Spring News – $20K in Grants, and Board Changes

For Immediate Release


$20k in Grants, and Board Changes

Spring has been a busy season at the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation (WSVEF).  The Foundation recently announced grants awarded to the White Salmon Valley School District totaling $20,000, as well as a changing of the executive guard.

The WSVEF Board funded three grant requests totaling $20,000. The largest award, $15,500, goes to Whitson Elementary School for the Guided Language Acquisition Design, or “GLAD” Program, a teaching method which officials say will be implemented school-wide.    It’s designed to increase student engagement through specific strategies that make complex content more comprehensible for all students.  Teachers at Whitson have varying levels of GLAD training already. The funds cover professional development to solidify the base of knowledge for ten teachers.  “These strategies can be used in all subject areas and for students of all academic levels,” said Whitson Principal Todd McCauley.  “This investment into teacher professional development will make a real difference in learning.”

The Board also approved $3,600 to go towards the purchase of interactive projectors for the seventh and eighth grade math classes at Henkle Middle School.  Teachers say the projectors will help increase student engagement and math understanding and allow instructors to fully utilize the new math curriculums, which include materials to be used in interactive projectors.

Additionally, $900 will go to Henkle Middle School to fund storage shelves and bins in the Robotics Classroom to organize the hundreds of pieces and parts used in construction of the robotics devices.

The Grant Review Committee is comprised of one WSVEF Board Member, two teachers, and two community members.

Meantime, Executive Level elections took place at the WSVEF’s recent annual meeting.  Matt Hanson, who has served a number of years as Board Treasurer, moved up to the President’s seat.  Dawn Hulbert moved to Vice President.  Anne Stringer becomes the new Treasurer, and Kirsten Dennis is the new Secretary.  Jason Spadaro wrapped up a three-year stint as President, and moves to the position of Past-President.  Erin Black, Jill Vacek and Jeremy Denny round out the board.

“I hope to build on an already great relationship between the Foundation, our schools and our community,” said newly-installed Board President Hanson.  “Having children in three of the four White Salmon schools, I am able to see first-hand how the Foundation has been able to enhance the efforts put forward by the incredible faculty and staff of our district.  This would not be possible without the generosity and support from our community.”

That community generosity and support has made possible the more than $2.1 million dollars in contributions the WSVEF has garnered and granted over the last ten years to local schools.

The Board also bid a fond farewell to Founding Member and Vice-President Kate Stevenson, who stepped down after a decade of involvement.  “Kate has been an invaluable and integral part of the Ed Foundation since the very beginning,” said Executive Director Anne-Marie Slater.  “ Her numerous contributions as Treasurer, Vice President and board member have played an important role in our success.  Her support has strengthened our organizational structure, our fiscal integrity and our fundraising success. We thank her for her many years of service that have greatly benefited our schools and the WSVEF.” Kate will remain an advisor to the Board and Finance Committee.      

The WSVEF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the quality of public education within our community by creating a stable source of supplemental funding for curriculum enhancement and investment in our teachers.  At least 25% of every donation goes to the WSVEF’s endowment fund, which will allow for continued grant funding into the future.  For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.wsvef.org or call (509)493-1175. 


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March 10th – Shop and Dine Local – Night Out For Schools!

Stock Up and Dine Out on Thursday, March 10th!
4pm – Close

Beneventi’s, Everybody’s, Feast, Harvest Market, Henni’s, Pioneer Pizza, and the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation (WSVEF) invite you to shop local, and dine local to support education, with the “Night out for Schools” event this coming Thursday, March 10, 2016.

On this special evening, each of these local businesses will donate 5 percent of all net sales made from 4pm til close, to the WSVEF to support our schools.
“As a local business, we feel it is crucial to invest in White Salmon’s future,” said Harvest Market owner Jeff O’Neal, “and helping out schools is one way we can all contribute to our community.”

“The event has expanded this year. We’re thankful for the enthusiastic participation from all of the restaurants and the grocer,” said WSVEF Executive Director Anne Marie Slater. “This joint campaign is just one more way that they are helping our community enhance education. Everyone is excited to welcome you in and for a donation to be generated as part of something you may do regularly. ”

In addition to using your grocery and dining dollars to help kids, it brings us all together for a good cause. By keeping your money in your neighborhood, you help supply jobs for locals. You’re also helping the environment by driving less, saving gas, and decreasing pollution.

This is a great way to get out into our community, have some fun and support our schools. So invite your friends, and come on out to join in the “Night Out for Schools”.
“I’ll be there to stock up and dine out on March 10th !” said Slater. “I hope you will, too.”

