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LPS celebrates summer reading!

Longview Public Schools Superintendent Dan Zorn and School Board member Phil Jurmu set the pace at Longview’s Go Fourth parade.

While serving as grand marshal of the 2018 Go Fourth parade, Superintendent Dan Zorn and his crew of LPS staff, board members, family and friends passed out thousands of bookmarks encouraging everyone to read this summer.

The bookmarks include a link to “Superintendent Storytime,” where Dr. Zorn shares several of his favorite children’s books.


2018-07-09T15:04:46+00:00July 5th, 2018|

LPS graduates take diverse paths: Becky Grubbs, MMHS

Young people sample lots of activities in high school, and by the time they graduate each has a unique set of experiences to call their own. We asked three members of Longview’s class of 2018 to share something about their high school careers, a piece of advice and their post-graduation plans.

MMHS grad Becky Grubbs

Mark Morris grad Becky Grubbs

Mark Morris High School: Hardwired to help

Becky Grubbs seems hardwired for volunteering.

“I’ve been doing non-profit work since I was 18 months old,” said
the senior, describing those early times with her grandparents
at FISH of Cowlitz County, which distributes food and other services.

This year and last, Becky received Volunteer of the Year honors from the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum United Way.

Becky began volunteering at the United Way as a sophomore and soon was helping plan events, like the Day of Caring campaign. This year she worked with LPS to implement a literacy program that put 100 Mark Morris and R.A. Long students in third grade classrooms where they encouraged the younger students to read for fun.

“Becky took it on as her pet project … and set up student teams at the high schools,” said Brooke Fisher-Clark, United Way executive director. “It was really magical to see that partnership.”

Becky said volunteer work has taught her that there is always a way to help.

“United Way really helped me find out how to contribute,” she said.

Next steps: Finish an associate’s degree in business at Lower Columbia College and then pursue a four-year degree to become a financial planner or accountant.

Advice for younger students: “I would suggest they look for opportunities for things they can do in their own community. There’s always some way to help. You can always find something to do.”

Click here to read about Discovery graduate Natalie Rodriguez .

Click here to read about R.A. Long graduate Hamzah Amjad.


Story originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of the Longview Schools Review.

2018-06-21T21:54:08+00:00June 21st, 2018|

LPS grads take diverse paths: Hamzah Amjad, R.A. Long

Young people sample lots of activities in high school, and by the time they graduate each has a unique set of experiences to call their own. We asked three members of Longview’s class of 2018 to share something about their high school careers, a piece of advice and their post-graduation plans.

R.A. Long High School: Intent on STEM

R.A. Long grad Hamzah Amjad

R.A. Long grad Hamzah Amjad

From Hamzah Amjad’s perspective, having technology isn’t enough.

“It can be used to solve most of the world’s problems,” he said. “We just haven’t yet figured out how to help people who need it.”

Hamzah is preparing to do just that. In April, he was among 49 Washington high school seniors—one from each legislative district—who signed letters of intent to pursue careers in STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In September, he will begin engineering studies at the University of Washington.

“I like things that manifest into real-life scenarios,” he said, describing how his calculus and AP statistics classes helped him see real-world applications for theoretical material.

Hamzah points to medicines that are designed to cure cancer but perhaps aren’t used in the most efficient way. And he mused about artificial intelligence in cars—couldn’t it be used to prevent vehicle accidents?

His teachers anticipate he will make a difference.

“Hamzah is a phenomenal person who is always ‘on his game,’ and he carries himself with a humility that people are drawn to,” said math teacher Paul Jeffries. “He is committed to his future and will be successful, because he doesn’t know how else to be.”

Next steps: Study engineering at University of Washington.

Advice for younger students: “Everyone’s different, so you have to find your own way … but ask for help if you need it.”

Click here to read about Discovery graduate Natalie Rodriguez.

Click here to read about Mark Morris graduate Becky Grubbs.


