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Supporter Spotlight: Kate Grandusky
By Elizabeth Lucas
Throughout my time interning for Washington County Kids, I had the chance to end my experience with an interview with Kate Grandusky. A lover of books (her current favorites include Moon Shot by Alan Shepard and This Is Happiness by Niall Williams) and clearly passionate about the well-being of children being able to continually learn and grow in their communities, it is no surprise that Kate has been a board chair for the Forest Grove School District for over 12 years. Being one out of five board members, Kate and her peers’ responsibilities include approving budgets, developing policies, and evaluating the superintendent. More specifically, she has pushed for the opportunity for kids to continue being able to experience outdoor school and helped mend the budget that provided funding for more books for Forest Grove schools.
Kate’s passion for education didn’t start in Forest Grove, though. Growing up in rural upstate New York, Kate’s childhood included visiting many parks and libraries. She lived in a community where it was safe for her to go on bike rides and just enjoy being a kid. However, it is important to note that this was a time when not many women were in the workforce. Now, with communities growing and more mothers being in the workforce, the need for child care has also grown. With that increase, so has the cost.
In her early 20’s Kate did social work in Buffalo, New York and was also involved in volunteering and working with the local Girl Scouts. Eventually, she became a teacher. She retired in 2010. She never intended to be a school board member but when the Gales Creek school closed after nearly 150 years of serving the community due to the need to save money, she knew she wanted to further her contribution to her community. Gales Creek is about seven miles outside of Forest Grove. Kate described how in the early 90’s the principal offered many programs including calligraphy, language, arts, crafts, and field trips that included fishing, hiking, and canoeing. So when the school closed, the additional resources that were offered to kids ended, too.
After school care not only offers an opportunity for kids to engage with one another but it allows them to learn about their strengths and interests. Research shows that after school care in the long run also helps keep juveniles out of trouble, improves attendance in the classroom, and creates a sense of belonging. This is why Kate and so many others continue to support Washington County Kids. Aimed at creating funding for more after school care programs, it is why “what Katie [Riley] has done is so so important” especially when most families now live in apartments or lower socio-economic areas. A study done in the state of Oregon showed that only 16% of students had access to after school programs. The unfortunate reality is that this is a time where “opportunities for kids are almost nonexistent” and schools are left to try and figure it all out. Kate noted that, “That is not to say that we are backtracking, but rather that we are stalled.”
So, I asked her what advice she would give to anyone wanting to create change. To put her answer in one word: “Vote! Whether it’s voting for causes on a larger scale or in your community, voting really does matter. Ask yourself what your interests are (sports, education, community trails) and what kind of change you’d like to see in the community. Things as simple as filling out surveys and being a good role model/mentor to someone can have big impacts in the long run. It’s time to put the needs of kids at the front and not the bottom because they are, after all, the future.”
Elizabeth (Ellie) Lucas
Working as an intern for Washington County Kids has been something new, challenging, exciting and very rewarding for me. I have to admit, coming into the experience with very little professional background was a bit intimidating at first, especially when working with people much older than me. However, everyone I’ve had the pleasure of working with has treated me with so much kindness and made me feel comfortable in what was a new environment for me. Though my major is in Cinema studies, I found that creating flyers and helping plan the Reach for the Stars gala were two things that I found beneficial for me. They were in a way, similar to when creating pitch ideas since you want to get the audience’s attention of why they should see what you’re promoting. I found it very useful that I was given an array of different tasks to do because when doing each one, I was able to learn more about myself and see what areas I prefer and am most strong in. Though if I could change anything about the internship, it would simply be to have a group calendar showcasing what’s due when and who’s in charge of what.
Whether it was interacting with kids at our local farmers market in Hillsboro for tabling, planning the fundraising gala event, receiving help in building a stronger resume, or emailing providers, I will take all that I’ve learned from this amazing experience and apply it to different aspects of my life. I’m very thankful for the hardworking set of individuals I have had the pleasure of meeting and working with. Aside from the technical skills I have learned, I have felt inspired by this group of people who are working towards a great cause and will take their determination with me as well!
Lights On Afterschool
Celebrate the 23rd annual Lights On Afterschool on Oct. 20! Launched in October of 2000, Lights On Afterschool is the only nationwide event celebrating after school programs and their important role in the lives of children, families and communities. The effort has become a hallmark of the after school movement and generates media coverage across the country each year. After school programs support students by offering them opportunities to learn new things—such as science, community service, robotics, Tae Kwon Do and poetry—and discover new skills.
Provider Training Highlights:
Helping foster self-regulation in kids
On Wednesday, September 7th, Washington County Kids hosted a training for out-of-school-time (OST) providers on the topic of “Fostering Self-Regulation in Young Children”. The training was attended by about 10 provider staff, representing many local organizations and some international providers as well. Thank you to Joyce McCoy for leading this training and providing the information our providers need to further develop their programs and skills. The training included tips to help kids calm themselves in stressful situations.
Volunteer with WCK!
Interested in lending your skills to support our mission? We could use assistance in any of the following areas:
–Writer: Help us share stories about people, programs, and the need for out-of-school time programs
–Technical support for eventsEmail to discuss details.
Washington County Kids is excited to host the third 2022 in-person Out-of-School-Time provider meeting at noon on October 13. The meeting is a time to network and to chat about challenges they may be facing and discuss possible solutions and opportunities. If you have questions, contact Yasmin Ruvalcaba (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Invest in proven strategies to reverse educational setbacks
Check out this opinion article by Andy Saultz, Ed.D., Associate Professor of Education at Pacific University, is a member of Washington County Kids’ Advisory Council.
