Letters to the Editor for Feb. 9, 2017

Quality schools reflect community support

I am a very lucky educator and father-and I attribute a lot of my good luck to Camas Public Schools.

To me, the CSD motto “A tradition of quality, caring, and growth” is a professional and personal reality. Every day, I am inspired by the energy, talents, and successes of the nearly 2,400 staff members and students who teach and learn at Camas High School. This inspiration continues when I come home and see the skills and knowledge that are developing in my own three children, thanks to their excellent teachers and the special learning experiences they receive in their classrooms and our community.

Camas voters will soon receive a ballot for two replacement levies: A Maintenance & Operations levy and a Technology Levy. If approved, these levies will continue to make up the difference between the amount funded by our state and the amount needed by our district to:

  • Provide our students with high-quality learning materials and instructional technology;
  • Enhance student health and safety by funding our school nursing services, school-resource officer and security personnel;
  • Keep class sizes low and support special learning opportunities, including AP, Special Education, and an array of extracurricular programs;
  • Maintain district facilities to ensure that these facilities will not need costly updates and repairs in the future; and
  • Provide professional development opportunities for our staff so they can best educate and support our students.

As I wrote this list, I was reminded of the many innovations and resources at Camas High School that have been made possible by our expiring levies, such as: The 1,400 Chrome books that have been put in the hands of our students and teachers over the past four years, our 42 student clubs, 27 sports teams, activities like DECA, Knowledge Bowl and FIRST Robotics, that are successful at the local, state, and even national levels; and our students’ amazing concerts, community performances, and musicals that rival the Portland music and theater scene. Mostly, I thought of individual students and how exciting it is that they have the resources and the support to do whatever they dream up now and after graduation.

Camas has a strong identity and part of that identity is its excellent schools – schools that are a direct reflection of our community’s past and present support. I encourage you to continue this tradition into the future by voting “Yes” for Camas Schools on Feb. 14.

Steven Marshall, CSD parent and Camas High School principal

CHS football player urges a ‘yes’ vote

My name is Jack Colletto and I am writing this letter because I feel I am a Camas School District success story and I attribute a lot of that success to the influential adults, programs, and experiences I have had as a student and athlete.

I transferred to Camas High School halfway through my sophomore year. Like any new student, I was initially not excited about the move and struggled to fit in. But I was fortunate to have a string of good fortune. A few of the football players introduced themselves and invited me to eat lunch with them. Every day, my teachers built relationships with me and provided me with both challenge and support in my classes. Then I joined the football team and worked with some of the best coaches in my entire life. Like my teachers, they were knowledgeable and positive – and they were great role models for me.

My junior year I was encouraged to take Advanced Placement classes, which were hard but really helped me improve my writing and critical thinking skills. I was also given the opportunity to participate in Challenge Day, which still inspires me today.

This year, I have been able to apply the lessons I have learned in school and football camps and practices to my senior project mentoring younger athletes. I have also had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to represent CHS and the Camas community in the state football finals.

I realize now that all of my experiences were not good luck. I attended school in two other districts before moving to Camas, and when I look back, I am able to appreciate that there is a whole different atmosphere here. Expectations are higher. Students are friendly and they have a lot of talents and interests that they get to develop in activities like bowling, band and robotics. There are also a lot of high-level academic offerings available. Teachers and coaches have the supplies and equipment they need to do their jobs and they also have a lot of support from the community.

I owe a lot to the Camas School District and I want future students to have the same kind of experience I have had. This CSD is deserving of this levy and if I could vote I can tell you that without a doubt I would vote “yes.”

Jack Colletto, Camas

WAE supports Washougal levies

During this time of rancorous political debate on all levels, there still exist some issues that we can reasonably discuss, one of which is the Washougal School District Maintenance and Operations Levy and Technology Levy. The Washougal Association of Educators, through this letter, expresses its strong support for passing the levy on February 14.

It will come as no surprise that teachers would support additional funding for schools; we do. We see the crowded classrooms and lost opportunities for instruction every day. We, as education professionals, see what a difference having a levy makes for those that need our help the most and how all in our community benefit from having a first-class school system.

The Washougal Association of Educators support adding relevant curriculum options for students. WAE supports education to be meaningful for all students. The operating levy will greatly help toward realizing this goal. We support The Washougal School District in making you aware of the need for this operating levy to pass. We encourage you to vote “yes” on Feb. 14.

Dr. Frank Zahn, president, Washougal Association of Educators