• PEAK! of the WEEK
    Molina Health Care
    PEAK! of the WEEK goes to Frost Elementary PEAK! Partner Molina Health Care for leading a group of parents and students on a trip to the Mid-Columbia Library in Pasco for the school's Library Day. Frost families were given a tour of the library, did arts and crafts, and filled out library card applications.

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  • Pasco High School Drama and Pasco Choral Boosters present

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    To sign up for emergency notifications please click the link below:
    A text message will be sent to parents and community members with emergency alerts.
    Those without computer access or who need more information can contact the District Information Systems Office at 543-6757. 

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Welcome to Pasco School District


Leerlo Local radio station Power 99.1 FM is hosting a clothing drive at various locations this week to benefit students at Robinson Elementary School. Radio host Reka Janel, who is the granddaughter of the school’s namesake, Virgie Robinson, will be accepting donations of new and gently used children’s clothing at the following times and locations:

- April 22: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Dutch Bros Coffee (731 N. Columbia Center Blvd., Kennewick) and 4-6 p.m. at Yokes Fresh Market (1401 Bombing Range Rd., West Richland)

- April 23: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at HAPO Credit Union (4 N. Union St., Kennewick) and 4-6 p.m. at HAPO Business Complex (7601 W. Clearwater Ave., Kennewick)

- April 24: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at McDonalds (2202 W. Court St., Pasco) and 4-6 p.m. at McDonalds (2751 Queensgate Dr., Richland)

- April 25: 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at McDonalds (6212 N. Road 68, Pasco) and 4-6 p.m. at Verizon Wireless (30 Merlot Dr., Prosser)
Posted April 22, 2014

International Night
Please click the image to view a photo gallery from Chiawana High School's International Night on April 15. Exchange students from Yamate High School, located in Yokohama, Japan, were on hand to present an evening of culture featuring music, games, calligraphy, and traditional dress.

The 79 visiting students along with four chaperones participated in a homestay with students from Chiawana High School. They arrived in Pasco on April 11 and will stay through April 25. This is the seventh time students from Yamate High School have visited Pasco since 1997.
Posted April 22, 2104

On April 16, State School Superintendent Randy Dorn and State Board of Education Chair Dr. Kristina Mayer announced that Pasco School District elementary schools Chess, McGee, and Angelou are 2013 Washington Achievement Award winners.

These schools are among a total of 413 schools in the state to earn this award, which is sponsored by the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the State Board of Education. Award winners are selected using the state’s Accountability Index and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Flexibility Waiver.

“These awards mark the dedication of the principals, teachers and staff members who work, often against great odds, to ensure that every student has an opportunity to thrive and succeed,” says Superintendent Saundra Hill. “We are very proud of their accomplishments and happy that the state is recognizing their efforts.”

The award is based on statewide assessment data for the three previous years. Schools are recognized as top performers in one of six categories: overall excellence, high progress, reading growth, math growth, extended graduation rate, and English language acquisition.

McGee Elementary School, under the direction of Principal Robin Hay, earned special recognition in mathematics growth for being in the top 5% based on median growth percentiles in mathematics. Angelou Elementary School, under the direction of Principal Diana Cissne, and Chess Elementary School, headed by Principal Wendi Manthei, earned special recognition for English language acquisition. Schools qualify for this recognition if they are the top 5% highest performing schools based on the median point gain on the Washington English Language Proficiency Assessment (WELPA).

“Chess Elementary is proud to receive this recognition,” says Manthei. “It is a direct reflection of the intentional efforts by our talented and dedicated staff to develop today’s child into tomorrow’s leader.”

The award-winning schools will be honored at a ceremony on April 24 in Lacey. The ESD 123 will also host a celebration for regional winners in the coming weeks. For more information about the Washington Achievement Award criteria and the complete list of winners, visit
Posted April 21, 2014


On April 21, Pasco’s Dutch Bros Coffee will donate $1 from every drink sold at their 6609 Burden Blvd. location to support the Pasco High School DECA community service project “It’s a Teen Thing II.”

The project will benefit My Friends’ Place, a Kennewick shelter for youth ages 13-17. In addition to the proceeds from Dutch Bros drink sales, Pasco High School students are collecting personal toiletries and individual packaged snacks for the shelter to distribute to local homeless teens.

