Vancouver Public Schools will begin the 2016-17 school year on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
The projected enrollment is 23,087 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. This represents an increase from last year’s projected enrollment of 22,696 students.
Approximately 195 new teachers, counselors, psychologists and other certificated staff members are joining district schools this year.
Possible bond measure
If approved by the district’s board of directors, a bond measure could be on the ballot as early as February 2017. The bond would fund upgrades at every school and replace several of the district’s oldest schools that exceed capacity and cannot support the requirements of 21st-century education.
Vancouver Public Schools’ rollout of one-to-one technology to students and instructional staff members will continue this fall as fifth-graders begin using iPads. Third- and fourth-grade teachers will receive devices and training to prepare for their students receiving iPads in the 2017-18 school year.
New for this school year, students, teachers and families will not have to pay to receive coverage for lost or damaged district-owned digital devices. They will get the following coverage automatically:
- All non-intentional damage will be repaired at no cost (limit of two replacement iPad screens per user).
- The replacement fine for lost or stolen devices is reduced to $99 for iPads and $199 for laptops.
- In the case of intentional or egregious damage or neglect by any user, actual repair or replacement costs will be levied.
This school year, VPS students in sixth through 12th grades also will have managed access to the Internet while traveling on school buses. Last winter, the district installed a Wi-Fi network on all of its buses to improve Internet access for all students. It also implemented a Wi-Fi network on its mobile Family-Community Resource Center.
Approximately 160 bus routes were upgraded. This benefits at least 5,000 secondary students who ride a bus regularly and have district-issued one-to-one devices. The actual number of network users most likely is higher and includes students and staff members who travel for extracurricular activities and field trips.
Safety and security also is improved because the network allows remote, real-time access to cameras already installed on buses.
The Wi-Fi networks and one-to-one iPads are paid for by a technology levy approved by local voters in 2013.
The district will host two free patron tours for anyone interested in learning more about the district and seeing schools firsthand. The tour on Oct. 28, 2016, will feature King and Lake Shore elementary schools. The Jan. 20, 2017, tour will take visitors to Anderson Elementary School and Gaiser Middle School. Each tour is from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and includes an optional $4 lunch prepared by culinary arts students from Fort Vancouver High School. Advance registration is required.
Family-Community Resource Centers
The district’s FCRCs provide services and information about community resources to address the broad range of student and family needs. This school year, Hough and Truman elementary schools will debut FCRCs on their campuses. The two centers raise the district’s total number of school-based FCRCs to 18.
Several FCRC locations will host free 1-2-3 Grow & Learn groups throughout the school year for children ages birth to 5 years old and their parents. Educational Service District 112’s Grow & Learn groups provide focused parent-child time, socialization opportunities, school-readiness activities and snacks. A schedule of Grow & Learn groups in VPS schools will be posted on VPS school and district websites.
The inaugural districtwide Future U event will connect students of all ages and their families with representatives from trade schools, colleges and universities, military branches, unions and a variety of employers. This free event also will feature informational sessions on topics such as applying for scholarships and completing forms for federal aid.
The event is free for all VPS students and their families. Future U take place at Hudson’s Bay High School, 1601 E. McLoughlin Blvd., on Tuesday, Oct. 25, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Refreshments; activities for younger children; and ASL, Spanish, Russian and Chuukese interpretation will be available.