MVSD Set to Launch Summer Lunch Program

School Lunch Summer ProgramBeginning Monday, June 24th through Friday, August 16th, the Methow Valley School District Food Services Team will be providing free summer lunch for any child 18 years of age and younger.

They will be located in the Twisp City Park Monday through Friday (except July 4th), between the hours of 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

MVSD Receives One Million Dollar Endowment, Providing Future Graduates with the Widest Range of Post-Secondary College, Career, and Life Opportunities Possible

Student WeldingDuring last Friday’s graduation, Superintendent Venable announced that the MVSD had recently been notified they are the recipient of a one million dollar endowment.

The endowment, provided by an anonymous donor, represents a significant investment, strategically aligned to the Methow Valley School District’s goal of ensuring every student graduates prepared to pursue the widest range of post-secondary educational, career, and life opportunities possible.

Supported by research associated with the current and anticipated needs of today’s/tomorrow’s workforce, the endowment is part of a broader commitment made between the MVSD, Methow Valley Education Foundation (MVEF), Winthrop-Kiwanis Club, and the Public School Funding Alliance (PSFA) to remove barriers and open all doors by providing youth in the Valley with a clear pathway that includes access to industry standard tools, technology, training, and exposure to possible careers in a variety of areas (skilled crafts and trades, healthcare, culinary arts, green energies…) currently in high demand, that provide a livable wage, and require continued training and certification, but do not necessarily require a four-year degree.

As part of this collective effort, the Winthrop-Kiwanis Club selected the MVSD’s “Tools of Trades” to serve as this past year’s Bite of the Methow “Fund-A-Dream” project. It generated approximately $10,000 that will be used to purchase tools for the contractor’s trailer. This will allow our students enrolled in the advanced construction trades course, to engage in relevant, off-site projects in support of our community.

Better yet, the money raised through the Winthrop-Kiwanis Fund-A-Dream project is being enhanced by a donation of neary $8,500 from PSFA.

The endowment will be managed by MVEF. The interest generated (anticipated to be around 3-4% annually) from the endowment, will be used to fund scholarships to students who apply to MVEF and are selected. More information will be forthcoming as to the parameters associated with the number of scholarships, amount awarded, the application process, and the selection process once finalized this summer.

Further, it should be noted that as an organization committed to supporting all youth, including university and college bound graduates, continued support in the form of donations to MVEF will be needed to ensure financial support remains available for recent and future MVSD graduates.

On a related note, during the same ceremony, Scott Barber, LBHS History teacher captured the hearts and minds of our graduating seniors, their parents, and a gymnasium filled with community members by sharing what American novelist, Wendell Berry refers to as “homecoming.” In the process of doing so, he reminded us of our rural community’s growing need for highly skilled workers (electricians, plumbers, carpenters, welders, masons, chefs…) and the desire of our community for our young people to be able to acquire the training and skills necessary to consider making the Methow Valley their home.

We couldn’t be more grateful… Only in the Methow!

Tirzah Quigley Selected to Serve as New Third Grade Teacher at MVES

Tirzah QuigleyThe MVSD is excited to announce the selection of Tirzah Quigley as the new MVES third grade teacher!
Transferring from her current position as the REACH Coordinator and Literacy Support Specialist, Tirzah brings a wealth of teaching experience, creativity, and excitement about returning to the classroom.

When asked about her new position, Tirzah stated, “While I have thoroughly enjoyed working as the REACH Coordinator and reading teacher over the past eight years, I am looking for a new challenge.” When asked about being a part of a team, she went on to state, “I’m excited to become a part of this amazing third grade team and am looking forward to my new role in 2019-2020.”

Congratulations Tirzah Quigley!

Methow Valley “Mad Adders” Take 5th Place at Math is Cool State Competition!

MVE Math is Cool TeamThe MVES 5th Grade Math is Cool team, the same team who took 1st place at the regional championships earlier this year, recently traveled to Moses Lake to compete in the Math is Cool State Competition.

Coached by Eric Blank and Jennifer Ramsay, the team placed 5th out of 16 teams. In the individual competition, Alex Ramsay-George placed sixth, Bodie Thomson took 18th, Greta Schumacher was 22nd, and Gavin Blank secured 33rd place out of a total of 64 competitors.

Congratulations to coaches Eric Blank and Jennifer Ramsay, and our young mathematicians. You make us proud!

Methow Arts Alliance Receives Youth Arts Initiative Pilot Grant to Increase Arts Education for Elementary Students

Icicle Fund - Methow ArtsMethow Arts has received a generous 3-year grant from Icicle Fund that will support a Youth Arts Initiative (YAI) for students in grades K-3 in the Methow Valley Elementary School as well as students in grades K-2 in North Omak Elementary School.

