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Washougal, WA — If asked the question ‘what’s cooking’ at Washougal schools, the answer may surprise you.  Washougal School District (WSD) is implementing a new approach for school meal service, with restaurant style, scratch-made, healthy, and nutritious food available for students and employees. 

“At the end of the day it is really about the desire to provide our students with high quality, delicious, homemade meals,” said Mary Templeton, WSD Superintendent.  “This program builds on our efforts to achieve our mission to know, nurture and challenge all students to rise.  It is important for our students to know they are loved and cared for and we know food nourishes the body, the mind and the spirit.” 

The work toward this change began in early 2020 with Templeton along with WSD Business Manager Kris Grindy and Career and Technical Education Director Margaret Rice researching schools across the country who were moving in a similar direction.

Grindy and Rice met with a local chef to start a needs analysis and survey of school kitchens.

“The main goal was to create a transition plan based on his findings and help us work through this complex transition, which included hiring an Executive Chef Supervisor to lead our own Culinary Staff,” explained Rice.

At the end of July, the district hired Chef Chris Youngren to lead the new Culinary Services team.  Youngren has worked in the culinary business for more than 20 years. Her career started in restaurants, but she has worked extensively in schools, most recently for the Stevenson-Carson School District.

“Our goal is to transition our former Nutrition Service program into a Culinary Service Program that prepares meals with love and care for our students from scratch; meals we would be proud to serve our own families at home,” said Rice. “By doing this we will continue to work toward building a more inclusive culture/community, one where people sit down and eat together, share stories, and laugh while filling their stomachs.”

Meals
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Even without students in classrooms, Culinary Services is already working with fresh produce and scratch cooking to provide meals for the district children, which are free through December.  This program, funded by the Federal Government, is available at no cost to any child 18 or under. The District will return to charging students for reduced and full-price meals starting in January, unless the federal program is extended. 

In the past, the food program meals were created with previously frozen foods. Now the ingredient quality is better, and all the meals are fresh.  “This means we are starting with high quality ingredients,” explained Chef Youngren. “For example, we might purchase a ham and slice the meat for our deli sandwiches ourselves ensuring a higher quality product than what we might get if we purchased deli meats already sliced.  Everything is being cooked in our central kitchen at Gause Elementary and then cooled immediately and prepared for distribution.”

Adjustments were made to the take-out model of delivery so families can easily reheat the meals to eat right away or freeze it to be eaten later.  Meals include reheat instructions and are packaged in containers that can be used for reheating.  Take-out bags include handles, which makes it easier for students and their families to carry several meals at once.

Washougal families who have not yet completed a Free and Reduced-Price Meal application form for the 2020-21 school year are encouraged to do so.  This application needs to be resubmitted each school year.

“In addition, there may be families in our community who have never thought to apply, but who may qualify if their circumstances have changed due to the COVID crisis,” said Grindy. “Families are asked to apply before October 15, but can still apply any time during the year, especially if the family experiences a change in situation that may qualify them later.”  To apply or reapply, even for those currently receiving meals, go to http://www.washougal.k12.wa.us/food-services/.  The Washougal School District is an equal opportunity provider. 

And while students have not yet returned, WSD employees working in buildings or offices are getting the opportunity to order and buy these meals too.

“Staff are invited to pre-order and purchase meals that will be available each day in all buildings at lunch time (11am-1pm),” explained Rice.  “If they work in a District building other than a school, they come by the closest school to pick up their meals.”  Staff meals are charged at the adult price, and the additional participation provides additional revenue that the culinary program will use to continue future innovations and investments. 

Feedback from customers has been positive, with comments about how fresh and tasty the meals are.  “We are also getting good suggestions to improve the service,” said Chef Youngren. “For instance, we have been asked to include more condiments and plastic silverware.  We had in our minds that meals would be eaten at home and those items would not be necessary, but for instance, we are now serving staff in our buildings and they need those things.  We are taking this time to listen and adjust to be ready when we are all back together again in the schools.”

