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RA Long students read at Olympic Elementary

High school students from R.A. Long visited Olympic Elementary school today to help first graders with reading and to promote literacy. Eighteen high school students visited an Olympic first grade classroom and were partnered up with a younger student to read books together. The high school students read a book to the younger student first, then they switched roles and the younger students read.

Bringing excitement and fun to reading helps create and grow interest in books. For the high school students, learning and experiencing giving back to the community, and what it means to be a role model. is an important lesson.

A great day had by all.


2019-10-23T22:44:24+00:00October 23rd, 2019|

Summer Meal Program information

Summer Meals for Kids!

This year the Summer Food Service Program will offer free nutritious meals to all neighborhood children ages 18 years and younger at:

Northlake Elementary, 2210 Olympia Way,  June 17 – August 16, Breakfast 8:30 am – 8:45 am,  Lunch 12:00 pm – 12:15 pm  *No Meals July 1- July 5

Kessler Elementary, 1902 Kessler Blvd., June 17 – July 3, Breakfast 8:30 am – 9:00 am, Lunch 12:00 pm – 12:30 pm,  July 8 – August 16 Breakfast 8:30 am – 8:45 am, Lunch 12:00 pm – 12:15 pm

Olympic Elementary, 1324 30th Ave., June 17 – June 28, Breakfast 8:30 am – 8:45 am, Lunch 12:00 pm – 12:15 pm

Monticello Middle School, 1225 28th Ave., July 8 – July 26, Breakfast 8:30 am – 8:45 am, Lunch 12:00 pm – 12:15 pm

Archie Anderson Park, 22nd Ave & Alabama St., July 8 – Aug 16, Lunch 12:00 pm  – 12:15 pm, Snack 3:30 pm – 3:45 pm  *Monday thru Thursday

Teen Center, 2121 Kessler Blvd., June 17 – Aug 16, Snack 3:30 pm – 3:45 pm  *No Meals July 4- July 5

All meals will meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, so you know your child will be eating a healthy meal. Supervised activities will be offered at Northlake and Kessler Elementary Schools, Monticello Middle School, Teen Center, & Archie Anderson Park. For more information, contact City of Longview, Parks & Recreation Department at 360-442-5400. For more information about the program, or to volunteer to help, call the Longview Public School Nutrition office at 360-575-7172.

The Summer Food Service Program is sponsored by The U.S. Department of Agriculture

2019-06-12T18:37:18+00:00June 12th, 2019|

Family Resource Center opens at Monticello

Teachers and support team members across the district are seeing a growing number of kids and families who lack a stable food source and/or housing. To help the kids and families the district opened a Family Resource Center at Monticello Middle School. The resource center gives parents a place to get help and connect with food, housing, mental health or other services. It doesn’t matter which school a child attends – the family resource center is open to help them. The resource center was put together through donations and did not require district funds.

The Daily News wrote a front page story about the resource center that published March 2. This is another example of the district putting extra effort towards helping our kids be successful.

The Family Resource Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 am to 11 am and from 1 pm to 3 pm.


2019-03-08T21:24:07+00:00March 8th, 2019|

Spotlight – Mrs. Buccola, Olympic Elementary

Spotlight  – Q & A

Where did you grow up? I was born in New Jersey. My Dad got a job at Weyerhaeuser after graduating from Rutgers University. We moved to Longview when I was in the first grade.

What did your Dad do at Weyerhaeuser? Dad was a chemist.

Mrs. Buccola, Olympic Elementary

Where did you go to school? I went to Mint Valley for first grade. After my first year, we moved out to the country and I switched to Robert Gray. I attended Mark Morris High School, class of 1981.

What was Mark Morris like? I loved high school and really enjoyed the teachers. I went to every sporting event, did score keeping for boy’s baseball and was on the track team.

Is your husband from around here? Yes, my husband Steve is an RA Long graduate, class of 1977.

Do you have kids? Yes, we have two boys, Justin and Nick, both Mark Morris graduates who still live in town.

How long have you worked for the school district? I’ve worked for the district for 21 years, but before that, I volunteered for about 4 years.

Who was the principal at Olympic 21 years ago? Karen Acker.

