Growing up in the Columbia Gorge, I am accustomed to inclement weather, especially during the winter. I’ve seen the Stevenson area receive 6’ of snow in early 1980 and have seen years when we just hoped for snow. Winter five years ago gave us a good reminder of how ice can impact our ability to conduct school (and other activities) as planned.
Before deciding to close schools, we consult with our staff members and Skamania County road crews who are out driving the streets of our communities beginning in the early hours of the morning. As needed, we would contact other agencies for additional information such as the PUD supervisor and the Sheriff’s office. Our school district covers a large region with remote areas and steep terrain in places. While roads may be passable in town, conditions may be very different just a few miles away. Before we close schools, we want answers to the questions below:
* Can we ensure that buses will navigate streets safely?
* Will students be safe waiting for buses, driving or walking to school?
* What are the predicted weather conditions later in the school day so we can also ensure students a safe return home?
* If we start school late (two-hour late start), will conditions be substantially improved?
* Will we have heat and lights in our schools?
* Will opening the schools impact or hamper other agencies needing to provide essential services?
Once we do make the decision to close schools, we try a number of ways to ensure the word reaches parents, students and staff. Our first step will be to send out an automated phone message through our School Messenger system. We use electronic means to notify media outlets, which also immediately posts the information to our web site: www.scsd.k12.wa.us. These are the fastest and most accurate way to track school closure information. Most of the Portland television and radio stations also provide school closure lists in their reports and on their web sites as well. Reports over the TV and radio will identify our school district as Stevenson-Carson School District NOT Skamania (a separate school district). For those of you without Internet access, you may call the district information line at 427-5676 after 6:00 a.m. each morning.
If it is necessary to open schools late, breakfast will not be served and morning pre-school classes will be canceled, and any scheduled early release will be canceled providing students as much instructional time as possible that day.
One of the reasons we live and raise our children in the Columbia Gorge is its ever-changing climate. If we prepare and consider all the possibilities, we can ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff during extreme weather conditions. Having made my career in this school district for 28 years – I have experienced some school closures that were “spot on” and I’ve experienced some that “missed the mark.” Trust me, I’ll likely do both as superintendent of our school district. Please know I will do my best and provide me a little understanding if I miss the mark! Thank you for your partnership in this matter.
Dear SCSD Community,
There are two questions that I continue to be asked, over and over again. The most common question: Do you like your job? And a close second: Why did you apply to be the superintendent? YES -- I "like" my job. Most of the time, I actually love my job. I applied to be the superintendent because the people who make up this community are generous, supportive, caring and kind. More importantly, the students here are incredible and I believe they deserve the very best our school system can give them. I am here because I care about our students and our community and hope to positively impact our school district.
Since the presidential election, and the subsequent negative and hurtful things that have followed even in areas close to us, my love for this school district has been reaffirmed. Just like every other community, school or otherwise, some are celebrating the outcome and others are on a continuum from disappointed to downright outraged. But I'm so proud of our school district! Staff come each day, from all walks of life, and are respectful and kind to one another and students. Staff act professionally and deliver amazing lessons, regardless of their personal feelings. Our students are coming to school, learning to have disagreements and debates in appropriate and respectful ways, and continue to be kind and respectful to one another. I am so proud of our district.
Our school district has a culture that is in continual improvement. All things are not perfect -- but we are making great strides. We cannot control what is going on in the world beyond us, but we can define our own school and our own community. We will continue to provide a safe, nurturing and respectful learning environment for all students. For ALL students. We will intercede on behalf of any student who does not feel safe, respected or welcomed in our schools. Regardless of the ebbs and flows in our national climate, be assured that we will continue to focus on the academic growth and social growth of our students. Our direction, our priorities and our vision hasn't changed. These students are THE FUTURE and we will do our very best in helping them achieve even more than their wildest dreams. Who knows, maybe a future president will be a Stevenson High School graduate!
This year, our schools are making a special effort to ensure that all students fully benefit from their education by attending school regularly. Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves. Your student can start building this habit in preschool so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Consistent attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work.
