Longtime Washougal School Board chairman Blaine Peterson will face challenger Jeanie Moran in the Nov. 5 general election; while incumbent Washougal City Councilman Paul Greenlee will be up against Lisa D. Voeltz.
Every summer, groups of volunteers congregate at local churches, where they spend many hours planning and hosting vacation Bible school events.The focus of VBS programs vary depending on their yearly theme, but organizers at several different churches all emphasized that the main purpose is to provide a caring environment for young people to get to know themselves and God more, and to learn to reach out to others in need. Bree Truax, youth and Christian education ministries coordinator at Zion Lutheran Church in Camas said regardless of belief, all are welcome at VBS. “No question is too big or wrong,“ she said. “We come as we are, together, to share life and love. God’s love is expressed in countless ways in the world, and VBS is one vehicle for it as we play, seek, sing, explore and more.”
Whether it was the Grand Parade, the Kids Parade or all the activities in between, Camas Days was once again a crowd pleaser. The fun kicked off Friday with the annual Kids Parade. Children dressed in all matter of things “Outta This World” flooded the streets with smiles and tossed candy to eager onlookers. The Camas Days theme gave young ones full use for their imaginations. It was organized by Camas Parks and Recreation, which gave each participant a pair of unique sunglasses and a ribbon. Parade participants ranged from community groups to the Camas Public Library to families out enjoying the day. Erin Waller of Camas came with her three children, who dressed as martians in green body paint and eyeball sunglasses. “This is our first year in the Kids Parade and we’re excited,” she said. “We just love the big parade.”
After years of textbooks being lost and sports uniforms going MIA, the Washougal School District decided enough was enough. At the beginning of the 2012-13 school year, the district began using an electronic system to scan textbooks, increasing communication with students, parents and coaches, and prohibiting students with a missing uniform or equipment to participate in sports until the items were returned. Transcripts were not released to graduating seniors unless all fines were paid. This has resulted in more than $7,000 worth of fines and fees paid, and lost items returned as of June.
Starting this fall, Hathaway Elementary School will offer full-day kindergarten at no additional out-of-pocket costs to parents. The funding is a step toward compliance with the Supreme Court McCleary decision, which mandates lawmakers must fully fund basic education, including kindergarten, by 2018. Grants for full-day kindergarten at schools with the highest rates of poverty will be first priority. In Washougal, Hathaway was the only school to qualify, with a free- and reduced-price lunch rate of approximately 62.7 percent, compared with 34 percent at Gause Elementary and 32.5 percent at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary. There were no schools in Camas which qualified.
Washougal's Hathaway Elementary School program includes free lunches, summer camps, academics and activities
Sometimes it takes just a small idea to create a ripple of change.That is what is happening in the Washougal School District this summer. At Hathaway Elementary School, students from pre-kindergarten through high school level are receiving extra academic help, along with free, nutritious lunches; and they are participating in enrichment activities. This is the result of a collaboration between district administrators, teachers, staff, health centers and local volunteers. “Even just at the beginning of this program, the level of conversation, the amount of attention each of these kids are able to receive, is so beneficial,” said David Tudor, curriculum director.
Kandai Shimada’s winning poster reads, “At my stop, you stop.”It shows children exiting a school bus, with drivers waiting in the background. The poster has impressed judges at several levels. It won first-place honors at both the Camas School District, regional and state levels. Shimada, soon to be a fifth-grader at Grass Valley Elementary, will have his poster entered into a national contest with the opportunity to win a savings bond of $1,000 and have his work displayed during the 2014 National School Bus Safety Week. He received $50 for his statewide win, and is contemplating buying a new baseball bat. “It felt good to win and I was also surprised,” Shimada said. “The poster (idea) was the first thing that came to me. I just kept working on it. I do a lot of contests for art.”
It was less than three years ago that a Camas eighth-grader named Alexa Efraimson first began turning heads after she helped lead the Evergreen Storm Track Club to eighth place at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships. That skinny girl with braces is now a world-class high school runner, having earned a bronze medal for Team U.S.A. at the World Youth Track and Field Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine. Competing in a field of 12 finalists, who are among the best youth athletes in the world, Efraimson finished the 1,500 meter final in 4:16:07. Ethiopians Tigist Gashaw (4:14.25) and Dawit Seyaum (4:15.51), took first and second place. Efraimson edged out Bobby Clay of Great Britain down the final stretch. Clay finished in 4:16:41.
