HSD News Round-Up

September 8, 2023

Hockinson Schools Kick Off the 2023-24 School Year with Spirit

Last Wednesday marked the much-awaited first day of school for the 2023-24 school year in the HSD. Our three schools were excited to welcome nearly 2,000 students and families through their doors. It was inspiring to see our students connect and show their readiness to learn and get involved.

In the weeks leading up to the new school year, our teachers and staff were hard at work to create the conditions school environments that create academic achievement, positive experiences, and a sense of belonging for all of our students.

Strong family involvement is a hallmark of Hockinson Schools and we encourage you to stay engaged with your student’s education. We will continue to keep our families in the loop with frequent communications. Keep an eye out for updates, events, and extracurricular activities.

Our district is looking forward to an amazing year filled with collaboration, growth, and success. Click through this slideshow to view some fun first-week-of-school photos from HHES, HMS, and HHS!

Meet Katie O’Malley-Soot, Interim Community Education Coordinator

Join us in welcoming HSD’s Interim Community Education Coordinator, Katie O’Malley-Soot! Her diverse background working with children, building maintenance, and substituting in Hockinson schools has prepared her for this unique position that bridges our schools and community.

In college, Soot studied art and psychology with a focus on art therapy while working in a residential setting for teens. Her passion for serving the community led her to continue working for a private youth and family services group upon graduating.

Since then, Soot spent five years working in interior design and home remodeling and supervising the plumbing department at a home improvement store before becoming a stay-at-home mom and parent volunteer. For the past six years, Soot has worked in nearly all roles as a certified and classified substitute in all three Hockinson schools. For the past year, she has led the Garden & Art Club alongside HHES art teacher Nancy O’Neill.

“HSD has provided me with multiple opportunities for growth,” she said. “I want to find that potential in others and find a way that Community Education can benefit our community.”

Soot is excited to draw upon her experiences as well as develop new skills by providing the Hockinson community with an array of opportunities for people to connect, share, and learn. “We can find the educator within everyone and, in the process, meet the needs of our families and community. We can facilitate that opportunity,” said O’Malley-Soot. Another one of her goals is to ensure each facility is a welcoming space for all Hockinson residents. “The community center and schools are places for our students during the day, but they are owned by the community and I want to find additional opportunities for community access and use.”

Community Comes Together for New HHS Concession Stand

We like to say that Hockinson schools are the heart of the community, and this sentiment rings true in terms of the outpouring of support for the AAA Boosters' long-awaited concession stand project.

The Boosters have been fundraising for three years to convert a building previously used for storage into a full-service home-side concession stand. Local businesses and individuals have rallied around the endeavor by donating their time, building supplies, and funds. “So many amazing companies and individuals have stepped up to help with this project,” Hockinson Boosters President Julie Atchley said. “It makes me feel very proud to be part of this amazing community.”

Concession stand windows rolled up in time to service the first Friday Night Lights varsity football game on Sept. 1. Detroit-style pizza, popcorn, nachos, and hot dogs were just a few snacks on the menu.

The Boosters are looking for both parent and student volunteers to work concessions for football and soccer games in the new stand this fall. All proceeds benefit the student programs at HHS.

“Hockinson's sense of community and family involvement is one of our district's greatest strengths. This project is a perfect example of teamwork and what can be achieved when we come together for our schools,” Superintendent Steve Marshall said. Hockinson School District is sending a massive thank you to our generous families, community members, donors, and volunteers. Below is just a partial list of some of our biggest supporters in building our new, improved concession stand:

  • Platinum Sponsors: $10,000+ value

  • Nick Giese of G3 Electric completed all of the electrical work, and Konrad Stenersen did all of the framing for the building

  • Gold Sponsors: $5000+

  • Cornerstone Masonry cut in the windows

  • R&S Manufacturing donated the roll-down windows

  • Krippner Painting donated and completed all of the painting for us

  • Dynamic Drywall did the drywall work

  • AKS Engineering helped with some electrical engineering elements

  • The Today Foundation is supporting a new popcorn machine with a grant

Governor Jay Inslee Visits Energy Efficiency Projects at HSD

Governor Jay Inslee visited Hockinson School District on Wednesday, September 6, to discuss recent commerce-supported energy efficiency projects in the Hockinson School District. Energy efficiency grant dollars from the Washington Department of Commerce allowed Hockinson School District to make facilities improvements that lower energy costs while improving comfort and air quality at Hockinson Heights Elementary School, Hockinson Community Ed Center, and the District Office.

“The center of the solar system for fighting climate change is not Paris, it’s not Tokyo, it’s right here in Hockinson,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Through the Climate Commitment Act, $50 million is in the pipeline for exactly these kinds of initiatives. As I travel for these programs, I am going to be telling Hockinson’s story.”

Did you know?

HSD has saved a total of 1,608,891kWh as a result of energy efficiency projects over the last 15 years. In total, energy efficiency projects have lowered our energy bills by $78,835. Over the past four years, HSD has lowered energy consumption by 19%.

Hockinson School District applied for and was awarded the largest Energy Efficiency Grant of the 2021 cycle based on demonstrated need. Beginning in February 2023, contractors began work at the Hockinson Community Ed Center and the District office to retrofit the HVAC systems. In March 2023, work replacing controls and lighting began at Hockinson Heights Elementary School.

The energy retrofits at Hockinson School District align with the district’s commitments to fiscal responsibility, efficiency, and continuous improvement. By saving over 1.6 million kWh of electricity the Hockinson School District has lowered its energy bills and conserved taxpayer dollars to be put toward educational purposes.