Community members are also invited to drop off donations at Pasco High School or Dutch Bros Coffee during the month of April.

My Friends’ Place is Southeastern Washington's first safe overnight sanctuary for homeless teens.

Dutch Bros Coffee in Pasco is a PEAK!, or Partners in Educating All Kids!, partner with Pasco High School.

Posted April 18, 2014
West Side Story Please click the image to check out an article from the Tri-City Herald featuring the Pasco High School production of West Side Story.
Posted April 18, 2014

Washington D.C.  
Pasco High School DECA students Pamela Sounthonephom, Sierra Wright, Jacquelynne Munguia, Bertha Coria, Yesenia Arredondo, and Ashley Mata and their teacher Laura Jones traveled to Washington, D.C. the week of April 7 to participate in “Monumental,” the 2014 National Service Learning Conference. The students presented their “Don’t Wreck Your Text” campaign, which raises awareness of the dangers of texting and driving. They also spoke about the importance of service learning projects and the power of peer to peer learning.

While in D.C., the students participated in “Hill Day” and were able to meet with staffers at the offices of Representative Doc Hastings, Senator Maria Cantwell, and Senator Patty Murray.
Posted April 16, 2014

Megan Nelson Robinson Elementary School Principal Megan Nelson will become the Director of STEM Initiatives and Instructional Technology. Nelson has been the principal at Robinson Elementary School since 2010. She previously served as assistant principal of Whittier Elementary School and assistant director of Professional Development and Curriculum. She began her career with the District in 1999 as a fourth grade teacher at Emerson Elementary School and has also served as a math coach. She has been an instructor at Heritage University since 2006.

Wendi Manthei Chess Elementary School Principal Wendi Manthei will move to Robinson Elementary School as the new principal. Manthei began her teaching career at Twain Elementary School in 1997 followed by two years teaching in Las Vegas. She returned to the District in 2000 serving as a behavior intervention teacher at Twain Elementary School and then as facilitator and writing specialist at Frost Elementary School. From 2002-2009, Manthei served in various leadership capacities as assistant principal, facilitator, and literacy coach for Frost, Whittier, and Livingston elementary schools. She has been the principal at Chess Elementary School since 2009.

Kim Mahaffey McLoughlin Middle School Assistant Principal Kim Mahaffey will serve as principal of Markham Elementary School. Mahaffey has served as assistant principal at McLoughlin Middle School for the last five years. Previously, he spent two years as dean of students/athletic director in the Kiona-Benton School District and five years teaching third-grade through adult-age students at the alternative school there. He started his teaching career as a long-term substitute for the Pasco High School extended-day program.

Barbara Pierce McLoughlin Middle School Assistant Principal Barbara Pierce will serve as principal of Twain Elementary School. Pierce started at McLoughlin Middle School in 1993 teaching seventh grade for many years. She was then the assessment coordinator for McLoughlin Middle School, followed by a position as assistant principal at Stevens Middle School. In 2009 she became assistant principal at McLoughlin Middle School. Pierce has also served as the school’s dance team coach and has held adjunct professor positions at Heritage University and Western Washington University.

Dora Noble Assistant Director of Special Programs Literacy Squared Dora Noble will serve as principal of Chess Elementary School. Noble has been in her current position since last July. Previously, she served as assistant principal at Robinson Elementary for three years and was assistant principal at Twain Elementary School in 2009-10. She was a literacy coach at Frost Elementary School for four years and has taught third and fourth grade bilingual Spectrum classes at Livingston Elementary School and bilingual third grade at McGee Elementary School.
Posted April 14, 2014

More than 1,400 athletes from 100 school districts will gather at Edgar Brown Stadium’s John Crawford Track on April 19 to compete in the 53rd annual Pasco Invite.

Organizers will take time to honor former Pasco Invite volunteers who passed away over the past year. Those who will be remembered for their dedication to education and student athletes are:

• Richland High School football coach and teacher J.D. Covington,
• Pasco High School teacher, tennis coach, and Pasco School District board member Jeffery Dong,
• Pasco High School graduate, teacher, and baseball and football coach Bernie Hancock,
• Pasco High School teacher and football coach Bill Till.

