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In Our Own Backyard: MVES 5th Graders Attend Mountain School, Explore the Biologically Diverse Ecosystems and Cultural History of the North Cascades

5th Graders at Mountain SchoolThis week, MVES 5th teachers, students, and parent chaperones are participating in the North Cascade Institute’s Mountain School.

Mountain School is a nationally recognized environmental education program offered by North Cascades Institute in cooperation with North Cascades National Park. Mountain School students come to the North Cascades with their school class, teacher and chaperones to learn about the ecosystems and natural and cultural history of the mountains. Mountain School gives young people an experience they will remember forever.

The 3-day, 2-night program is based at the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center located in North Cascades National Park. While at Mountain School students spend a majority of their time outside, hiking on trails and exploring the watersheds, forests, plants and wildlife of the North Cascades ecosystems first-hand through interdisciplinary activities in science, math, art, social studies and conservation.

Named a “Top Three Spots in the North Cascades” by The Seattle Times and “Top Ten Great Getaways” by ParentMap Magazine, the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center is a hub of discovery for all ages in one of the wildest, most biologically diverse landscapes in North America. Operated by North Cascades Institute in partnership with the National Park Service and the City of Seattle, this award-winning residential campus is nestled on the shores of Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park Service Complex. Activities include many school and youth programs, a graduate program and classes for adults, teachers and families.

We look forward to hearing about their adventures upon their return!

6th Grade Campout: Integrating the Arts and Nature

MVES Student 6th Grade Fall CampoutLast week, a weary, but excited group of 6th grade students, teachers, and parents returned from a two night, three day adventure known as 6th Grade Campout.

6th Grade Campout, a long-standing tradition involving MVES students, staff, parents and community volunteers provides MVES sixth graders with an opportunity to participate in a variety research and team-building activities in their own backyard — The Methow Valley and North Cascades National Park.

The activities were coordinated and facilitated by 6th Grade Campout Coordinator, Patti Somerville, MVES staff, Methow Arts, local fisheries biologists, historians, and parent volunteers. They challenged each student to skillfully communicate their thoughts and ideas through writing and various artistic mediums, display self-management skills while gathering, analyzing, and interpret data related to the surrounding ecosystems, and think critically about their environment and the complex challenges and opportunities that exist both locally and globally. In addition, the campout also serves as an opportunity to engage in a variety of team-building activities and test themselves physically by hiking Maple Pass — a trail designed by our own Ellis Fink and constructed by Deed Fink while serving on a trail crew.

Thank you Patti Somerville, Tyler Slostad, Carrie Fink, Anne Andersen, John Crandall, Methow Arts, the many parent volunteers, and community members for facilitating an epic adventure and lifetime memory for our students!

Welcome MVSD Graduating Class of 2032!

MVE 2019/20 Kindergarten TeachersOn Monday, September 9th, we welcomed the Methow Valley School District’s graduating class of 2032…

Each individual, representing the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of a future generation, reflected in their bright eyes and shining faces!

What are the origins of Kindergarten? Check out the article titled, “A Little History of American Kindergartens,” written by freelance journalist, Kat Eschner.

Please join our Kindergarten teachers, Libby Foley, Maggie Wicken, and Julie Haskins as we welcome the MVSD graduating class of 2032!

Methow Valley 4-H Participants Shine at Okanogan County Fair!

Okanogan County Fair 4H-participantsThe hard work, knowledge, and skills of the Methow Valley 4-H participants, an educational partner of the Methow Valley School District, was on full display at this year’s Okanogan County Fair!

Two years ago, Liberty Bell Senior, Emily Paul approached the Methow Valley School District Board of Directors and the Methow Valley 4-H clubs about establishing a possible partnership with the school district. The partnership would allow participating students in grades 9 – 12 to receive high school credit and apply their 4-H projects to their 10th grade Personal Project and their 12th grade Senior Project.

With a strong interest in developing knowledgeable and skillful students, who take action by applying their learning outside of the walls of a classroom, Emily’s proposal was unanimously supported and the partnership was established. The partnership, one of many, is a reflection of one of the district’s core beliefs — We can’t do it alone. We can do it together!

When asked why, one board member stated, “Simply put, there are many reasons as to why we think this makes good sense…” Here a just a few that were mentioned:

  • Honors our community’s history, traditions, and cultures
  • Provides youth with an opportunity to develop and apply their knowledge and skills through authentic, real-world learning opportunities
  • Provides students with access to community-based mentors that have an interest in supporting our youth
  • Promotes the development of positive attributes and attitudes that are difficult to measure, yet serve as strong predictors of success in life
  • Acknowledges the hard work and dedication displayed by each student by counting their time spent exhibiting their learning at the Okanogan County Fair as a school day, rather than an absence from school
  • Provides students with multiple pathways toward graduation and beyond, driven by individual student interests
  • What is 4-H?