DID YOU KNOW?
- Starting in kindergarten, too many absences (excused and unexcused) can cause children to fall behind in school.
- Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) increases the chance that your student will not read or master math at the same level as their peers.
- Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
- Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
- Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
- By 6th grade, absenteeism is one of three signs that a student may drop out of high school.
- By being present at school, your child learns valuable social skills and has the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with other students and school staff.
- Absences can be a sign that a student is losing interest in school, struggling with school work, dealing with a bully or facing some other potentially serious difficulty.
- By 9th grade, regular and high attendance is a better predictor of graduation rates than 8th grade test scores.
WHAT WE NEED FROM YOU
We miss your student when they are gone and we value their contributions to our school. We would like you to help ensure that your student attends regularly and is successful in school. If your student is going to be absent, please contact your student’s school.
OUR PROMISE TO YOU
We know that there are a wide variety of reasons that students are absent from school, from health concerns to transportation challenges. There are many people in our building prepared to help you if you or your student face challenges in getting to school regularly or on time. Although not an exhaustive list our resources include your classroom teacher, school principal, office staff, school nurse, etc. We promise to track attendance daily, to notice when your student is missing from class, communicate with you to understand why they were absent, and to identify barriers and supports available to overcome challenges you may face in helping your student attend school.
SCHOOL POLICIES AND STATE LAWS
It is important that you understand our school policies and procedures, as well as Washington State Law, to ensure your child is successful in school. State law for mandatory attendance, called the Becca Bill, requires children from age 8 to 17 to attend a public school, private school, or a district-approved home school program. Children that are 6- or 7-years-old are not required to be enrolled in school. However, if parents enroll their 6- or 7-year-old, the student must attend full-time. http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=28A.225
We are required to take daily attendance and notify you when your student has an unexcused absence. This is typically done through the School Messenger System or a call from an attendance secretary.
If your student has two unexcused absences in one month, state law (RCW 28A.225.020) requires we schedule a conference with you and your student to identify the barriers and supports available to ensure regular attendance. The district is obligated to develop a plan that may require an assessment to determine how to best meet the needs of your student and reduce absenteeism.
In elementary school after five excused absences in any month, or ten or more excused absences in the school year, the school district is required to contact you to schedule a conference at a mutually agreeable, reasonable time with at least one district employee, to identify the barriers and supports available to you and your student. A conference is not required if your student has provided a doctor’s note, or pre-arranged the absence in writing, and the parent, student and school have made a plan so your student does not fall behind academically. If your student has an Individualized Education Plan or a 504 Plan the team that created the plan needs to reconvene.
If your student has seven unexcused absences in any month or ten unexcused absences within the school year, we are required to file a petition with the Juvenile court, alleging a violation of RCW 28A.225.010, the mandatory attendance laws. The petition may be automatically stayed and your student and family may be referred to a Community Truancy Board, or you and your student may need to appear in Juvenile Court. If your student continues to be truant, you may need to go to court.
Each school has established rules on attendance that will help you ensure your student is attending regularly. If you have a question or concern about the specific rules at your student’s school, you may contact the attendance secretary.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Set a regular bed time and morning routine.
- Prepare for school the night before, finishing homework and getting a good night’s sleep.
- Find out what day school starts and make sure your child has the required immunizations.
- Don’t let your student stay home unless they are truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
- Avoid appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
- Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
- Keep track of your student’s attendance. Missing more than 9 days could put your student at risk of falling behind.
- Talk to your student about the importance of attendance.
- Talk to your students’ teachers if you notice sudden changes in behavior. These could be tied to something going on at school.
- Encourage meaningful afterschool activities, including sports and clubs.
Portions of this letter are attributable to Attendance Works http://www.attendanceworks.org/
Studies have shown that children whose parents are involved in their education do better in school. Parent-teacher conferences are one way to get involved. Every time you attend a parent-teacher conference, you learn more about your child and strengthen the bond with your child’s school. Getting to know the teacher and hearing his/her views of your child’s progress actually helps your child succeed. So, make parent-teacher conferences a priority and take the following steps to ensure you and your child get the most out of them.
