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District earns sixth consecutive financial award

The Hermiston School District business office received notification that it has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for the district’s 2011-2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a district and its management. The certificate is awarded primarily to government units whose CAFRs meet the highest standards in government accounting and financial reporting. The CAFRs are judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the CAFR.

This is the seventh time the Hermiston School District has been recognized for its CAFR, and sixth consecutive year. The District was previously honored for the 2010-11, 2009-10, 2008-09, 2007-08, 2006-07, and 2004-05 school years.

“The continued receipt of this award is evidence of the HSD Board of Education and business department’s commitment to excellence in reporting transparency and financial accountability,” said HSD Director of Operations and Business Services Jon Mishra. “I am extremely proud of the financial stewardship exhibited by the Board and business department. This honor establishes an unsurpassed standard of excellence.”

The Government Finance Officers Association of the U.S. and Canada is a nonprofit professional association that serves approximately 17,500 government finance professionals. The GFOA established the CAFR Program in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and then to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.

By |05/23/2013 9:51:31|District Awards, District News|0 Comments

2013 Crystal Apple Award Recipients

CrystalApple2013The Hermiston School District is pleased to announce its 2013 Crystal Apple Award winners: Rick Baher, Jessica Campbell, Michelle Dunkel, and Vicki Rhodes.  They were honored during the May 15 Crystal Apple “Excellence in Education” Awards at the Pendleton Red Lion, hosted by the InterMountain ESD.

Rick Baher is the Lead Warehouseman in the warehouse at the Hermiston School District, where he’s worked for 17 years. He has received classified employee of the year twice. Rick has done crowd control numerous times over the years, and has always taken pride in everything he does. The one comment that is consistent throughout the District is that no matter what Rick is doing, he is doing so with a smile on his face. His hard work and commitment to excellent is what makes him so deserving of this award. Congratulations, Rick!

Jessica Campbell is a 3rd grade teacher at Rocky Heights Elementary School, and has worked in the Hermiston School District for 5 years. Parents and other teachers alike say Jessica has a passion for teaching and for her students, and who demonstrates her love for her students by the way she talks to them, teaches them, pushes them and helps them to develop their own character. Her classroom structure is calm, positive and effective. She creates a learning environment where every student is learning and being successful. Jessica’s annual class “Hero’s All” production is always a crowd-pleaser and helps students gain confidence in speaking publically. Thank you, Jessica!

Michelle Dunkel is a Technology Coach who has worked for the Hermiston School District for 9 years. She has facilitated trainings, held afternoon classes, and helped teachers gain a kind of confidence with iPods/iPads that only hands-on training can do. Michelle maintains a presence in classrooms, team-teaching and even doing lessons with the class so that teachers can watch and learn. Her willingness to work with all teachers and students is to be applauded. Colleagues say Michelle is flexible, innovative, and makes learning new things technology-related contagious. Teachers say the successes they’re experiencing is directly related to Michelle’s commitment and passion to make the integration of a variety of technologies successful. Great work, Michelle!

Vicki Rhodes is a Title I Assistant at West Park Elementary School, and has worked in the Hermiston School District for 7 years. Colleagues say she is an invaluable member of the West Park team who contributes beyond her hours and beyond the scope of her job requirements, often volunteering her time for after school events. She also contributes to a positive classroom environment and encourages the students to read at home. She brought the idea of Band Together Against Bullying in 2011. She created the bulletin board where each child participates by signing their names on cut-out hearts and pledges to keep the four promises to prevent bullying in the school. She takes it upon herself to create the materials, organize them for the teachers, and order the bracelets that the students receive after they make their pledge. Way to go, Vicki!

By |05/16/2013 9:56:49|District Awards, District News|0 Comments

U.S. Education TV honors Armand’s “ALTV”

Armand Larive Middle School is a U.S. Education TV “February Featured School.” ALTV, an elective video production class taught by ALMS Science Teacher Robert Doherty, regularly submits news broadcasts to U.S. Education TV.

event-ALTVOn Sunday, March 10, 2013, ALMS received the “Best Middle School” award, as the school that “best utilized the U.S. Education TV platform,” and was awarded $5000 at the Student Television Network Convention in Los Angeles, California. Mr. Doherty surprised his students with the announcement by inserting his own news report on the most recent ALTV segment (available by clicking here).

“I think what impressed me most was how my students handled it,” said Doherty. “They cheered when they saw the announcement. Afterwards, the first question wasn’t ‘What can we buy?’ It was ‘We should do something to thank them.’ That says a lot about how unselfish the students are.

For more information on U.S. Education TV and the ALMS February feature, visit http://www.useducationtv.com.