The Key to School Success: Attendance and Punctuality

As we gear up for the 2023-24 school year, we would like our students to remember HERO: Here, Every day, Ready to learn, and On time. 2022-23 attendance and tardy records show there's a lot of room for improvement in these areas at all HSD schools.

Why are attendance and punctuality so important?

Every minute missed is a minute of learning lost. Regular attendance ensures students benefit fully from each instructional day. Punctuality is equally important. Arriving on time and ready to learn instills self-discipline and sets a positive tone for the day.

Academic Success: Positive attendance rates coincide with stronger academic performance. Students who regularly attend class are more likely to comprehend core concepts and actively participate in classroom discussions.

Preparation for the Future: The habits students form now shape their futures. Regular attendance and punctuality sets them up for success as they practice tenacity and accountability. Learning to manage time is a life skill that extends beyond the classroom and prepares students for their future careers.

We understand things do not always go according to plan. If unforeseen circumstances lead to absences or tardiness, please communicate with our school attendance secretaries. As we embark on a new school year, let’s work together to set our students up for academic success, build character, and develop skills that will last a lifetime.

New Teacher Academy

Nine new certified staff members attended HSD New Staff Academy on August 16 and 17 to hit the ground running in Hockinson's schools. The program is designed for new hires to build relationships with school administrators and one another. Fourth grade teacher Lisa Albrecht, 5th grade teacher Melissa Broholm, 1st grade teacher Kelly Crawshaw, English & Drama teacher Stephanie Evans, HHES special education teacher Nicole Wright, HMS/HHS HVA instructor Steve Curtland, HMS/HHS speech language pathologist Heather Higgins, HMS/HHS speech language pathologist Alissa McPherson, and HMS/HHS school psychologist Jordan Mosier were all in attendance.

Our new staff members completed activities to better acquaint themselves with HSD schools and the Hockinson community. They toured each school building and created posters to reflect their understanding of Hockinson’s ERA (engagement, relationships, and assessment) Blueprint, the foundation for teaching and learning at HSD.

Attendees also participated in a team bonding challenge while learning about HSD’s Upward Together initiative focused on improving instructional outcomes for students. After collaboratively creating rubrics, staff members decorated cupcakes as a fun reflection of the Teaching and Learning Cycle that helps students word towards grade level proficiency.

The HSD New Staff Academy is designed to help our newest certified staff members gain an understanding of HSD’s values, vision, and goals for supporting all Hockinson students. It hit the mark. In exit surveys, Academy attendees reported that they left the program feeling connected, motivated, and excited to support our students. If you see one of our new staff members, please take a moment to welcome them to the HSD family.

The HSD New Teacher Academy is built around:

News Bites

Traffic Study Shows Need to Slow Down in School Zones: The Washington Traffic Safety Commission recently released data from its AM observations of HSD school zones. The results…well, they show Hockinson drivers need to reduce speeds when driving to or by Hockinson’s schools when students are present. Only 7.8% of drivers obeyed the posted speed limit of 20 mph. Of the 92.2% who exceeded the speed limit, nearly ¾ were traveling 26-35 mph. 1 in 10 drivers were traveling 15 mph or more over the speed limit! Whether you are dropping off, picking up, or driving by, the message is the same: For the safety of our students, please obey the posted school zone speed limit of 20 mph.

Let’s stay healthy, HSD: Although we are only two weeks into the 2023-24 school year, we are hearing of elevated levels of respiratory illnesses in our county and community. It’s time for everyone to take some small steps so our students can stay healthy and in school. Please follow these everyday practices to prevent colds, influenza and COVID-19:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.

  • Cover coughs and sneezes.

  • Stay home and away from others when symptomatic.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.

Parent Perception Survey Submission Deadline Extended: Over 100 parents have responded to our perception survey so far, but we are leaving it open a few more days to hear from as many families as possible. This 3+ minute survey will help inform us how the HSD is doing overall, particularly in the areas of Academics and School Culture & Facilities. Survey results will help inform district and school goal-setting and school improvement planning. You can access the survey HERE through Monday, Sept. 11.

Don’t Forget! FRL Applications Due ASAP: Families, please note that applications for the federal free lunch program (and fees/services covered by HB 1660 such as ASB and sports fees) must be submitted in the first 30 days of each school year. Parents can access the Free/Reduced Lunch application HERE or apply through Skyward Family Access. Applications and a Consent to Share form must be turned in every year to qualify for benefits.

Upcoming Events:

- Sept. 10: Gather Arts Market 10 am - 2 pm at Hockinson Community Ctr (HCC)

- Sept. 11: School Board Work Session via Zoom at 6 pm and final day to participate in HSD Parent Survey

- Sept. 16-17: HCC parking lot closed for asphalt sealing

- Sept. 20: PWT Spirit Night at MOD Pizza and Menchie’s (Battle Ground)

- Sept. 22: PWT Payback Book Fundraiser ends

- Sept. 25: Regular HSD School Board Meeting at 6 pm (HCC and Zoom)

- Sept. 29: Submit FRL Application and Consent to Share form to qualify for free lunches and fee waivers or continue existing FRL benefits

- Oct. 6: HHS Homecoming Tailgate 5 pm and Football Game 7 pm

- Oct. 18: Unity Day at HSD Schools

- Oct. 28: PWT Fall Event at HHES and HHS Boosters Haunted Hustle Fun Run registration info

HHS Fall Sports Schedules available HERE