A small robot trundles along a 2-by-2 square taped to the floor. The programmers, who have spent the morning measuring and recalibrating the bot, watch with the intensity of professionals. Only these programmers are middle-schoolers, and their robotics expertise dates back just four days.
Music, art boost reading and writing at Summer Literacy Academy
The students assembled on a colorful rug in a Hazel Dell Elementary classroom have learned that songs have forms—verses, choruses, and sometimes bridges and interludes. They’ve learned about rhythms and tempos. Now it’s time to rock. Wielding empty gallon-sized coffee containers, they pound out the rhythm of “Happy,” popularized by Pharrell Williams.
Skyview High School was nearly silent the week after school ended, except for small pods of activity in the 600 wing. There, students from Vancouver Public Schools (VPS) and other districts spent a week in late June studying animation, chemistry, and video game design.
At age 11, Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary fifth-grader Andrew Douglas has learned more history than most people do in the course of a lifetime. He’s something of a wunderkind in U.S. and European history. He’s also amassed knowledge of Middle Eastern, South American, and Asian histories. Last March, he parlayed his knowledge to a first-place finish in the Portland Regional History Bee. His win there earned him a trip to the National History Bee in Atlanta, Georgia, in June.
Seven decades later, some things are different at McLoughlin Middle School. The metal shop is now Rhonda Summer’s classroom. A computer lab has replaced the clothing room. Gone are the days of the school's “home-making room.”
“Tablet tables with touchscreens that you can use like laptops.”
“Just bring your flash drive to class that has all your information in it.”
"A lot of state-of-the-art technology.”
“Fun and educational, so kids will have optimal ability to learn.”
“Anybody with any interest could go here, and still feel welcome and learn something.”
Every year since finishing fifth grade, Austin Clark has returned to Hazel Dell Elementary—not for a class or credit but for a beloved tradition: the school’s Enrichment Fair. On April 3, the Skyview sophomore caught up with former teachers and helped current Hazel Dell students with an art project.
At a young age, Jose Scott learned an important lesson from his mother, Holli: If you are alive, you are able to make a difference. Now a senior at Fort Vancouver High School, Scott learned the lesson well. “That little seed that was planted in me and all my siblings flourished as we grew up,” he said.
More than a dozen mothers and daughters gathered at McLoughlin Middle School on May 14 for TEA. But this TEA didn’t require fancy china and good manners. This TEA called for an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math.
New FCRCs support students, families at Hudson’s Bay, Fort Vancouver high schools
In 1999, Vancouver Public Schools opened its first Family-Community Resource Center (FCRC) at Fruit Valley Community Learning Center. Over the next 14 years, the district expanded its network of FCRCs to remove barriers to learning by helping families meet their basic needs. In fall 2013, the FCRC expansion, now part of the district’s Design II strategic plan, reached the high school level.
Tyler Bacon, James Hess, and Sam Sparkman are at it again. After winning the Southwest Washington middle school Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) competitions in 2013 and 2014 and dominating last year’s state championship, the Jason Lee Middle School AMESAINGs reclaimed victory at state this year.
Energy and sustainability solutions mushroom at Hudson’s Bay
Inside Hudson’s Bay High School’s mycology lab, students in the Architecture, Construction, and Environmental Services magnet program are experimenting with different mushroom species to explore possibilities in the fields of alternative energy and sustainability.
‘The hardest fun you’ll ever have’ challenges students, mentors
As a middle schooler, Madison Snyder had little interest in engineering. Fast forward three years, and the Skyview High School sophomore, a student in the Science, Math, and Technology Magnet, is leading one of nine specialized units that are propelling the StormBots robotics team toward what they hope will be a winning 2014 season.
McLoughlin, Fort welcome Gov. and First Lady Inslee
Not even steady rain could dampen spirits at McLoughlin Middle School and Fort Vancouver High School as students and staff welcomed Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and his wife, Trudi, for their first official visit to Vancouver Public Schools.
Most teachers don’t need an 18-foot trailer to haul classroom supplies. Then again, most teachers aren’t David Richards, who coordinates the Welding/Fabrication Technology Program of Choice at Fort Vancouver High School.
Twitter has acted as an agent of foreign and domestic revolutions, announced earthquakes before they hit, and given non-celebrities direct access to the famous. But could it also be the vehicle for meaningful conversations, 140 characters at a time, about opportunity gaps in education?
At Lewis and Clark, students chart their own paths
In the spirit of the school’s namesakes, students at Lewis and Clark High School are charting their own paths to success. Last fall, the school debuted a learning model that puts academic progress in their hands.