Communications » The CVSD LINK - Newsletter

The CVSD LINK - Newsletter

2022-2023 • SPRING/SUMMER

Setting a Vision for CVSD

A message from Superintendent John Parker 

Dr. John ParkerMaintaining and strengthening a strong connection to our Central Valley community is key to successful students and a vibrant school district. To help do so, we are launching The CVSD Link newsletter, to help keep you, our community, informed on an ongoing basis about the happenings in our schools.

It’s my honor to serve as your superintendent and I look forward to our students return. This fall, we’re thrilled to kick off our 2023-2028 Strategic Roadmap, including multiple pathways for all students, to ensure everyone feels they belong and help guide our way for the next five years.

If there’s one thing I’ve heard many times throughout my inaugural year is how our community wants to maintain the quaint, relational feel of our district—in other words ‘small enough to know you, but big enough to serve you’. And that’s exactly what we aim to do by operating among three smaller community-oriented areas within our district: the Western, Central, and Eastern Learning Communities. 

These Pre-K-12th grade communities will include those schools within the geographical attendance area boundaries of each of our three comprehensive high schools. This will allow us to focus on each student’s pre-school through high school and beyond pathway with smooth transitions between levels to achieve their best outcome. Imagine our entire system focused on this with an emphasis on service throughout! 

To showcase our learning communities, as well as our students’ active learning, we anticipate holding “Community Link” events late this fall/winter in each of our three learning communities. Look for more info in the next “Link” issue as we return to school next fall.

Have a great summer!
Sincerely, John.

Fast Forward CVSD 2023-2028 
Strategic Roadmap Underway

A plan created by all members of the community

Strategic Plan Core CommitteeCVSD conducted a comprehensive community engagement last fall to gain insights about our future. Student voices were intentionally included to represent those most impacted. In all, several hundred stakeholders participated—nearly 150 4-12th grade students and over 250 parents/families, alumni, business representatives, community members and staff. Additionally, a virtual engagement with over 300 participants resulted in 82 unique ideas. 

A 27-member core planning team was formed – representative of students, parents, alumni, teachers, staff, community, business and higher education members – who actively participated in a two-day workshop. They reviewed the engagement report, district data and a recent survey of 1,000 parents to identify a strategic framework.
Further refined by a 15-member executive team, the framework was shared in a live community webinar in early February, followed by another three-week online discussion with feedback on the draft. Afterward, an updated draft was presented to the School Board in a public work session. The School Board further discussed and provided input to district leadership at their Board retreat. They adopted the four strategic directions on April 24. District leadership then developed key actions within these directions, which were discussed with the School Board in a June 26, 2023, work session. The Board adopted the comprehensive strategic roadmap at their July 10, 2023, business meeting. 

Find more info at under “News - Strategic Plan” and join us  for a community forum on Thurs., Oct. 26, 6pm at University High School Theatre, 12420 E. 32nd Ave.

Linking Community & School Success…

The CVSD School Board personally honored exemplary employees and community contributions through the annual Meritorious Service Awards with ceremonies at 34 schools/departments in March. 
Meritorious Awardees

The Board announced district-wide recipients in each category on March 24:
  • Certificated: Val Clapper, Ponderosa Teacher; Mark Bitz, SVT Teacher; Ross Johnson, Broadway Dean of Students; and Kristalyn Peterson, Chester Nurse;
  • Classified: Stacey Jenkin, Greenacres MS Intervention Specialist; Chuck Warner, Opportunity Head Custodian;
  • Employee Teams: Bus Drivers, Mechanics, Dispatchers;
  • Community: Debra Walker, MultiCare “Stop the Bleed” kits; Jim Durning, OpenEye; Gifts of Hope.
See - Meritorious Awards for all honorees. 

Doris Morrison Learning Center SignThe new center at 1330 S Henry Rd celebrated it’s grand opening on Earth Day, April 22, and is scheduled to be open to the public later this summer—providing  an interactive opportunity for outdoor environmental education for our students and community.

After being drained for farming for a century, Spokane County worked the last 15 years to restore the Saltese Flats back into a healthy wetland ecosystem. With the addition of the interpretive center, students have opportunity to study the wetlands and CVSD is excited to bring elementary and middle school classes there for field trips to strengthen our outdoor education program. Spokane County’s Water Education Program will provide classroom learning about the aquifer. The learning center has lab space, a covered patio for outdoor learning, bird watching, and a flat walking trail that leads to the wetlands with interpretive signage. 

Doris Morrison, whom the center was named for, was a life-long teacher who cared for this land and the people who lived there, for her entire 103 years of life.
Find more at:
Doris Morrison Learning Center Opening
Sisters in STEMSisters in STEM, a brand new student club at Central Valley High School, is dedicated to creating a community for women and girls of all backgrounds, where they feel included, welcome, and supported in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) world. 

The club works to empower students in secondary education to get involved in tech and develop their confidence— growing a community of passionate female students and bridging the gap 
between middle and high school. Their mission is to ensure younger students understand STEM pathways, learn life skills like critical thinking with hands-on activities and become prepared for high school with mentors at the ready. They held activities this year at both North Pines and Evergreen middle schools so far. These real-world connections create long-term impact on a student’s STEM journey.
Visit: for more info.
Sisters in STEM
Students at OpenEyeCVSD honored OpenEye at the Northeast Washington Association of School Administrators awards luncheon in April. For the past decade, OpenEye partnered with CVSD to support Pre-K-8th grade students that exhibit perseverance, work ethic and commitment to school, despite barriers they may be face. 