“Experience wine the way nature makes it.”This is the philosophy behind Washougal couple Robin Dobson and Kathleen Perillo’s business, Klickitat Canyon Winery. From the soil in which the grapes grow to when the wine is sold, everything is as natural as possible. Their vineyard is one of only three in the state of Washington that makes certified organic wines. There are no sulfites, yeasts, clarifiers or chemicals. These days, “clean eating” is becoming a common practice in many households, but Dobson said he was making wine without additives long before that. “I’ve always done it this way,” he said. “It’s the traditional way of making wine in Europe. I want the grapes to speak for themselves.”
When Meghal Sheth won a coveted spot at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, she was thrilled. As one of only 10 students from the state of Washington to win the all-expenses-paid trip to Phoenix, Ariz., Sheth, 16, enjoyed being surrounded by others who shared her passions. She was joined by her friend and fellow Camas High School sophomore Sophie Shoemaker. “It was a surreal and humbling experience,” Sheth said. “It was amazing being surrounded by kids who have the same passion for science and who are conducting breakthrough research in many different fields of math and science.”
Most of us in the Northwest welcome the summer weather with open arms. It can be a pleasant respite after seemingly endless gray skies and showers.However, when the temperatures get into the high 80s and 90s, it can become rather uncomfortable for those without air conditioning.
A buggy on a misty country road. A skateboarder weaving his way down the street. A desert highway that seems to stretch forever.These are a few of the images Camas Camera Club members will share during their photography exhibit this month. "The Call of the Open Road," will be featured at the Camas Public Library's Second Story Gallery. The official unveiling and reception are on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. The opening will coincide with a popular classic car show, which is a part of Camas First Friday. Club members participated in the exhibit last year and enjoyed it so much, they came back for a second round, said Kirsten Muskat, club founder.
With its network of trails, well-paved roads and scenic views, the Camas and Washougal areas are fast becoming home to an emerging cycling culture.
One of the unique aspects of Camas and Washougal are the schools. From small buildings tucked away in Skamania County to brand new facilities with all the latest technology, the area has a bit of everything. What makes these schools different, besides the physical structures, is the programs they have. The Post-Record is featuring a few of these unique opportunities offered at the local schools. Some were the result of parent volunteers, others were designed by teachers or administrators.Helen Baller ElementaryAt Helen Baller in Camas, students have the opportunity to participate in a parent-led drama team, a running club or student leadership.
“Leave nothing but footprints. Take nothing but pictures. Kill nothing but time.” This popular quote describes some of the unwritten rules of hiking. In the Camas and Washougal areas, with close access to the Columbia River Gorge, there are a multitude of beautiful areas one could wander on for hours. Whether you are seeking a short, challenging hike with stunning views of the gorge, observing nature in a wildlife refuge, or traversing near local waterways, hiking spots in Camas and Washougal offer something to suit most interests and ability levels.Cape Horn TrailAt the Cape Horn Trail eight miles east of Washougal on Highway 14, hikers are greeted with an easy-to-moderate path that winds up through the Columbia River Gorge. During the spring, the wildflowers are dazzling and views are phenomenal on a sunny day. The trail is a complete, 7 mile loop with 1,200 feet of elevation gain. It continues to evolve with more routes and improvements.
A flyer from the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District delivers the following message: “Get Smarter: READ!”Those who sign up for local “Dig into Reading” programs get an added bonus: Prizes to reward minutes read. The Camas and Washougal public libraries both have reading programs in place to encourage children and teenagers to read during their school break. "Youth who read during the summer will practice their reading and comprehension skills, and are likely to start school in the fall more prepared," said Ellen Miles, Camas youth services librarian. "That leads to smart kids who will grow up to be doctors and scientists who will change the world for the better."
During the school year, children have access to a hot, nutritionally balanced lunch at school. For those who arrive early enough, breakfast is also included. Many of these students receive the meals for free or at a reduced price due to family income levels. But come summer, many may go hungry. That's why the Washougal School District will sponsor the Simplified Summer Food Program for the fifth year in a row. During July and August, free hot and sack lunches will be offered to all children, ages 1 through 18, who want to come.
