SUPERINTENDENT ROSS: ‘BATTLE GROUND BY THE NUMBERS’
As an ex-social studies teacher, my interest in numbers and data has always included those of a historical significance, such as key dates or events from our past. However, since moving into educational leadership, I have come to see the value of looking at data as a way to evaluate how effective we are as educators and to get a sense of who we are as a school community.
As I write this article, we are still working on our current enrollment data, but we know from past estimates that we will have more than 13,400 students walk through the doors of our 18 school buildings this year.
We know that our students will be greeted by close to 900 certificated staff, which includes teachers, nurses, counselors, psychologists and building administrators. Of the teaching staff, close to 10 percent are new to our district, and at least 70 percent hold master’s degrees in either education or subject area fields.
In addition to our certificated staff, there is another hard working group of individuals numbering more than 700 that includes school and district secretaries, custodians, aides, and grounds and maintenance personnel. Many of these dedicated employees worked throughout our very short summer to get all 1.6 million-plus square feet of building space ready for opening day. Our custodial and maintenance crews do an amazing job keeping our buildings safe, warm and dry. Given the fact that some of our buildings are over 40 years old, this is not always an easy task.
Getting our students safely from home to school and back are more than 100 bus drivers working for Cascade Student Transportation. They transport more than 11,000 students—or 82 percent of our population—over the 273 square miles encompassing our district. They average 12,649 miles each day for an annual total of over 2 million miles driven, according to last year’s data.
Of course, any parent of a growing child knows that food is a household priority, and keeping our students fed is an important function for us as well. On an average day, our Sodexo food service staff prepares 4,130 lunches and 1,411 breakfasts. Thirty-three percent of our students qualify for either a free or reduced cost meal.
Our students come to us from many diverse backgrounds and experiences. Sixteen percent are recognized as belonging to an ethnicity other than white/caucasian. Six percent are bilingual, 12.5 percent utilize some sort of special services or support, and about one percent of our students identify as homeless.
Once in our classrooms and having spent some time with BGPS teachers and staff, our students tend to very successful. Out of the many categories of assessments we are required by the state to give in math, literacy and science, Battle Ground students rank above the state average in about 95 percent of all categories. Out of the 4,691 high school students enrolled in all of our schools last year, almost half (48.5%) earned college or dual credit through tech prep, advanced placement classes or Clark College’s Running Start program. In 2016, the extended or 5-year graduation rate for our comprehensive high schools (Battle Ground and Prairie high schools) was 90 and 95 percent, respectively.
Lastly, the most important number for us in our district is one. It is our mission to treat each and every student as a unique individual with his or her own set of needs, dreams and goals. As superintendent, my number one priority is that we help each student find a pathway through life that fits their talents and abilities and do whatever it takes to help them be successful in completing that journey. With our parents and community members as partners, I know that the numbers will add up to success for all of the students in your Battle Ground Public Schools.
Mark Ross, Superintendent
Battle Ground Public Schools