what makes Kelso Strong for you?

This year, we’ve been sharing videos to highlight some of the things that make #KelsoStrong. 

We’ve featured visual and performing arts; teaching and learning programs; and athletics, clubs and activities. Coming up, we’ll focus on special education, maintenance and custodial, safety, and social emotional learning.

And we know, there is so much more that makes us #KelsoStrong.

We'd love to hear, in 75 words or less, what makes #KelsoStrong for YOU.

From February 14 - 22, we invite you to share your #KelsoStrong story by filling out this Google form.

What are we doing with the responses?

  • We’re sharing (anonymously) the stories on the district website here.

  • Each person submitting a #KelsoStrong story will go into a daily drawing. For each of the six school days of the campaign, one student, one family member, and one staff member from that day’s submissions will be selected to win a #KelsoStrong t-shirt.

kelso strong shirt

  • Some stories will be chosen to be shared—by YOU—in a #KelsoStrong video

for all

Kelso Strong means to me that students can have a chance to learn about everything and as a school district we can be strong in every category. So students have a chance to be strong in art and also in athletics. This can cause Kelso to become a very successful for all students.

care for everyone

What makes kelso strong for me is some of the good people here. There are some wonderful people that care for almost everyone, even people they haven't met.


What makes make #KelsoStrong for me is the inclusiveness and the community. Along with the teachers being very understanding and helpful.


What makes Kelso strong is how as a community we all come together. No matter what school you go to you will have friendly teachers always willing to help and do their best for you. Whenever something bad happens we all come together no one leaves each other behind and we help each other because we are all Kelso Strong.


Being kind and safe in the hallways.


What makes #KelsoStrong for me are the friends and teachers that help me.


Care. Every staff member, from drivers, para educators to the superintendent, care for the well-being of the students. Parents drop their kids at our schools knowing that we will provide them not only with an education, but we will do it with love and CARE.


We have held the same strong Kelso values, since I graduated from here 40 years ago and before. We hold those values high and carry them and continue them even after graduation day. Once a Highlander always a Hilander. When you say you went to Kelso or work at Kelso, you say it with pride. Our staff, students and families are everything. When we say we care and their success matters, even after they Graduating , we truly mean it!!


Colene Risner knows how to have fun and work hard - bringing fun and maintaining traditions that keep our school cohesive and ready to achieve! Go Colene! You are #kelsostrong!


Our principal, Mr. Kiefer, makes #kelsostrong. New to the district and doing big things eveyday. Everyday he sets the tone and always works to build and maintain a positive school climate and culture. "Attitude reflects leadership." #kieferiskelsostrong


The ENTIRE squad at Rose Valley works SO incredibly hard - day in and day out! All for the students! Each person focuses on their role and how they can do what is best for the children and families in our school. We are Kelso Strong!


For me, #KelsoStrong is an immense sense of pride in being a Kelso teacher. Having taught in other school districts, there is truly "no place like home." #KelsoStrong is knowing that my grandfather was a proud Hilander. #KelsoStrong is leading from the front and being recognized across the state as leaders in education. #KelsoStrong is knowing that I am part of the collective "WE" that makes Kelso so special.

work play serve

Our community. Working together, playing together, serving together, grieving together, celebrating together. #BeTheWe #Gratitude #StrongerTogether


Richard Smith, the custodian at Barnes Elementary school goes above and beyond for the wellbeing of the students at Barnes. Mr. Richard, as the students call him is a favorite among the students at Barnes. Richard is out front every morning high fiving the kids on their way in and wishing them a good day. Richard is always more than happy to walk a child to class or escort them to the office. In the instances of children having a hard time at school, Richard has been known to find jobs for kids to do that make the children feel important and valued. He attends field trips when he can and is the definition in my opinion of "Kelso Strong." Richard is not only good to the children at Barnes he is also one of the kindest people I have ever had the opportunity to work with.


Seth Peck and Andy Lundberg at Barnes Elementary School work tirelessly with their students to ensure the best learning experience and environment possible. Seth came to Barnes as a first-year head principal this school year and has made such a positive difference in the lives of his students. I believe having Seth at Barnes has brought the best out of Mr. Lundberg as well. These men are outside shooting hoops with children, organizing field trips and brining in the Kelso HS leadership team to inspire and uplift their students. These men are constantly on the run, assisting with behavioral issues in a positive way, attending meetings with parents, and always finding a way to make themselves available to parents, students, and staff. I could go on all day about this team of principals. Barnes is lucky to have these two.

we are

The sense of community and #WeAre, how we all come together to support our Kelso community in all aspects, not just sports.