The Washougal School District will seek to renew its maintenance and operations, and technology levies next year. "It is very clear the Legislature is not going to fully fund schools," said Blaine Peterson, School Board president. "We'll have to figure out the best way to get funding to our kids." The School Board will wait until the Legislature approves a budget to decide whether to renew the levies at current levels, or ask voters for an increase. "We will seek to replace the levy, we just don't know how much yet," Peterson said.
After a year of using iPads, student absences and tardies have significantly decreased, and students are more engaged in learning.These results come from a fifth-grade iPad pilot program in the Washougal School District. At the start of the school year, students in three classrooms were given an iPad to see how it would impact learning. "Both students and teachers in the iPad pilot report high levels of interest in continuing the pilot, and look forward to showcasing the student projects and learning that have taken place throughout the year," said Les Brown, technology director. Results from the pilot group show unexcused absences to be nearly half of those who did not have the devices in the classroom. In addition, excused absences are 34 percent lower and tardies are about 30 percent lower. "This translates into more students being at school and ready when school starts," Brown said.
All four high schools in Camas and Washougal recently held their graduation ceremonies. Post-Record reporters were on hand to capture the special moments. Camas High School Cheers, tears and laughter could be heard throughout Doc Harris Stadium Friday night, where more than 500 proud Papermakers participated in commencement ceremonies. The class of 2013 is not only the largest class ever in school history, but it is also the first senior class to compete at the 4A level, and set a new record for scholarships, with approximately $9.3 million amassed.
Outdoor school gives students the opportunity to discover more about the Columbia River Gorge and its history
Ask a sixth-grader what their favorite aspect of outdoor school is, and a likely response will be the opportunity to get out of the classroom. And that’s the point. Outdoor school, aligned with state science standards, is meant to give students a hands-on approach to the natural world they can't get by going online or looking at photos in a textbook. Students learn through inquiry and practical application by doing hands-on activities.
When avid fisherman Gayle Cooper was asked if she’d like to take students on a field trip to the Columbia River Fisheries Program, she jumped at the opportunity. "Fishing is really big in my family and there's also the environmental component, which is very important," said the Skyridge Middle School teacher. Cooper was contacted by Donna Allard, a fish biologist in charge of education at the fisheries program. For more information or to schedule a field trip, contact Donna Allard at email@example.com.
“You laugh, you cry and you work harder than you ever thought you could. “Some days, you're trying to change the world and some days you're just trying to make it through the day. “Your wallet is empty, your heart is full, and your mind is packed with memories of kids who have changed your life. “Just another day in the classroom." For most retiring teachers and administrators in Camas, this poem by Krissy Venosdale rings true in a number of ways. Some chose the field of education years ago and have spent a career immersed in it. For others, it was a second calling later in life. All of those interviewed couldn't imagine doing anything else.
Sammy Mederos’s beaming smile and long, thick, curly blond hair are the very picture of health. To look at her, you'd never guess she is a leukemia survivor. But it wasn't that long ago the now 9-year-old was severely ill from chemotherapy treatments. She was diagnosed in 2009, while in kindergarten at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary. It was a long road to recovery, but Sammy is now in remission.
“You laugh, you cry and you work harder than you ever thought you could. Some days, you're trying to change the world and some days you're just trying to make it through the day. Your wallet is empty, your heart is full, and your mind is packed with memories of kids who have changed your life. Just another day in the classroom." For many retiring teachers and administrators in Camas and Washougal, this poem by Krissy Venosdale rings true in a number of ways. Some chose the field of education years ago and have spent a career immersed in it. For others, it was a second calling later in life. In the May 28 and June 4 editions of the Post-Record, readers will find profiles of several notable retirees in the Camas and Washougal school districts who turned their love of teaching and learning into a career. Now, they are looking forward to the next stage. Up first are the Washougal educators, look for those from Camas next week.
They come from contrasting backgrounds and work in very different environments. Candy Michener is a kindergarten teacher at Helen Baller Elementary School, and Eric Johnson is a language arts and Title I teacher at Jemtegaard Middle School who works with struggling students. However, in one area they are very similar, and that is in their passion to help students become successful learners, and seeing the potential in each and every one. Now, they share something else in common. Michener and Johnson were recently named teacher of the year for their respective school districts by the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce. They will be honored, along with the businesses of the year and citizen of the year, at the annual chamber banquet at The Fairgate Inn on Tuesday, June 4.
