Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Parent Partnership Series "Mental Health Issues in Yakima Valley"

Last night we held the Parent Partnership Series meeting on "Mental Health Issues in the Yakima Valley" at West Valley High School. The information shared by the co-presenters, Bernie Snow, WVJH counselor, and Malissa Durbin, former West Valley counselor, and current private counselor, was absolutely outstanding. Parents in attendance received valuable information on how to best identify anxiety and depression in their students, as well as a toolbox of ways to best deal with the issues. Area Mental Health professionals were also on hand, serving as a panel to answer parent questions, as well as offer professional services to parents. A big THANK YOU to Bernie Snow for his work on putting this program together! A big THANK YOU to Taylor Vance and her Child Development Program for providing childcare last night!

Parent Partnership Series - Topical programs offered during the 2018-19 school year for parents.

 Program from last night's Mental Health Issues in Yakima Valley - presented in HS Library from 6:30 to 8:00 to English-Speaking parents.

Program for the upcoming session this Thursday - offered to Spanish-Speaking parents.


Monday, January 14, 2019

Personalized Learning Design Team

This morning we started to finalize the membership of the Personalized Learning Design Team. I have appreciated greatly the interest, questions, emails, and inquiries about this committee. With a focus of moving toward a more personalized learning environment for our students in West Valley, we decided to form this team for the purpose of providing the pace and direction of the initiative. This team is made up of two principals, six teachers, two students, and eventually, two parents, whom I am trying to get commitments from as I type this. This team will meet every other Monday afternoon, at 4:00 p.m. as we get started, later deciding if that day, time, and frequency work.

Visiting Cottonwood 2nd Grade Teacher Gail Buchanan's classroom this morning showed 100% active engagement, as well as no two students working on the same page at the same time. This is truly Personalized Learning - There was no waiting for Ms. Buchanan, or other students, in order for students to work on and master their personalized learning needs.

Students taking responsibility for the pace and choice for their learning. 

Students have the opportunity to work on their own, sometimes partnering, but controlling the pace for their learning as well as demonstrating flexible seating.

Ms. Buchanan has the opportunity to work with individual students in order to provide deeper learning opportunities and correct deficiencies for individual learners, knowing others are working. 

West Valley School District
Personalized Learning Design Team

Superintendent - Mike Brophy, HS Asst. Principal - Justin Wright, Wide Hollow Principal - Rick Ferguson, HS Science Teacher - Keely Teske, Mountainview Kindergarten Teacher - Arin Lee, AVID Teacher - Wendy Clark, WVMS Humanities Teacher - Renee Berger, Ahtanum 3rd Grade Teacher - Todd Paikuli, Cottonwood 2nd Grade Teacher - Gail Buchanan, Apple Valley 4th Grade Teacher - Erika Kabrich, WVHS 11th Grader - Brock Wilder, and WVJH 7th Grader Andrew Cabbage. Thank you again!

We are in the process of adding at least two parents to the Design Team. 


West Valley will have three presentations at WASA/AWSP Annual Summer Conference this June.

We have been notified that the WASA/AWSP Professional Growth / Conference Team has chosen three West Valley proposals to be presented during the WASA/AWSP Summer Conference in June.

Proposals are presented for a couple month period and are chosen based on criteria involving the timeliness as well as relevance of the topics proposed. The following proposals will be presented:

Innovations and Futures Director Chris Nesmith will be presenting, "Developing Student Pathways for Postsecondary Success." This has been developed as a result of the work we have initiated and led on in Washington State with regard to the apprenticeship model. We are of course a leader in Washington State as well as also receiving national recognition on our efforts in this area. 

Assistant Superintendent Peter Finch will be presenting, "AASA Case Studies in Early Learning." This has been developed as a result of West Valley's recognition throughout Washington State as a leader in Pre K Program development as well as Peter Finch's participation on the American Association of School Administrators Early Learning Cohort. 

Superintendent Mike Brophy will be presenting, "Leading the Transition from Blended Learning to Personalized Learning." This has been developed from our work as a district in initiating a blended learning initiative through our focus today on moving to a more personalized learning environment. We have been recognized as a leader in our work in this area. 


Over the past few years, West Valley has presented at regional, state, and national conferences. We consider it an honor and opportunity in presenting the initiatives that we have started that are making a difference for our students, that can be replicated by others. We have had single proposals accepted at these conferences, but we have never had two or three proposals accepted for presentation to the conference. We are anxiously looking forward to this great opportunity to share our work with others!

Friday, January 11, 2019

West Valley Pre K Initiative Continues to Make a Difference

Last night over 100 childcare and preschool providers from throughout the greater Yakima area converged on Wide Hollow Elementary School for one of our quarterly trainings as part of the West Valley Pre K Initiative - focusing on getting as many students as possible "Kindergarten Ready." We operate quarterly trainings to all childcare and preschool providers in areas that will promote Kindergarten readiness, and we have the data to show that it is truly making a difference. Under the leadership of Assistant Superintendent Peter Finch, this program has received regional, state, and national recognition for the difference it is making throughout our county.
 Over 100 preschool and childcare providers are engaged in the presentation last evening. These trainings satisfy their ongoing certification requirements for operating a preschool or childcare facility, or working in a facility with preschool age children.

 Presenter Michelle Palmer demonstrating the power of story telling that we want providers to take back and work with their children on when they return to their preschool. Michelle is a behavioral specialist who works with ESD 105. 

