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Editor’s note: The three candidates for Zone 1 on the D21 school board, Mary Morehouse, Rebecca Thistlethwaite and Erica Flores, bring a variety of motivations to their decision to run. Following is a summary of their statements, made either to the Chronicle or at a recent candidates forum hosted by the Wasco County Republican Central Committee. Each was asked why they ran, what skill set they bring, and what their vision

is for the school district.

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Editor’s note: The Chronicle is profiling the 13 candidates for the six open positions on the D21 school board. This installment features unopposed candidate Dawn Rasmussen in Zone 2.

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The Chronicle is profiling the 13 candidates for the six open positions on the D21 school board. This installment features unopposed candidate Dawn Rasmussen in Zone 2.

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The Chronicle is profiling the 13 candidates for the six open positions on the D21 school board. This installment features Maggie Rocha and David Jones, who are seeking the Zone 3 position.

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The Wasco County Republican Central Committee held a D21 school board informational candidate forum at its monthly meeting in April. Eight of the 13 candidates for the non-partisan positions attended. The Chronicle is presenting their responses in a series of articles. Following are the statements of the three candidates for Zone 5, Sherry Perry, Bethani Frantz-Studebaker and Josh Farris.

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The Wasco County Republican Central Committee held a D21 school board informational candidate forum at its monthly meeting in April. Eight of the 13 candidates for the non-partisan positions attended. The Chronicle is presenting their responses in a series of articles. Following are the statements of the three candidates for Zone 6, Trudy Lupkes, Cassie Ware and Jose Aparicio.

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Nathan Nañez, a senior at The Dalles High School, attended a lobby day in Salem with three other students — two from Coquille School District and one from Redmond High School — to meet with legislators and discuss state funding in education.

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Students from The Dalles robotics teams achieved multiple awards and top-five finishes at the VEX Robotics state championship in Salem this month, and The Dalles Middle School’s team, System Overload, beat 57 high school and 12 middle school teams to finish 3rd overall, won the Middle School Excellence Award and qualified for the VEX Robotics World Championship.

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Students from around the Gorge participated in the 6th annual Google Wind Challenge Saturday, March 16 at the Fort Dalles Readiness Center in The Dalles. This year, more than 160 students representing 35 high school and middle school teams competed to build the competition’s top wind turbines. 

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A crowded and diverse slate of candidates is on the ballot for the May 21 election for North Wasco County School District 21, where 13 candidates are seeking six positions.

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A trio of giggling “doctors” administered anesthesia—with one of the doctors hopping in place for good measure—to a “patient” recently at Mid-Columbia Medical Center’s “Hospital Land” for local students.

St. Mary’s Academy first graders were the guests March 12, as they participated in a 90-minute role-playing and storytelling session that aimed to demystify the hospital experience for youngsters.

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Nathan Nanez, a senior at The Dalles High School, was chosen to represent the Eastern Oregon area as part of a campaign called Oregonians for Student Success. He was one of four students selected statewide.

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Jenni Donahue, an instructional aide at Parkdale Elementary, was chosen as the SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) Volunteer of the Year for the program’s Northeast Area, which serves Baker, Gilliam, Hood River, Morrow, Umatilla and Wasco counties.

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The last day of school for District 21 was moved to Wednesday, June 19, from its original date of Thursday, June 13, to make up for missed days of school.

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Dawn Rasmussen was appointed to the vacant Zone 2 board position on the D21 school board Thursday night. She has also filed as a candidate for the post and will be on the May 21 ballot.

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With six of seven seats on the D21 school board up for election in May, a crowded candidate field is anticipated, with at least three contested races so far.

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The OSU Extension is again offering its “Master Naturalist Eco Region” course in Wasco County, as well as in Hood River County. Applications are due by March 15.

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A second possible timeline for a superintendent search was presented to the D21 school board last week, this one allowing for the new board to be seated before any decisions are made.

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Mosier Community School hit the jackpot when it applied to the Masonic Lodge in The Dalles for funding for school supplies and got all 12 of its requests fully funded for over $3,000. The money from the Masonic Lodge paid for items including books, math and art supplies, sensory tables and benches for the school’s garden.

