Along with 196 other school districts throughout Oregon, we celebrate the volunteer service of school board members this month.
In Corvallis, we are a community of volunteers and our school board is part of that mosaic. We are very fortunate to have a group of educated, thoughtful, and committed individuals serving on our board. They are committed to what’s best for all students as they come to the table as individuals collaborating and unifying as one board.
School board members are publicly elected officials, representing citizens-at-large, versus by ward. They serve a term of four years and represent their fellow citizens’ views and priorities in the complex work of running our public schools. They also reinforce the principle of local control over public education, which is an important and highly valued aspect of education in Oregon. Their primary role is to establish policies which will promote student achievement, support continuous school improvement and maintain sound fiscal management.
Corvallis schools have a tradition of excellence that can be tied directly to the vision and commitment of our school board. In addition to regular board meetings, they participate in committees including finance, educational and facilities long range planning, equity, special education, sustainability, policy, and technology. In partnership with staff, the board thoughtfully deliberates and decides on the path forward for education in Corvallis. Their efforts often go unrecognized and we are honored to take a moment to recognize this outstanding group of individuals. Chris, Tom, Judy, Bill, Vince, Alexis, and Scott, on behalf of the Corvallis School District, I thank you for your service and support of our students and staff.
In the words of Plato, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.”
I was honored to make the opening comments at the December 16 concert of the Corvallis High School Choirs. The evening began with a performance by a unity ensemble from Crescent Valley and Corvallis High Schools, led by Directors Annie Kubitschek and Aubrey Patterson, respectively.
Then, the CHS concert choir premiered a commissioned work by Timothy Takach. College and high school choirs in 42 other states are premiering this work this winter and CHS was selected to perform the Oregon premiere!
We are fortunate in Corvallis to have strong performing arts programs in our schools. Our choral, band, theater, and orchestra directors bring tremendous passion and professionalism to our students and to the stage.
As the legislative short session begins soon, I was asked to present to legislative concept around 5th year programs to the House Education Committee last week. That same afternoon, Senator Gelser presented to the Senate Education Committee. Within the next week, the two Committees will need to vote the concept into a draft bill to present during the month long session in February.
This bill describes the narrow circumstances under which a school district can claim state school funds for students who have satisfied the requirements of a standard high school diploma after 4 years of high school. These students are referred to as postgraduate scholars.
The draft bill outlines targeted criteria for school districts and for students to meet in order to allow postgraduate scholars to participate in a 5th year college credit and certification program.
We know from our last legislative session, that for some people, the idea of providing any support to postgraduate scholars is not palatable. For others, preserving services for this population is a matter of equity. Students not covered by Oregon Promise will disproportionately be low income students, English Language Learners, students with disabilities, students of color, and students who struggled early in their high school career but were able to get back on track to graduate. We don’t want to lose these students and we must identify a stable funding source to best support them.
This is an initiative that increases high school graduation rates, which makes it something we can’t walk away from. However, this proposal allows time to target the program, create equity and gather the data needed to identify the appropriate long term funding source, which may or may not be State School Funds in 2019.
The 2014-15 graduation rates will be released by the Oregon Department of Education publicly on January 28th. We will provide a media release and update to our community that day.
As part of a statewide initiative to enhance high quality professional development in civic education for teachers, every state legislator named two teachers from their district to be Civic Scholars. I am proud to announce that Cheldelin Middle School teacher Tamara Benning and Crescent Valley High School teacher Jeffrey Shimabuku were named by Representative Dan Rayfield and Senator Sara Gelser, respectively!
With the recognition of Civic Scholar, teachers receive free registration for the December 4th Civics Conference for Teachers at the State Capitol. The conference features workshop presenters from each branch of Oregon government as well as strategies from master teachers. Civic Scholars will receive special recognition at the conference, as well as follow-up classroom assistance. Congratulations, Tamara and Jeffrey!
