Friday Update

Michelle Navarro, the Early Steps to Success Administrator sent a message to the Harrah Campus staff, “I have some very exciting news! Our first order of free books has arrived and I will be around later today to leave them in each K-4 classroom.”  These books are for children to keep and begin to build their home libraries.   Mrs. Navarro asked the teachers to help get the books into the hands of our students.  Mrs. Navarro wrote, “Let's promote the love for reading and support our students with this wonderful opportunity.  I am excited about how this Literacy program will benefit our students.” If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Harrah School Office to make sure that your Kindergarten through fourth-grade student receives a book. 

This week I met with a grandparent and aunt of one of our White Swan students who was in the gym at the time of the fire evacuation a few weeks ago.  Although the guardians were concerned about what happened that day, they understood our situation as well and offered some good ideas and their support if we ever go through this type of event again.  I followed up with the student who was joined in my office by Mrs. Tenney and Mrs. Shepperd.   Based on the student’s input and suggestion, we have scheduled a safety drill to take place within the next month, during after school athletic practice.  She told us that we have a lot of drills during the school day but she does not remember a drill during practice, and she said that that would have made us better prepared.  Students are so smart!  Thank you for this input in helping us all stay safe.  If there are other ideas or suggestions, please share them with building administrators.  In the next few weeks I will hold my first meeting of the year with White Swan students to hear their voice and perspective on this and other topics related to their education in the District.

White Swan High School had a wonderful week! Mrs. Tenney reports that Wednesday learning blocks were exciting and that they had two new visitors join in order to provide classes to students. Yakima County Extension Agency sent a person that taught students how to make both healthy shakes and wild flower seed bombs.  Jesse Dempsen, from White Swan Graphics was on campus to help the robotics class get up and running and learn new and exciting information.

Credit Retrieval is in full swing!  This week, four students have each been able to retrieve one English credit through our new credit completion lab. Students continue to work hard in that class to get the credits they need on their journey toward graduation. Kudos to Mrs. Tenney for setting up this credit retrieval lab, which is new this year strategically to address the issues caused by COVID-19, but it looks like the lab may be here to stay to help all students achieve our District Goal of 100% graduation from White Swan High School.

Deputy Kaycee Pelfrey, our new Student Resource Officer, joined the Mt. Adams School District this week.  Mrs. Tenney states, “It has been great to have Deputy Pelfrey here on the White Swan Campus. He is here for campus and community safety and we appreciate his willingness to establish positive relationships that will help or students feel safe.”  The staff at Harrah who had a stand-up meeting at the end of the day on Monday, shared a sense of wow, pleasure, and relief to know that Deputy Pelfrey will be on their campus part of the week and that he will only be about ten-minutes or less away if there is an emergency. 

Homecoming is fast approaching and the Cougar Leadership Class is hard at work planning campus-wide activities. Outline for Homecoming week activities follows:

  • Monday, September 26th – Theme is Nightmare before School
  • Tuesday, September 27th- Two faced Tuesday: Halloween vs Christmas
  • Wednesday, September 28th- Wacky Disney Wednesday
  • Thursday, September 29th- Switch it up day, Dress like another person
  • Friday, September 30th- Zero Chance of Defeat- Cougar Sprit Day
  • Saturday, Oct. 1- Homecoming Dance 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm

At Harrah this week twenty-seven teachers and administrators began their year long journey into the Science of Reading. Mrs. Widener reports that this week the Harrah Team participated in 6 hours of training after school and learned why reading is difficult, how language and literacy are related, and how the brain works in the process of learning to read. A quote from a leading reading researcher Louisa C Moats captures Mrs. Widener’s driving mission, "Informed teachers are the best insurance against reading failure. While programs are very helpful tools, programs don't teach; teachers do."   Mrs. Widener state, “Our teachers are a great team of dedicated professionals.” 

Harrah’s after school music club for students started this week.  The District is please and so excited to be able to give our students the opportunity to begin their lessons and look forward to hearing them play soon. The Harrah robotics club will be starting up soon as well. 

During early release Wednesday at the Harrah Campus, teachers worked with Dawn Sparks from the ESD 105 to deepen their understanding of teaching math content in the classroom with foundational skills as the central focus. The idea of teaching concepts at the concrete level and progressing through to the abstract level is a key move for our student learners. 

October is Suicide Awareness Month and Mrs. Gasseling challenged staff to discuss ways students can show their kind and caring heart by showing hope and resilience and then, create a heart with the ideas. Ms. Craig's class had their heart up right away and the ideas the students shared were very impressive. 

We can’t end this Friday update without thanking all of the members of the Mt. Adams District who participated in the Harrah Community Parade and Festival.  We are proud of our Grand Marshalls, Mr. and Mrs. Garcia.  The Harrah School Float and team of staff were well represented.  Our Cougar Volleyball team and Cheer team were sharing candy and the excitement of being part of the White Swan and Harrah Communities.  Finally, The Cougar Marching Band, under the Direction of Mr. Chad Jones made its inaugural appearance and brought enjoyable music and a spirit of Cougar Pride to the Parade.