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School Board Gets Updates on New Literacy Program, Capital Projects

A sixth grader from Wallace & Priscilla Intermediate School presented his book report on “Bud, Not Buddy” to the White Salmon Valley School Board at its meeting on Oct. 25. The district introduced a new literacy program for grades K-6 and this presentation showed it is paying off.

Photo by Ken Park
A sixth grader from Wallace & Priscilla Intermediate School presented his book report on “Bud, Not Buddy” to the White Salmon Valley School Board at its meeting on Oct. 25. The district introduced a new literacy program for grades K-6 and this presentation showed it is paying off.



At the start of the school year, a new literacy program was adopted by the White Salmon Valley School District, and on Oct. 25, the White Salmon Valley School Board (WSVSB) got to see the early fruits of that program.

Sixth-graders from Wallace & Priscilla Stevenson Intermediate School (WPSIS) presented to School Directors the core texts of the new literacy program, from classics like “Bud, Not Buddy” by Christopher Paul Curtis, to newer novels like “I am Malala” by Malala Yousufzai.

“The pacing of the curriculum is tough, but the students are learning critical skills,” said teacher Laura Meyer.

The students each talked about different aspects of the new program. One student talked about how the novel, “Bud, Not Buddy” has taught him about the Great Depression, cardboard cities, jazz music and racism in the 1930s. Another student talked about how the new program is teaching students to write research papers, cite sources and learn and use new vocabulary words.

The new program is “seminar style,” meaning the students lead discussions on the books with a facilitator. This teaches the students confidence in public speaking, and how to speak and listen in a group.

Once the students concluded their presentation, they were presented with awards from school board member Alan Reitz.

Prior to the start of the meeting, Superintendent Jerry Lewis spoke to the board about some potential school improvement projects to be reviewed by the board.

The potential projects are:

Reconstruction of the C-Court Parking lot at Columbia High School costing an estimated $327,955.

Constructing an Athletics Field House and overall site improvements at CHS costing an estimated $4,286,351.

Building a covered play structure at Hulan L. Whitson Elementary School costing an estimated $276,505.

Building a covered play structure at WPSIS costing an estimated $276,505.

Building Tennis Courts at CHS costing an estimated $357,357.

Repairing and upgrading the HVAC system at the Park Center costing an estimated $601,231

Relocating the District Administrative Office, currently in the Park Center, costing an estimated $268,325

Add a portable building, which will house two classrooms at CHS costing an estimated $192,600.

The board will review and decide on what projects to move forward with, if any, at the Nov. 29 meeting.

During the public comment period, Chuck Jacobs expressed concern about kids playing on the chain-link fence surrounding the football field during the homecoming game. Jacobs was concerned for the safety of the kids as well as the structure of the fence, which separates the crowd from the field.

Gabrielle Gilbert praised recently hired teachers who are aware of and understand students with processing disorders. Gilbert also encouraged the school board and educators present at the meeting to “adapt the learning environment to the kids, not the kids to the environment.

Under District Instruction and Learning, Washington State has released grants for WPSI, Henkle Middle School and the White Salmon Academy for programs that focus on students who are learning English. This is all part of an effort to phase out and replace the Bush era education policy of “No Child Left Behind.”

Dorinda Belcher and Mike Clark were recognized by the WSVSB as employees of the month. Belcher runs the after-school programs for the whole school district and Clark keeps the buildings safe, secure, and operational.



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