“It is our honor to acknowledge their dedication to the Pasco Invite,” says Pasco High School Athletic Director Jake Davis. “As former teachers and coaches they all left a lasting impact on the Tri-Cities community and helped build this event into what it is today.”

Nearly 250 community volunteers step up annually to make the event a success and there is still time to lend a hand. To sign up to volunteer or for more information contact Davis at 509-547-5581 or at or Chiawana High School Athletic Director John Cazier at 509-543-6786 or at

Posted April 11, 2014


Efrain Cardoza Pasco High School Student Achievement Specialist Efrain Cardoza was named the ESD 123 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year for 2014. Cardoza is among nine regional candidates vying for the state award who will be recognized at a ceremony in Olympia on May 9.

“I am committed to the students of Pasco High School,” says Cardoza. “It is my job to support our team and make graduation a reality for our students.”

As a student achievement specialist, Cardoza is a key part of his intervention team, which is also made up of a counselor and Special Education case manager. Intervention teams are assigned to a group of students in their ninth grade year to provide the proper balance of support and motivation to help them achieve success throughout their high school career. While the team’s common goal is to get students to take responsibility for their education and graduate, they also strive to prepare them for post-secondary education and careers.

“Efrain is one of the hardest workers I have ever met, and we are fortunate to have him as a part of the Pasco High School community,” says Pasco High School Assistant Principal Kylee Sixkiller-Bossert, who works with Cardoza daily as members of the same intervention team. “He leads by example and is always willing to go the extra mile, whether it is a home visit or collecting donations for students in need. I only wish that his heart and work ethic were replicable. His wisdom and efforts will continue to have a positive impact on Pasco High School for many years to come.”

Cardoza has worked for the Pasco School District since 1992, just one year after graduating from Pasco High School. He started as a paraeducator at Twain Elementary School then transitioned to a home visitor in 1997. He has been a student achievement specialist at Pasco High School since 2004, and is the first person to hold that position.

He has been recognized by Pasco School District and the community for his commitment to Pasco schools. He received the Staff Achievement Award in 2000, and he was named the Tri-City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Latino Educator of the Year in 2005. Cardoza was proud to be inducted into the Pasco High School Hall of Fame in 2012.

Cardoza says his biggest accomplishment is seeing his hard work pay off when students don their caps and gowns and celebrate graduation.

“I feel a calling to do this work because I am myself a proud Pasco High School graduate and because of my personal faith,” concludes Cardoza. “I have prepared myself every day for my job with guidance from the Man upstairs, and in helping youth I can give back to the community that has given so much to me.”

Cardoza is married to Norma Cardoza, a purchasing technician in the Pasco School District Fiscal Services department and has two sons, Efrain, Jr. who graduated from Pasco High School in 2013 and is now attending Columbia Basin College and Pasco High School freshman Estevan Rafael.

Posted April 11, 2014


NAMM Pasco School District is one of just two school districts in the state and 376 in the country to receive the 2014 Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) distinction by the NAMM Foundation.

“The NAMM Award is an affirmation that music is a core subject that can be life changing for Pasco students,” says Visual and Performing Arts Teacher on Special Assignment Russ Newbury. “The Pasco School District’s extensive visual and performing arts curriculum creates pathways for tangible opportunities for student success.”

For the seventh time in 15 years, Pasco has earned this prestigious national recognition for its commitment to music education. The BCME program requires each school and district to detail funding, staffing, commitment to standards, and access to music instruction in the application process.

Programs cited to gain this recognition included the Pasco School District’s recommitment to a strings program, its Instrument for Loan program, All-State and other award-winning bands and choirs, and innovative programming, such as World Drumming, Mariachi, and award-winning musical theatre programs.

Whether performing folk songs on guitar at Chess Elementary School, marching in the community’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, or singing and dancing their way to a Best Musical nomination for Pasco High School’s “In the Heights,” Pasco students of every age and talent level have opportunities to excel in music.