    4-H is the youth development education program of Washington State University Extension, which is conducted jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, your state land grant university (WSU) and your Okanogan County Government. Today 4-H is everywhere–in cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural communities. 4-H is the largest youth development organization in the nation.

    The United States has more than 5 million members and 600,000 leaders. Around the world, 4-H type clubs now exist in at least 82 countries. In the 21st century, 4-H serves a broad clientele with expanded program focus using a variety of ways to deliver its effective “learn by doing” approach. For more information visit
    Interested in participating?

    Students interested in participating in 4-H programs should look for announcements in October or contact Suellen White at (509)997-3252.

MVSD Selects Jeremiah Wicken to Serve as ILC Advisor

Jeremiah WickenWith continued growth in student enrollment at the Independent Learning Center (ILC), coupled with the feedback provided by last year’s graduating seniors, suggesting the need to provide higher levels of content-based support in the areas of math and science, the MVSD has hired Jeremiah Wicken to serve as an Advisor alongside Sara Mounsey and Kim Odell.

Most recently, Jeremiah has been serving as a math and science teacher at Omak Middle School. Prior to doing so, Jeremiah served as an Educational Support Professional at the ILC while pursuing a degree in science education.

A former drama and theatre major, Jeremiah stated that he became increasingly Intrigued by his science coursework, cultivating a curiosity about the world, and how it works. Jeremiah’s love of science, math, and interest in working with students fueled his decision to pursue a degree in education with a focus in the area of science.

When asked about his new position as an Advisor at the ILC, Jeremiah stated, “I’m thankful that I’m being granted the opportunity… and excited to continue to learn and grow as an educator.”

When Jeremiah is not teaching in the classroom, he competes in powerlifting competitions, serves as a strength and conditioning coach, and is a self-described, “avid baker.”

Please join us as we welcome Jeremiah Wicken, ILC Advisor!

Welcome Back Methow Valley Students, Parents, and Community Members!

I hope each of you have been able to enjoy the relaxed rhythms of summer, time spent with family and close friends, and the smoke-free air! My family and I have enjoyed a nice balance of work and play.

Venable kidsNow, like many of you, we find ourselves shifting gears as we look toward the arrival of fall and the beginning of the 2019-20 school year. In doing so, I can’t help but wonder where the time has gone. Not just in the form of days, weeks, or months, but years… I think someone once stated, “The days go by slowly, but the years go by fast.” I’m guessing they might have been a parent. In fact, it was six years ago that my spouse, Annie and I arrived in the Methow Valley with our two children, Ingrid and Elliot. Ages one and four at the time, they were roughly the size of pumpkins.

Now, entering my seventh year of service as the superintendent of the MVSD, having spent much of my time throughout the summer, reflecting upon where we’ve been, where we are at, and where we’re headed, appreciating the vision and wisdom displayed by our school board, celebrating our many accomplishments, acknowledging our challenges as opportunities, welcoming the aspirations and boundless energy of our newly hired staff, embracing the collective wisdom of our returning staff, strengthening our relationships with our ever-expanding list of community partners, welcoming students and families new and old, pondering our next steps forward, honoring the limitless possibilities reflected in each of our students… I’ve never felt more hopeful, optimistic, and energized than I do right now.

I am forever grateful to serve as your superintendent and look forward to what promises to be an exceptional new school year!



Upcoming Events

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the upcoming events.

Friday, August 30th – Kinder (and newly enrolled 1st graders) Orientation Camp
Beginning at 9:00 am on Friday, August 30th, our incoming “Class of 2032” and newly enrolled 1st graders are invited to participate in our Kindergarten Orientation Camp. The half-day camp taking place at MVES is designed to promote a welcoming experience for our youngest learners.

Friday, August 30th – MVES Meet and Greet
The MVES staff will be hosting a one-hour “Meet and Greet” from 1:00 – 2:00 pm at MVE. Much like our Kindergarten Orientation Camp, the Meet and Greet is designed to acquaint our new and returning students with MVES staff, find their classroom, and celebrate some of the recent improvements to our facilities – library, playground, and greenhouse…

Monday, September 2nd – Labor Day
No School for Students and Staff. All Schools and the District Office will be closed in observance of Labor Day.

Tuesday, September 3rd – First Day of School
Welcome back students in grades 1 – 12!

Wednesday, September 3 – 5th – Kinder Conferences
During the first week of school, our kindergarten teachers will be facilitating conferences with the parents and each incoming kindergarten student.

Friday, September 6th – Professional Development Day
No School for Students.

Monday, September 9th – First Day of School for Kinders
Welcome MVSD graduating class of 2032!

Wednesday, September 11th – LBHS Open House
Previously scheduled to occur on Wednesday, September 3rd, the LBHS Open House has been rescheduled to take place on Wednesday, September 11th from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at LBHS.

Date to be determined – MVES Open House
The MVES staff will be facilitating an Open House in late September on a date to be determined. More information about this event will be forthcoming.

If you have any questions about the upcoming events or activities involving your child, please don’t hesitate to contact your school’s secretary.