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Family Resource Center opens at Monticello

Teachers and support team members across the district are seeing a growing number of kids and families who lack a stable food source and/or housing. To help the kids and families the district opened a Family Resource Center at Monticello Middle School. The resource center gives parents a place to get help and connect with food, housing, mental health or other services. It doesn’t matter which school a child attends – the family resource center is open to help them. The resource center was put together through donations and did not require district funds.

The Daily News wrote a front page story about the resource center that published March 2. This is another example of the district putting extra effort towards helping our kids be successful.

The Family Resource Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 11 am and from 1 pm to 3 pm.

 

2019-03-08T14:24:07+00:00March 7th, 2019|

Some buses on PM Snow routes today 2/22/19

Dear Parents and Families,

Due to winter weather bus routes 2, 6, 10, 13, 18, 20, 53 and 15 for elementary will be on PM snow routes today. February 22, 2019

2019-02-22T17:34:45+00:00February 22nd, 2019|

Spotlight – Ms. Misty (Keith) Woodrum, Robert Gray Elementary

Spotlight  – Q & A

Where were you born? I was born in Rainier, Oregon.

Do you have siblings? I am the oldest of six kids – four boys and two girls.

What is it like being the oldest child? It works for me; I like being in charge and taking care of things!

Which schools did you attend? Mint Valley Elementary, Olympic, Beacon Hill, Monticello Middle School and RA Long High School – class of 1994.

Who was the principal when you attended RA Long? Rally Johnson.

Ms. Misty (Keith) Woodrum

Is anyone else in your family an RA Long graduate? Yes, it started with my great aunt Dorothy Fulbright; she was RA Long class of ’53. My mom graduated from RA Long in ’73 and my brother Shane Keith graduated in ’96. I have several cousins who are RAL graduates and my brother, Mr. Reid, is currently an RAL teacher.

What are some of your memories from high school? I loved being a Lumberjill. It is interesting going back to school and seeing education from an adult perspective. As a student, I had no idea all the stuff was going on behind the scenes.

Did you participate in high school activities? I was active in different groups like Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), French Club and Leadership.  I really enjoyed high school. I was on drill team all four years and played basketball my freshmen year.

What sort of things did you do in FBLA? We competed in different business areas and computer competitions and I actually took fifth in state in a job interviewing competition. The experience interviewing through FBLA helped me get the job at Robert Gray.

At the state FBLA conference, were students dressed up for the interviewing competition? Yes, I had on my stylish 1994 business skirt and blazer.

What do you remember about the interview? I remember it was in front of a panel of about 12 people who asked impromptu questions about why you wanted the job.

Were you nervous? Oh, yes. People say I do well talking in front of groups, but I always feel nervous inside. You have to hold in the nervous energy and make it work for you.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Either a travel agent or a flight attendant.

What did you do after high school? I attended LCC for a year or so then moved out of town.  You do not realize during high school everything you do leads down a path. You think you have a plan and you expect things to work out a certain way but the surprises and challenges bring you so much joy in the end.  I am a firm believer that there is plan for all of us and sometimes it reveals itself when we least expect it!

Where did you move? I moved to Ellensburg for a few years. I worked at the Kittitas County Title office as an escrow closing assistant.

What did you do after Ellensburg? After about 2 years in Ellensburg, I came home to Longview and worked in the business office for Longview Fibre.

What year were you hired at Robert Gray? August 2005, this is my fourteenth school year. We count everything in school years; calendar years really do not matter when you work in a school building.

Why did you want to become a school secretary? I like to organize, to help others and be responsible for helping others do well.  I do not want to be the boss necessarily, but do want to help coordinate things for the boss to be more effective.

Being a head secretary is a big job, right? Yes it is! Secretaries are in charge of important things whether it be in elementary, middle or high school. At the elementary level, there is only one secretary and a 4-hour secretarial assistant that is different from middle or high school.  We do a variety of tasks and act as office manager and secretary to the entire building.

What makes for a good head secretary? I think it is critical for a head secretary to be organized, friendly, caring and love the job!  I had good role models like Jennifer Robinson, who was a long-time head secretary at Columbia Heights.

What sort of training did you get? During the summer before school started, someone broke into Robert Gray and stole the computer where all the secretary’s data and information was stored. Jennifer Robinson invited me up to Columbia Heights and shared the various systems she used to organize her work. I also got 4 days with the secretary that was moving to Mt. Solo (Gayle Hanna) and received computer training for the student system, Skyward.  Everything else is really on the job training; learn as you go, where you ask questions from your colleagues and create systems for yourself that meet the needs of your building and the district requirements.

Are you interrupted much during the day? Yes. The whole job revolves around getting work done with constant interruptions throughout the day to help our students, families, teachers and administrators do their job. They are the first priority.