I enjoy working in Kelso because of the strong sense of community. People support one another to be successful! Providing targeted help after school, being sensitive to the impact of life events of students and staff, going that extra mile to connect with hard to reach parents and students... Kelso is full of healthy working relationships that make this a community, so much more than just a school.

open arms

I have some newcomers in my class this semester who speak very little English. The other students in my class have welcomed them with open arms and are trying to learn another language so they can better communicate with each other.


I am in awe of Kelso's unwavering support of their staff, students, and community- for me, that is Kelso STRONG. We are a family of staff dedicated to the improvement of the lives of our students and we are STRONG in our decisions to make this happen. Staff are STRONG not only for students, but for each other. The support of this Kelso Family makes everyone feel welcomed with a STRONG support system, STRONG values, and STRONG morals.

on their own

#KelsoStrong is the community of teachers I work with at Rose Valley Elementary. I was welcomed as a first year teacher and it took less than 2 weeks to know it's a family I never want to leave. If Kelso employees have that impact on their coworkers, imagine the heartfelt welcome our students feel every day they walk through our doors. I am #KelsoStrong because in KSD, no one has to do it on their own!


The way the people are kind to others.

para educators

Karen, Sam, Teresa A., Joanna, Ashley, Tasia, Jolleen, Teresa M., Becky, Veronica, Becky D., and Courtney. These paras are the heart and souls of our Social and Emotional Centers. They are creating resilience for Kelso students, staff, and families day in and day out. Through their hard work we are all more connected and competent! They are the very definition of #KelsoStrong not only because of who they are, but also because of what they provide!


Kelso is a community like no other, full of long standing traditions and Hilander pride. Our student leaders shine. They strive to create a welcoming environment for all students. Through our AVID and leadership programs, students' voices are being heard as they advocate for diverse populations and bring awareness to student challenges. These students, along with our faculty, are the heart of Kelso and it beats #KelsoStrong.


Kelso Schools have done an amazing job in spite of very trying times! They have implemented a comprehensive plan to meet the new and evolving needs of students for a future that is hard to predict. Kelso has continued to be flexible, elicit community feedback and adapt as needs change and challenges arise. In addition to all this hard work Kelso maintains a professional and respectful face when interacting with all of its many stakeholders!


Kelso strong is: Teal outs to honor Julia and her kindness; a bus of athletes stopping to help a stranger get into their car; counselors patiently walking kids through tragedy; teachers loving kids who have lost hope; young men and women who become the first in their family to graduate; teachers fiercely providing safe space for the young, vulnerable, and scared.

KELSO pride

I went through Kelso schools, and now my children are as well. I feel Kelso has an amazing school district and make the kids and parents feel welcome. I love the pride that is felt at each school function and game. Our athletic department is one of the best I have ever seen. Especially Kelso Baseball. It’s always a fun time watching them play! The teachers are the best around as well, and are guiding our youth to a build a better future!


Watching my colleagues care individually for each student in my building…James Kiefer dedicated to all outside duties- following through with conversations with students to help build relationships. Watching JK’s dedication to his job and his work ethic inspires me to keep working hard! He takes on hard tasks by shouldering the subbing situation. I appreciate his advice and how he encourages me when I need a metaphor or story to help with managing the work load. Kelso picked an amazing leader when they hired him for our elementary principal!


Watching the bond work it’s way through all of the schools… knowing we are close to being done and feeling proud to have been a student many years ago to having my sons go through Kelso schools! The quality of people that work in these buildings is our best asset! The pride Kelso takes in ensuring that these buildings look good AND function is an area that I am thankful for! I am proud that I work for a district that is strong to pass bonds and that the community values our schools, music, extra curricular activities and athletics! We Are!

strong co-worker

Working with Stephanie Holter makes me strong! She works with a large group of students with a lot of needs. She values each individual and works with support staff to make the best plan for each of these students! She is calm, assertive, intelligent, strong, and loving. Watching her maneuver her personal life and keeping her balance everyday helps keep me strong! She also keeps abreast of emails/schedules and I can ask her questions and she always has the answer. When I make a mistake, she graciously corrects me.

sped staff

I work with an amazing SpEd staff! They are always watching out for and advocating for their students to make sure they get the best education possible. They are always willing to step in and step up to offer help and advice to any team member. Best of all, we are a true team; working together to make our kids Kelso Strong!

strong community

Our community values our children and their education.

valued team

I am #KelsoStrong because I feel like a valued member of this learning community. I also feel proud to be teaching in such a wonderful, new school, where I feel like a valued team member. I also was a Kelso student, at one point, and I feel like the community is just as strong now, as it was when I was a student.


In the KSD there is a sense of belonging at every school from TK-12. From staff members, parent support clubs, and athletic staff, the students are the first priority in the KSD. When it comes to the importance of needs or attention, KSD puts students at the top. These are not feelings I express from being a staff member, but as a parent of a KSD student and from being a KSD student myself and witnessing it firsthand.