The Northwest Health Foundation has awarded Garfield Elementary School $3,000 for its Let's Move! Active Schools Grant application. Garfield Teacher Sherry Newton and District Wellness Coordinator Gigi Sims submitted the application. The grant funding will be used to support four physical activity opportunities at Garfield.
1. JumpStart, which is a morning physical activity opportunity for all students. Grant funds will be used to purchase additional jump ropes, music, t-shirts, and banners that are bilingual. Funds may also be used for JumpStart school-wide Zumba at Friday assembly in partnership with Kidsthletics Club gym.
2. Brain Breaks: Classroom Fitness for Children, which is a program that provides teachers with age-appropriate DVDs and training for energizers/physical activity breaks to be used during the school day, in partnership with the Linus Pauling Institute Healthy Youth Program.
3. Playworks training to assess school needs and train staff to improve recess experiences for all students. We may schedule district-wide training in partnership with Portland-based Playworks.
4. Summer Bike Education for Garfield students and families, in partnership with 509J Bike Education Instructors and the Corvallis Bike Collective.
I have been very involved with Senator Gelser's 5th year Program Task Force. This has taken on a life of its own and the influence and attention has peaked keen interest by Oregon School Boards Association, Confederation of Oregon School Administrators, Oregon Department of Education, legislators, higher education, and the Governor's office. At this point, a draft bill is going to be presented during the February legislative session.
The key points include tightening the "sidebars" of who is eligible and ensuring certain expectations that make the programs successful are met. For instance:
● Renaming the program from 5th Year to Post-Graduate Scholar, to move away from the negative image of 5th year.
● All students must apply for Oregon Promise (free community college for all) and fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) .
● If a student is not eligible for Oregon Promise or federal financial assistance (or is not eligible to even apply) then there are other areas of criteria they can meet such as: Poverty, English Language Learner (ELL), Homelessness, Foster Child, Teen parent, and First generation high school completion or college going.
Districts must enter into an agreement with a community college. Supports must be in place - such as counseling and staff - to provide the students with a bridge between high school and community college.
One of the biggest areas of concern was how 5th year is funded through K-12 ADMw money. This bill would take away the weight for poverty and ELL. In the first year, districts would receive 100% ADM; 85% in the second year and 75% in the third year. Over those three years, the programs would be evaluated for effectiveness and success for students. I will continue to update our progress.
CV, CHS and College Hill are all assisting seniors with Oregon Promise applications and we are preparing to provide additional support in January and February for FAFSA applications. An important note of interest, of the fifty College Hill seniors, only 7 were eligible to receive any money from the "free community college for all" Oregon Promise program, primarily due to the 2.5 GPA requirement. Many of our College Hill students may currently have a 3.0 GPA or better, but due to circumstances during Freshman or Sophomore years, their GPA is lower. Hence, the need for 5th year programs.
I am pleased to introduce to you our 2015-16 Student Representatives to the School Board.
Samantha “Sami” McDonald - College Hill
Sami waited a long time to join the College Hill family. Early in her high school experience she began advocating for herself that she needed a more individualized and slower paced education. Moving to College Hill was a transition that Sami not only embraced, but fought to get. Her tenacity has quickly transformed her into a success story. Sami is a lover of all things earthy and organic. She loves to dig her roots deep into Nature. At College Hill, she has not only began her academic recovery towards graduation, but has found a niche as an advocate for the College Hill experience. She has taken on leadership roles in Horticulture, Art Seminar, Phronesis, Field Trips, Creative Writing, and now a School Board student rep. Sami has just returned from a 5 week program with Northwest Youth Corp where she participated in outdoor service learning projects all over the state of Oregon. Her goal is to go to LBCC through the Running Start program and transfer to a four year college to study science and sustainability.
