HSD News Round-Up

January 30, 2023

Hats Off to the HSD School Board

January is School Board Recognition Month and before we roll over into February we wanted to highlight the service of the Hockinson Board of Directors. There are five directors who comprise the HSD School Board: Patrick Carter (District 2), Greg Gospe (District 4), Dave Olson (District 3), Gordon Smith (District 5), and Teresa VanNatta (District 1).

School Board members are charged with making decisions that are sometimes difficult and require a lot of time, research, and consideration. They also bear the responsibility for developing a vision that will guide the school district through both the immediate and long term-future. Through their collaboration as a team, and with school district staff and community, their governance and advocacy helps to shape not only the future of the HSD, but public education in Washington state.

Big picture

These volunteer leaders stepped forward to lead Hockinson’s Schools for a variety of reasons, but all share an interest in giving back to the Hockinson community. “I enjoy sharing my time and experience helping to make sure that the school district is well-run, that resources are used wisely, and that all of our students have an outstanding educational experience,” said Greg Gospe. They also see the importance of meeting the diverse needs of all students. Gordon Smith views public education as an avenue for all involved - families, staff, and students - to learn about not only content, but each other. “Like any other place, we all have a little bit to learn to make this a better place for everyone, “said Smith.

Their experiences with Hockinson Schools fuel their commitment. Patrick Carter is inspired by the “varied talents and resilience of [Hockinson’s] students and how our community continually pitches in to help our schools,” - a sentiment echoed by Dave Olson: “I am amazed by the staff and volunteers of our school district who strive to provide quality education through constant change.”

While their length of service varies - Gospe has served on the Board since 2003, Olson 2007, Smith 2017, Carter 2020, and VanNatta 2021 - all five members take pride in the HSD. Said Smith, “I’m always so inspired that, despite the small size and rural nature of our district, we have still accomplished so much. To think we can be as small as we are and still offer the programs and services we do is amazing…The amount of work the whole community puts in makes it a really special place.”

Spotlight on School Board Member Teresa VanNatta

Teresa VanNatta is the newest member of the HSD School Board. She and her husband Jim have three children, Trevor, Erica, and Justin, all of whom graduated from Hockinson High School. As a 3rd grade teacher and grandmother of seven, VanNatta has a special understanding of, and appreciation for, public education. VanNatta shares her perspective on the important role our schools play in the lives of students:

“Recently in a conversation with Mr. Marshall I said, ‘Thank goodness for public education!’ This statement came after I shared a number of stories that illustrated how hard school staff work to support students who have some really challenging circumstances. He asked if I would mind re-sharing my comments with our families, so here goes:

I am so grateful for our three Hockinson Schools and schools everywhere that work so hard to educate all students, regardless of their needs. Our staff partners with parents, the community, and many resources to cultivate a place for students to grow. Hockinson Schools make a positive impact for our community, too. So many connections are made through this mutual involvement between schools and families.

I'm honored to be on the Hockinson School Board team. Hockinson Schools are excellent and yet the school board members constantly reflect on ways we can keep our schools top notch. I enjoy being on the Board because we are all committed to meeting the needs of each and every student.

We all have different strengths and perspectives to bring. I can share ideas through my experiences as a teacher, mother and grandmother. Besides being able to share my voice, I also enjoy hearing from parents, students and staff about how we can better meet the needs that exist in our district. Many of the positive things happening at Hockinson can be attributed to our very dedicated, hardworking staff. I want to thank and recognize our staff as well as our partners for their exceptional commitment to our kids. Thank goodness for public education!

North County Honor Band Returns to Showcase HSD, Local Musicians

Students in the Hockinson School District have a unique opportunity to learn through music. After all, one in every four HSD students, Grades 5 through 12, are involved in Band and all elementary students participate in music.