View from the back of the room last night! This is just one more of our efforts to work with our community in providing the maximum opportunity for children to be "Kindergarten Ready."


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Parent Partnership Series Continues January 15th and 17th


We are excited to offer the second part of our Parent Partnership Series on January 15th for English Speakers, and January 17th for Spanish Speakers - the announcement is below:  


West Valley School District
Parent Partnership Series
“Mental Health Issues in Yakima Valley”

Tuesday, January 15th – WVHS Library, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (English Speakers)
  Thursday, January 17th – WVHS Library, 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. (Spanish  Speakers)

6:15 – Representatives from various organizations arrive and set up a table

6:30 – Welcome (Brophy)        Mental Health Issues in Yakima Valley

6:40 – Mallissa Durbin / Bernie Snow   Anxiety / Depression and toolbox of ways to support your                  student

7:25 – Bernie Snow introduces representatives from organizations, giving them an opportunity to                    discuss the services that they offer at their organization.

7:35     Representatives move to panel

7:40 – 8:00  Questions/Answers  panel                                                 Bernie Snow


Childcare as well as a light snack will be available. 

2019 - Personalized Learning Design Team Forming

Moving Our Digital Transformation Foward

Happy New Year! This year, one of the areas of focus will be continuing our Digital Transformation. We’ll continue to develop a common vocabulary around the terms we so often see and use: 

  • Blended LearningDynamic teaching combined with online curriculum and technology tools, enhancing teachers’ ability to reach every student and accelerate student outcomes.
  • Personalized Learning: Instruction and assessment is tailored to students’ learning preferences, connects to students’ interests, and allows for voice and choice.
  • Differentiation: Teachers respond to student learning needs based on continuous formative assessment practices. Instruction meets learners where they are, providing diverse access to the curriculum, and allowing students to progress at their own pace.
  • Engagement: Students and teachers are actively involved in learning, persist through challenges, and are proud of the work they produce.
  • Deeper understanding: Students move beyond skill acquisition to meaningful application.
We are proud of the work you have done so far to integrate technology into your teaching routines to provide a dynamic learning environment for students. We greatly appreciate the outstanding examples and notification from teachers who invited us to see some of the exciting work being done firsthand. The ENGAGE – Blended Learning Challenge gave us the opportunity to share over 75 learning examples over the past year and a half! Please keep sending me notices and invitations so that I can see and share the advances in blending technology with teaching. This inspires others to give new things a try!
Our Digital Convergence Committee meets every other week at 1:00pm on Mondays to monitor our progress and ensure that we are bringing IT together to effectively meet the needs of buildings and teachers. 
We are in the process of creating a Personalized Learning Design Team in order to best ensure the growth of personalized learning opportunities for our students. This team will be made up of two principals, four teachers, two students, and two parents, and will meet periodically to make sure that this journey is moving in the right direction, at the right pace. If you are interested in being considered for this group, please send me an email of interest. I promise that you will not be disappointed in the focus of this group.  
Thank you again for a tremendous 2018. I am looking forward to a great 2019 and beyond! 
Mike Brophy

Monday, January 7, 2019

2019 Brings the Challenge of Continuing to Move our Digital Transformation Forward




WEST VALLEY TEAM - Welcome back, and welcome to 2019! Last week I sent an email about coming off of a fantastic 2018, and asking the question of - What will 2019 bring? One of the areas of focus will be the continuing challenge of moving our Digital Transformation forward. Part of this challenge is continuing to develop a common vocabulary around the terms that we so often see and use. 

Developing a Common Understanding of Blended and Personalized Learning

Blended Learning: Dynamic teaching combined with online curriculum and technology tools, enhancing teachers’ ability to reach every student and accelerate student outcomes.

Personalized Learning: Instruction and assessment is tailored to students’ learning preferences, connects to students’ interests, and allows for voice and choice.

Differentiation: Teachers respond to student learning needs based on continuous formative assessment practices. Instruction meets learners where they are, providing diverse access to the curriculum, and allowing students to progress at their own pace.

Engagement: Students and teachers are actively involved in learning, persist through challenges, and are proud of the work the produce.

Deeper understanding: Students move beyond skill acquisition to meaningful application.


We are proud of the work you have done so far integrating technology into your teaching routines in order to provide a dynamic learning environment for students. We greatly appreciate the outstanding examples and notification from teachers who want us to come see some of the exciting work being done. The ENGAGE - Blended Learning Challenge gave us the opportunity to share over 75 teaching/classroom learning examples over the past year and a half! Please keep sending me notices and invitations to your classrooms to see the advances in blending technology into your teaching.. This inspires others to give things a try!

We have a Digital Convergence Committee that meets every other week at 1:00 on Mondays to monitor our progress as well as insure that we are bringing IT together effectively meet the needs of buildings and teachers. This committee meets today at 1:00 in my office. 

We are looking to create a Personalized Learning Design Team that will be forming in order to best insure the growth of personalized learning opportunities for our students. This team will be made up of two principals, four teachers, two students, and two parents, and will meet periodically to make sure that this journey is moving in the right direction, at the right pace. If you are interested in being considered for this group, please send me an email of interest. I promise that you will not be disappointed in the focus of this group.  

Thank you again for a tremendous 2018, and as you can see, I am anxiously looking forward to a great 2019 and beyond!