Since Pasco’s first Top 100 Communities in Music Education award in 2000 as awarded by NAMM, the District has stayed true to its commitment to music education. In addition to 2000, the Pasco School District has received this prestigious honor in 2004, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its nearly 9,000 members around the world with the mission of advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit
Posted April 10, 2014


Please enjoy this video highlighting the Pasco chess program .
Setting a new Pasco School District record, 90 student chess players from eight different Pasco schools have qualified to compete at the Washington State Elementary Chess Championship on April 12. And, with 27 state qualifiers, Twain Elementary School has the most students qualified for the state tournament from any school in the Tri-Cities.

Featuring students from grades K-6, the state chess tournament takes place in Magnolia, just north of the Seattle Space Needle. Students from McLoughlin and Ochoa middle schools, and Twain, McGee, Robinson, Whittier, Livingston, and Angelou elementary schools will attend.

“Our Pasco players routinely take home first-, second-, and third-place team trophies at regional events,” says District Chess Coordinator Jeremy Kidd, who is a teacher and administrative intern at Twain Elementary School. “It's a tribute to the hard work of the chess players and coaches, and it couldn't be done without the continued support of our building and District administrators.”

It has been an exciting and successful year for Pasco chess teams. At the last regional tournament on March 1, for example, 150 students from Pasco schools participated. McLoughlin Middle School took first place in the 7-12th grade section while Robinson Elementary School took first place and Whittier Elementary School came in third in the 4-6th grade section. McGee and Twain elementary schools tied for second place in the K-3rd grade section.

Approximately 300 students from across the District participate in after-school chess clubs. Local and regional tournaments take place about once a month throughout the school year, during which students qualify for state by earning at least three out of five points. The program continues to grow and attain ever-higher levels of success, with various Pasco chess clubs placing in the top three in each event this year. The trophies students take home complement the many life lessons they learn from the game, such as good sportsmanship, self-reliance, critical thinking, discipline, and leadership.
Posted April 8, 2014


West Side Story The classic story of rival gangs and ill-fated love comes to life as Pasco High School Drama and Pasco Choral Boosters present the American musical “West Side Story,” April 17-19 and 24-26 at Pasco High School’s Gregson Auditorium. All performances begin at 7 p.m.

Rob Dennis serves as producer and musical director for the production, Tiffany Buissink directs and Randy Bjur is conductor. Assistant directors are Matthew Polk and Craig Allen, who also provide choreography. Lighting designer is Eli Garza and Jessica Small is the costumer.

“This is a whole different style of performance than ‘In the Heights,’” says Dennis. “It highlights our strengths and explores important themes – racism, love, hate and the hope that love can overcome differences. It’s a good message for our community.”

Last year the PHS production of “In the Heights” earned honors in nine categories at the prestigious 5th Avenue Awards, including an Honorable Mention for Musical Direction by Bjur and Dennis, and nominations for Outstanding Direction by Buissink, as well as Outstanding Overall Musical. Franklin Castellanos won Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Usnavi
and Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role went to Daniel Haug in the role of Benny. Castellanos and Haug graduated in 2013.

“West Side Story,” is inspired by William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” and features a libretto by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and conception and choreography by Jerome Robbins. It is produced by special arrangement with Music Theatre International.

Pre-sale tickets for “West Side Story” are $8 general admission and $12 for reserved seats and can be purchased at, by phone at 543-6770 ext. 3702 or from a cast member. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $10 general admission or $15 reserved seating.
Posted April 7, 2014

Congratulations to the Pasco High School Dance Team for winning state titles in the hip hop and show categories at the 2014 Dance/Drill State Championships on March 28. This is the third time since 2011 that the team has brought home the titles. They also took 5th in the pom category. Please enjoy this video from the Yakima Herald featuring the Pasco High team as they prepare for and compete in the show category.
 Posted March 31, 2014


Assistant Superintendent of Operations John Morgan will be retiring this year. Superintendent Saundra Hill announced several administrative changes that will take effective July 1, 2014.
Cloud Assistant Superintendent Glenda Cloud will serve as associate (or deputy) superintendent. Cloud began her teaching career at the District in 1986 after several months as a substitute paraeducator. She moved into administration as assistant principal of Emerson Elementary School followed by positions as assistant director of Special Services, director of Employee Relations, director of Human Resources, and, most recently, assistant superintendent of Instructional Services. She has served as assistant superintendent of Teaching and Learning since July.

