About Sara Neal, Communications staff

This author has not yet filled in any details.
So far Sara Neal, Communications staff has created 18 blog entries.

Reading for fun is important!

Middle school student in the library reading a book.School is a place to learn to read and also to read to learn. Students begin learning letters and sounds and by the time they are through the primary grades they are reading longer passages and beginning to understand that reading is a skill they will need in all subject areas. Sometimes students begin to feel frustrated when they can’t keep up or the content begins to be challenging. Guess what helps with instructional reading skills and even improving test scores? Pleasure reading. Reading for fun! Reading without purpose, choosing their own material, and engaging with books that are not even assigned is all part of pleasure reading. And guess where students can access pleasure reading materials and also have an expert to help them find books they want to read? You guessed it! The school library. The school library is a safe place without any assessments or assignments where students are free to choose books that speak to them.

Reading Unbound by Michael Smith and Jeffrey Wilhelm shares many research studies that show that students need exposure and opportunities for pleasure reading. “Pleasure reading is a more powerful predictor than even parental socioeconomic status and educational attainment” (Wilhelm). It is our job as teacher librarians to promote pleasure reading to all students and work to provide them with a diverse collection of materials to support them.This builds lifelong readers but also builds better students and lifelong learners.

Students reading a book in the library.

What does this look like in Vancouver Public Schools? As teacher librarians, we work hard to encourage students, inspire readers, and develop collections where students can see themselves and also learn about others. Teacher librarians, with help from our clerks, purchase and process materials that are new and exciting for our students, build displays and bulletin boards, do book talks, and talk with students about great reading choices that support reading just for fun. You can find literature clubs, Battle of the Books teams, student book reviews, special collections, and even book “tastings” at all different levels in our schools. And you will also find a teacher librarian, with a clerk by their side, smiling as they add new books this fall that they just know students will love. 

You can learn more about the benefits of pleasure reading here:

The Benefits of Reading for Pleasure

How Reading for Pleasure Helps Students Develop Academically

Reading for pleasure — a door to success

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Pleasure Reading

 

Things to do this summer

Day camps around the Greater Portland–Vancouver metro area

Day camps offer students a chance to expand their horizons, meet new friends and try fun activities.

There are a number of day camp options in the Portland–Vancouver metro area.

Photo: Super sleuths day camp at the Jim Parsley Community Center

Register for summer day camps at the Jim Parsley Community Center.

Through the Foundation for VPS, the Jewish Business Network is supporting summer camps with scholarship vouchers to attend Boys and Girls summer programs or a camp offered at the Jim Parsley Community Center. Students 14 years of age or younger may apply.

More events

On June 8, the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site will host free National Get Outdoors Day and Brigade Encampment events.


Library rewards summer reading

Sign up for the summer reading program in the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. The library also offers activities and special events.

Little kids, children, teens and adults can earn rewards while keeping their reading skills sharp with the free program.


Water Resources Center

The center offers several free educational activities, including Second Saturdays, Reading in the Wild and Science in the Park.


Intake center at Boys an Girls Club

All new Vancouver Public Schools students who are learning English as a second language may register for school at the intake center at Boys and Girls Club, 4040 Plomondon St., 98661.

The center will be open on the following dates:

  • Aug. 19, 21 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Aug. 20 and 22 from 12 noon to 5 p.m.

Interpreters will be available to help complete paperwork. Bring proof of immunization, proof of each child’s date of birth, proof of current address and emergency contact numbers and public assistance case number (if applicable).

Boys and Girls Clubs

Several clubs offer summer activities, but space is limited. Visit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southwest Washington’s website for more information.


early entrance

Kindergarten Jump Start

Kindergarten Jump Start offers academic and developmental opportunities that build learning skills in incoming kindergarten students and familiarize them with their schools. This summer, the program will be offered on weekdays Aug. 5 through Aug. 16 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Anderson, Fruit Valley, Harney, Hazel Dell, King, Lincoln, Marshall, Minnehaha, Ogden, Roosevelt, Truman, Walnut Grove and Washington elementary schools. Jump Start will be offered from Aug. 12–16 from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Chinook, Eisenhower, Felida, Franklin, Hough, Lake Shore, Sacajawea and Salmon Creek elementary schools.