Do secretaries do a lot of paperwork? Yes! There is so much paperwork that you must have systems and processes to get it all done. You cannot let the paperwork overwhelm you. It is a critical aspect of the “business” side of the job but students, families, staff needs always come first.

What is the best part of job? The people, kids and families we work with. Knowing they trust me and understand I am going to help solve whatever problems they have – it makes me feel good.

Can you tell us something you are proud of? Yes, in 2014 I was nominated for the Washington Classified Employee of the Year and was selected as our Regional Classified Employee of the Year.  It was a great experience to go to Olympia and be part of the process.  I am forever grateful to Bruce Holway for nominating me encouraging me to complete the process.

What do you do for fun outside of work? My personal life is if full of activities revolving around my family specifically my nephews and nieces.  I currently have four nephews and three nieces – they are my highlight.

Do you have any hobbies? I like and have always been interested in photography. I took a photography class at RA Long back in high school and loved it. As digital photography took off, I got a nicer camera and started experimenting with family/child, travel, and wedding photos. I am not a professional by any means, but I’m always learning.

What do you like about photography? My favorite thing is capturing the facial expressions of people to remember a moment. In addition, I enjoy taking the “once a month picture” of my nieces and nephews.

What is the once a month picture? When babies are born, parents often will track the child’s growth by taking a picture once a month. I am always taking pictures of my family and have taken a photo every month of for at least two of my nephews and my youngest niece. We do this until they reach 1 year old, then we take a photo each year.

What is it like working in the school district? The school district is a world all its own. School districts have so many guidelines and rules. People from outside the district generally have no idea how many different things influence the choices we make.

What are the most common misconceptions about schools? The big things right now are technology and social media. Getting parents to understand privacy and what privacy means and how it affects students at the elementary level is so different from middle and high school issues.

Is Robert Gray different from other elementary schools? We are unique in that we are the only school in the county. We have a variety of differences because of this but the fun part is the unique show and tell items like goats, guinea pigs, turkey and grouse feathers – more rural stuff. Our student population decreases during hunting season.

Do you have a positive outlook for the future of the district? We are very fortunate. Our kids seem to be excited about school. You’ll always have kids who will struggle, but mostly the kid’s love coming to school. We have many resources now; I hope the kids who struggle find their joy somewhere as they progress through school.

Is school fun? We try to make school fun. We do things like spirit days and try to keep a positive vibe.

Are you going to watch the Super Bowl? Well, the Super Bowl often times fall on my birthday. So half the time I’m planning a birthday party along with a Super Bowl party. This year my brother Sam is getting married over Super Bowl weekend, so there is a lot going on.

What is your favorite food? Cheese.

What kind of cheese? It really doesn’t matter. Raw cheese, melted cheese. I fell in love with Sharp Cheese, specifically Vermont White Cheddar Cheese.

Do you like to travel? Yes, I love to travel.

What are some travel spots you like? I’ve done numerous road trips throughout the United States. The farthest I’ve gone is Nebraska. I recently took a road trip to Vancouver, BC, where I took a guided photo tour and it was amazing – I want to see more of Canada. I want to go to Australia and France too.

Do you like driving trips or flying trips? I am really up for any travel adventure!

What is your favorite color? Teal, like teal blue. My brother made me a custom “Washington is Home” sweatshirt in teal. Teal is a bright, fun color.

2019-02-20T16:52:51+00:00February 15th, 2019|

Teacher spotlight – Mrs. Sundberg, Robert Gray Elementary

Spotlight  – Q & A

Where were you born? I was born in Longview.

Which schools did you attend? The first elementary I attended was Ostrander Elementary school. Ostrander is a small community between Kelso and Castle Rock.

Where was Ostrander Elementary School located? Off Ostrander road where the new freeway cut through, the elementary school was on the hill. The school had two rooms serving first through eighth grade.

Do you remember your teachers? Yes, Mr. Bond taught fifth through eighth and Mrs. Mortimer taught first through fourth.

Mrs. Sundberg

How long did you attend Ostrander Elementary? I went to Ostrander for two years then all the students transferred into town. I ended up attending Washington Elementary and Barnes Elementary.

Did you ever go to kindergarten? My Mom drove me into to town for kindergarten for a short time, but I didn’t like it, so I dropped out.

Why did you drop out of kindergarten? The drive into to town was too long and I just didn’t want to go, so Mom let me drop out.

Where did you attend junior and high school? Huntington Junior High and Kelso High School – class of 1972.

Did you attend the old or new Kelso High School? I attended the old Kelso High School up on the hill. I went there one year then the new high school opened. My class was the second graduating class at the new high school.