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The “Greenhouses for Good” project at The Dalles High School delivered its first bulk donation of lettuce to the local Oregon Food Bank last week.

The project began in the spring of 2018 and incorporates engineering, horticulture, and community service.

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Superintendent Candy Armstrong announced she’s retiring in July 2020, and the D21 school board is gearing up for a lengthy replacement search that will involve community input.

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Inclement weather impacts local services: TUESDAY UPDATE: Columbia Gorge Comm. College: Both campuses closed. UPDATE 6:13 a.m.-North Wasco County Schools will be CLOSED Tuesday, February 5th, 2019 due to inclement weather. OCDC Headstart: 2 hour delay for The Dalles and Odell Centers. (Effective tomorrow - Tue Feb 5th) Goldendale Sch. Dist.: 2 Hours Late Hood River Co. Sch. Dist.: 2 Hours Late, AM/PM Buses on snow routes White Salmon Sch. Dist.: Closed. Parent/Teacher conferences canceled for today. Mid-Columbia Children's Council: The Dalles/Wahtonkah 2 hour delay; Tygh Valley Head Start 2 hr delay; Carson AM class canceled, PM class on time; Petersburg AM class 11-2:30, bus on snow route, PM class canceled; OCDC Headstart: 2 hour delay for The Dalles and Odell Centers. Parkdale bus on snow routes. Klickitat Sch. Dist.: 2 Hours Late (Effective - Tue Feb 5th) Lyle Sch. Dist.: 2 Hours Late, No AM preschool, AM/PM Buses on snow routes (Effective - Tue Feb 5th) Columbia Gorge Comm. College: Opening at 10 am. Classes scheduled prior to 10:00 am are canceled on both campuses. (Effective - Tue Feb 5th) Centerville Sch. Dist.: 2 Hours Late (Effective - Tue Feb 5th) Wishram Sch. Dist.: 2 Hours Late, No AM preschool. No Zero Period (Effective - Tue Feb 5th) Sherman Co. Sch. Dist.: 2 Hours Late (Effective - Tue Feb 5th) So. Wasco Co. SD: 2 Hours Late (Effective - Tue Feb 5th) MONDAY Columbia Gorge Community College: Both campuses will be closing at 5 p.m. Dufur School District will be closed, as of 7:46 a.m. update. UPDATE Sherman County. School District: Closed UPDATE Mid-Columbia Children's Council: Tygh Valley Head Start: Closed South Wasco County SD: 2 Hours Late

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Those long bus rides for Dufur school students are a lot quieter these days, reports bus driver Josie Turner. That’s thanks to a Google project which has installed wi-fi on three buses, given each student in the school a Chromebook, and even provided tutors for the bus rides to help with homework.

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The D21 school board gave the go-ahead Jan. 16 for staff to look at starting a dual language immersion program. Dual language immersion is a form of bilingual education in which students are taught literacy and content in two languages. It contrasts with full immersion, where instruction is entirely in the non-native language.

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The Wasco County Commission approved entering into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) to help fund the Skills Center and Housing Construction Project at Columbia Gorge Community College during its regular session Jan. 16. The agreement between the county, city and college dedicates $3.5 million in Enterprise Zone funding to the project.

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Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) will pursue an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with The Dalles and Wasco County for $3.5 million in enterprise zone funds and proceed with a $7.6 million full faith and credit bond for construction of a skill center and housing project at The Dalles campus following a unanimous vote by the Board of Education at its January board meeting.

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The Gorge Technology Alliance (GTA) named Maza Brady Technology Leader of the Year and Lu Seapy STEM Education Leader the Year at its sixth annual award ceremony Dec. 11. “The prior award categories had been Tech Leader and Tech Company of the Year,” said GTA Executive Director Jessica Metta.

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The Dalles High School saw a record number of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) tests, and a record number of students reaching AP Scholar status as juniors in the last school year. Students achieve AP Scholar status if they get a score of 3 or better, on a scale of 1-5, on three or more AP tests.