There is no cost to participate. Transportation is not provided. Sign up in school offices before June 20 or on the first day of Jump Start at one of the above schools. Note: You must also register your child for kindergarten at this time. Please bring the required documentation.


Summer Meals

Graphic: School's Out! Power Up for Summer Fun!

The Summer Meals Program feeds kids and teens 18 years old and under. Sites are located at places such as schools, parks and community centers.

Boys and Girls clubs also provide summer meals. Membership in the clubs is not required for meals.

Kids ages birth to 18 also can get free meals during the summer thanks to Share


Cascadia Tech Academy

The Cascadia Tech Academy (formerly known as the Clark County Skills Center) is offering summer school classes to students who have completed eighth, ninth, 10th or 11th grade this school year. Students who have completed eighth, ninth, 10th or 11th grade during the 2018-19 school year can earn a 0.5 elective credit and, in some cases, academic credit. Get more information.

Photo: Kids swimming at the Jim Parsley Community Center

Swimming

Jump in! The pools at the Jim Parsley Community Center and Propstra Aquatic Center are open for fun and lessons. Check the links above for schedules and fees, or call JPCC at 360-313-1060 or Propstra at 360-313-3625.


go ready, fcrc, back to school

Go Ready! Back-to-School-Readiness Festival

The first day of school is coming. Will you be ready? Gear up for the first day by attending Go Ready!, a free back-to-school-readiness festival for VPS students and their parents. The event will be held Aug. 14 from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Hudson’s Bay High School, 1601 E. McLoughlin Blvd.


Free sports physicals

Physicals are required for middle and high school students who plan on participating in intramural sports, band or cheer. Free sports physicals for Vancouver students will be held at two locations:


Non-district events and activities are not sponsored or endorsed by Vancouver Public Schools.

2019 summer arts workshops

This summer, students may participate in a variety of activities, including dance, acting, music and the visual arts.

Location: Fruit Valley Elementary

Dates and times:
July 8–12
9 a.m. to noon

Grade levels: Students in third through sixth grades during the 2018-19 school year

Course description: Students will learn the basics of comedic theatre and practice thinking on their feet and teamwork skills.

Location: Lincoln Elementary

Dates and times:
July 8–12
9 a.m. to noon

Grade levels: Students in fourth through eighth grades during the 2018-19 school year

Course description: Students will have the opportunity to explore color through pastel, paint and photography! Students will learn to mix their own unique colors, learn about artists and explore painting techniques.

Location: Lake Shore Elementary

Dates and times:
July 8–12
9 a.m. to noon

Grade levels: Students in second through eighth grades during the 2018-19 school year

Course description: Students will increase their piano skills, learn the basics of composition and create songs of their own. Created songs will be put on a CD.

Location:
Lincoln Elementary

Dates and times:
July 8–12
9 a.m. to noon

Grade levels: Students in third through sixth grades during the 2018-19 school year

Course description: A variety of dance styles, including ballet, modern and jazz, will be explored in this workshop. Students will work individually and in partners to strengthen their dance technique and choreographic skills.

Location:
Eisenhower Elementary

Dates and times:
July 8–12
9 a.m. to noon

Grade levels: Students in fourth through eighth grades during the 2018-19 school year

Course description: Students will learn sheet music reading skills, harmonization, dynamics and choral singing techniques as they join together to form a choir.

Location:
Eisenhower Elementary

Dates and times:
July 8–12
9 a.m. to noon

Grade levels: Students in second through sixth grades during the 2018-19 school year

Course description: Students will use yarn, string and thread to create 2D images on paper. Students will learn weaving patterns and techniques to create balance.

Summer arts workshops are offered free to students currently enrolled in Vancouver Public Schools.

To register for these free opportunities:

Questions? Please email Ann Medellin.

