show that families spend, on average, $501 per child, which is on par with 2016. Fifty-seven percent of respondents will use cash or debit cards for their purchases, while others will use credit or retail credit cards.

In-store purchases account for 57% of total B2S sales, with 21% online, and 22% undecided.

The Southern portion of the U.S. accounts for 44%, giving that region the highest average spend. The West accounts for 18% overall.  The Midwest is 20%, and the Northeast is at 18%.

So, how much will your family spend?

School

Kids ready for the start of the new school season.

Camas High School honored several Papermakers on Wednesday as they signed their National Letters of Intent to attend the university or college of their choosing. A total of nine seniors were present to sign their letters and say a few words about their choices. The nine students are scholar-athletes and have worked hard throughout their high school career to maintain good grades and excel in their chosen sports.
Here are the students that were honored:

AMEE AARHUS has already signed with Portland State University to play on their Women’s’ Softball team. Amee has earned her varsity letter three years. In 2012, Amee was named the 3A Greater Saint Helens League All-Region Player of the Year. She was also the 2012 Offensive Player of the Year as a junior. The 2012 season was incredible for Amee as she set records in number of hits, runs scored and triples in a single season. Amee was instrumental in helping the Lady Papermakers place fifth at the 3A WIAA Washington State Tournament last year. Amee carries a 3.0 GPA.

KIMBERLY KNIGHT will be taking her running skills to compete in cross country and track at Clark College. Kimi has earned her varsity letter in cross country (4 years), basketball (1 year) and track (3 years) with her senior season of track just around the corner. Kimi was a member of the 2011 and 2012 Girls’ Cross Country Team that brought home the WIAA State Championship trophy.

As a track athlete, Kimi was a member of the 4 X 400M relay team that placed sixth overall at the 3A State Championships a year ago. Since kindergarten, Kimi has never missed a day of school and will complete her high school career with perfect attendance. Kimi carries a 3.4 GPA.

CONNOR DYEHOUSE will be traveling to Wisconsin as a new member of the Men’s Lacrosse Team at Carthage College where he also hopes to pursue economics. In 2012, Connor’s team made it to the semifinals of the Washington High School Boys’ Lacrosse State Championship Tournament. He was also named a U.S. National All-Star for his indoor lacrosse team. Connor is a four-year honor roll student and carries a 3.77 GPA.

 

 

Letter of Intent
Kimi Knight was one of nine students honored at the National Letter of
Intent Signing held Wednesday morning at Camas High School.

 

Camas High School honored several Papermakers on Wednesday as they signed their National Letters of Intent to attend the university or college of their choosing. A total of nine seniors were present to sign their letters and say a few words about their choices. The nine students are scholar-athletes and have worked hard throughout their high school career to maintain good grades and excel in their chosen sports.

Here are the students that were honored:
AMEE AARHUS has already signed with Portland State University to play on their Women’s’ Softball team. Amee has earned her varsity letter three years. In 2012, Amee was named the 3A Greater Saint Helens League All-Region Player of the Year. She was also the 2012 Offensive Player of the Year as a junior. The 2012 season was incredible for Amee as she set records in number of hits, runs scored and triples in a single season. Amee was instrumental in helping the Lady Papermakers place fifth at the 3A WIAA Washington State Tournament last year. Amee carries a 3.0 GPA.

KIMBERLY KNIGHT will be taking her running skills to compete in cross country and track at Clark College. Kimi has earned her varsity letter in cross country (4 years), basketball (1 year) and track (3 years) with her senior season of track just around the corner. Kimi was a member of the 2011 and 2012 Girls’ Cross Country Team that brought home the WIAA State Championship trophy.

As a track athlete, Kimi was a member of the 4 X 400M relay team that placed sixth overall at the 3A State Championships a year ago. Since kindergarten, Kimi has never missed a day of school and will complete her high school career with perfect attendance. Kimi carries a 3.4 GPA.

CONNOR DYEHOUSE will be traveling to Wisconsin as a new member of the Men’s Lacrosse Team at Carthage College where he also hopes to pursue economics. In 2012, Connor’s team made it to the semifinals of the Washington High School Boys’ Lacrosse State Championship Tournament. He was also named a U.S. National All-Star for his indoor lacrosse team. Connor is a four-year honor roll student and carries a 3.77 GPA.
 