Benjamin “Ben” Fowler - College Hill
When Ben entered the College Hill family, he instantly became a favorite among the staff. He has been doted on with phrases like “wise beyond his years” and “an old soul”. He is a highly introspective young man whose eagerness to learn is only surpassed by his kindness to all. Ben loves to be outside and see the earth grow around him. Like Sami, Ben has also recently returned from 5 weeks with the Northwest Youth Corp. He is an avid reader and seeker of new hiking trails. Next year he plans to attend LBCC through Running Start with the hope of going to a four year college to study science and philosophy.
Vanessa “Nessa” Meade - Crescent Valley
Nessa is the current co-president of the junior class, along with her twin brother Tomas. She is an Honors/AP student and on the X-Country team. Along with these activities, Nessa demonstrates positive citizenship and is a positive role model at school. She demonstrates a deep compassion, and care for her school and broader communities and is always willing to lend a helping hand.
David So - Crescent Valley
David is a junior who plays in the Camerata Orchestra. He also is involved with National Honor Society and the Robotics team. He takes Honors and Advanced Placement courses and is a 4.0 student. David is a humble representative of the CV student body.
Avery Allen & Emma Nylin - Corvallis High
Emma and Avery are CHS’s ASB class presidents, and have spent the last year engaging with students, increasing involvement of our minority populations, and revising our school's constitution to best serve all students. Emma was a transfer student from Central High School in April of her freshman year but she was in our district for elementary and middle school. Avery moved to the Corvallis School district in third grade and went through Linus Pauling. You will recall that she served as last year’s CHS Student Representative. We are happy to have her back!
We are excited to engage our student reps in more of the board’s discussions this year. We will be seeking their assistance in gathering input from their fellow students on specific topics throughout the year, which will be reported on by the student reps at various board meetings.
Corvallis High School teacher Britten Clark-Huyck received the Oregon Science Teachers Association’s Outstanding Classroom Teacher Award for Region 2. Awardees are selected based on their ability to motivate student achievement and excitement in science, community and administrative support, ability to support and mentor new and pre-service teachers, and overall contributions to the profession. Congratulations, Britten!
On Wednesday, November 11th, we will uphold and honor Veteran's Day. World War I, referred also as “The Great War” ended officially when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, outside the town of Versailles, France. However, the actual fighting had ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect. This cessation of fighting occurred during the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, has been regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations….”
● We currently have two sessions (am and pm) with a maximum of 20 students in each session.
● Students from Adams and Lincoln boundaries are prioritized for participation.
● A health navigator/family advocate is assigned to the program to assist families.
● We are partnering with Early Intervention to provide services at Adams to eligible students.
I have had the pleasure of visiting a couple of times and love engaging in very interesting and fun activities while talking with our youngest students. On the first day of pre-school, an Adams kindergartner was seen in hallway sizing up the new 3 and 4 year olds. He then look up and down at himself, quite satisfied that he was much bigger than he thought!
Next Monday, October 12, the City Club of Corvallis will engage in a discussion around how Corvallis would respond to a major earthquake. Jennifer Schroeder will represent the Corvallis School district on a panel and will join individuals from various governmental entities providing updates on the status of their preparedness efforts. Other panelists will include an Oregon State engineer who established the Cascadia Lifelines Program to promote earthquake resilience, and two OSU geologists whose work shows the likelihood of a major quake, such as the one that devastated Japan in 2011.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not express our deepest sympathies for the Roseburg community with the recent tragedy at Umpqua Community College. Our thoughts are with the students, staff, and families who have been impacted. Our school counseling staff has been available for our Corvallis students, and parents were provided information as a resource for talking with their children in response to this senseless act of violence. As part of our regular safety activities, the Corvallis School District has established standard response protocols for all emergencies, and it will be a topic of discussion at our November 9 board meeting. Our schools conduct safety drills on a regular basis and all staff are trained to respond according to the protocols.
My challenge to our educators this year is to focus on providing each and every student with equitable access to an exceptional learning experience. I also shared that we are not following our calling if we fail to identify and remove the barriers that may be getting in the way of even one student from accessing the opportunities that we provide. This is no easy challenge, but our staff is ready to take it on with great commitment.