Story originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of the Longview Schools Review.

2018-06-21T21:58:21+00:00June 21st, 2018|

LPS graduates take diverse paths: Natalie Rodriguez, Discovery

Young people sample lots of activities in high school, and by the time they graduate each has a unique set of experiences to call their own. We asked three members of Longview’s class of 2018 to share something about their high school careers, a piece of advice and their post-graduation plans.

Discovery High School: Finding her wings

DHS grad Natalie Rodriguez

Discovery grad Natalie Rodriguez

After moving back to Longview from Texas in her sophomore year, Natalie Rodriguez’s plan was to finish high school online so she could avoid people.

Then the self-described “really, really shy” student heard about Discovery, Longview’s alternative high school, and gave it a try.

When Natalie was required to make her first presentation, Discovery teacher Tamra Higgins nudged her through it.

“Ms. Higgins was like, ‘It’ll be OK. You’ll be fine,’” Natalie recalled—and found out she was.

She continued trying new things, including a library science class at R.A. Long and volunteer work at Monticello Middle School. Along the way, she found a passion for libraries.

“I realized if you work in a library, you’re helping people,” she said.
“Libraries are like hospitals for the mind.”

Higgins and English teacher Ron Moore agreed that Natalie has evolved into a whole new student.

“Natalie consistently asked some of the best questions and offered the deepest and most sophisticated insights,” Moore said. “She became a class leader and risk taker—miles away from that timid girl who was hesitant to put her toe in the water.”

Next steps: Start at Lower Columbia College, preparing for a career as a library technician.

Advice for younger students:
“If you’re on a cliff and you need to jump, but you’re too scared to jump, find some wings, staple them on—and just jump.”

Click here to read about Mark Morris graduate Becky Grubbs.

Click here to read about R.A. Long graduate Hamzah Amjad.


Story originally appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of the Longview Schools Review.

2018-06-21T21:52:30+00:00June 21st, 2018|

Message from the Superintendent

Dear Community Members,

A sign hangs in my office, right above my computer monitor. It says, “I will devote time each day to improving the literacy skills of our students.”

It’s a promise I made to myself March 18, 2008, when I was an assistant superintendent in Montana, and it’s a promise I continue to keep today.

Declaring my intention to help improve student reading and writing might seem like a strange goal for a superintendent, because my job is to oversee an entire school district—15 campuses, 908 employees, nearly 6,500 students and an $87 million budget. My days revolve around community outreach, and meetings about curricula, facilities and future planning.

But when it comes right down to it, my goal as superintendent is to position the school district so it has the skilled people, the functional buildings and the up-to-date technology that make learning not just possible but inevitable.

Why? To help each of our students become literate learners. Literacy is the most important thing we do. It is the key to opening the gateway of opportunity and success for our students.

In this autumn’s Report to Our Community, you will see that Longview’s students and staff are making progress. Our graduation rate is rising, and our students’ results on state-mandated testing show areas of improvement.

You also will read that Longview has a vision for the future. That involves updating our facilities, beginning with those that support our youngest learners.

Do new buildings improve our students’ ability to read and write? Not by themselves. But when you add the passion and talents of LPS staff to facilities that work—buildings that accommodate the latest teaching technology and methods—it’s a recipe for student success.

And seeing our students’ success is what makes all the planning and strategy worthwhile.

Thank you, as always, for your support of Longview Public Schools!


Dan Zorn, Superintendent

2018-06-05T22:25:09+00:00October 23rd, 2017|

Families, teens invited to view ‘Screenagers’

Screenagers poster-LongviewBetween social media, video games, academics, socializing and other pursuits, the average youth spends 6½ hours a day looking at screens.

When physician, filmmaker and mom Delaney Ruston learned this, she set out to explore the impact on young people and their families, including her own. The result is “Screenagers: Growing up in the Digital Age,” a film that tells the stories of students and their families.