“On behalf of Armand Larive Middle School and the Hermiston School District, we wish to express our sincere appreciation and thanks to U.S. Education TV for their recognition of ALMS,” stated Doherty. “The award will allow us to add and upgrade our equipment and continue to improve our programming to the community.”

By |03/13/2013 2:27:55|District News|0 Comments

District names 2012-13 Classified Employees of the Year

The Hermiston School District announced its 2012-13 Classified Employees of the Year, Monday, March 11, during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Education.


The 2012-13 recipients were:

  • Rick Baher – District-wide Support
  • Deanna Garrard – Hermiston High School
  • Joey Williams – Hermiston High School
  • Anabel Aguilar – Armand Larive Middle School
  • Candace Smith – Sandstone Middle School
  • Sally Trujillo – Desert View Elementary School
  • Cathy Michael – Highland Hills Elementary School
  • Adrian Rodarte – Rocky Heights Elementary School
  • Deanne Alcala – Sunset Elementary School
  • Gladys Potts – West Park Elementary School

Following is a brief for each of the recipients.

District-wide Support

Rick Baher was hired on to the custodial crew in ‘96, where he remained for a few years. He was then transferred to courier, a position he held for over ten years, at which time he was promoted to Lead Warehouseman.
Rick always takes pride in everything he does. The one consistent comment throughout the district is, no matter what Rick is doing, he is doing it with a smile on his face. His hard work and commitment to excellence is what makes him stand out.

Hermiston High School

Deanna Garrard attacks every day with a “can do” attitude and does not settle for student failure. She has been integral in the high school’s success in the credit retrieval program.

Joey Williams works in the district’s facilities maintenance department. He learns quickly and remembers what he learns. He is not afraid to tackle a job with or without help from others; if it needs to be done, he will jump in and take care of it.

Armand Larive Middle School

Anabel Aguilar has transformed the PSR room into what it should be. She expects respect from the students she works with, while at the same time, teaching them positive ways to deal with their choices. Anabel has spent countless hours going above and beyond her job duties, working with students on academics, etc. Anabel has initiative and has continuously demonstrated leadership.

Sandstone Middle School

Candace Smith does an amazing job assisting her students, while managing their behavior in the Sandstone Structured Learning Program. Through her hard work, it is evident how much she cares about the success of her students. She is always willing to participate in any class offered; so, she can become more effective in her job.
Candy spends immeasurable amounts of her own time working on adaptations of projects for our students and creating valuable learning experiences for them. She is dependable, honest, and has the patience of a saint. She is always willing to go the extra mile for her students and never complains.

Desert View Elementary School

Sally Trujillo goes above and beyond to help students and teachers. She regularly stays late to finish prepping materials for teachers and always offers to do more. She cares very deeply for all Desert View students, which shows each and every day. Desert View would not be the same without her smile and sincere kindness.

Highland Hills Elementary School

Cathy Michael is the heart of Highland Hills. From her nexus point at the front desk, she has a positive influence and connection with staff and students and is usually the first person seen upon arrival. Cathy greets everyone with a smile, making the first impression of visitors to Highland a warm one. Her outgoing and bubbly personality depicts the friendly and inviting nature of Highland.
Cathy can always be counted on to answer the hard questions and help the staff. Never rushing, yet always accomplishing. She seems to understand what staff members need before being informed of it! She is a freakishly talented anticipator hooked to a care givers heart.

Rocky Heights Elementary School

Adrian Rodarte is the reason Rocky Heights runs efficiently. He is always on top of what is going on and does so with a smile on his face. He is always willing to help teachers and is a wealth of knowledge of what happening in the building. He complements the teachers when doing flyers or letters home and is very creative when helping teachers with projects in their rooms. We are a better organization because of Adrian.

Sunset Elementary School

Deanne Alcala goes above and beyond to make the library an inviting place for both staff and students, while continuing to stay on top of all the “stuff” needed to keep the library operating. She is a strong multi-tasker who can be relied on to get the job done and do so with a smile. When she is called on to do something extra or to help out, she quickly agrees with a prompt yes and her best effort to make it success. She is a true teammate that puts the needs of others ahead of herself.

West Park Elementary School

Gladys Potts has unbelievable dedication. She always does her job, any job, with a smile on her face, dedicating 110%. She is helpful, friendly, and loving to the students; she is one of the most pleasant people to work with.

By |03/12/2013 2:31:44|District Awards, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Board recognizes educators of the year

The Hermiston School District Board of Education recognized the 2012-2013 Administrator and Educators of the Year at its regular meeting Monday, January 14. Following the announcement, awardees were honored at a special reception.