Meals
Preparing food.

According to Rice, a key to success will be providing an excellent product at an excellent value. 

“We want our food quality to match up with other restaurants, to be just as good but not as expensive,” she said. 

A regular priced lunch at Washougal High School is $3.40 and adult meal cost is only $4.50.

“Once our students return to school, they will be greeted with the smell of delicious food cooking,” said Templeton. “Meals will be a higher quality and more restaurant style food.”  

Menu items will include items such as teriyaki rice bowls, bento hummus boxes, pulled pork sliders with coleslaw, Taco Tuesday, and even chicken and waffles.  You only need to step into the school kitchen to experience the welcoming smell of fresh pizza coming out of the ovens to understand the difference.

Another change students will see is the Culinary Services staff wearing chef coats as they prepare and serve meals.  “We are professionals and we want staff to look like the professional team they are,” said Chef Youngren. “These folks work hard and deserve respect for making these meals with love and care. Our staff is extremely excited to be a part of this new Culinary Services model.  They are looking forward to the direction it is going and proud to be a part of it.  Everyone is excited, onboard, and willing to do whatever is needed to make sure we can meet our goals of this program.”

“It is exciting,” said Glenda Huddleston, Culinary Services Server 1. “It just feels better to actually be cooking and serving fresh food.  And it tastes good!”  Staff involvement includes the use of their recipes. Culinary Services Server 2, Linda Manire’s fresh pineapple salsa and pico de gallo recipes were used for a recent Taco Tuesday meal.  

Rice, as WSD CTE Director, is playing a large part in the development of the new meal service program.  “My role is to see the bigger picture as well as watch the fine details,” she explained. “I’m helping guide the program in the direction we want it to be in the future.”  Long-term, WSD would like to build in the opportunities for WHS culinary students to learn and grow their skills working with Culinary Services staff in partnership with their teacher, Chef Brenda Hitchins.  Eventually they would like to leverage partnerships to develop and establish a registered Youth Apprenticeship Program.

“We hope our students will enjoy the food more and that less students feel they need to bring lunches to school,” Rice said. “As a parent, I remember the added stress of trying to get a healthy, yet delicious meal together every day for my child and we would like parents to know that we have their backs. We want the food they eat here to be some of the best meals they had all day. We’re creating a food experience, one where folks look forward to what is on the menu for the next day and they are talking about it.”

“The highest compliment will be when students are posting photos of their school lunch on social media to tell others how yummy is,” Rice added.  

Meals
Getting pizza out of the oven.

Washougal, WA – Late last week, Washougal School District began notifying staff in certain positions that they were being placed in temporary layoff status starting on September 9, 2020.

Temporary layoff status is temporary leave from a work assignment. In temporary layoff status, employees maintain their benefits, such as healthcare, as long as they pay their portion of their premiums. In this status, employees may also apply for unemployment benefits.

“Our goal is to get students back to the classroom as soon as it is safe to do so,” said Mary Templeton, WSD Superintendent. “Many of the staff will be able to return to work as the district begins bringing back groups of students for in-person education. The decision to bring employees back from temporary layoff will be based on need and position.”  

“This very difficult decision was made to address budget challenges the district is facing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Aaron Hansen, WSD Assistance Superintendent of Human Resources and Student Services. “School districts receive funding from the state based on enrollment numbers and bus ridership, both of which have declined.” Additionally, the district has additional unbudgeted expenses because of the COVID pandemic, including providing personal protective equipment, increased costs for postage and transporting classroom materials, and increased technology expenditures to support families in connecting to online coursework. 

Positions identified for temporary layoff make up 29.4 full time equivalent (FTE), or about 60 full and part time employees.

“The majority of these staff work in the district transportation department, but the list also includes library assistant, playground assistant, paraeducators and custodial staff members,” said Hansen. “Additional positions may be impacted as we work to align staffing with our enrollment.” 