“I’m going to get paid to ride my bike!” That was the first thought when my editor suggested profiling local history rides for a feature article.Anyone who knows me well understands I have a passion for exercise, and I’m also intrigued by most anything historical. Anyone who knows me well understands I have a passion for exercise, and I'm also intrigued by most anything historical. Although I'm new to cycling, I was pretty certain I could keep up with the other riders on the 15 to 20 mile jaunt, which includes several stops to visit local areas of interest. The Camas History Stroll, as its called, is led by Joseph Blanco. Given the amount of information he knows about the area, you'd think he'd lived here for several years.
Traditionally, when a high school becomes too crowded, a new building or addition is constructed and the educational programs to fit in that space are determined. A committee of teachers, administrators and community members are seeking to change that, by having the instructional models drive the future expansion of Camas High School. "The CHS Futures Committee believes our new culture and programs should drive our future facility decisions," said Nan Henriksen, former mayor of Camas and committee member. "We need to develop a CHS vision of our preferred future, complete with language, culture and instructional programs that support it." For more information about the Futures Committee, contact Steven Marshall at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elton and Madeline Richardson shared a lot of memories in their 62 years of marriage: Raising a family, working in the state Capitol in Olympia, and delving into real estate were just a few.They also shared a passion for history and travel, which culminated in a two-year trip to see every state capitol in the continental United States. “I worked security in Olympia, and Madeline was a tour guide,” he said. “After being at the capitol, we decided it was a goal to visit all 48 of them.” The two also visited several historical sites, including all the battlefields of the Revolutionary and Civil wars. In addition, their tour included national parks and monuments, such as Niagara Falls, Yellowstone, Branson, Miss., the St. Louis Arch, Mount Rushmore, the Florida Everglades, Key West, space centers in Florida and Texas, the Statue of Liberty, the top of the World Trade Center and the Alamo, to name a few. Other highlights of the trip, which lasted from 1991 to 1993, included visiting the Connecticut state capitol and an unusual tour guide in Oklahoma. "They were remodeling the capitol there at the time, so there was no guided tour," he said. "So, we conducted our own. A gentleman came up and asked us what we were doing, and if we needed help. Then, he took us all around and gave us a great tour. Afterward, he introduced himself as a state senator. We had no idea."
Math instruction and money management skills are two areas graduates of Washougal High School cite as needing improvement. Students in the classes of 2000 through 2012 were recently surveyed as part of a district outreach focus to past WHS graduates. The School Board regularly holds linkage activities, such as meetings in local schools, to encourage staff, parents, volunteers community agencies and others to give input and feedback about the effectiveness of district programs and educational opportunities.
Summer. It’s a time for kids to kick back, relax and enjoy themselves. There are several camps in Clark County that offer options to do that, ranging from a few hours to several days. Camps include everything from how to improve sports skills to how to improve outdoor skills. Best of all, there are choices for all ages, stages and price ranges.
Raise $27,000 in just a few months.That’s a daunting task for anyone to undertake, but for a group of local moms, it was worth all the efforts. In 2012, April Sutherland, a nurse in the Camas School District and mother to a special needs child, found out that the Vancouver-Clark Parks and Recreation summer sensory program would be shut down due to a $1.2 million budget reduction. Her son, who has autism, had attended the camp for several summers, and looked forward to it every year. For more information, visit www.savesensorycamp.brownpapertickets.com.
I am deathly afraid of heights. Until recently, even driving on winding roads with a drop-off was enough to nearly induce a panic attack. So it stands to reason that I would not be standing on a wobbly, though secure, wooden platform 22 feet off the ground, preparing to jump into mid-air. But here I am, with six other journalists from various publications in Southwest Washington. It's a fun group, with a few of the more experienced, “zippers” cracking jokes about past experiences.
If you ask several different people at Camas High School to describe teacher Ron Wright, chances are their responses will be similar. Passionate. Dedicated. Patient. Sincere. A visionary. Kind. These are just a few of the things that colleagues, administrators and students had to say about Wright, who serves as a Math, Science and Technology Magnet Program teacher. Wright, 63, also coordinates student internships at local businesses, serves as research project advisor and mentors students in several extracurricular programs. "He connects students with opportunities," said Steven Marshall, CHS principal. "Whether it is Science Olympiad, the State Science and Engineering Fair, or internships, students get excited and their excitement inspires Ron. He does not just tell them about these events, he motivates them, supports them, and prepares them for success. He is truly a mentor. What amazes me is that he mentors so many students."