Annually, OpenEye invites almost 100 students to experience a behind-the-scenes tour—teaching them the importance of STEM. The culmination is rewarding each student's efforts with a new bike of their own that they build together with a staff mentor. Students learn to read instructions, use mechanical skills and tools to build a bike. In addition, OpenEye generously gives supplies and backpacks to our back-to-school resource fair.
Honoring OpenEye

Mark Bitz Educator of the YearWhen it comes to passion to see students succeed, Educator of the Year Mark Bitz excels. His Spokane Valley Tech students are placed in the driver seat for what they learn and to what extent. They design projects and discover their unique pathways. A longtime engineer before becoming a teacher, Bitz inspires students to dream big. He instills confidence to try new things, ask questions, and seek understanding. Regardless if students are in his class, all students may try his classroom equipment, make projects, and learn manufacturing and design.  

Bitz has true passion for helping students find their future, and it shows. He started an apprenticeship program and propelled students to find careers befitting their passion—from astronaut to manufacturer or fashion designer. His impact on students and the greater community is visible and will be felt for years to come. Bitz will retire this school year after eleven years with CVSD and we wish him the best.

Tony Collins HMSAnthony “Tony” Collins, a longtime intervention specialist at Horizon Middle School, was selected as the 2022-2023 Classified School Employee of the Year for the northeast Washington region. Collins goes above and beyond in his outreach to families for student to be successful. 

He attended Horizon MS when it first opened as a junior high in 1982, and has served on the staff for nearly 25 years. Throughout his time at Horizon, Collins fostered a safe, supportive environment where students can thrive both academically and behaviorally while working as a behavior interventionist in general and in special education classrooms.

LETRS CertifiedOngoing professional development is imperative for high-quality instruction and best instructional practices. 40 teachers and admin participated in the two-year, 120-hour Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading & Spelling (LETRS) professional development program–a nationally recognized training for literacy teachers. Teaching reading requires a deep understanding of the science behind how children learn to read.

These LETRS-trained educators are better equipped to meet all students’ literacy learning needs. The training was so relevant that the team immediately applied the new learning to improve their practice. A second group of 40 educators will focus on special education and K-2 classroom teachers. 

This training will have a long-term impact and lead to systemic change in literacy instruction in our district. The end reward will be the impact made on student learning.

Keith Clark, D.V.M., President, District #4, elected 2007. Clark owns/operates Pet Vet Hospital. He oversees his church’s seminary and institute programs. Clark has seven children, including several CV school grads. He loves caring for both animals and students. Little-known fact? He was top chicken judge in high school Future Farmers of America in Idaho. 
Debra Long, Vice President, District #3, elected 2003. She’s Rockwood Retirement Communities’ accounting manager.  Long was active on the WA School Directors' Assoc. (WSSDA) board for 12 years. She’s a CV band and colorguard booster member and the craftfair chairperson since 1994. Her two children graduated from CVHS. She loves making quilts for others—giving over 128 to veterans.
Teresa Landa, Legislative Rep., District #2, elected 2021. Her educational career spans 26 years as a former CVSD teacher/admin.; Newport Superintendent; and NEWESD101's Asst. Superintendent. She volunteers as a classroom helper and loves stand-up paddleboarding. Four family generations hold CVSD diplomas, including Landa. Find her family’s photos at the Spokane Valley Heritage Museum.
Cindy McMullen, Director, District #1, elected 2015. A retired attorney after more than 40 years, McMullen served four years on the State Board of Education and previously served 24 years on the CVSD School Board. She is a past president of the WSSDA board and active on their legislative committee. She has three daughters who went to CV schools. McMullen is a huge Zags and Stanford fan and loves spending time with her puppy Maisie.
Pam Orebaugh, Director, District #5, elected 2021. Raised in Montana, but she’s lived in the Spokane area for 30 years. Orebaugh currently teaches university level nursing. Her career includes flight nursing and care for children/pregnant women. An active community volunteer, Orebaugh has five children who attended CV schools. She loves water sports, the Zags, and enjoys working with her daughter’s horses.

CVSD provides a variety of distinct alternative programs to meet student learning needs — all of these schools of choice are open to enrollment — one may be a great fit for your family. Find the one that may suit your needs.

Central Valley Virtual Learning (CVVL)  offers online learning options for K-12 students. One day of in-person is optional as well.
Visit or call 558-5727.
MPHS Wolverine
Mica Peak High School (MPHS) offers a smaller learning environment for those HS students looking for something a little different.
Visit or call 558-5950.
Progress Panther
Progress Elementary cultivates a curious and caring community of learners, Progress K-5 students engage in inquiry-based learning and explorations.
Visit or call 558-4500.
Spokane Valley Learning Academy (SVLA) is designed to support parents who want flexibility to provide instruction at home for their child, grades K-8.
Visit or call 558-5700.
Summit School
Summit School uses expeditionary, student-centered learning curriculum for grades K-8.
Visit or call 558-3250.
SVT Logo
Spokane Valley Tech & STEM Academy has engaging programs & beyond-the-book learning for high school students.
Visit or call 558-6500.

  • Our 94% graduation rate remains higher than state (82%) and national averages.
  • 50.2% of all CVSD students complete dual credits.
  • CVSD employs 890 highly-qualified teachers with an average teacher experience of 14.1 years. 457 teachers have more than 15 years experience. 
  • 63.1% teachers have a masters degree or higher and CVSD has 111 Nationally Board Certified teachers

Save the dates!

We hope you are enjoying your summer. We're renewing our Central Valley newsletter and this is the first version of "The CVSD Link" for our parents, staff, and community. In order to save printing and mailing costs, we are not sending a print version to those on our email list. Should you want a printed copy, you may pick one up at our CVSD office at 2218 N. Molter Rd. in Liberty Lake.