Employees who are being laid off are provided with information about the change and resources to support them in accessing unemployment benefits, as well as guidance on maintaining their health care coverage. 

“If we all do our part to stay healthy and avoid the spread of COVID19 virus, we will all be together in our schools more quickly,” said Templeton. 

Washougal, WA — In times of great need, we often find ways to help in unexpected places.  Margaret Rice, Washougal School District (WSD) Career and Technical Director, heard about the critical need for personal protective equipment (PPE) for local hospitals, and she knew just where to look.

“I know I have boxes of gloves, masks and eye protection sitting in my classrooms not being used that could be of assistance to them,” said Rice.  “Our medical professionals are on the front lines working hard to help the sick, while trying to stay well themselves with supplies of PPE dwindling.”  

These items are used when instructing students in Health Sciences and other Career and Technical Education classes. Some of these classes include: Medical Detectives, Medical Careers & Terminology, BioMedical Anatomy & Physiology, and even Woods Technology and Visual Arts. 

After receiving the approval from WSD Superintendent Mary Templeton and Business Manager Kris Grindy, both stating that “it seems like the right thing to do during this crisis,” Rice reached out to Rene Del Donno, Legacy Health Logistics and Materials Manager at Salmon Creek Medical Center who has been working with the Emergency Operations Center to address this challenge.  He confirmed that the situation is dire.  

A list of needed items and donation delivery was coordinated with Rice by Tamara Uppendahl, Legacy Health VP of Philanthropy Services.  According to Uppendahl, needed items included Nitrile gloves, isolation gowns, isolation masks, N95 masks, P95 masks and dust masks.

The next step for Rice was contacting her regional CTE peers to see if they were willing and able to donate their programs’ PPE to these medical centers. 

“It was just a ‘Hey, this is what I am going to do, would you like to be a part of it,’” Rice said.  “I received an almost immediate positive response.” 

A shareable spreadsheet was created to log the inventory each district was willing to donate.  CTE Directors Mark Wreath, Vancouver Public School and Tiffany Gould, Ridgefield School District have been the first to step up to help.  

Dr. Nathan McCann, Ridgefield School District Superintendent, immediately reached out to Rice to extend his appreciation for making this donation possible.   

McCann said, “I’m very proud to see our school districts coming together to support the amazing health care professionals in Clark County.  Together, we will get through this and come out stronger.”  

The first wave of supplies was delivered on Friday, March 20 by Rice, Wreath and Gould. 

“Between our three districts alone, we were able to contribute 166 pairs of protective eyewear, 141 boxes of Nitrile gloves, 1,930 masks of various types, 13 bottles of hand sanitizer, and 2 boxes of tech wipes,” said Rice.

“The response from our teachers was amazing,” said Gould. “Every teacher that was contacted had supplies ready within hours.  Additional teachers have since offered to donate materials and we are now working on another donation.”  

Liam Contino, Development Coordinator for Legacy Health Office of Philanthropy and Community Engagement, was at the receiving center and shared that his job has changed through all of this.

“Usually we are planning fundraising events and direct mail appeals, but with the need of supplies and increase in donations coming in, they needed people to be here to accept them,” he said.  “We are so grateful that these supplies arrived.” 

To expand the reach of this idea, Wreath, who is also the Southwest lead for WACTA (Washington Association for Career & Technical Administrators) the state CTE administrators’ organization, encouraged that this message be sent out statewide suggesting other school districts consider making similar donations locally.

“I am grateful for the strong partnerships that we have built in our community,” said Templeton. “During these times of great need, these partnerships are critical for as we work together to make sure our community is healthy and safe.  Although there are significant challenges as we face this virus, there are also significant opportunities for us to shine together and ‘lean in’ to the service of others.”

“Our businesses and communities are so supportive of the Career and Technical Education programs in our respective districts,” said Wreath.  “So it is a privilege to be able to give back in a small way during this time of tremendous need.”   