The WSVEF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the quality of public education within our community by creating a stable source of supplemental funding for curriculum enhancement and investment in our teachers.


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New CNC Plasma Cutter Machine at Columbia HS

More great things are happening in White Salmon Schools!

Columbia High School’s Metal Sciences program received yet another boost of funding to purchase state-of-the-art equipment for our students. Through two gifts, $5,500 from the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation (WSVEF) and another grant for $9,000 from SDS Lumber, teacher Chris Hipskind was able to purchase a CNC plasma cutter.  This was a long time dream of the teacher who has continually sought out new and modern resources to update his program.

Local industry need employees who have marketable skills and hands-on experience with current technology. Some of Mr. Hipskind’s senior students joke with him, “Why did you wait to get this now when we are close to graduating?”  It’s new, complex and engaging.  The first to use this new machine are those students who have long been involved in the metal sciences, electric car or robotics programs. There is a lot to learn.  Slowly and steadily the curriculum will expand and projects will abound.  In the meantime, I understand that a “Thank You” sign is in the works 🙂

Thank you SDS Lumber and our community for supporting the Foundation.  It’s because of  you that our students are experiencing the use of  cutting-edge technology. No pun intended.


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BNSF Railway Foundation Gifts $5,000 for Student Field Trips

What a day!  So exciting to go to the mailbox and find a check for $5,000 to support field trips in our schools. Our grant writer has been busy and we’re here to share the news.

BNSF funds will be used for transportation costs for middle and high school field trips to cultural, educational and career-oriented destinations in the 2015-2016 school year. These may include the following: trips to urban art institutions like museums, symphonies and plays: trips to colleges in Portland and Vancouver; science field studies in nearby wetlands; and career-focused trips to local and regional employers in well-paid industries such as medical, technology, engineering and design fields.

Thank you BNSF Railway for supporting White Salmon school children in their dreams for the future!

Thank you to our community for your donations – they support the grant writer who writes grants on behalf of our schools. That’s what the WSVEF is all about – gathering support to invest in resources and opportunities for all of our school children.

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Grape Escape Is Grand Success

WSVEF Event Raises $113,000 for Local Schools

A very rainy Saturday night did not dampen the fun, excitement, and generosity at the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation’s (WSVEF) 9th Annual Gorge Grape Escape.  Some 200 people turned out to Skyline Hospital for the big event, and they dug deep into their pockets, raising over $113,000 to benefit White Salmon Schools.

“The results exceeded our expectations of the night,” said WSVEF Board President Jason Spadaro.  “We’ve been working hard the last couple years to expand our reach in the community, and it appears to have paid off.  The community stepped up to help our schools, and the outcome is uplifting.”

Participants enjoyed an amazing gourmet dinner and appetizers created and donated by Paul Beneventi.  One reveler was heard to remark the next day that she “dreamed about those scalloped potatoes last night!”.

Dozens of people vied for prizes from hats to trips at the Wine Toss and Match 2, while most participants made sure they had tickets in the “Grand Raffle” to win the coveted prizes.  And the bidding was brisk, energetic and downright competitive for the event’s exciting auction items.

“It’s gratifying to live in a town that places such a high priority on our schools and our children,” said WSVEF Executive Director Anne Marie Slater.  “The monies from this that go to our endowment fund, and the grants that will be made because of these donations, will help our children for years to come.”

At least 25% of each donation goes into the Foundation’s endowment fund, and approximately $40,000 a year goes to the schools through the granting process.

The WSVEF has granted, or secured granting, for 112 programs in our local schools totaling over $1.3 million since 2006.

Generous sponsors of the event included:  Insitu, SDS Lumber, ICE, Northshore Medical Group, Best Western PLUS Hood River Inn, Zepher, CenterPointe Community Bank, Cardinal Glass, Lesley Haskell at Jaques Sharp Law, Matt Hanson at Proactive Financial Management, RiverHood Rentals, Wilcox & Flegel, Mengis Capital Management, Skyline Hospital, Harvest Market, McCoy Holliston Insurance, Columbia Bank, Republic Services, Adams & Hood Metal Fabricators, and RiverHood Rentals.

The WSVEF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the quality of public education within our community by creating a stable source of supplemental funding for curriculum enhancement and investment in our teachers.   For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.wsvef.org or call (509)493-1175.

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We’ve started making our video for 2015

Just a quick note to tell you how excited I am (Anne-Marie Slater, Director) to be working with Michael Peterson of Peterson ProMedia (parent in our schools and professional) again this year on our special appeal video.  We are grateful to our teachers and our administrators for supporting us in this endeavor.