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District 21 is seeking grants to do a long-range facilities plan and facilities assessment, and also plans to seek a $4-million matching grant from the state when it again asks voters to fund new schools.

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Wahtonka Charter School student Jacob Bartholomew quickly settled on what he would teach kids at the school’s new afterschool program: how to prepare for a zombie invasion. His idea was solid: in a quick poll of kids at the program earlier this week, most of them listed the “zombie class” as their favorite.

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Prospects for a student housing facility and regional skill center at Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) moved forward Monday as The Dalles council voted unanimously to develop an intergovernmental agreement with the college and Wasco County to use enterprise zone funds for the student housing facility. “These funds can be used for the greater good, and this could fit with that definition,” said Mayor Stephen Lawrence.

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The D21 school board heard at a listening session last Thursday that schools need replaced, but the recently failed bond to replace four schools sought too much money, over too long a period. A number of people said the district had low income or blue collar residents who couldn’t afford the bond.

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Wednesday, Nov. 14, was a great day for poets in The Dalles, with stories and poetry at the library with Native American storyteller Ed Edmo and a visit from Oregon Poet Laureate Kim Stafford.

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Columbia Cascade Housing Corporation and Columbia Gorge Community College are sponsoring the “ABC’s of Homebuying” Saturday, Dec. 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the The Dalles Campus of CGCC.

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The growing ASPIRE program at The Dalles High School, which helps prepare students for post-high school training and education, is looking for more volunteers. Right now 65 seniors are taking advantage of the college counseling program, which pairs students with an adult mentor who helps guide them through the process of finding post-high school training, be it in the military, the trades, or at two- or four-year colleges.

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In the wake of the resounding defeat of the $235 million school bond, two school board members have quit. Ernie Blatz, the longest serving member of the board, who said he has served since 2004 or 2005, said, “I’ve been trying to get a high school since 2003, and I’m just done trying to get it. Let somebody else work on it.”

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The D21 school board will host the first of several listening sessions next Thursday, Nov. 15, at the middle school to hear from citizens in the wake of a resounding defeat of its $235 million bond authority measure. The measure went down with just a 40.8 percent yes vote.

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A local woman has filed a complaint with the state alleging the school district violated election law by using persuasive, rather than explanatory, language in describing a bond measure to build new schools. District 21 Superintendent Candy Armstrong said, “We do not believe that we have violated Oregon election law, but we will fully cooperate with the investigation.” (This story has been updated with comments from Trudy Lupkes from the Strong Community Schools Political Action Committee.)

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A staff member at Chenowith Elementary School was placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation of reports that one or more students had been “pulled or pushed” during a recess, according to a press release issued Friday afternoon, Oct. 19, by Brian Schimel, director of human resources for District 21. An ongoing police investigation is now underway, the release said. “North Wasco County School District has policies and procedures in place to protect students and staff. All staff are expected to maintain professional boundaries with students at all times,” the release added.

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As the Nov. 6 vote approaches on a $235 million bonding authority to replace four schools, a local woman caused a stir on social media last weekend questioning the district’s decision not to seek a $4 million matching grant for the project. A district official said North Wasco County School District 21 tried but failed to get two smaller planning grants that would’ve helped the district create the extensively detailed reports necessary to seek the larger grant.

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Wasco County Assessor Jill Amery sent out a press release last week to explain how passage of a measure to fund new schools would affect property taxes, but her description is being disputed by school officials and supporters of the bond levy. Amery’s account of how Measure 33-98 would play out is refuted by Randy Anderson, chief financial officer for North Wasco County School District 21, and Dr. Analene Pentopolous, chair of the Strong Community Schools committee, proponents of the bond.

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Gov. Kate Brown released her seven-step education policy agenda on Monday, components of which will be included in her proposed 2019-21 state budget, her spokeswoman said. “The governor strongly believes that in order to effect change for Oregon’s students, a multi-pronged approach is vital,” said Kate Kondayen, a press secretary in Brown’s office.

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The Sherman County School District will celebrate the induction of four individuals and one foundation into the Sherman County School District Hall of Honor during half-time of the Friday, Sept. 28, home football game against Enterprise High School.

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