Exploring the impact of digital media on human development—including insights from psychologists, brain scientists and other researchers—“Screenagers” offers families strategies for finding balance in the digital age.

Longview Public Schools and the Longview Police Department are presenting “Screenagers”—with Spanish subtitles—at 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 30, at Kessler Elementary, 1902 E. Kessler Blvd., Longview. The movie is free and open to the public—and the Pioneer Lions Club will be providing free kettle corn.

For more information and to register, visit

2017-05-31T20:54:40+00:00May 10th, 2017|

LPS snow day makeup plan approved by School Board

The Longview School Board approved a snow day makeup plan at its Monday meeting. The revised calendar has school in session Feb. 1 and June 19-23. Commencement will take place June 17, as planned.

Feb. 1 had been scheduled as a records day but now will be a full day of classes for staff and students—with no early release.

The week of June 19-23 had been listed on the district calendar as a makeup week, if needed.

We appreciate everyone’s patience and flexibility as we work through these unexpected scheduling challenges.

2017-02-01T20:22:41+00:00January 25th, 2017|

Weather closure on Thursday, Dec. 8

Due to numerous forecasts of severe weather conditions and our concern for the safety of students, families and staff members, Longview Public Schools is closed Thursday, Dec. 8.

Stay up to date by visiting FlashAlert.

2017-03-07T15:36:54+00:00December 7th, 2016|

Hometown pride: Longview students return as teachers

Longview’s classrooms are filled with hometowners—teachers who got their start right here as students. A recent informal poll found that at least 84 of our 436 teachers were Longview students!

It’s one thing to have high numbers of alumni teaching in a town with a university, where students can earn a teaching degree, notes R.A. Long High School math teacher Janelle Ormond. But Longview grads have to leave town to get their degrees—and then choose to return home.

Here are a few Longview teachers and their anecdotes of the moments that inspired them to join the teaching staff serving our district.

Patty May

Then: Student at Robert Gray Elementary, Cascade Middle and Mark Morris High School

Now: Teacher at Columbia Heights Elementary—fourth/fifth grade split class

From the time Patty May was in second grade, she knew she wanted to teach. It was almost as if she was taking notes.

Patty MayFrom Fred Hanson, her teacher in third and fifth grades at Robert Gray Elementary (“He was young and new and had lots of energy,” she recalls.), May adopted a tradition of inviting students to eat lunch with her at her desk, one at a time.

“It’s special for the kids,” she explains.

From her fourth grade teacher, the late Bob Steen, she adopted the tradition of “crazy hat parties.” Now she and her students create crazy hats to wear at Halloween.

“I’m totally sold on this community. Longview and Longview Schools are part of who I am,” she says, and pauses. “Flaws and everything!”

Fred Hanson

Then: Student at Kessler and Olympic elementaries, Monticello Middle and R.A. Long High School

Now: Teacher at St. Helens Elementary—fifth grade

Fred Hanson has been teaching elementary school for 39 years. He no longer hosts personal lunches with students, but he makes a point of walking around the classroom, checking in on students, especially those who seem a bit lonely.Fred Hanson

“I still enjoy teaching after all these years,” he reflects. “You can reach out and help kids learn. It’s fun to me.”

At least five of his students, including Patty May, have grown up to be his colleagues, teaching in Longview schools: Phil Hartley at Monticello Middle, Lacey Grady at R.A. Long High, Brittini Reid at St. Helens Elementary and Angela Guinn at Olympic Elementary.

He says he wouldn’t have guessed which ones would return to teach, but he certainly recognizes the key qualities of teachers: “They need to have patience. They have to love children,” he says. “Like everyone says, teachers don’t make a whole lot of money, so you really have to love what you do and keep doing it.”

Janelle Ormond

Then: Student at St. Rose School and Mark Morris High School

Now: Teacher at: R.A. Long High School—math and AVID adviser

The teachers that had the greatest influence on Janelle Ormond have something in common: They all taught English.