What are some of your memories from high school? The old Kelso High School was a real dump, but I really liked it. It was hard to leave an old building full of memories and tradition to go to a new building with no history.

What did you do after high school? I went to Lower Columbia College and spent one year at Pacific Lutheran University. At the end of my junior year at Pacific Lutheran, I couldn’t find a summer job and did not have the money to pay for tuition the next year.

What did you do in place of going to college? I got married and had a family. I ended up waiting until I was 38 years old to go back and finish my degree.

Did your family run a business? Yes, Randy had a local construction company building high-end homes. We could see a downturn coming in the housing industry, so after a long conversation I re-enrolled in school.

You went back to school at the age of 38? Yes, I worked in the family business while I earned a Bachelor’s degree in History and Master’s degree in Education from WSU-Vancouver.

Do you and Randy have kids? Yes, two boys. They both graduated from Mark Morris. Joe lives in Seattle and owns a restaurant. Dan lives in Seattle as well and is a carpenter.

What sort of restaurant does Joe run? The restaurant is in Seattle, called Manolin.  The name Manolin is from the little boy in the book, “The Old Man and the Sea”.

What sort of food does Manolin serve?  They serve small plates.  It is very fresh and has a younger vibe.   They serve lots of seafood, and wonderful interesting dishes.  The menu changes frequently but they always have a fresh ceviche.   In their first year of business they were named by Bon Appetit magazine as one of the Top 10 upstart restaurants in the nation!

What else does your son Joe do? Joe is a partner in another restaurant. The second restaurant is opening in Ballard hopefully this spring– called Rupee. The menu is Sri Lankan food.

What does your son Dan do? He pursued a career in carpentry, which is a tradition in our family. Dan went to Seattle Community College and got a degree in carpentry.

Where does Dan work? Dan works for J&S Construction in Seattle remodeling high-end homes.

What have you learned from watching your boys grow up? Find your niche in life and do the best you can do. I could not be any more proud of my two sons.

How does it feel to see your sons succeed? I am so thankful. I’m thankful for the education they received in Longview – it was solid.

Does your husband work locally? Yes, Randy is a project manager and journeyman carpenter who works for the Port of Longview.

Did you start teaching immediately after graduating from college? Yes, my first job was teaching kindergarten at Carroll’s Elementary. It was awesome, I loved it, but the job was only half-time.

Were you looking for a full time job? Yes, so applied and got a job in Longview Public Schools.

What attracted you to teaching? Education is so powerful it can change the direction of your future. A child in poverty, who gets an education, no longer has to live in poverty. Education, more than any other job in the world, makes a difference.

Have you always taught at Robert Gray? I started at Mint Valley and taught both first and second grade, then came out to Robert Gray. My first year of teaching at Robert Gray was actually at Northlake due to construction.

Do you prefer teaching one grade level to another? I like fourth grade (what I teach now), but what I really love is helping kids “get it”, that is what I really like. It gives me goosebumps.

What is the feeling you get when kids “get it”? Even today, when I can help a kid understand the material – that’s very fulfilling.

What do you like about being a teacher? I like working with a team of people. I’m an innovator that likes to create things to fit student needs. Our principal, Lori Larsen, is an amazing “go to bat for you” person – she frees me up to be creative and innovative.

How long have you been teaching? 25 years.

What are the characteristics of a good teacher? First, you need to understand the job is the job. What walks in the door, you need to move them from where there at to where they need to be. You work as hard as you can to get everything done because you are building the future.

Does persistence pay off in teaching? If you need to go over something four times for students to learn it, then that’s what you do.

Do work you as a team? At Robert Gray, we work as a team. My fellow fourth grade teachers, the counselor and the principal all help me. The SST team helps me problem solve – it’s a phenomenal network of people.

Is teaching school now similar to 25 years ago? No, teaching and supporting students has evolved. A teacher has to be willing to work with a team to reach success. The job is your job and there’s obstacles, but you have to learn how to work through them.

Are teacher’s problems solvers? Yes, we constantly solve problems. You have to be able to juggle numerous issues.

What else defines a great teacher? Great teachers are innovators, who create what is needed to teach kids. Of course, good teachers have a lot of energy.

Is getting away from school important? Yes, you need to realize recuperating time is important. You need to fill your cup again.

How has school changed? If any parent can go to school for a part of day – it will change them. Parents will have a better appreciation for the challenges students and teachers face. Teachers work very hard.

Can you tell us something a visiting parent would see? Classrooms are more positive now and have more support. Everyone at school works hard to meet the needs of every child.

What else would a parent understand after a school visit? The quality of teaching has improved quite a lot in the last 25 years.