The recognition is awarded annually to one administrator from the District and one educator from each of the elementary and middle schools. Two licensed staff members are selected from Hermiston High School. Recipients for 2012-13 are:

  • Administrator of the Year
    Assistant Superintendent Bryn Browning
  • Hermiston High School – Chris Demianew
  • Hermiston High – John Larson
  • Armand Larive Middle School – John Culligan
  • Sandstone Middle School – Jill Miller
  • Desert View Elementary School – Rachel Goller
  • Highland Hills Elementary School – Carrie Pollard
  • Rocky Heights Elementary School – Stefani Wyant
  • Sunset Elementary School – Karen Carlson
  • West Park Elementary School – Marci Wattenburger

Brief biographies and pictures of the Educators of the Year may be found here.

Recipients are nominated by coworkers within their building. Nominees must have worked in the district for at least three years. The award is considered a “career-level” capstone award, which is conferred only on the most deserving of educators.

Awardees will also be recognized at the Hermiston Chamber of Commerce’s Distinguished Citizens Awards banquet on Tuesday, January 29, at the Hermiston Conference Center, 6:00 pm.

By |01/18/2013 1:37:23|District Awards, District News|0 Comments

Kennison project receives Oregon Community Foundation grant

The Hermiston School District is proud to announce that its Kennison Field Renovation Project is the recipient of a $22,000.00 grant from The Oregon Community Foundation.

OCFLogoThe grant was awarded to the project for “its efforts to refurbish and expand a condemned athletic facility, to meet current safety and ADA standards, and increase playing fields for school and community teams.”

The OCF discretionary funds supporting the project were the Jack R. and Mary B. Dant Special Disability Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation, at $10,000.00, and the J.G. Edwards Fund of The Oregon Community Foundation, at $12,000.00.

The mission of The Oregon Community Foundation is to improve life in Oregon and promote effective philanthropy. OCF works with individuals, families, businesses and organizations to create charitable funds to support the community causes they care about. Through these funds OCF awards more than $80 million annually in grants and scholarships.

By |11/30/2012 2:28:39|District Awards, District News|0 Comments

Armand choir program awarded Umatilla County Cultural Coalition grant

The Armand Larive Middle School choir program, directed by Music Teacher Brook White, was awarded $1,545.00 by the Umatilla County Cultural Coalition.

White applied for the grant to assist students in attending a production of West Side Story at the Windemere Theater in Kennewick, Wash. The performance will cost $51.50 per attendee, and White hopes to take 60 students to the program. The Coalition’s grant covers half the charge of attending.

“This trip will give the kids an opportunity to experience something, at such a high caliber, that they may never get to see again,” said White.

To make up the difference, White and her students plan to host a murder mystery dinner in January or February as a fundraiser.

By |11/29/2012 2:36:52|District Awards, District News|0 Comments

Kay receives state FFA recognition

Mike Kay 09 AdminHermiston School District Athletics and Support Services Director Mike Kay was selected as the Oregon Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association (OVATA) Administrator of the Year at the OVATA Summer Professional Development Conference, June 19-21, in Bend, Ore.

Kay was recognized for his support of agriculture education and FFA, at the local and state level. He was instrumental in the planning and hosting of the Oregon FFA State Convention hosted by Hermiston FFA in March.

“Over 2500 students, teachers, and parents from all over Oregon enjoyed a quality experience, due in part to the work of Mr. Kay,” said Sam Herringshaw, Hermiston High School FFA co-advisor.

Hermiston was also selected as the OVATA Program of the Year. There are currently over 100 high school agriculture education programs in Oregon.

Chuck Miller, retired Hermiston agriculture instructor and FFA advisor, was awarded the OVATA Lifetime Achievement Award. Miller taught agriculture in Hermiston for 28 years, before retiring in 2003. Since that time, he has continued to be involved in supporting agriculture education and FFA at the local, district, and state levels.

By |07/12/2012 3:17:47|District Awards, District News|0 Comments

Pursel selected for national choir

Alexis Pursel, a current Hermiston High School junior, has been selected for the 2012 National Association for Music Education All-National Honor Ensemble. She will perform at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. on June 24.

“This is a big accomplishment for Alexis, and we are very proud of her at the high school,” said Lorie Emert, HHS choir teacher.

The NAfME selected about 250 musicians, from a nationwide pool of submissions, for the honor ensemble, which includes a mixed choir, band, jazz band, and orchestra. Pursel is one of nine student artists from Oregon selected for the honor, and the only student from eastern Oregon.

With auditions taking place during Hermiston’s January ice storm, Pursel’s submission of audition materials was delayed. Mrs. Emert received approval to enter Pursel’s materials the following Monday, upon returning to school. After six weeks of waiting, as submissions were reviewed, Pursel received the good news that she was invited to perform with the choir.