We’ve been at the high school and the middle school gathering student and teacher comments about the programs we have funded.  We’re also checking in with them about their hopes and dreams for their future. Both Michael and I are exhilarated by what we are hearing, there are so many great things going on in White Salmon Schools. Our students are engaged and enjoying learning opportunities that would not otherwise have been possible without community funding through the WSVEF. We’ll be found at the elementary school sometime in May.

Just a teaser but I wanted to let you know that we think you’ll find it to be the best one yet! So “Save the Date” – Oct 10th – Grape Escape 2015 – for the premier of the new video.





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Boeing Announces $10,000 for STEM Professional Development


Columbia HS students work with their CAD drawings and the new CNC router machine in the Wood Shop. It is so great to have modern technology in our schools.

WSVEF2014.Still002It is with sincere gratitude that we thank Insitu/Boeing for their continued support of our Science, Technology, Engineering and Math curriculum kindergarten through grade 12 in this school year.

It’s true, government funding does not fully cover the cost of education in our schools. Shrinking budgets have left little funds for professional development. With new technologies in our classrooms, teachers need to be well prepared to instruct the modern student.

White Salmon is fortunate to have a company that is helping us to build our STEM related instruction during these times. The funds will help expand our teachers’ instructional practice in Science and Math; allow staff to develop and disseminate STEM pathways to aid 7-12th grade students in selecting advanced STEM coursework; and create a professional development plan to continue to deepen teachers’ skills in instruction.

This is the third year in a row that we have been given this great gift. Thank you Insitu/Boeing!

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Jack Baldwin Memorial Fund Supports Outdoor School 2015

Our grant writer has been hard at work getting a jump start on planning for Grade 6 to attend Outdoor School in May 2015.  A big “Thank You” goes out to the Jack Baldwin Memorial Outdoor Education Fund of the Gorge Community Foundation for supporting White Salmon students to study science and nature in their own backyard.  The more students connect their surroundings with their classroom learning they become more engaged, inquisitive, seeking more knowledge. What more could we ask for, real life experiences to complement the work of our teaching staff. Thank you to Miss Erkila for heading up the Outdoor School program and to Leigh Hancock our fabulous grant writer.

And to the White Salmon community who helps support the costs of writing grants to outside sources, without you this would not be possible – thank you!

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New CNC Pro-Router in Columbia High School

John Hadley, Columbia Woodshop / Material Science Instructor, is taking advantage of a gift from donors to bring a CNC Router machine to his program.

For the last several years John has been perfecting teaching Sketchup to his Woodshop students. These drawings of student projects can output CAM files. Last year he used his budget dollars to buy a computer that will drive the interface software. Now he and his advanced students are ready to program the robot router and make parts. They will be able to take full advantage of the 5 period day with its longer classes.

“The idea is that motivated advanced students can go from concept (3D computer drawings) to fabrication using industry appropriate tools. As advanced students make parts everyone becomes familiar with the process. This will lead the way for more students to incorporate this process into their projects,” said Mr. Hadley.

“The clear intention is to support students’ aspirations of entering associated career pathways from engineering, material science, to machine technician.” Eventually he hopes to bring in a 3D printer and a laser CAM.

Steve Sliwa started it all with a vision in Spring 2011 of a CNC machine in our high school. He backed up his idea with the offer of a $3,000 community matching donation through the WSVEF. SDS Lumber chimed in for $2,000 and then at the Grape Escape in October 2011, thirteen other individual donors gifted another $1,000 for the equipment, to complete the match. ICE has also donated a selection of router bits and expertise to build and instruct Mr. Hadley in its operation. Thank you to those  who believed in this endeavor.

The vision is coming to fruition. It’s another exciting example of community members, local business, the WSVEF and the school district working together to bring applied science opportunities to our kids.

Students with marketable skills graduate from White Salmon Schools!


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BPA – Funds Climate Change/Hydropower Curriculum Development

The Foundation received a phone call today telling us that our recent grant application had been approved.  We were awarded $3,300 from the Bonneville Power Authority to create and implement “an engaging, rigorous curriculum designed to help students master science education standards by exploring the relationship between climate change and hydropower in the Pacific Northwest.  This scientifically accurate curriculum will be designed for high school students (grades 9-12) and will include lesson plans for 10 in-class science lessons, 3 field trips, and detailed instructions to guide high school students into teaching core concepts of the curriculum to younger students in 4th and 7th grade. This curriculum will give all students, including second language learners and those with special educational needs, the opportunity to enjoy and excel at scientific investigation.”

Caitlyn Cray will design the curriculum and assist CHS high school teachers in its implementation.

Thank you BPA for bringing relevant local STEM education to our students. Another project that would not have happened without the grant writing support of the WSVEF.


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