After a two year absence, another opportunity returns for HSD musicians: The North County Honor Band. “The honor band gives our musicians an additional musical challenge. They also get to meet other musicians from around our area and collaborate with them to create a concert with only a few hours of rehearsal,” says HSD Band Director Corey McEnry. The band features 150 middle and high school students selected from our county’s 7 high schools and 14 middle schools. “It’s like an all-star team for band,” adds McEnry.

Honor Band students will practice in the Hockinson High School Band Room and Auditorium all day Friday, February 3. They will learn from two guest teacher-conductors. The middle school guest conductor is Lesley Moffat, a band director at Heatherwood M.S. in Mill City, WA and best-selling author. High school students will be taught by Paul Bain, Director of Bands at Western Washington University.

Both bands will perform a free community concert this Saturday, February 4 at 6 p.m. in the HHS Auditorium.

Recycling Event Highlights Mission of HHS Environmental Club

The HHS Environmental Club is currently hosting an electronics drive through February 3 to safely recycle electronic items in an environmentally friendly manner. The club is collecting used cell phones, chargers, and other small electronics that have a battery or charger. (This excludes televisions and computer monitors.) Hockinson residents can drop off electronics in a collection box next to Hockinson High School’s front office during school hours. This service is free! The Environmental Club is covering the cost to have these electronics recycled.

The Environmental Club is one of 16 clubs offered at Hockinson High School. It currently has 10 members, most of which are upperclassmen currently studying AP Environmental Science. Club membership centers around increasing awareness of environmental issues local to Brush Prairie and seeking out schoolwide reforms to be even more environmentally friendly. Read more here.

Two Fentanyl Awareness Forums Coming Up in February

HSD families are encouraged to attend or tune in to two upcoming fentanyl informational sessions that will be offered next month. These Fentanyl Awareness Forums, coordinated by all Clark County school districts, the Clark County Sheriffs Office, and ESD 112, will be hosted by the Vancouver and Evergreen School Districts both in-person and virtually on:

-Tuesday, February 7 at the Fort Vancouver Auditorium

-Thursday, February 9 at the Evergreen High School Auditorium

Both sessions begin at 7 pm and will be live streamed on YouTube on the Vancouver Public Schools and Evergreen Public Schools channels. The sessions are available in Spanish, Russian, and American Sign Language.

HHES Welcomes New Sign

The Hornets have gone digital! On Thursday, Jan. 26 HHES replaced its old reader board with a new electronic sign that will enable the school to communicate multiple announcements and reminders to families - and quickly update them on a daily basis.

Superintendent Steve Marshall is excited about the addition of the sign. “It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of our biggest challenges is also one of our biggest commitments: We are always on the lookout for new and better ways to communicate and engage with our families and community. This sign is a big step up for HHES and the district,” said Marshall. HHES Principal Josh Robertson agrees. “The sign is a big upgrade from our reader board. It's incredibly versatile and will enable us to convey a lot of information in creative ways,” adds Robertson. The sign was purchased with funds raised by PWT fundraising events. Thank you, PWT and donors!

HMS Volleyball-a-thon Builds School Culture, Raises Funds

At the January 13 Volleyball-a-thon event, Hockinson Middle School students battled in volleyball competitions to raise funds for Parents Working Together (PWT) from 6pm to almost midnight. After a series of 10-minute games, Team Pretty Princess Turtles participants Cassidy Barrows, Emilie Willis, Lucas Wray, Parker Wilhelm, Evelyn Matson, Lauren McEllrath, Thomas Burckhard, Arlee Hoge, and Ryan Alberts finished with the highest win percentage during the event. The event raised over $2,000 for Parents Working Together (PWT) to purchase spirit wear shirts for incoming sixth graders and new students at Hockinson Middle School.

Volleyball-a-thon is a fundraiser, but also a student bonding activity. “Volleyball-a-thon is a great event for building our positive school culture,” said Meredith Gannon, Hockinson Middle School principal. “First, it is student-driven. Students elect their teams and the theme for their costumes. Second, the event is a chance to have fun with peers.