Have the students changed? Kids are the same and their needs are the same. The Internet and technology are good, but I’m not sure we’ve learned how to use it. Giving a kid a computer and not monitoring them is not positive.

How has technology affected kids? Many kids can no longer sit still. They need to have input all the time.

What subject do you teach? Math. The scope of what I teach is narrow. Concentrating on math allows me to bring my best to the subject and kids every day.  I also teach Social Studies, Science, and support reading and writing.

What do you do in your spare time? We love the outdoors. Gardening, riding bikes and camping. My husband, Randy, and I are active in our church and teach classes.

Do you tent camp or RV? We have a fifth wheel – it is great. You are totally unplugged. We kayak, hike and meet people. Every time we go RV’ing we meet people from around the world.  We have met people from England, The Netherlands, and Europe – from all over the world.

Where do you go RV’ing? As far away as we can.

What are you going to do upon retirement? We’re going to visit as many parks as possible.

What are some great places you have visited? The Canadian Rockies are spectacular, just breathtaking. Mt. Rushmore is great. Theodore Roosevelt National Park in South Dakota and Glacier National Park are incredible.

What did you experience at Glacier National Park? At Glacier National Park, I saw a beautiful waterfall with a second waterfall right behind it – just beautiful.

What else? We love to cook and eat. I enjoy having a whole bunch of people over to try new recipes.

What types of things do you like to eat? I love cioppino, chicken parmesan and lasagna. We love to barbecue and smoke meat.

What do you bbq? My favorite is roasting a whole pig. We roasted a whole pig and invited 100 friends over to eat it – it was so much fun.

You roasted an entire pig? We actually roasted two pigs at a church function because there were so many people. The pig roast was outside – just amazing. It brings people together and is so much fun.

What are some things you are most proud of at work? We started a math academy this year. The academy is for kids who are scoring lower and need extra help.

What grade levels and how many students attend math academy? We do the math academy for fourth and fifth grade students and about 40 students attend each week.

What else are you proud of? For the high capability kids we started a Tuesday morning class. A para and parent run the class. The parent is a videographer who is working with the kids to video different things we’re doing in the building.

Will the kids do a video on the math academy? One of the topics they will be covering is math academy! The kids are producing and doing all aspects of the video – it’s just wonderful.

What else will the Tuesday class cover? The kids will go through a series of different studies. They will choose their own topic, conduct research and choose a method for presenting the information.

Anything else? Yes, the kids will do a book study the district has purchased for us and go to a play. Then they will work in the school garden and design a plan for a sensory garden that the kids will build. The sensory garden will be filled with plants that you can touch, eat and experience.

Do you have a nickname? Yes, Betty DeVries nicknamed me Mrs. Fun-berg.

2019-02-06T11:21:56+00:00February 6th, 2019|

Calendar information 2019-2020 school year

Planning for vacation and family celebrations is important. While final details of the next year’s school calendar are not yet finished, several important key dates are set. To help you with planning below are important dates for the 2019-2020 school year. These dates have been finalized and approved by the School Board. (Please note the calendar for Broadway Learning Center is different and parents should check with Broadway for 2019-2020 calendar dates.)

Event Date
First day of school August 28, 2019
Winter holiday December 23, 2019 – January 3, 2020
Spring Break April 6-10, 2020
High school graduation June 6, 2020
Last day of school June 11, 2020

A more detailed 2019-2020 school calendar will be sent to parents and families in the Spring. If you have questions please contact your local school.

2019-01-25T15:05:18+00:00January 25th, 2019|

Capital bond information and input sessions

Longview Public Schools plans to put a capital bond measure to voters later this year. Capital bonds raise funds for school districts to upgrade facilities and build new schools.

To provide citizens information about the bond measure three community input sessions will be held. At the meeting you will get information on the facility upgrades and changes the district’s Facilities Advisory Committee has recommended.

Thursday, January 24 at 6 pm, district administrative offices next to RA Long High School – 2715 Lilac Street.

Wednesday, January 30 at 5 pm, Mark Morris High School.

Tuesday, February 5 at 5 pm, Mint Valley Elementary School.

We hope to see you at one of the community input sessions.

2019-01-25T11:07:08+00:00January 15th, 2019|

Robert Gray 5th graders learn about wolves

Wolfways, a non-profit organization, which teaches kids about wolves, visited the 5th grade classrooms at Robert Gray Elementary this week.

The visit helps students learn about wolves in conjunction with life sciences. Students not only learned about wolves, the instruction included an interactive life size coyote, wolf and elk visuals, which made the presentation more fun and life-like.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed the class and asked numerous questions – it was an engaging and fun day of learning for the students!

2019-01-11T17:27:29+00:00January 11th, 2019|
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