• Issue Date: March 2014

    HRCSD Receives EXCEL Grant

    The Hood River County School District received a 21st Century Community Learning Center grant for more than 2 million dollars over the next 5 years. Only 22 districts in the state received the grant in this round of the highly competitive review process. The goal of the grant is to increase academic performance in high poverty schools through extended school days. The grant targets students at Cascade Locks, Mid Valley, Parkdale and Wy'east and will provide before school, after school, evening and summer activities to more than 300 students and families each year.

    The EXCEL (Extended Community Enriched Learning) began after school programming in October at all four schools. All sites offer dinner and transportation. The program is open to all students at the grant sites. Cost for the program is $150 for elementary students ($75 for students on free or reduced lunch). Wy'east charges $5 for each activity.

    Each school has a site coordinator who works with regular day and after school staff to build a program that targets the specific needs of each building. EXCEL offers additional reading and math support daily along with homework help and a variety of enrichment activities.

    Enrichment programs vary by school and by term but include activities like Lego Robotics, chess, Spanish, Zumba, photography, guitar, SMART reading, dance, computers, 4-H, music and many others. Currently nearly 300 students have enrolled in the program.

    Starting in January, EXCEL expanded its program to include evening activities for students and families. Each school will offer a least one night activity per month.

    Activities are still being developed but will include:

    *Parenting workshops with partner agency The Next Door, Inc.

    *Art activities with partner agency Columbia Gorge Arts in Education

    *Common Core, assessments and graduation requirements

    *Preschool and kindergarten readiness *School safety, drug prevention and dealing with peer pressure

    *School safety, drug prevention and dealing with peer pressure

    EXCEL will be offering a three week summer session for students in grades K-8 who attend the grant schools. The program will work in conjunction with Migrant Summer School and will offer a full day of academic and enrichment activities. Space will be limited in the summer program based on school size and number of students enrolled in EXCEL during the regular school year. EXCEL is also hoping to offer evening library and reading activities for families throughout the summer at each school. The first year of the five year grant has enjoyed a strong start and planning for year two has already begun. If you have questions, concerns or ideas to support the program, please contact Kim Yasui at kim.yasui@hoodriver.k12.or.us or 541-387-5704 or any of the building site coordinators.



    District Receives Bilingual Education Grant

    On October 31, 2013, the Hood River County School District learned that it was awarded $120,000 over three-years to fund the planning and implementation of an English-Spanish Bilingual Education program beginning at Mid Valley Elementary School. The program will eventually be extended to Wy'east Middle School and Hood River Valley High School with possible further expansion to Parkdale Elementary. "Over the next three years with this grant, we should be able to positively impact the acquisition of literacy for our Spanish-speaking students K-12 and


    provide opportunities for our English-speaking students to develop second language skills," said Dennis McCauley, Principal of Mid Valley Elementary School. A committee of teachers, community members and administrators studied the research and developed a solid plan for providing bilingual instruction from kindergarten through the high school. This state-level grant was highly competitive and in approving the District's application, the Oregon Department of Education noted strong evidence of the District's

    readiness, level of preparation, and commitment to raising achievement levels for all students. "We are extremely excited to be awarded funding to develop a strong bilingual instructional program that benefits our students from Spanish-speaking homes, while providing our native-English speakers the chance to become bilingual and biliterate. Our community's continued success is dependent on a well-educated and prepared youth and this is one strategy that is well-researched and proven to increase outcomes for all students," said Superintendent Dan Goldman.

    Coaching and Coverage Winners!

    Sandi Abramson, Robin Cushman, and Kate Getchis were drawn as winners for Coaching and Coverage tickets at the Elementary inservice on January 27th!

    They will get to choose a coach to work with on a


    specific skill or topic for one hour, while another coach will work with their class.

    Congratulations from the Curriculum Team!



    HRVHS receives Oregon CTE Revitalization Grant

    Hood River Valley High School was recently awarded a grant from the Oregon Department of Education in the amount of $437,000 to bring its Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs of study in Engineering and Agriculture Science-Welding into the 21st Century. Don Schmidt and Jeff Blackman, teachers at HRVHS, collaborated on the application. Don teaches welding and Jeff teaches robotics at HRVHS. With this grant, HRVHS will be able to purchase new computers, new software and some exciting new fabrication equipment including a 3-D printer, a CNC machine, and welding stations. "With this

    grant, we will rival any welding facilities in high schools throughout the state," said Don Schmidt. The grant also provides training for teachers and staff and it will help strengthen relationships with business and post-secondary partners in the region. By enhancing these programs of study, HRVHS will better define CTE pathways for more of our students. These pathways will provide students with the skills they need to succeed after graduation whether they choose to pursue higher education or seek employment in the local technology, agriculture, manufacturing, and computer science industries.

    This spring HRVHS will begin to update its welding facilities and prepare for the new equipment. "My vision for the CTE program is to ultimately create a technology center here at HRVHS and develop a sustainability plan to maintain and enhance this program for years to come," said Jeff Blackman. Congratulations to HRVHS!

    Wy'east Middle School Awarded After School Program Grant from Oregon Community Foundation

    Wy'east Middle School was recently awarded a K-12 Student Success: Out-of-School Programs grant by the Oregon Community Foundation in the amount of $104,490 to expand their current after school programs to help decrease the achievement gap between rural, low income minority students and their peers. The grant proposal "STEM to STEAM" plans to double the students served by after school programs to provide academic support.

    The STEM to STEAM approach uses the arts and music as

    vehicles to reduce the achievement gap for Spanish-speaking students and low-income students. Wy'east Middle School will partner with Columbia Gorge Arts in Education (Arts in Ed) to provide after-school art and music residencies that will reinforce the academic lessons taught during the school day. Teachers will work with the staff and artists of Arts in Education to design the residencies so they address the appropriate academic content needed by the students, thus providing a seamless connection between in-class curricula

    and after-school content. The artists will then develop projects/lessons that enable students to explore that academic content through different art projects. Parent nights will also be held in conjunction with each residency to further connect with the families of these students and provide an opportunity to create some art themselves. This program will also provide for 3 one-week residencies during the summer.

    Jeff Blackman Named GTA Technology Leader of the Year

    In 2013, the Gorge Technology Alliance held its first-ever awards program to recognize and thank the many companies, organizations and individuals working to advance the tech industry and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in the Columbia River Gorge. Our very own Jeff Blackman was awarded the GTA Technology Leader of the Year. Jeff was chosen from a group of finalists, based on the criteria of who made the largest positive impact on the technology community of the Columbia River Gorge. Jeff is the teacher behind the robotics and electric car programs at

    Hood River Valley High School. He has not-so-quietly championed an engineering explosion in the Columbia River Gorge. When he started at HRVHS, there were little if any robotics programs in the school district. Today, robotics is widespread throughout the district. He has established strong relationships between the tech businesses and his classroom to the benefit of both his students and the businesses. He truly continues to make a difference for the students of our district and this award was just one way of recognizing his contribution to the district and the region.

    Congratulations Jeff!

    Jeff Blackman