The Initiative is a three-year pilot grant that has a goal of increasing the dosage of professional arts education specifically in sequential art learning and basics and elements of art for early grade levels, establishing a foundation in the Arts for later years.

In the Methow Valley pilot program, as stated through a Methow Valley School District (MVSD) Arts Advisory Committee Charter, the MVSD and Methow Arts will work with classroom teachers in grades K-3 to develop learners who understand the critical concepts commonly associated with the International Baccalaureate “Design Cycle” through the integration of the arts in grades K-3. Methow Arts will work with Superintendent Tom Venable and his staff to implement a coherent K-3 Arts Integration program and sustain the program after a three year period.

The North Omak program is in the process of being developed and will adapt its goals with that school’s curriculum and concepts.

The grant acts as a pilot program to be monitored, tested, and adapted, and aims to assist other organizations across NCW in establishing successful partnerships with school districts and arts education program development and implementation after completion of the project.

The Methow Valley Elementary and North Omak currently have no designated art teacher for their students who will be reached through this grant. These students have limited access to arts education instruction that is not provided at a level equivalent to urban schools nor WA State recommendations via WA State Arts Education Learning Standards.

Funding will:

  • Support arts education during the school day through contracted professional teaching artists in designated grades. The proposed programs work in alignment with the WA State Arts Standards (ie. OSPI’s published WA State Arts Education Learning Standards.)
  • Through Methow Arts, it will provide sequential learning, curriculum development, and art integration strategies into each district.
  • Provide funding for Methow Arts to establish formal Art Plans within each school district, and explore additional funding to sustain programs at the same level after the three year period.

The YAI program works in conjunction with the current Methow Arts’ Artist in Residence (AIR) Program, which works with a roster of professional teaching artists who instruct students across Okanogan County in grades K-6, with a focus on K-6.

This proposal utilizes Okanogan County data from the 2017 Youth Arts Opportunities Study, which identified gaps and opportunities, as well as barriers and supporter of youth arts education in Okanogan County. Additional data emphasizing need for this grant is derived from Methow Arts Alliance’s evaluation, which collects quantitative and qualitative data annually from school districts across Okanogan County.

Learn more about the MVSD Arts Advisory Committee
Complete MVSD Arts Advisory Committee Application

Erika Spellman Selected to Serve as the MVSD’s New Guidance Counselor

Erika SpellmanCurrently serving as the MVSD’s College and Career Advisor, Erika Spellman was recently selected to serve as the new MVSD Guidance Counselor. With over 18 years of college counseling, teaching and student advising experience, Erika will begin her new position in the fall of the 2019-20 school year, replacing current MVSD Guidance Counselor, Amy Knob, who is resigning her position at the conclusion of the current school year.

Beginning her career in the Edmonds School District as a family and consumer science teacher, Erika quickly saw that students and parents were hungry for more access to college and career information. Prior to arriving in the Methow Valley, Erika spent much of her career building and implementing comprehensive college and career programs in both the Edmonds and Shoreline School Districts. When asked about her new position, Erika stated, “I thrilled to take the next step in my career as the MVSD Guidance Counselor.”

Following the search and selection process, MVSD student and interview committee member, Tommie Ochoa stated, “I am certainly excited to welcome Ms. Spellman as our new counselor for many reasons. Not only is Ms. Spellman interested in helping students with any emotional support, but she also strives for academic success in every student. She can make you feel so important…” She added, “She is someone who is very approachable, most of the students have already created a friendly relationship with her and she is a familiar face in the school making her very approachable and comfortable to talk too. Her mindset is so wise and well thought out, a counselor position suits her greatly.”

Hilary Kaltenbach, MVSD parent and member of the search and selection committee echoed Tommie’s enthusiasm for Erika’s selection in by stating, “In her current roles, Erika has earned the trust and respect of families, students, and staff. Her genuine care for each student’s well-being and success will make her an outstanding counselor. As a parent, I feel confident that my daughter will be supported and encouraged as she finds her path, both academic and personal, through junior high and high school.”

When Erika isn’t working with high school students she enjoys spending time with her 3 children, Morgan, Mackenzie, and Montana, her husband Cory and teaching yoga at her yoga studio in Twisp.

We will be posting the open position for the MVSD College and Career Advisor in the near future. Please join us as we congratulate Erika Spellman, MVSD’s new Guidance Counselor!

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Have a wonderful summer break!