“It’s also a lot of fun for our staff to interact with the kids outside of the school setting. This year's staff team consisted of our school principal, teachers, paraeducators, and coaches,” added Gannon.

HHS Theater Students Earn Thespy Honors

Broadway has the Tonys, ESPN has the ESPYS, and School Theater in Washington has the Thespys (or the International Thespian Excellence Awards)…and we are excited to announce HHS has 14 Thespy winners!

The following students received “Excellent” scores for their January 14 performances and will be honored at the State Thespian Festival in Bellingham, WA in March: Monologue - Alex Gutridge; Avrie Kellogg; Christopher Navarrete. Solo Musical - Andrew Swatosh; Avrie Kellogg; Benedict Maitland; Delaney McBride; Evan Heder; Finn Henwood; Freddy Hastings; LJ Pierce. Duet Musical - Benedict Maitland and Abby Hansen; Evan Heder and Avrie Kellogg. Stage Management - Ivy Trager.

Congratulations to Abby Hansen (Monologue) and Jonah Charles and Alex Gutridge (Solo Musical) who scored “Superior” for their performances and qualified to audition for the Washington State Showcase in March and National Thespys in Indiana this June.

HSD News Bites

HMS Students Double Up Progress in 1st Semester: 230 HMS students will be recognized for making a year or more growth in ELA and Math based on their performance on Fall and Winter iReady scores.

Unpaid Lunch Accounts: The loss of USDA school lunch grant funding signaled the end of universal free breakfasts and lunches for HSD students this school year. As a result, a number of 2022-23 student lunch accounts are unpaid. We have sent out email notifications with limited response, so collection letters will be sent out to families through the mail next week. HSD families who meet income requirements can still qualify for free school meals.

HSD Teachers Keep Learning: In addition to a number of other professional development opportunities available to HSD teachers, HSD Teaching & Learning Coordinator Jennifer Sawyer offered one more…and the response exceeded expectations. Sawyer offered up a voluntary book study on Unlearning to learn more about designing lessons that meet the varied learning needs of students and 26 teachers and administrators stepped forward to participate!

CWU College in the H.S. Expanding in 2023-24: HHS is looking to offer two new college courses on its campus next school year. The addition of History of Rock and Roll and Environmental Science will enable HHS students to earn 15 additional university credits - for only $60 a semester credit! HHS currently offers CWU Pre Calculus (10 credits) and Statistics (5 credits).

Thank You, HSD School Counselors: February 6-10 is National School Counseling Week, which spotlights the critical role counselors play in our schools. HSD families and students are invited to reach out to Vickie Hermann (HHES); Nicole Schneider (HMS); Wayne Svilar and Chantelle Henry (HHS) to express their appreciation for all they do to support our students.

HMS Artist Earns Honor: Astella Davies, student at Hockinson Middle School, won second place for the State of Washington in the Wildlife Forever Songbird Contest. The contest is an Art of Conservation program that uses art to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards. You can view Astella’s watercolor entry here.

Congratulations, Ms. Stangell: Tatyana Stangell, paraprofessional in the learning support program at Hockinson Middle School has earned a Become a Teacher scholarship from Western Governors University! She is pursuing her Master's degree in Special Education.

Upcoming Events:

* School Board Recognition Month *

Jan. 29 2nd Annual Seed Swap 1:00-4:00 @ HCC

Jan. 30 Regular HSD School Board Meeting 6:00 pm @ HCC and Zoom

Feb. 3 Final Day of HHS Electronic Recycling Event

Feb. 4 North County MS and HS Honor Band Concert at 6:00 pm @ MPR

Feb. 6 Citizens Advisory Committee Meeting at 6:00 pm

Feb. 6-10 National School Counseling Week

Feb. 13 HSD School Board Work Session @ HCC and Zoom

Feb. 20 President’s Day (No School)

Feb. 27 Regular HSD School Board Meeting 6:00 pm @ HCC and Zoom