Friday, March 19, 2010

Once, Twice, Three Times the Winner

For the third consecutive year, Camas High School took first place at the Southwest Washington Regional Science Olympiad tournament. The event was held Saturday, March 13, at Lower Columbia College in Longview, WA. 18 teams represented 12 high schools—most of which hail from Clark County.

The CHS “Black” team was the first place winner while the CHS “White” team placed fifth. Both teams will proceed to the State competition on April 10 at Eastern Washington University in Cheney.

The two CHS teams “double-medaled” in nine of the 23 events. In two events, “Fossils” and “Disease Detectives,” the CHS teams took first and second place.

CHS has competed at the state level every year since the program’s inception four years ago. The first year, the team won the “Spirit” trophy and placed tenth. In the following 2 years, CHS placed third.

The Skyridge Middle School team also did very well at the regional event and will proceed to the state competition. This will be the Hawks first trip to the state event.

“Clark County has very good prospects for the state event. The four teams most likely teams to be fighting for the State title this year are Stanwood, Bothell (last year’s champion), Union and Camas,” commented team member Ryan Gompertz. “Prairie and Columbia River very likely will be in the top 10 and are possible challengers for the title,” he added.

Each state in the US will send one High School and one Middle School team to the national competition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on May 20-22, 2010.

Good luck, CHS!

Three Camas Schools Recognized for Achievement

Camas High School, Liberty and Skyridge have been recognized by the state as schools that profoundly affect student learning and are being awarded for their efforts.

A total of 174 schools are receiving Washington Achievement Awards for 2009. This year, 70 elementary, 26 middle, 52 high schools and 26 comprehensive schools received awards.

The awards are being given by the State Board and the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Our schools will be recognized at a celebration at on May 5.

Assistant Superintendent Tanis Knight noted that this award is particularly encouraging because it recognizes the efforts of teachers to move ALL of their students to higher levels of achievement. "Camas educators believe that every student can benefit from clear learning targets and excellent instruction. This award is a validation of their hard work and commitment to their students," commented Knight.

The awards are part of the State Board’s accountability program, adopted in 2009. Under the program, all schools will be indexed according to outcomes and indicators from 2007 to 2009. The five outcomes are student performance in statewide reading, writing, math and science tests, as well as the school’s extended graduation rate, which includes those students who took longer than four years to graduate.
Those outcomes are each measured using four indicators:

  1. achievement of students who are not from low-income families;
  2. achievement of students from low-income families;
  3. achievement of all students when compared to “peers” (those with similar student characteristics, such as the percentage of students who have a disability, are learning English, are designated as gifted, come from low-income families, and are mobile); and
  4. improvement in the achievement of all students from the previous year.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Outstanding FIRST Robotics Competition

The Camas-Washougal FIRST Robotics team took second place at regional competition on March 5-6 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland. The team is comprised of students from both Camas and Washougal high schools and is sponsored and mentored by many corporations and professionals from the local area.

The Camas-Washougal team placed so well in the competition. In fact, going into the final round, the team was tied for first ranking position. Unfortunately, the other team won the last game and we came in second. Nonetheless, this was a fantastic showing on our team’s part out of 60+ teams.

“I have never attended such a positive and pumped-up display of technical inspiration and energy,” commented mentor Roy Thornley, mechanical engineer. “These kids are the promise and hope of our country’s future and after sharing in this experience, and seeing what these kids can do, I have a new infusion of confidence. “

This is a win-win situation for the schools as FIRST Robotics is an industry-sponsored program. Thanks to tremendous support from organizations like NASA, Autodesk (Inventor of 3D CAD systems), FLIR, Platt Electric, Boeing, US Digital of Vancouver, as well as several other computer and electronics corporations, there is relatively little cost to the district. It is worthy to note that the intense interest these groups have in competitions should be an indicator of the importance industry places on the students that participate.

The team will compete in Seattle next month for another shot at the national competition in Atlanta.

“As one of the top schools in the State of Washington, Camas High School is an ideal venue to promote and nurture this fantastic educational opportunity,” said Thornely. “As a FIRST mentor and the father of a Camas High student, I can’t say enough about the importance of this program,” he added.

Click here for a behind-the-scene look at the competition.

Nominate Your Favorite Teacher Today

Do you know a fantastic teacher in Camas? One who inspires creativity and enthusiasm in the classroom? One who demonstrates exemplary teaching methods and style?

Nominate that teacher for the OnPoint Excellence in Education Award. The winner will win $5,000 for their school and will have their mortgage paid for one year! Click the link below for more information and the nomination form.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Participating in the Census is Easy, it’s Safe, and it Counts!

Some people are unfamiliar with the Census or the fact that one will occur in 2010, and many more are unaware of the benefits a complete count offers. Census data guides critical decisions that will affect our area, from congressional representation to the location of retail stores. In fact, the information the census collects helps to determine how more than $400 billion of federal funding each year is spent on infrastructure and services like hospitals; job training centers; schools; senior centers; bridges, tunnels and other public works projects; and emergency services. These funds support numerous programs such as Title I grants, Head Start, WIC, and services for the elderly.