If you have PPE supplies that could help our local medical professionals, contact the Legacy Health Office of Philanthropy and Community Engagement at [email protected]or call 503-415-4700 for more information.

Washougal School District Food Service is providing FREE grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals from 10 AM to noon, Monday through Friday, for the duration of the school outage.

School buses are transporting the meals to three locations.  They are Hamllik Park – 4300 Addy Street; Hathaway Elementary – 630 24th Street; and Cape Horn-Skye – 9731 Washougal River Road.  Plans are being developed for food delivery to more areas for families who do not have access to transportation. There is no paperwork requirements for people to access these free meals.

“We are asking our families to practice social distancing protocols when lining up for their sacked meals,” said WSD superintendent, Mary Templeton. “This means staying approximately six feet away from non-family members who have collected to pick up these items.  We are grateful to our wonderful food services and transportation teams for their work to help provide this vital service to our families.”

The WSD sprang into action and began distributing meals on Monday, March 16, in response to the sudden closure of schools that was announced by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Friday, March 13 to slow the spread of the COVID-19.

Meals are currently available for students 18 and under. 

“Although we are under direction to serve only students, we are looking for ways to partner with other organizations and businesses to be able to support adults who need access to food during this crisis as well,” said Templeton.

Additionally, the district is making plans to continue the weekend backpack program for students who have food assurance issues over the weekend. Nancy Boon, Family Resource Coordinator, will be working on this.  You may reach out to her via e-mail at [email protected], to find out how to support or access that program.  This offering too is likely to be provided in conjunction with other agencies that support our students and their families.

Parents are encouraged to check the WSD website for the latest school information and for learning and family resources. http://www.washougal.k12.wa.us/

Washougal WA — Washougal School District, along with other Clark County school districts, are closing all schools Monday, March 16 through April 24, to help our state and nation combat the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

“We take any decision to close schools very seriously, recognizing that closures can pose difficulties for families, disrupt children’s education and create hardships in our community.  However, these measures will reduce exposure to COVID-19 by limiting the number of people gathering in our buildings,” said Dr. Mary Templeton, WSD Superintendent, in a letter to parents. 

The letter shared the following information:

  • Effective immediately and throughout the closure, athletics and afternoon/evening school activities will be canceled.
  • Parents, students and staff should take home medication and personal items on Friday, March 13. Otherwise, items may be picked up on Monday, March 16 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm
  • For those with a need, WSD will provide food to distribution centers. The district will inform families on Monday about the locations and distribution times.
  • Nine of the ten missed school days will be made up using the planned snow day and additional days at the end of the school year. The make-up days will be: 
    • May 22
    • June 10, 11, 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
    • The district will apply with the state to waive additional days. 

Updates to families will be sent via the following channels: E-mail, phone calls, WSD website updates and social media. 

“We appreciate the understanding and patience from families as we address this unprecedented situation,” Templeton said. “We are committed to the safety and well-being of our students, their families, our staff members, volunteers and community. Please continue to take care of yourselves and one another. We are a resilient community, and I know that we will get through this challenging time together.”

Green
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At its regular meeting on Tuesday, November 26, the Washougal School District (WSD) Board of Directors approved two levies — a replacement Educational Programs and Operations Levy (EPO) and a replacement Technology Levy to be placed on the February 11, 2020 ballot.  

The levies would replace the current levies, which are set to expire December 31, 2020.  

The Educational Programs and Operations Levy funds services and operations not funded by state or federal funding. These services include: health and safety; instructional support; athletics, musical after school activities, coding club (and other enrichment activities); student learning and staffing; security personnel; and operations and maintenance.

Levy dollars cover innovation projects, such as a Strings (orchestra) program. They could also cover a dual language immersion program. 

The proposed Educational Programs and Operations Levy rates are projected to remain flat over the next three years (2021, 2022, and 2023) at $2.14 per $1,000 of assessed value (is projected on assessed value growth).  They levy is projected to collect $7,392,656 in the first year of collection, $7,984,068 in 2022, and $8,622,793 in 2023. 