What are some of the benefits of working in the library? The nice thing about working in the library is you get to establish and build a relationship with every student in the school.

Is your job different now versus 21 years ago? The job of a para has changed immensely. Previously I spent most of my time in the library. I am not in the library as much anymore. Twenty years ago, we were called “teacher’s aide”. You would be in one room, or maybe two rooms, a day. We didn’t move around a lot. You went into each room and whatever the teacher told you to do is what you did.

What is the job like now? Now, we have supervisors who plan our detailed schedules. We have special planning meetings with the teachers we work with. We are much more highly skilled in the specific curriculum areas we work in. We are more a partner to the teachers now than just an “aide”.

What is your work schedule like now? This year our scheduling changed immensely. The majority of paras in our building are teaching the 95% reading intervention program. To reach as many students as possible, I travel to five different classrooms throughout the day. Teaching time in the classrooms is tight, so I update and organize my materials daily so I am ready to begin teaching as soon as I walk into a classroom.

What is your focus right now? Right now, I’m teaching reading intervention to small groups in Kindergarten thru 4th grade, plus my library duties.

What is the best part of your job? The relationships with the kids. Building those positive relationships with kids is so gratifying. One of the main reasons I like working in the library so much is because books are great conversation starters. I learn what books a child likes; if they enjoy a specific author, series or subject, and talking about those books creates a connection with them.

How has school changed over the last 20 years? I think many families are more transient today than in the past. That transient nature is really tough on the kids. I feel that’s one reason why building good relationships with kids is so important.

Does the transient nature of things make your job harder? Yes it does. There are so many stories that just break your heart. However, there’s a lot of good things going on too.

Did the internet change anything in the library? Maybe a little bit. The strengths and focus of the librarian affects things more. Our currently librarian is technologically savvy and outstanding.

What are the keys to being a good reader? Having a good teacher who has great relationships with students, so the students know they are cared about is a great starting point. Kids have to know you want them to succeed. When you have strong relationships with kids they work harder – they don’t want to disappoint you.

What is it like to work in the schools? It’s fun, it really is. Kids are fun! It’s awesome working in a small group and seeing the lightbulb go off. And I love working in the library, libraries are wonderful places.

What is your outlook on the future? The outlook for the future is positive. The staff at Olympic Elementary is amazing. We all want what is best for the kids and we work together to make sure all the kid’s needs are met.

Is it like family at Olympic? Oh yes, we are a family here. The staff here is very cohesive. Everyone has my back. Our principal is a good leader that I can talk to when I need things.

What do you do after work? I’m involved at my church where I’m a deacon. I love to travel. Spending time with my family is always a top priority. In my downtime I love to read and I enjoy working on puzzles.

Tell me about a trip you’ve taken? My brother and I did a road trip with our parents two summers ago to visit relatives in New Jersey. We were gone for a month and a half. I really loved staying in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia – the museums and history in that area is so interesting.

Did your family drive across county when you moved to Longview as a kid? Yes, when my family moved out here we drove. We visited Mt Rushmore along the way. On our recent trip with our parents two summers ago we visited Mt. Rushmore again. As an adult, Mt Rushmore wasn’t as big as I remember, but it was still impressive!

Do you have any family trips planned? We are getting ready for a big family trip this year during Spring Break – everybody is going to Hawaii. Hawaii is the only state my parents have not been to. Ten years ago, on our parent’s 50th anniversary, the family went to Sicily. Now on our parent’s 60th wedding anniversary we are going to Hawaii.

2019-01-30T22:39:48+00:00January 30th, 2019|

Calendar information 2019-2020 school year

Planning for vacation and family celebrations is important. While final details of the next year’s school calendar are not yet finished, several important key dates are set. To help you with planning below are important dates for the 2019-2020 school year. These dates have been finalized and approved by the School Board. (Please note the calendar for Broadway Learning Center is different and parents should check with Broadway for 2019-2020 calendar dates.)

Event Date
First day of school August 28, 2019
Winter holiday December 23, 2019 – January 3, 2020
Spring Break April 6-10, 2020
High school graduation June 6, 2020
Last day of school June 11, 2020

A more detailed 2019-2020 school calendar will be sent to parents and families in the Spring. If you have questions please contact your local school.