Working to help all VPS students be “Future Ready” one library at a time!

by Traci Chun | Teacher Librarian | Skyview High School

Students working with on iPads at Alki Middle School.You may have heard the term “Future Ready” or thought about what schools are doing to help support students for future careers and industries. Future Ready Schools is a national effort to provide students with digital learning opportunities and help move school districts toward preparing students for success in college, community and careers. Future Ready Schools provides districts with resources and support to help align technology and digital learning plans with best instructional practices. The goal is to inspire and guide educators to create personalized learning experiences for all students. Vancouver Public Schools has signed the Future Ready Pledge and is honored to be a part of the network of educators from all across the country.

But what is a Future Ready library and how are teacher librarians involved?

Part of the Future Ready Schools program is designed especially for librarians! School librarians lead, teach and support the Future Ready goals of our district including curriculum support, instructional support, as well as managing technology. Teacher librarians in Vancouver Public School are excited to be leading others in collaboration, empowerment, and advocacy for all students. By following the Future Ready Librarian framework, teacher librarians are able to design innovative lessons, provide instructional support for classroom teachers, and work on building a program to support digital learning opportunities. Future Ready libraries are more than providing resources and innovative projects; they are about providing support for educators so our students are ready for anything the future may hold!

Check out Future Ready Schools for more information on the Future Ready movement in libraries or to check out the framework that is guiding our work.

Find innovation in your library

by Traci Chun | Teacher Librarian | Skyview High School

Shh! Shh! Shh!  Gone are the days of the library being a silent space filled with books and a shushing librarian. Today’s libraries are filled with technology, innovation, learning, and yes, books. As information is shared globally with only a few keystrokes, the need for a library and a librarian is greater now than ever.

Students reading and working on robots in the library!In VPS, our libraries are staffed with teacher librarians; many who taught in classrooms before completing graduate programs in librarianship. In addition to developing and maintaining a library collection of books, our teacher librarians also manage curriculum and the circulation of iPads. They collaborate with teachers to teach information literacy skills, digital citizenship, and inquiry-based learning. Teacher librarians provide students with innovative learning experiences to support and enhance standards and projects in all subject areas. Often times it is in the library where students get their first opportunity to test out new tools adopted by the district. Spheros, BreakoutEDU, and Hummingbird robotics are some examples of innovation that have been making appearances in libraries at all levels.

Libraries will always be havens for readers and learners seeking out a safe place to study or learn new information. Books and literacy will always be the heart of a library. However, libraries are evolving to meet the needs of our students and to rise to the challenge of supporting future ready students and graduates. This means incorporating technology, new instructional strategies, and literature for an exciting library space.

Check out @VPSLibraries on Instagram to get a glimpse of exciting things happening in your student’s library. New photos from all levels will post periodically. We doubt you will find a “shushing librarian” in our photos but you will see exciting learning spaces and opportunities for all students!

Battle of the Books creates powerful readers

Battle of the Books by Eric Bindewald | Teacher Librarian | Sacajawea Elementary School

Marshall accidentally “buzzed in” due to the adrenaline rush that took control of his pointer finger. Teammates turned to Marshall with bated breath while he stared at the emcee as though he was just caught peeing in the library.  The five seconds of silence seemed like an eternity. As each second passed, Marshall’s expression repeatedly screamed, “I DIDN’T PUSH THAT BUTTON!”  

The emcee broke the silence, “Well, I can’t repeat the question since you buzzed in before I finished. But, I will need you to give me an answer.” For the next ten seconds, the emcee, spectators, Marshall’s teammates and competitors all replayed the first nine words of the question in their minds, “In the book Pax, why did Pax chase Runt…”

Marshall was on fire that day, and he wasn’t going to let an ill-timed finger-twitch stop his team from securing a spot in the school’s championship battle.  As though he wrote the question himself, Marshall answered, “Because Bristle gets irritated with Runt when he is around Pax.” The emcee’s jaw hit the floor… Marshall answered correctly!  The library erupted with cheers.