“What was right for our district was also right for Camas School District,” said Dr. Mary Templeton, Superintendent of Washougal School District. “The Levy provides the funding that allows our district to invest in students, gives us capacity to innovate, and ensures we keep programs that let us nurture and challenge all students so that students rise every day. We are just trying to restore the pre-McCleary dollars that voters agreed to.

“We think the $2.14 allows us to grow and stay fiscally responsible. We think this investment that the local dollar makes in that is critical. This all lines up with our vision statement. We value the dollars that we get greatly, and we don’t want to collect one more dollar that we need knowing we must be responsible and efficient.”

Levies

Technology Levy dollars pay for the district’s 1:1 initiative, up-to-date computers and devices, classroom instructional technology, professional development and coaching, technology infrastructure and staffing, and curriculum and software.

“We’ve been very successful with the use of technology,” Templeton said. “We’ve see great student achievement with how we’re using tech in the classroom. We are, of course, hoping voters will support these efforts in the district. We do appreciate the opportunity to let the voters know this investment will support our children to be prepared for college. What you need to know as you graduate into the world has change significantly in the last 10-15 years.”

The proposed Technology Levy rates are projected to decline over the three years of the levy, with the rate per $1,000 of assessed value at $0.25 in 2021, $0.24 in 2022, and $0.22 in 2023.  The Technology levy is projected to collect $845,000 in the first year of collection, $870,000 in 2022, and $898,000 in 2023.

For more information about the levies, visit the WSD website: www.washougal.k12.wa.us

Washougal, WA — The third-grade students at Columbia River Gorge Elementary School learned the ways of the wolves at a Wolfways presentation on Friday, November 22.

“They teach about the re-population of wolves in the western US, the importance of balanced ecosystems and adaptations that allow wolves and other wildlife to survive in their habitat,” said CRGE third grade teacher, Ellen Hein. “The program aligns with 3rd grade NGSS (Science) standards in addition to our CKLA Animal Classification unit.”    

The classes of Cindy Coons and Angie Barnes also participated.

Oregon Wild and Wolf Haven International sponsor the Wolfways program, which engaged students through a multi-sensory experience and helped bring the science topics they’re learning in class to life.

Co-founder Joanie Beldin said the presenters’ goal is to increase the students’ overall understanding and interpretation of these animals.

Sheila Redman, who has volunteered for Wolfways for four years, said there is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to wolves, and that much of these myths stem from cartoons and fairy tales that portray them in a negative light.

Wolves
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“It wasn’t until people started to study wolves in the wild that they discovered their complexity and intelligence,” said Redman.  “All information related to wolves is fairly new, and it has only been about 20
years since people started to make discoveries about the species.”

The third graders at Columbia River Gorge learned details about the strong family ties in a wolf pack and how parents, children, aunts and uncles all live together.  They also learned interesting facts such as baby wolves remain in their den for 3-4 weeks, a wolf can hunt an elk by breaking its leg with two bites; and that wolves increase biodiversity and their presence can help maintain the presence of other animals, like aquatic life in streams and songbirds.

“I was surprised to learn that after wolves kill an animal for food, it can end up feeding a lot of different animals,” said third grader Aubree McConnville.  

A highlight for students was the chance to run their fingers through wolf hair, compare their hand size to a wolf paw casting, and hold a wolf skull.

At the conclusion of the presentation, students were challenged to share the truth they have learned about wolves and to believe that they can make a difference in their protection.  Each student was provided a wolf fact sheet and poster to take home.

The program is available in northern Oregon and southern Washington. For more information about the program, or to volunteer for Wolfways, visit www.oregonwild.org/wildlife/wolves/wolfways-wolf-education

Wolves
Learning about wolves.