Fishback Stadium is finally getting a facelift. After more than two years of discussion, research, and fund-raising, the $449,000 project will start June 24 at Washougal High School. Fieldturf USA, Inc., in conjunction with Beynon Sports Surfaces, has been selected for the turf field replacement project.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”This quote by Margaret Mead is exemplified by several educators, staff members and students in local schools, who show that every day can be Earth Day, not just April 22. These environmental advocates can often be found going through the trash at their schools to make sure recycling hasn't been tossed in the wrong bins. They educate their fellow students and co-workers about Earth-friendliness, pick up litter, start composting and Green Schools programs, and plant gardens. Sometimes, all it takes is one person, or a simple act, to begin making a positive difference. For Earth Day, the Post-Record has chosen to feature a few of these people and programs.
Meghal Sheth and Sophie Shoemaker are making Papermaker history. They are the first Camas High School students to qualify for the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz. In addition, they are just sophomores and only 10 students across the state of Washington were selected for the prestigious event. "At first, I was in shock," Shoemaker said. "I wasn't really expecting it, but it was great to know something I worked on was rewarded." Added Sheth, "It was surprising, but I was really happy because I put a lot of effort into my project. It was nice to see the hard work pay off."
A little bit of Las Vegas is coming to Westlie Ford on Saturday, April 27. That's when the Camas Athletics Boosters Club will host its third-annual casino night and auction fundraiser. Proceeds benefit sports programs at Camas High School, Liberty Middle School and Skyridge Middle School. "We assist with items like new uniforms, wrestling mats, goal posts, ball machines, golf bags, high tech computer and video equipment," said Wanda Miller, Booster board president. "We also offer $3,000 scholarships each year to two graduating seniors. Now that CHS is 4A school, we need to make sure our kids are properly supported to be highly competitive at that level."
Julie Scott-Seaman is a traveler by nature. That’s why she turned her love into a lifelong career at Camas World Travel. Since 1976, she has been helping people plan their vacations, and seeing beautiful places along the way. "I love it because you're helping people, you get to travel and most of the time, you're sending someone on vacation so they are in a great mood," she said. In her position, Scott-Seaman has been all over the world. But recently, she embarked on a new adventure: A wildlife safari in Africa. She, along with seven other people, including clients, friends and her daughter, went to visit various wildlife parks in Tanzania.
For the past 90 years, the Camas Public Library has been a community destination. Often referred to as the "living room of Camas," by staff, the library is a place to study, meet people, learn, and it also serves as a cultural center. The library first opened in the back of Thayer's drugstore in April 1923. The 90th birthday celebration also coincides with National Library Week, which begins Sunday. There are a number of events planned to celebrate both occasions. "We're emphasizing that with some of the events we're offering," said David Zavortink, director. "It's the 'third place,' after home and work."
On April 25, 2011, Paige Maas’s life changed forever. It was the day she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. An active 7-year-old, Paige became lethargic, constantly thirsty and just wasn't herself. When her parents brought her to the doctor, her blood sugar level was dangerously high. She was admitted to Legacy Emanuel Hospital, where Brad and Pam were quickly immersed into the world of diabetes. There, they learned how to check her blood sugar levels and administer insulin. "It was a surprise to learn she had this, but at the same time, she had all the classic symptoms," Pam said. "Also, I have a first cousin whose son was diagnosed when he was quite young, so there is some family history."
Camas Iron Chef is getting a new look and a new location. This year, the popular Camas Educational Foundation fundraiser will cost less, include all ages, and have hands-on activities. The festivities will run from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 21 at the Camas High School commons. "In addition to the cook-off with secret ingredients, we're changing the format so that it is a family-friendly, food filled-festival," said Debbie Mrazek, event chair and CEF board member. "Iron Chef is still a major component to our festival, but there will also be lots of food based, hands on activities." For more information or VIP reservations, visit www.cefcamas.org.
