John M. Cerna
Wow, what a year it has been! As we faced inevitable change, and not knowing what the future holds, our education world was turned upside down since March 18, 2020. I want to thank our teachers for their courageous efforts in providing the best possible education for our students. I also want to thank our parents for their patience and understanding during this epic time in history, and our community who has been an excellent support of our schools. Toppenish School District is a place where “we do what’s best for kids” by providing the highest level of learning opportunities for all students.
We are all crossing our fingers we can begin next school year together and in our buildings with safety precautions in place and in accordance with health guidance. We are expecting word from the Washington Health Department and OSPI on how school will look next year.
I’m proud to announce that our schools and programs continue to receive recognition for their outstanding achievements. Lincoln Elementary School and Toppenish High School were recognized by the Center for Educational Effectiveness for school improvement. We had a State Robotics Champion that also qualified for the worlds as well as nationals competition. Unfortunately, because of the COVID virus all competitions were suspended. Our high school Wrestling Team placed first at the 2A State Championships, setting a school record with six state champions. Our boys’ basketball and football teams had fabulous seasons; the boys’ basketball team placed 6th in the 2A state championships. Our high school football team had a great year. This is the second year in a row that our team made the post-season playoffs. Jason Smith was named CWAC Coach of the Year for football, Brad Baker was named CWAC Coach of the year for girls basketball, JoJo Mesplie was named CWAC Coach of the year for boys basketball and Johnny Cerna was named CWAC Coach of the Year as well 2A State Coach of the Year. We had one of the most successful years in sports in over a decade. I would like to thank all the coaches, advisors and volunteers that put countless hours in helping our students succeed. What an awesome experience for all the students that attended these state competitions. The Toppenish Middle School received another Gold Star award for continuing their excellent work in helping enroll our students for the College Bound Scholarship. Our fine arts, choir and band programs have also received recognition for their excellence. The hard work by our staff and students does not go unnoticed. Congratulations!
We are able to offer a variety of extended day enrichment and intervention opportunities for students through state and federal grants, levy dollars, and community donations. These performance-based activities include GEAR UP at both the middle school and high school, 21st Century activities, Destination Imagination, Missoula Children’s Theater, and the intramural sports program. The high school is able to offer Red Comet for credit retrieval and the middle school will be offering makeup classes for struggling eighth graders. The high school has summer math and science enrichment programs offered through collaboration with the University of Washington, Heritage University, and Washington State University and Yakima Valley Farmworkers Clinic. We continue to partner with Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic, Northwest Community Action Center, ESD 105, OSPI, Yakama Nation, Washington Beef and the City of Toppenish to provide additional programs throughout the summer and school year. We had sixty middle school students online this summer through Heritage University for a STEM/Financial Literacy program.
I would like to thank Toppenish Education Association co-presidents, Katie Haynes and Deborah Hessenthaler, for their hard work and dedication to our staff and students in helping make Toppenish School District a better place to work and live. There has been a tremendous amount of collaboration and communication due to the COVID pandemic. I would also like to thank the District Leadership Team for their commitment to the District Improvement Plan and keeping it updated, alive and well, and a work in progress.
On-going communication between parents and teachers is critical during the school year. It is paramount that you meet with your child’s teacher and have ongoing communication throughout the year. Our students will soon be participants in a complex world where expectations are demanding and specific skills are necessary to obtain quality employment. Our goal is to provide a quality and stimulating education giving every child the opportunity to obtain a high school diploma and be prepared for postsecondary education. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the principal at your child’s school. We seek continuous growth and open communication; suggestion boxes are located in all schools and in the District Office. We will continue to work hard on positive customer service and provide family friendly schools.
We want you to play an active role in your child’s learning journey. You have our commitment that we will improve the quality of education for your child and our student outcome data will prove it! Our staff embraces the premise that a good education is a gift for life. Thank you for believing in and supporting our schools.
John M. Cerna, Superintendent
Toppenish School District