2019-01-25T22:05:18+00:00January 25th, 2019|

Capital bond information and input sessions

Longview Public Schools plans to put a capital bond measure to voters later this year. Capital bonds raise funds for school districts to upgrade facilities and build new schools.

To provide citizens information about the bond measure three community input sessions will be held. At the meeting you will get information on the facility upgrades and changes the district’s Facilities Advisory Committee has recommended.

Thursday, January 24 at 6 pm, district administrative offices next to RA Long High School – 2715 Lilac Street.

Wednesday, January 30 at 5 pm, Mark Morris High School.

Tuesday, February 5 at 5 pm, Mint Valley Elementary School.

We hope to see you at one of the community input sessions.

2019-01-25T18:07:08+00:00January 15th, 2019|

Ten district teachers earn National Board Certification

Great news for ten teachers in Longview Public Schools – they are now Nationally Board Certified.  Five teachers from Olympic Elementary School including Jennifer Sharer, Carmen Hewitt, Angela Richards, Angela Guinn and Shawna Wilson all  recently earned Board Certification. Additionally, from Mark Morris High School Diondra Beck and Lauren Princehouse earned certification along with Jamie Axon of Mt. Solo Middle School, Kristen Peterson from Monticello Middles School and Stacey Niemi from Columbia Valley Gardens.

According to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, certification was designed to develop, retain and recognize accomplished teachers and to generate ongoing improvement in schools nationwide. It is the most respected professional certification available in K-12 education.

Created by teachers, for teachers, the National Board Standards represent a consensus among educators about what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do. The certification process requires that teachers demonstrate standards-based evidence of the positive effect they have on student learning in alignment with the Five Core Propositions. They must exhibit a deep understanding of their students, content knowledge, use of data and assessments and teaching practice. They must also show that they participate in learning communities and provide evidence of ongoing reflection and continuous learning.

Olympic Principal Mike Mendenhall said, “To take on a huge amount of work outside class to reach the goal of being Board Certified shows their dedication to our students and the school. I’m appreciative and thankful for their hard work.”




2018-12-11T22:55:29+00:00December 10th, 2018|

Longview teachers have class

We’re proud of our educators and are taking this opportunity to introduce you to two of them, in their own words. They have different interests but share a passion for preparing Longview students for successful futures!

This is a supplement to the Longview Public Schools annual report. Both Gail Wells and Sam Kell are featured in the printed version of the annual report.  

Gail Wells, math teacher, Monticello Middle School.

Gail Wells believes everyone can do math. She works the room and uses technology to gauge how much each student understands, even those who never raise their hands.

Where did you grow up and go to school? I was born in North Dakota and grew up in Federal Way, Washington. I was in the first graduating class at Thomas Jefferson High School in Auburn and went to Western Washington University for a degree in home economics.

How did you get from home economics to math? My passion was food and nutrition, but math is completely entrenched in home economics—measuring food, finance, sewing …

Why do people think math is so hard? Society doesn’t allow people not to be “readers,” but for some reason it’s OK to not be good at math. The mindset should be that “I can do it,” because everyone can.

How long have you been teaching? Twenty-six or 27 years—10 years at St. Helens and 10 years at Robert Gray, with four years as a math coach at Kessler and Robert Gray. Now I’m finishing at Monticello Middle School.

How has teaching math changed? When I was in school, it was, “Here is how you do it. Now copy what I do.” We don’t do that anymore. Instead of just handing students an algorithm or a way to do something, we do a lot of concrete building of understanding before moving to the abstract.

What is the best thing about being a teacher? That look on a student’s face when they “get it”—it’s priceless.

What are some of the keys to being a good teacher? Number one is understanding what the goal is. For me it’s the state standards—I have to know what the students need to know. Also …

  • Making sure the students get the needed feedback so they can self-evaluate.
  • Being ready when they walk through the door—knowing where you’re going and how to get there, not just turning the page on the book and teaching them what’s on the next page.
  • Adjusting if the students are not getting it.