This was a scene from one of the weekly Battle of the Books matches at Sacajawea Elementary. Marshall’s team eventually went on to win the school’s championship battle and compete in the Vancouver School District battle at the downtown location of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library. While such intense moments may not be commonplace during a school’s regular season battles, the district championship is always filled with such moments.

The Battle of the Books program is one tool that Teacher Librarians at both the elementary and secondary levels use to meet the goal of turning students into powerful readers.  One student named Ryan began his fifth grade year with fall iReady literacy scores at a beginning third grade level. He wanted to join a Battle of the Books team to compete against his brother.  Like all battle contestants, Ryan was accountable to his teammates to read a minimum of four books from the battle book list. He read his minimum, and many more. Ryan ended the regular season as one of the top five point scorers at his school.  Even more impressive, his spring iReady literacy scores were all at benchmark. What?!?! Two and a half grade levels in a single school year?!?! When asked how he did it, Ryan replied, “Being on a Battle of the Books team made me want to read all the books on the list.  The more books I read, the better I got at it.” Ryan’s personal testimony provides anecdotal support to research studies that show a correlation between time spent reading and reading achievement gains.

School’s throughout the district have numerous students who join battle teams because of the competitive aspect.  The battle participants revel in the competition and the cheers from spectators. And like school sports teams, battle teams focus on teamwork and sportsmanship.  Whatever the reason a student joins a team… these readers become more powerful!

If you happen to see any of the 2018 Truman Elementary Trailblazers battle team, be sure to tell them congratulations on their district championship.  And, when you happen to see your Teacher Librarians, tell them you support their efforts to keep making powerful readers.   

After-school dance at VSAA

All third- through eighth-grade VPS students are invited to participate in a fun, free after-school dance program that will introduce them to a variety of styles, including ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop and Mexican folk dancing. Students also will choreograph dances and perform for their families at the end of the session. The program is taught by certified teachers from the school district.

Two sessions are available:

Fall session

Wednesdays, Sept. 26, 2018–Nov. 14, 2018
4:30 p.m. to  5:30 p.m.
Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, 3101 Main St.

Winter session

Wednesdays, Jan. 30, 2019–March 20, 2019
4:30 p.m. to  5:30 p.m.
Vancouver School of Arts and Academics, 3101 Main St.

Students should wear comfortable clothing that allows them to move freely. Students also may wear special dance shoes, but they are not required.

Transportation is not provided.

How to apply

  1. Complete the application and medical form.
  2. Return the application and form by Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. There are three ways:
    • Email them to vps-arts@vansd.org.
    • Give them to an elementary creative arts teacher.
    • Mail them to Visual and Performing Arts at JPC, attn: Ann Medellin, 2901 Falk Rd., Vancouver, WA 98661.

Families will receive a confirmation email with additional details.

2018 summer arts workshops

This summer, artists may participate in a variety of activities, including dance, acting, music and the visual arts.

Location: Roosevelt Elementary School

Dates and times:
July 9-13
9 a.m.–11 a.m.

Grade levels: Students in second through fifth grades during the 2017-18 school year.

Course description: Students will learn sheet music reading skills, harmonization, dynamics and choral singing techniques as they join together to form a choir.

Location: Roosevelt Elementary School

Dates and times:
July 9-13
1 p.m.—3 p.m.

Grade levels: Students in second through fifth grades during the 2017-18 school year

Course description: Students will learn sheet music reading skills, harmonization, dynamics and choral singing techniques, all while learning Spanish vocabulary and experiencing Hispanic culture through music.

Location: Marshall Elementary School

Dates and times:
July 23-27
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Grade levels: Students in third through seventh grades during the 2017-18 school year

Course description: Students will play a variety of pitched and unpitched percussion instruments to form an ensemble. Music from a variety of musical influences and cultures will be explored.

Location:
Vancouver School of Arts and Academics

Dates and times:
July 9-13
9 a.m.– 12 noon

Grade levels: Students in third through sixth grades during the 2017-18 school year

Course description: A variety of dance styles, including ballet, modern and jazz, will be explored in this workshop. Students will work individually and in partners to strengthen their dance technique and choreographic skills.