Washougal WA — Congratulations to the Cape Horn-Skye Science Olympiad team who competed on November 16 at the SW Region A Tournament at Clark College in Vancouver. The team of 18 fifth grade students earned 1st place in Rockets, 2nd place in Weather, 3rd in Benthic Bugs and 4th in Electricity. 

The group met once a week for two months under the leadership of CH-S teachers Darcy Hickey and Hana Gustely.  

“My favorite part about this year has been bringing in community members such as water resource educators, a pilot, an electrician, and a retired science teacher to talk with the kids about their field of expertise,” said Gustely.  “We had a lot of hands-on time as well as a field study along the nature trails near our school.”

Gustely is proud of how confident and supportive the students were during the event.

“They not only learned a lot of science, but practiced perseverance, problem solving and teamwork,” she said. “After this experience, some students may choose to participate in our school’s after-school STEM club, and then they will have another opportunity to participate in Science Olympiad at Washougal High School.”

“I see science as a gateway subject,” explained Penny Andrews, CH-S principal.  “Science helps to students to be curious, innovative, engaged and active in hands on work.  We hope students will take lessons they have learned in the study of science to their math and reading work.  It is a win-win for everybody.” 

Science Olympiad is an international nonprofit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, creating a passion for learning science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. These goals are accomplished through classroom activities, research, professional development workshops and the encouragement of intramural, district, regional, state, national and international tournaments.

Washougal, WA — Washougal Police were out in force the morning of November 13 at the Washougal High School parking lot to catch students. Catch them doing good, that is! Students who were found wearing seat belts were rewarded with a $5 gift card from Dutch Bros Coffee.  This was a part of the Target Zero Safe Driving Task Force “Click it Bro” program in partnership with Unite! Washougal.

“It feels good to be out here to reward good behavior,” said Washougal School District Resource Officer and WHS Alumni, Kelly Anderson. “It is great to be working with Target Zero on this and reinforce the importance of seat belt use.”

The Target Zero program believes our culture should motivate people to aspire to become safe drivers, in the same way, smoke-free environments are now valued.

“We need our culture to embrace, celebrate, and promote the responsibility each of us has to be a safe road user,” said Hillary Torres, Region 6 Target Zero Manager. “When we reach this place, being a safe driver will not only be important for our own self-esteem and sense of belonging, but it will also be the foundation to ensure the safety of our family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.”

Through a grant from State Farm, Target Zero provided one hundred $5 Dutch Bros certificates for high school drivers “caught doing the right thing” by wearing their seat belts at five area high schools throughout Clark County. Dutch Bros matched this with an additional $500 of gift certificates. These certificates are being given out by School Resource Officers at each location.

“Unite! Washougal is excited to be leading on the organization of this project,” said Margaret McCarthy, Unite! Drug Free Community Program Coordinator. “This is also an excellent way of promoting positive relationships between law enforcement and our youth.”

Torres and McCarthy attended statewide prevention training and through discussions, discovered opportunities to work together and are planning to bring several future programs to Washougal.

Target Zero

“A group of WHS ASB students called PEP Unite! are the leaders of this project,” said Megan Kanzler, Unite! Drug Free Community, Youth Engagement Coordinator, Washougal Youth to Youth Advisor and WHS Interact Advisor. “They are a leadership workgroup that is focused on positively engaging people in their community. A part of their work was to collect data on student seatbelt use at the high school before today and then follow up to see if the program helped to change behavior.”

On September 26, PEP Unite! members volunteered to stuff envelopes with the Dutch Brothers certificates and appreciation awards to be distributed by SROs at WHS and other schools. Washougal Mayor and Rotary member, Molly Coston, also volunteered to help.

“Steps like Target Zero are moving us in the right direction around safe driving to make our community a better place to live,” Coston said. “I appreciate the idea of saying thank you for positive behavior.”

“It’s all about community,” said Brianna Gonser, WHS Interact President. “It is about being positive and about being safe. All the Target Zero partners have the same mindset and values, which is cool. It is great to
notice the positive. The positive does exist and is worth celebrating.”