Extracurriculars and College
By Mandy Eng
What’s the whole deal with extracurriculars and college? Sports, music, clubs, volunteering, internships and a whole other plethora of extracurriculars exist within the campus of a high school. High schoolers strive to make an effort to have at least one activity or more on their resume, some are able to fill the entire college application page with their devotion and participation in such activities; still managing the workload and balance of high school. What are the benefits of extracurriculars and what do they affect? What are the costs? Let’s take a deeper dive into this from some high school students themselves.
What do high school students think about extracurriculars?
“I think extracurriculars are important to get into college because it shows you are open to trying new things, being social, and can even show a bit of who the individual is and their passions, strengths, and personality, and abilities”. – Khaliah 18, a Senior at Early College PCC.
Personal connections and interests in this study
As a high school Junior myself, the burden, pressure, and blind faith of taking up extracurriculars for college is always haunting me in the back of my mind. Ideas like “the more you do the higher the chance of acceptance”, “in order to look good for college…” etc. I have to admit that the idea of looking good on my transcript outweighs passionate pursuits, thus the reason I have participated in extracurriculars. I can surely assume that many other students are motivated by the same intentions as well.
In order to conduct a general idea of what high schoolers think about extracurriculars and the importance it has on getting into college, I created a survey using Google forms. The survey consisted of 31 questions including demographics, such as personal information. For the remaining questions, I was able to curate them from personal inquiry about my opinions on extracurriculars, as well as from asking fellow classmates. I was able to distribute the surveys to students with a good range of different grades in my high school as well as schools around the Portland metro area; asking aid from people I already knew. By having them send it out to other people they had connections to, I was able to reach 48 different respondents from 8 different schools/organizations. I also created flyers with a barcode to the survey and had them posted around my school.
These are some of the topics the questions that this survey/study were structured from: GPA, how many activities they are part of, the type of extracurricular, the satisfaction with the activity, how often they feel stressed, whether extracurriculars were based on passion or need, if they would do the extracurricular if it wasn’t for college, how important they think extracurriculars are for college, if extracurriculars will help with college admissions, quantity vs. quality of extracurriculars, and lastly if grades/test scores outweigh extracurriculars or vice versa.
Common themes found within this survey were that 75% of the respondents were female, those who identified as Asian and Caucasian comprised most of the respondents, 89.6% of them received mostly A’s, and 56.3% have a 4.0+ GPA. What surprised me was how a majority of the respondents chose not to take any advanced classes this school year, as well as that a majority of these students claim to be satisfied with their extracurricular activity from a scale of 1-10, with most scores between 7-10. However, stress-wise, most students admit to feeling a stress level of 8 out of 10. Consistent with the satisfaction rate, 61.7% of the respondents said they were passionate about their extracurriculars, but they also want to build credits for college. When students were asked if their extracurriculars could help them have a better chance at being admitted to the college of their liking, 35.4% said moderately likely, 27.1% said that it wouldn’t hurt, and 22.9% chose yes. A majority of the student respondents believe that the quality of their activities benefit their resumes more than the quantity, with the percentages weighing 55.3% quality to 38.3% quantity. For the last question, when asked about whether extracurriculars matter over grades and test scores, 52.1% chose both and 39.6% chose grades/test scores.
With the data from the 48 high school respondents who took the survey I was able to have a better and broader understanding of what my peers think of extracurriculars in relation to college admission. However, as a disclaimer, the data collected is not a representative sample, which does limit the responses/findings. If I were to conduct this study again, I would indeed try to have responses from students with a broader spectrum of backgrounds, locations, and circumstances. I would also like to ask different questions and formulate the objective of the study in a different way. Maybe instead of asking high schoolers about what they are doing to prepare for college through extracurriculars, I could ask college freshmen what they did to get into a specific college etc. Furthermore, from this study, I gained the insight that, yes, extracurriculars and this push of doing many different things, or even a couple, is a bit pressuring to students who want to look good on college transcripts. However, extracurriculars aren’t the only thing that benefits college acceptance. Other studies show how it prepares students to learn outside classrooms; how it teaches them to function in other aspects of life. It cultivates a stronger community, a sense of citizenship, and the development of one’s character as well as responsibility. That’s why in college applications, extracurriculars represent a vital part of who the student is and showcase what type of person they might become, not only to the admission officers, but to the school itself.
El Grito and Outreach
Washington County Kids was honored to partake in Centro Cutlural’s 2022 El Grito at Shute Park on Saturday, September 17, 2022. Adam Sievers and Maureen Barnhart talked with many attendees about Washington County Kids. Our community outreach this year has been very fruitful, helping us grow our listserv to over 1,100 individuals. With over 3,000 people in attendance this year at El Grito, the celebration was packed with music, activities for all in the family, and many other community partners interacting with the community. Washington County Kids thanks Centro Cultural for the opportunity to participate!
Strengthening Business Practices for Child Care Programs English Cohort
Child Care Resource & Referral of Washington County will be providing a four-class business cohort at no cost to participants.
October 25th, and
All classes will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. via Zoom
Coaching Sessions Provided: One session will be provided weekly and additional sessions may be available upon request to cohort participants.
If you are a part of our OST provider network and/or have been invited to submit a story or item of interest to Washington County families, teachers, or care providers, email your content before 5 pm on the 3rd Friday of the month (up to 400 words for stories, 75 words for events or other special requests; include cropped jpg or png image). Submission is not a guarantee of inclusion. Include name and email of person we can contact with questions.