The big thing here at Monticello is I have an amazing teaching partner, Phil Hartley. We collaborate, do assessments, reflect on student work, talk about the goals and are transparent about our work. Today we are going to share kids and do some interventions, so we can get them where they need to be right now.

To be a good teacher, it’s everything, including a great administration that supports you. It’s not just one thing.

What advice do you have for new teachers? Don’t think you already know everything. I’ve been teaching for 26 or 27 years, and every year I learn something new. Every year I get better. So listen to your colleagues, listen to your students, and be willing to adapt. Be a part of the team.

What’s something people might not know about you? I’ve been making gingerbread houses for 30 years. I have two sons who were in the armed service—one still is. I send gingerbread houses to Afghanistan and Bosnia. My daughter taught English in South Korea, so I sent one to her.

What would you tell the community about what life is like in school? When those kids come up the stairs and say hi to me, it’s wonderful. It’s the best place in the world to work.

What are students like today? Students are considerate of each other. They want to do their best—they want to succeed.

Anything else? This is my last year of teaching. I want to have more time with my family and visit my grandchildren—I have six. My career as a teacher has been an amazing journey. I feel deeply blessed by every student I’ve ever had.



Sam Kell, industrial arts teacher, Mark Morris High School

Sam Kell practices what he teaches. At school, he introduces pre-apprenticeship students (pg. 3) to technical skills like carpentry. In his spare time, he works on his own fixer-upper house.

Where did you grow up and go to school? I spent my childhood in Kelso and Longview, and went to Catlin Elementary, Columbia Heights Elementary, Cascade Middle School and Mark Morris High School. I spent one year at Lower Columbia College and finished my final three years at Central Washington University in the industrial arts program.

Why did you get into teaching? I always liked working with people and going through the learning process. My mom is a pre-school teacher.

Who introduced you to industrial arts? My dad is a self-employed residential contractor. He flips houses and owns rentals. I started working with my dad when I was 10 or 11 years old. I was just a helping hand with sheetrock and roofs. In school I excelled in shop classes and was happiest in project-based learning.

What’s the best part about being a teacher? Building relationships with the students. Teaching is all about the relationships and the growth.

What are the students of today like? They are hard-working and task driven. People may assume students never get off their smartphone or think, “It’s not like when we were in school.” But I still see the drive in students to get things done. Sometimes it takes different teaching styles to motivate different students.

What is one thing you want to teach every student? One thing I’d like to teach every student is lifelong learning and self-evaluation. To be able to reflect on the job you just completed is a very important skill no matter what you do. I learned a long time ago, “reflect and do better.”

What would you like people to know about school? School is about learning, and failure is okay.

 Do you have hobbies? I love hunting, fishing and hiking, and I share season tickets to the Trailblazers. I’ve been a Blazers fan since elementary school. I watched Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler play. I also own a house in Kelso—it’s a fixer upper.

 Anything else? It’s important for young people in our community to recognize their own skills and recognize what Longview has to offer. Longview is a great place.

2018-11-07T22:28:50+00:00November 6th, 2018|

Three Longview schools named “Healthiest in Nation”

According to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation three schools in the state of Washington created a culture of health for students: R. A. Long High School, Mark Morris High School and Olympic Elementary.

Creating a culture of health in schools is more than serving nutritious food. A healthy culture means healthy food, exercise, community involvement and a focus on both students and staff members.

The result of a healthy school culture is students performing better on tests, getting better grades, attending school more often and behaving better in class.

A spokesperson for the Alliance of a Healthier Generation, Megan Walcek, said this is the second time Mark Morris made the national list and the first time for Olympic and R.A. Long.

“Achieving recognition of any level is quite prestigious, as the framework criteria is rigorous and detailed. Since 2007, the year we started giving awards, only 2,880 schools nationwide have received this honor,” Walcek said.

A healthy culture supports achievement. Preliminary graduation rates for 2018 show 96.3 percent of R. A. Long seniors graduated, 89.3 percent at Mark Morris High School and 61 percent at Discovery High School.

Overall, Longview Public Schools preliminary graduation rate for 2018 finished at 88.1 percent.

2018-10-24T20:52:04+00:00September 18th, 2018|