For each person counted during the Census in our area, Clark County is allocated $1,032 every year for the next ten years. By completing your census questionnaire, you directly affect your community. Help Clark County receive the funds it needs by returning your form.

It’s easy. The 2010 questionnaire is one of the shortest in history, and comes very close to the length and scope of inquiries asked in 1790. For each person in the household, there are seven questions including name, gender, race, ethnicity, and whether they sometimes live somewhere else. The head of household answers three questions the residence in general. Census workers follow up if any information is incomplete or missing.

Forms were mailed March 15 and must be returned by April 1. For more information, visit Be counted and make a difference in the future of Clark County!

Elementary Counselors Present Parenting Class

The Camas Elementary Counseling Team is pleased to bring back the very successful 1-2-3 Magic program. This simple, yet powerful approach to disciplining kids has won rave reviews from parents, educators and professionals alike. Parents will learn techniques that are down-to-earth, kid-friendly and make a dramatic impact in a short time. Topics include encouraging good behavior, independence, and self esteem.

Thanks to a grant from the Camas Educational Foundation, program videos are available for checkout at each elementary library.

Join us on Tuesday April 13, 2010, from 6-8 PM at Helen Baller Elementary School. Registration is not necessary. Unfortunately, childcare will not be provided. If you have questions, contact your school counselor.

Hope to see you there!

Grass Valley Elementary Places Third in Regional Math Competition

Grass Valley Elementary has some of the best fifth-grade mathematicians around, as demonstrated by their third-place finish in the 2010 Elementary Math Is Cool Championship. The event was held at Ft. Vancouver High School last Friday and featured 78 teams from across the region. Grass Valley teacher and coach Jackie Graue prepared students for the event, which included a free-response Individual Test, Team Tests in free-response and multiple-choice formats, Relays, a Mental Math Test, and a unique College Bowl event. The problems on each test covered a range of difficulties in diverse topics, challenging the most experienced students to answer all of the questions within the time limit and requiring less-experienced students to decide on which problems they should focus.

Extracurricular math competitions are an increasingly important way for schools to challenge their most advanced students and also encourage those students who are not as connected in their math classrooms as they could be. The annual Math is Cool Championships engage thousands of students at multiple sites throughout Washington, and just expanded to the Vancouver/Portland area last year. After all the tests were scored and the numbers were crunched, Aubrey Johnson had the highest individual score from Grass Valley. Way to go, Aubrey!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Artists Shine at ESD 112 Art Show

Artists at Camas High School fared beautifully at the ESD 112 Regional Art Show last night. Papermakers won awards in each category and collectively won more awards than any other high school.

Congratulations to the following CHS artists who were named regional winners at the ESD 112 Superintendent’s Art Show and have advanced to state competition: Senior Eden Ramirez (water color – “Life Under Glass”); Whitney Austin (photograph – “Portrait”); and Kristi Valentine (mixed media – “A Peculiar Life”). Blake Wales (photography – “Happiness”) and Eden Ramirez – (color pencil – “A Nap”) were also recognized as local winners. Eden Ramirez’s third entry (“Oh!!!”) received an Honorable Mention.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

CEF Grants at Skyridge

Skyridge Middle School staff and students were recently visited by the Camas Educational Foundation Prize Patrol, and mini grants were awarded to John Condon and Gayle Cooper!

Mr. Condon will be using the $1,300 allocated to him for the purchase of eight student compound microscopes which will provide our students with the ability to study science “up close” and in detail!

The $650 awarded to Ms. Cooper will be used to establish a rolling cart equipped with a Native American resource library for our 7th grade classrooms. Students will experience life during historical eras through the multicultural perspectives depicted in the resource books. Units of study will vigorously explore both the literary elements and the historical experiences of the Native American tribes that wove the fabric of our current NW culture.

Record Number of DECA Students Qualify for State--Busby Named Advisor of the Year

A whopping 56 CHS marketing students qualified to attend and participate at the DECA State Career Development Conference last week in Bellevue. Twelve students advanced to DECA Nationals and our very own CHS marketing teacher Sherry Busby was named advisor of the year. Way to go, Sherry!

About DECA (from

Founded in 1946, DECA is a 501(c)(3) Association of Marketing Students made up of 170,000 marketing students, 4,500 marketing teachers, and 14,000 postsecondary Delta Epsilon Chi members. The student members of DECA are smart, dedicated individuals already actively involved in preparing for successful careers in marketing, management and entrepreneurship.

DECA members are experienced in workplace skills and are proven leaders within their peer groups and their neighborhood communities. The majority—generally juniors and seniors in high school—hold jobs, and a surprising percentage own their own businesses. Eighty-six percent of DECA members will pursue postsecondary education.

DECA is not extracurricular; it is an integral part of the classroom instructional program. DECA provides teachers and members with educational and leadership development activities to merge with the classroom instructional program, teaching the skills that a successful career in business requires. Working hand-in-hand with the educational and business communities, DECA’s goal is for its members to develop a “career success kit” to carry into their professional and personal lives after graduation.