Thornton Executive Director of Legal Affairs Sarah Thornton will serve as assistant superintendent. Thornton started with the District as Director of Employee Relations in 2002. The following year, she became Director of Employee Relations/General Counsel and in 2008 was named Executive Director of Human Resources and Legal Affairs.

Nunamaker Director of Support Services Randy Nunamaker will serve as executive director of Operations. Nunamaker has worked for the District since 1999. For seven years, he served as assistant supervisor of Maintenance and Custodial before becoming supervisor of Maintenance and Custodial for two years. He has been director of Support Services for the last six years.

Sullivan Director of Employee Services Tim Sullivan will serve as director of Student Life (overseeing Athletics, Student Services and several other duties). A proud PHS graduate, he has served as dean of students then assistant principal at secondary schools in Auburn and Lacey. From 2000 to 2013, Sullivan was assistant principal and principal/director of several middle and high schools in the greater Los Angeles area. He has been with the District since July 2013.

Hay McGee Elementary School Principal Robin Hay will serve as director of Employee Services. This is Hay’s 25th year serving the staff and students of Pasco. She began her career in the District in 1989 as a second grade teacher at Emerson Elementary School. She has been the principal at McGee for the last ten years.

Morales Whittier Elementary School Principal Jaime Morales will serve as planning principal of Barbara McClintock STEM Elementary. Morales has been Whittier’s principal since 2011. Formerly, he worked as the director of Technology and was the assistant principal/facilitator at Ruth Livingston Elementary School from 2008-2009. Morales taught 4th, 5th, and 8th grades in the Grandview School District from 2002-2008.

Aragon Twain Elementary School Principal and 2014 Regional Distinguished Elementary School Principal of the Year Valerie Aragon will serve as planning principal of Marie Curie STEM Elementary. This is Aragon’s third year as Twain principal. Previously, she was principal of Whittier Elementary School for seven years, assistant principal of Stevens Middle School for two years, and assistant director of Special Services for a year. She began her career in the District in 1996 as a Special Education teacher at Stevens Middle School and has also taught migrant night school and extended day programs at PHS.
Silva Whittier Elementary Assistant Principal Victor Silva will serve as Whittier Elementary principal. A former TOSA and Literacy Squared coach, Silva has been assistant principal of Whittier Elementary since last July. Since 1996, he has taught bilingual first, second, and third grades at Captain Gray, Twain, Angelou, and Frost elementary schools. He has been a teacher mentor and also teaches at the District’s annual Spanish Camp.
Lechelt-Polster Markham Principal Wendy Lechelt-Polster will serve as McGee Elementary principal. Lechelt-Polster has been the Markham principal since 2006 when she came to the Pasco School District from the Richland School District where she had worked for 14 years. 
The Pasco School District will be posting for the next Twain and Markham elementary principals.
Posted March 18, 2014


Nomination forms are currently being accepted for academically gifted students to be considered for Pasco School District’s highly capable program, Project Spectrum, for the 2014-2015 school year.

Due to a recent change in State law, the program is now being offered for qualifying students in grades 1-5. The program is offered at Livingston Elementary School for English-only students and at Frost Elementary School for Spanish bilingual students. Both schools serve highly capable students from across the District, and bus service is provided.

To qualify for consideration for the program, students should be among the top ten percent of their class and be achieving significantly above grade level. A child can be nominated for the highly capable program by teachers, staff, parents, other students, or members of the community. Students may also nominate themselves.

To nominate a student, please fill out a referral form and submit it to the student’s teacher or principal. These forms are available at all elementary schools or the Curriculum Department at the Booth Building. Forms can also be found on the District website,, under the ‘Quicklinks’ list and on the ‘Curriculum and Professional Development’ web page, which is found under the ‘Instruction’ tab.

Parents, guardians, or members of the community with any question regarding this program can contact their child’s principal, Livingston Principal Susan Sparks at 546-2688, or Frost Principal Nora Phongsa at 543-6795.
Posted March 13, 2014

Graduation Data
View a slideshow about the Pasco School District's graduation data and the programs in place to help students reach our goal: 100% graduation!
Posted October 31, 2013 


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