WHS juniors Olivia Dinnel and Brianna Ruth were stopped on their way into the parking lot as a part of the program.

“At first I wondered what the officers were doing and did not know what to expect,” said Ruth. “I think it is really cool that they are giving rewards for wearing seat belts. I think it will work to encourage other students to wear them.”

“We need to collectively make safe driving not just normal, but admirable,” said Torres. “Together we can improve safe driving beliefs and behaviors until we reduce the risk of death and serious injury to zero — because every life counts.”

Target Zero is a call to action. It shakes the roots of the belief that “accidents happen” and that the loss of life and health are acceptable outcomes of driving. Other initiatives they support include signaling, not
speeding, and avoiding driving while distracted.

Target Zero
Rewarding good behavior.

Washougal, WA — Washougal High School is introducing a new Advanced Placement (AP) course titled Computer Science Principles this year, bringing the total number of AP courses to 13.  AP courses offer a rigorous, collegiate level curriculum that prepares students to succeed in college and other educational and training programs after graduation.  

The Computer Science Principles course will feature volunteer instructors through the Microsoft Philanthropies TEALS program, bringing subject matter experience and opportunities for students to learn alongside industry professionals.  In addition to computer science, students at WHS can take AP courses in subjects like art, calculus, biology, chemistry, English, music theory, physics, psychology, Spanish, and history.   Students who complete the course can register for the AP exam in May, and students who perform well on the exam can earn college credit, providing an opportunity to skip introductory coursework when they enroll in college.  

“We are excited about adding a new AP course subject for the 2019-20 school year,” said Aaron Hansen, WSD Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources and Student Services. “Last spring we were intentional with our message to students that we wanted all of our students to challenge themselves academically. Our AP enrollment reflects the good work our counselors did as we have many more students enrolled in AP courses this coming school year.”

Computer Science

According to Hansen, students who take AP courses learn valuable college-level study skills that will benefit them in all their high school classes and beyond. One of the benefits of taking an AP class is the exposure to the level of thinking, rigor and academics that Washougal students will experience in college, not to mention earning college level credit. “We are planning to continue to add more AP offerings at WHS as well as continuing to encourage all students to stretch themselves,” he said. “The work our students are doing now is preparing them to compete in the global economy and be able to effectively participate in a rapidly changing world.”

“Some families or students may believe that AP offerings are only available to students who ‘already get it’ or who already have all of the skill sets necessary to be successful in an AP course,” said Sheree Clark, WHS Principal.  “This in fact is not the case at all.  While our AP courses are rigorous, there is a high level of support within a small classroom setting that will coach and teach our students the skills necessary to be successful in these programs.”

Additionally, Clark points out that some believe AP courses are only for students on a 4-year college track.  “While having AP courses on a students’ transcript for 4-year colleges can significantly increase a student’s chance for acceptance, these courses also provide essential 21st Century Skills needed for other post-secondary programs including apprenticeships, vocational programs and other career focused programs,” she said. “Many of these post-secondary programs and careers are seeking out candidates who are willing to take risks, work hard and challenge themselves.”

WHS students can also earn college credit while studying at WHS by taking College in the High School coursework in pre-Calculus, Calculus, and Spanish through a partnership with Central Washington University, and many additional courses through Dual Credit courses with Clark College and Mt. Hood Community College. 

Helping students be prepared and be able to contribute to their community through career and college opportunities is a pillar of the new WSD Strategic Plan.  These AP options prepare students academically to succeed in college and build job readiness skills to expand career opportunities.  Students and families interested in learning more about Advanced Placement, Dual Credit, or College in the Classroom coursework can contact their school counselor.  More information can also be found at http://www.washougal.k12.wa.us/whs/dual-credit-classes/

“At Washougal High School we believe that students should have every opportunity and access to rigorous courses, we want to see more of our students challenge and stretch their thinking beyond what is easy; if you take on the challenge, we will provide the high level of support,” Clark said.