Janelle OrmondGary Udd at St. Rose School, and Phil Suek and Mike Poindexter at Mark Morris High School—“They made it so I could understand the subject and learn it,” says Ormond, who struggled with English.

Now a math teacher, she sees herself following in their footsteps, translating a subject that many students find challenging. “It’s the theme of what I do,” she says.

Another quality she took from Mike Poindexter: “A lot of kids have things going on in their lives that people get shocked by,” she says. “I took from him not to react, because school is their calm place.”

Before teaching in Longview, Ormond worked at the Lummi Nation School in Bellingham.

“I never planned on returning to Longview,” she says, “but it’s very nice being around family when you’re raising your family.”

Jill Isaacson

Then: Student at St. Rose School and Mark Morris High School

Now: Teacher at Mark Morris High School—math

Jill Isaacson planned to use her love of math in business or physical therapy. But when she returned from college for summer break, she encountered friends’ parents who were teachers.Jill Isaacson

“All of a sudden it sparked,” she says, “and I really got the sense that I needed to be a teacher.”

She called her childhood babysitter, Janelle Ormond, and asked to shadow her at the high schools. What she saw was compelling.

“It was her connection with the kids,” Isaacson recalled. “She had an amazing relationship with all of her students, and it was such a great environment. I could see myself being really excited to be a teacher.”

Like Ormond, she had not planned on returning to Longview.

“It was definitely weird at first, because some of the seniors were friends with my sister, but it’s been really great,” she says. “Knowing the principal from the start, and the secretary—and teachers remembered me. Already there was a great sense of comfort and feeling that I belonged.”


This story is part of Longview Public Schools’ 2016-17 Report to Our Community.

2017-03-07T15:36:54+00:00November 22nd, 2016|

Longview schools awarded for fitness efforts

Longview Public Schools’ efforts to encourage physical fitness and healthy eating among students and staff have resulted in multiple awards this fall districtwide.

A 2016 Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award—part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative—has been awarded to:

Elementary school students play a game outside with a ball.

  • Cascade Middle School
  • Columbia Heights Elementary School
  • Columbia Valley Gardens Elementary School
  • Kessler Elementary School
  • Mark Morris High School
  • Mint Valley Elementary School
  • Monticello Middle School
  • Mt. Solo Middle School
  • Northlake Elementary School
  • Olympic Elementary School
  • Robert Gray Elementary School
  • St. Helens Elementary School

R.A. Long High School received the same recognition in 2015 and is eligible to apply again in 2017.

Additionally, Mark Morris High School is one of two Washington schools recognized with a 2016 National Healthy Schools Bronze Award by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation.

“I think the buildings have really good supportive staff and administrators who let us promote these things in terms of healthy environments,” said Lisa Kloke, district physical education coordinator. “It takes a collaboration of the entire staff in a building to make these things possible for our kids.”

The Let’s Move! Active Schools National Award celebrates the commitment of schools to provide students with at least 60 minutes of physical activity before, during and after school each day. Award winners must have met significant benchmarks in five areas: physical education, physical activity before and after school, physical activity during school, staff involvement, and family and community engagement.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthy Schools Program is a national initiative designed to combat childhood obesity by implementing healthy changes within the school environment. It recognizes schools that succeed at the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.

The Bronze Award recognizes Mark Morris’ commitment to follow district policy to provide healthier food selections in vending machines and the student store; to provide opportunities for students to be physically active before, during and after school; to promote health and wellness to staff through physical activity events and healthy potlucks; and to install water bottle filling stations to increase access to drinking water.

Kloke said not all students have access to healthy foods at home or access to places to exercise.

“We say, ‘Here are some things you can do to help you live a healthier lifestyle,’ because eating healthy foods and exercising are going to make them feel better and help them go places in life,” she said.


2017-03-07T15:36:54+00:00September 30th, 2016|
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