Requirements or supplies: Students should wear comfortable, athletic clothing appropriate for movement and should bring a water bottle. Shoes are not allowed in the dance studio at VSAA.

Location: Vancouver School of Arts and Academics

Dates and times:
August 6-10
9 a.m. to noon

Grade levels: Students in third and fourth grades during the 2017-18 school year

Course description: Students will explore book binding technique, poetry, portfolios and short story writing to submit their work for publication. Family and friends will be invited to join on the last day of the session for a reading, and all students will take home a print version of their work.

Location: Vancouver School of Arts and Academics

Dates and times:
July 23-27
10 a.m. to noon

Grade levels: Students in fourth through seventh grades during the 2017-18 school year

Course description: Students will learn the basics of comedic theatre, thinking on their feet and cooperation. Students will perform an improv show similar to Whose Line Is It Anyway? for family and friends on the final day of the session.

Location:
Vancouver School of Arts and Academics

Dates and times:
Monday–Thursday
July 9–12 and July 16–19
9 a.m. to 12 noon

Grade levels: Students in seventh through eleventh grades during the 2017-18 school year

Course description: Students will have opportunities to generate new work using elements of movement, improvisation, masks and music performing devised works within a range of theatrical styles.

Requirements or supplies: Students should dress comfortably in clothing they can move in and should bring a water bottle.

Locations, dates and times:

Minnehaha Elementary School
July 9-13
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Lake Shore Elementary School
July 16-20
9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Grade levels: Students in second through sixth grades during the 2017-18 school year

Course description: Students will increase their piano skills, learn the basics of composition and create songs of their own. Created songs will be put on a CD.

Location: King Elementary

Dates and times:
July 23-27
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Grade levels: Students in first through fourth grades during the 2017-18 school year

Course description: Students will study children’s literature to compare and emulate some of history’s most popular picture book illustrators.

Location: Vancouver School of Arts and Academics

Grade levels: Students in eighth through 11th grades during the 2017-18 school year and enrolled in a VPS high school for this fall

Auditions:
June 13
4:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m. (callbacks to follow June 14-15)

Please bring a one- to two-minute prepared piece of text from any of Shakespeare’s plays.

Dates and times:
Shakespeare Intensive
July 9-13
9 a.m.–12 noon

Rehearsal:
Monday through Friday, July 30-Aug. 15
9 a.m.–3 p.m.

Performances:
Aug. 16-18 at 6 p.m.

Course description:
Come one, come all! We will be presenting a district-wide production of Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona. We will hold auditions in June, participate in a weeklong intensive focused on performing Shakespeare in July and rehearse for our production in August. Join the fun of this free learning and performing opportunity.

Location:
Vancouver School of Arts and Academics
July 9-13
1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Grade levels: Students in eighth through eleventh grades during the 2017-18 school year

Course description: Students will receive hands-on instruction in recording studio techniques, composing, mixing and live tracking.

Location: Vancouver School of Arts and Academics

Dates and times:
July 16-20
9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

Grade levels: Students in eighth through eleventh grades during the 2017-18 school year.

Course description: Dancers in middle and high school will learn the art of choreography. Through the week, dancers will find original movement themes to develop into personal expressions, create motifs, learn to marry music with dance and explore group forms and transitions. Students will perform their work for family and friends on the final day of the workshop.

All opportunities are taught by certified teachers and are offered free to students currently enrolled in Vancouver Public Schools.

To register for these free opportunities:

Parents will be notified regarding their student’s enrollment by the last day of school.

Questions? Please email VPS Arts.

Track season starts for the Panthers team

It’s that time of year again to dust off your running shoes and get ready for the 2017 track season set to begin on April 10th. Track is open to all students grades six through eight. Students can participate in a wide range of events from running in the 1600, 800, 400, 200, 100, relays and hurdles. Students can also participate in field events including the shot put, discuss, high jump and long jump.

Practices are daily from 3:30-5:00pm.

Sign up on www.familyid.com 

Head Coach: Mike Kates
Head Coach: Taylor Johnson