Earlier this spring, Pursel participated in the District Solo Ensemble Festival. She took first place in the Soprano division, which awarded her with a trip to State in April, marking the second year in a row that she achieved this feat. Pursel was also chosen for the All-State Choir, and she performed for the Oregon Music Educators Conference in Eugene, this past January, along with 200 of the best vocalists from the state.

“Alexis has been an awesome addition to the Choral Department at Hermiston High School, and we look forward to having her for another year, said Emert.

By |06/07/2012 3:22:18|District Awards, District News|0 Comments

Students recognize Geny recipients

As another group of high school seniors graduate and move on to the next step, Generation College would like to thank those teachers who helped them in their educational pursuits. Each year for the past seven years, teachers in the Hermiston School District have been recognized by the seniors in Generation College for helping them stay focused on education and excellence.

Generation College is a club at Hermiston High School that provides support to those students who are the first in their family to attend college. The graduating seniors from Generation College recognize the hard work and inspiration of those teachers who have helped them realize their dreams by awarding them the “Geny.”

This year four teachers from elementary to high school were presented with awards. Two of them are former Armand Larive Middle School teachers, Robert Greybeck and Neely Kirwan. Greybeck, now at Hermiston High School, was nominated for his tolerance and patience in working with middle school students. Senior Kain Garcia-Sandoval, who will be attending the University of Oregon in the fall, said, “In middle school I remember seeing him work with students who would cause trouble, and in return they would purposely try to make him mad just to get under his skin; however, they simply couldn’t do it. Mr. Greybeck is a teacher that believes there is good in students regardless of their behavior.”

Kirwan, now principal at Sandstone Middle School, was remembered for her excellence in the classroom as a science teacher. Senior Gardenia Jaime, who will be attending Western Oregon University in the fall, described Kirwan as “the best science teacher I ever had. She taught me to never give up and to always keep pursuing my goals. I don’t think there was a time I ever saw her give up on me or my fellow classmates. I realized how much she truly and absolutely cared about every one of her students.”

For the first time, a high school teacher, who has not previously taught at a middle or elementary school, was nominated for the Geny award. Senior Taylor Holwegner, who will be attending Linfield College in the fall, felt very strongly about the impact that Chris Demianew has had on her this year. Mr. Demianew “has taught me what it truly means to be responsible. He has showed me how to be a leader and helped me to feel confident and stand by my decisions. He made me realize that there isn’t always going to be someone to hold my hand and help me through everything in life.”

And at Highland Hills Elementary School, Patrick Temple was recognized by senior Gabriela Villegas, who will be attending Pacific University in the fall, for his kindness and compassion. “When I was enrolled in Mr. Temple’s class, I knew he was a new teacher to the district; so, I didn’t know him. Once I settled myself into his classroom, I knew this teacher was one who, even to this day, would be one of my favorites. I remember his teaching was filled with lots of enthusiasm. When I reached my early teenage years and had a rough time with my studies, I reflected back to the time when Mr. Temple helped me with material I didn’t understand and explained it to me with patience. He believed in his students and set a great example for us to pursue our education.”

“This being my 8th year as a classroom teacher, I have long reconciled myself to the fact that teaching is a brief participation in a much longer process,” said Temple.” Each June I do not have the satisfaction of sending away completed “products”, but rather I say farewell to young people who continue a journey growing far beyond our brief time together at Highland Hills Elementary. To receive this nod of appreciation from a former student on the doorstep of her adult opportunities and goals is simply wonderful… I count it a blessing to work alongside many creative educators to have a positive impact on the dreams and abilities of young people. This has made my year.”

The “Geny” symbolizes the teamwork it takes for students to reach their dreams. While it takes great individual commitment and hard work to succeed, everyone needs a helping hand to make it through those challenging moments. Generation College hopes the recipients of the Geny award recognize the tremendous impact they have had on these students and continue to inspire future generations on to college. They also hope the award itself will sit upon the desk of dedicated teachers and spark many more conversations about the college process.

The Geny award has been presented by Generation College since 2006. Previous Geny award winners are: Lynne Hamblin, Shari Wick, Lynn Franz, Kimo Gabriel, Aaron Lind x 2, Delia Wallis, Todd Sprong, Traci Reed, Bob Mansfield, Ann Doherty, Mark Douglass x 2, Linda Tucker, Randy Smith, Stacie (Johnson) Roberts, Sharon Dunlop, Susan Thurman, Andrea Follett, Robert Doherty, Brenda Appleton, BJ Wilson, Julie Hatch, Cori Applegate, and John Blake.

By |06/07/2012 3:21:10|District Awards, District News|0 Comments