Learning never stops. That’s the message behind Clark College’s Mature Learning Program, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary with a party and several mini classes. Those 55 and older enjoyed courses ranging from "Why is there sex? DNA and Human Evolution," to "Anyone Can Be an Artist," to "Paris in its Glory Days: 1850-1914." The birthday celebration also included a visit from college president Bob Knight, cake, and a keynote lunch lecture by Dr. Larry Sherman, a nationally recognized neuroscientist at Oregon Health & Science University. "Mature Learning offers seniors the chance to take fascinating classes taught by brilliant instructors," said Tracy Reilly Kelly, program manager. "We have a long legacy of excellence to celebrate. Persons who are retired or semi-retired are at a stage of their lives when they now have time for themselves, time to enrich their lives through 'lifelong learning' classes on topics that offer enrichment. It might be taking up painting, studying history, world religion or geography. They might seek fitness opportunities like tai chi or yoga."
Ask students in Shoko Fuchigami’s class about the best part of the upcoming Japanese Cultural Festival, and their response is likely to be, “The food!” "The food is so good," said Tess Russell, a second-year Japanese student. "You get a little taste of Japan right here in Washougal." Noelle Schmidt, a first-year student, is looking forward to cooking and selling items such as curry and rice, udon noodle soup, yakisoba noodles and green tea ice cream. "I'm expecting to sample a few things, too," she said. "I'm looking forward to the whole experience of being in a Japanese festival. I've always wanted to experience that."
The Camas School Board unanimously approved $397,000 to replace the aging turf at Camas High School’s Cardon Field. At 10 years old, the turf is at the end of its lifespan, according to Bryan McGeachy, operations director. "The generation of turf we used for the field is good up to eight years, and we're two over now," he said.
With Easter this weekend, many local children will participate in the time honored holiday tradition of egg hunts. Both Camas and Washougal have events to keep the little and not-so-little ones full of Easter chocolate and other sweet treats. It will be the 22nd year for the Camas Parks and Recreation Easter Day egg hunt. "I am so glad that after all of these years, we are still able to offer this for free," said Krista Bashaw, recreation coordinator. "Other communities are starting to charge for these events, so I'm grateful to have a supportive City Council and mayor so we can offer this event for everyone."
YWCA Clark County began as a lunch counter for working women who weren’t allowed to eat with the men. The year was 1916, and female employees were rare. Fast forward nearly 100 years. The YWCA's goal of assisting women remains the same, although services needed have definitely changed with the times. Currently, the non-profit organization provides services to victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, a child care program, independent living skills program for foster youth, advocates for abused or neglected children, and offers job training and support for incarcerated women making a transition back to society. Its mission statement is: "Eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all."
In an effort to keep pace with changing technology, the Camas School District is considering purchasing several ipad Minis, adapters and a MacBook for classroom use this coming school year. The purchase would be a part of the district's revised technology plan. The current one is set to expire at the end of the school year. "We're basically looking through the past plan, and aligning ideas with curriculum and technology," said Jeff Snell, deputy superintendent. "We want to get carts of ipad Minis into classrooms." Currently, there is a group of eighth-grade students and teachers who are participating in a tablet pilot project, and the information is being used to gather feedback for the technology committee as they assess district needs.
When Cassie Holcombe discovered that Washougal High School was far behind other Clark County schools for recycling, she decided to make a change.It became the basis of her senior project, Save Our Scraps. "I want to leave the school with something lasting," she said. "And I wanted to educate people on what their decisions mean. I basically want people to learn to compost more." Until her project, WHS recycling efforts were limited to bottles and paper. "I've always recycled at home," Holcombe said. "I think a lot of people don't realize the impact our behavior has on the environment. If they think about their actions, they could really make a difference."
However, in today’s kindergarten world, the list would also need to include writing, reading and math comprehension. When Cindy Coons first began teaching kindergarten at Cape Horn-Skye Elementary School, she was thrilled if students came in knowing how to spell their first name and recite the alphabet. "Now, I need them coming in knowing all the letters and sounds, the numbers one through 10 out of order, spelling their last name and finding it in a mix of others." The change is due to the Common Core Standards, part of a nationwide effort to align curriculum. Although it won’t be officially implemented in Washington state until the 2014-15 school year, teachers in Camas and Washougal are getting a head start by developing curriculum which aligns with Common Core Standards.