Before the conference:
* Talk with your child: Find out his or her favorite subjects and activities, and ask if there are any concerns he/she would like you to discuss with the teacher.
* Review assignments: Are there some areas where your child really shines and others that might need a little extra work? Discuss both strengths and weaknesses with the teacher.
* Check whether your child should attend: In most cases, the conferences are strictly between the parents and the teachers, so you’ll probably need to make child-care arrangements.
The day of the conferences:
• Be on time: The conference schedule is tight and teachers need all parents to be on time. If something comes up, notify the teacher as soon as possible. Try to reschedule, even if it has to be a telephone conferences.
• Remember that conferences are brief: A typical parent-teacher conference lasts 10-15 minutes. If you need additional time, ask for a follow up session.
• Keep an open mind: Some parents get angry when teachers discuss trouble spots. Remember that these conferences are meant to help you understand your child’s school performance. Working together with the teacher will help your child succeed.
• Make plans: Find out what you can do to follow through at home. Decide together what you, your child, and the teacher need to help your child succeed.
• Tell your child: After the conference, meet with your child and discuss the teacher’s comments. Remember to praise all the things your child is doing well and pass along the teacher’s compliments. If you need to, talk about the areas that you and the teacher will be working on to help your child improve.
• Follow up: In the days and weeks that follow, let your child’s teacher know that you are following through on what was discussed, and that you’d like to hear how things are progressing in the classroom. Remember that schools and teachers welcome parent involvement year-round.
Feel free to call and schedule a phone or in-person conference any time you think there’s a need.
(Report to Parents, NAESP, RP26:1)
Please look for communication from your child's school about scheduling these important conferences.
We are beginning to look at the school calendars for the next three years. Your input is important in making the decisions on the start date of each school year and vacations. As required by Washington law, we must have 180 school days. The survey is restricted to one survey by device. The survey will remain open until November 13. The results will be presented to the School Board at its December meeting. Depending on the results of the survey and board input, a recommendation may be made at that meeting or the board may request additional information to be gathered. A calendar adoption will then be made at the January or February meeting depending on whether or not the board requests additional information. Please spread the word of the survey. Everyone’s opinion is important. A link to the survey is provided here.
If you have questions or comments, please contact Mr. Brian Howe at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello Stevenson-Carson School District Families,
I am so excited to start our school year. The summer is a time for me to work on policies and procedures, the district budget, to apply for state and federal grants and to read about the new guidelines governing our work in the district. The buildings are quiet during the summer … and at times, downright boring. I am looking forward to visiting schools today, when the classrooms, libraries, halls and cafeterias are again buzzing with activity.
We have a vision in our school district:
We believe that students will thrive in an environment where staff, parents, and community
partner to nurture a passion for lifelong learning.
Through these relationships, students will grow academically
and experience success in school and beyond.
Students who come to school every day, behave, and participate, will graduate! Our staff considers family an equal partner in the process of educating our children. It is important that the families support students so that they can come on time, to school, each day. It is very important for students to be in class – as that is where the learning happens. Our district has many goals for our students, and the students who come every day are more likely to achieve those goals. Please consider making EXCELLENT ATTENDANCE a goal for your student this year.
Our staff is committed to developing respectful relationships with the students and families in our district. It is our desire to see each child reach full potential. We believe that a student doesn’t really care how much a teacher knows, until the child realizes that the teacher cares. It is our goal, across the district, to recognize students for their positive behaviors and attitudes and to help them reflect on behavior that might need a slight adjustment. Our staff cares about your children, and we are working on learning new skills and strategies to meet each child’s needs. We know we are accountable for teaching the content required by the state of Washington, but we also want to help children learn to be respectful and kind – to become a contributing citizen, someone who you’d desire to have for a neighbor. Our district is working on improving our academic outcomes and we are also remembering to educate the whole child.