 
Letter of Intent
Roldan Alcobendas, left, and John Norcross, at the Letter of Intent signing.
JACK BEALL will become a Penguin as he takes his lacrosse skills to compete at Dominican University of California. In addition to lacrosse, Jack is a three-year letterman in football. Jack’s lacrosse achievements include 2010 and 2011 All-State honors, team captain for the last three years, and he was the 2010 point leader in Washington State with 108 goals. In 2010, Jack was an integral part of winning the silver medal in the Lacrosse World Championships for his age division. Jack is a three-year, Greater St. Helens League Academic All-League winner and carries a 3.89 GPA.
EMILY PONCE has already signed with Concordia University to play on their Women’s’ Soccer Team. Emily has earned her varsity letter three years with the CHS Soccer Team. In 2010, Emily helped her team win the 3A GSHL League Championship as well as the District IV Championship before reaching the quarterfinals of the state tournament. As a senior, Emily and her teammates earned a fourth-place finish in the WIAA State Championship Tournament at the 4A level this fall. Emily earned All-League honors as a First Team player in 2011 and a Second Team player in 2012. Emily is a two-year, Greater St. Helens All-League Academic Award winner and carries a 3.43 GPA.
DIANE DYRA will be joining her teammate Emily to continue their efforts on the soccer field as she has also signed with Concordia University to play soccer. Diane is a two-year varsity letterman with the Girls’ Soccer Team.
In her career at CHS she, too, has been a part of winning a GSHL League Championship and District IV Championship at the 3A level as well as a GSHL League Co-Championship this year at the 4A level. Diane earned All-League honors as a Second Team Forward in 2012 and was voted by her team as the Offensive Player of the Year. Diane has also received the GSHL Academic All-League award and carries a 3.26 GPA.
JAMIE CARTER will be moving to Montana to protect the goal as she has committed to play soccer at Carroll College as a Fighting Saint. Jamie lettered all four years as a varsity soccer player and three years as a varsity softball player.
As a ninth grader, Jamie contributed to the third place finish in the WIAA 3A State Championship Soccer Tournament. As a junior, Jamie was a First Team All-League player and named to the First Team All-State Team. As a senior, Jamie earned First Team All-League honors again, All-State Honorable Mention and was nominated as a team captain. Since her sophomore year, Jamie has been named a GSHL Academic All-League award winner every year in both soccer and softball. She carries a 3.92 GPA.
ROLDAN ALCOBENDAS will be taking his kicking skills to Cheney, WA, as he will play football for Eastern Washington University. Roldan has earned his varsity letter three years as a varsity football and soccer athlete, with his fourth season of soccer just around the corner. Roldan has earned GSHL All-League honors in 2011 as a Kicker/Punter as well as the Special Teams Player of the Year. In 2012, Roldan was selected as an All-League midfielder for soccer, All-League punter and Special Teams Player of the Year once again. Roldan also made the All-Region Team as a kicker/punter. Since his freshman year, Roldan has been named a GSHL Academic All-League award winner every year. He carries a 3.59 GPA.
 
Nine Camas seniors sign their Letter of Intent.
JOHN NORCROSS will be staying close to home as he will commit to play football at Portland State University on a full scholarship. John is a three-year letterman as a varsity football player. John led the Papermakers to the Tacoma Dome and a third place finish in the WIAA 3A Football Playoffs in 2011 and then at the 4A level this last fall. John is a First Team All-League athlete and nominated as the GSHL Defensive Player of the Year and All-State Linebacker in 2011 as a junior. As a senior he was selected a second time as the GSHL Defensive Player of the Year and All-State Linebacker. In addition, John was recognized on the offensive side of the ball on the All-State Team as a tight end. John’s leadership on the field was recognized by his teammates as they nominated him team captain this year. John is an honor roll student and carries a 3.83 GPA.
In May, Camas will be recognizing other athletes who will be moving on to play at the collegiate level. There will be more to follow at a later date.