Please join us this year as we continue to create a culture in our district that is respectful and caring, while holding students to high academic expectation. We value your partnership, we welcome your communication and we thank you for being a part of your child’s edu
I hope your family is excited about the first day of school, I sure am! Have a great year!
Stevenson-Carson School District #303
WELCOME TO A NEW SCHOOL YEAR!
Greetings Stevenson-Carson School District Community,
Our school district has vision, specifically:
Students will thrive in an environment where staff, parents, and community
partner to nurture a passion for lifelong learning.
Through these relationships, students will grow academically and
experience success in school and beyond.
It is an honor for me to be your school superintendent, leading us towards this goal. Our staff is committed to provide each student an excellent education. We expect all students to do their best and to strive for high goals. We expect all staff to bring into their classrooms best practices, to create lessons that are engaging and to create a warm, welcoming learning environment. We are committed to growing professionally and to grow new partnerships this year. Stevenson-Carson School District desires to not only be vital in the lives of our students, but also in the community at large. We appreciate the strong partnerships created with businesses and agencies and wish for new collaborations this year. When the school and the community walk in unity – the school flourishes and so does the community. We invite you to join us on our journey to educate and nurture children into positive, contributing members of our society.
Looking forward to conversations,
Each year teens from around the United States are selected to participate in the YMCA Youth Conference on National Affairs or CONA. CONA is part of the National YMCA Youth and Government Program. As a participant in the Washington State YMCA Youth and Government Program, Stevenson High School is afforded the unique position of providing the teens participating in Youth and Government the opportunity to apply for acceptance into CONA.
Unlike traditional Youth and Government programs where youth simply sign up, youth seeking to participate in CONA must apply and be accepted. This year, Leah Mobley, a senior at Stevenson High School was selected to participate. “I applied for it at the end of 2015 and got an interview in January and heard back about my acceptance into the program shortly after that,” she said.Opening ceremonies for this year’s CONA program were held at the beginning of July in Black Mountain, North Carolina. For Mobley, the opportunity to participate in the program was life changing. “CONA was a life changing experience filled with personal growth, learning experience, and so many brilliant ideas from fellow delegates,” she said.
According to Mobley, the conference is six days long and the participants are organized into 30 committees. In the first committee participants present their proposals. Proposals are different from traditional Youth and Government bills in that they must describe a problem and suggest a solution. The focus must also be on a topic of national or international significance. State issues will not be accepted. “Only 30% of the proposals made it out of the first committee and after the third committee only about 2% of the proposals made it the final round of debate,” said Mobley.
Mobley began participating in Youth and Government her freshman year. “As a participant of CONA and the youth legislature I have learned so much about the way our government works, and the programs have contributed to me becoming an educated citizen,” she said.Mobley places a significant amount of emphasis on how her time at Stevenson High School has prepared her for the future. “I feel that my time in the Stevenson-Carson school district sculpted me into the person I am today. Many students aren't aware of all the opportunities that our school provides or tried to provide,” she said. “In most of my activities I have held leadership positions, and that has provided so many opportunities to go to camps, conferences, and meet people from around this state, and all over the country. Overall that helped me decide what I want to do in the future, and aided me
to connecting with people I would have never met, and taught me things I would have never learned.”
As a 2016 graduate of Stevenson High School, she is planning to attend Central Washington University where she will major in Business Marketing and Political Science with an emphasis in Administration and Policy. “After that I want to travel before I attend law school. My ultimate goal is to run for congress,” she said.
Even though many individuals at the district helped shape her educational experience, Mobley feels especially thankful to her advisor Carolyn Clark-Bennett. “She has helped me and put up with me through all my time in Youth and Government and some of my other activities. I would not be as successful as I am today without her constant love and support these past four years,” said Mobley.
It is clear that the opportunities provided to Mobley during her time at Stevenson High School have helped to prepare her for the path she has planned. “There is no doubt that my involvement in these programs has guided me to becoming an informed and educated citizen,” she said.
Written by: Rachel Bryan