One of the most powerful learning experiences for our staff was the Professional Development Fair. Staff selected from a multitude of relevant and meaningful learning sessions, taught by their peers, community members, and specialists. I had the opportunity to drop in on many of the sessions ranging from instructional strategies for student engagement, writing across various curricula, positive behavior strategies, technology in the classroom, and integrating art with mathematics. The day was exciting and well received by our staff members.
After all of our summer preparation and welcoming staff back, it is rewarding to have students back in school! The hallways and classrooms were buzzing with excitement. As I entered classrooms, it was evident that students were engaged and teachers ready to take on the challenge of a new year with great energy.
Overall, the start of the school year went very smoothly for our students. The greatest challenge we faced last week was the lack of bus drivers for First Student, our bus transportation provider. This has impacted home to school bus routes for our students and on Thursday some routes had to be combined.
At this point, our first priority is the home to school to home connections. We are problem solving ways to utilize charter buses for athletics and field trips until First Student secures more drivers. The bus driver shortage is a statewide issue right now.
Instructional technology is rolling out as planned. I participated in the 8th grade roll out at Cheldelin Middle School on Thursday morning. Our technology team is amazing! Franklin (grades 6-8) and Linus Pauling Middle School will distribute student devices within the next two weeks. The elementary school classrooms have been provided their carts and have access to technology for use in their classrooms. Each school and grade level team will be conducting parent information nights. Just a reminder that for now, elementary iPads do not go home. However, as the school year progresses, some teachers may choose to send home the device depending on a specific project. Our technology staff will work closely with teachers to best communicate with parents when and if this happens. Also, if we are providing iPads at a specific grade level, blends are included so we do not exclude any student in a class. (For instance, Hoover has iPads at the 5th grade level, which includes one class that is a 4/5 blend.)
Our high school pilot classrooms have selected an HP touchscreen laptop to integrate into their classrooms. Once our teachers have started to utilize the tool in their classroom, we will ask them to report to the School Board and demonstrate how the device has been integrated with instruction.
It’s no surprise that I am so very proud of our staff and how hard they worked in preparation for our students. The dedication, work ethic, and passion never ceases to amaze me! We are very fortunate to have such a caring and intelligent workforce!
Back To School Start Up:
As quiet as summer may seem, we are very busy in preparations to ensure a successful and smooth start for staff and most importantly, for students.
Last week our Leadership Team spent quality time together bonding, energizing and learning in preparation for the 2015-16 school year. We challenged ourselves mentally and physically through facilitated team building activities at Camp Dakota, learning about our strengths and areas for growth as leaders. Another day was spent in deep study of Visible Learning for Teachers, as Dr. Rob Hess from Lebanon, led our group in great discussions. We will put our learning into action this fall as our teachers return and we support and coach within the classrooms.
New administrators met together for the first time this summer and are reading The First 90 Days as they prepare transition plans for their new assignments. We will meet monthly with this group throughout the school year. Additionally, our new teachers will attend a New Teacher Academy next week as they are welcomed to the Corvallis School District and we set them up for success and mentor support.
All staff will return to schools on September 1st ready to engage in meaningful activities at the buildings. On September 2nd, I will have the opportunity to welcome back all classified and certified staff prior to an all day professional development event at Corvallis High School. Board members are invited to drop by any of the sessions that will be primarily taught by our staff experts. The professional development cohort model is a direct result of the work we have accomplished through the $1.2 million dollar Collaboration Grant we received from the state of Oregon and the Chalkboard Project.
Our Technology Department staff has been busy this summer. Led by Technology Manager Rob Singleton. Rob has met several times this summer with middle school principals to plan this year’s iPad rollout and parent communications. Our team completed the upgrade and updates of numerous building student labs with new computers. We also received a major upgrade of hardware and software for the school district phone system.
1:World Phase IV
We’ve add the the following to the student device inventory:
● 750 iPad Airs for grades 3-5 (Garfield and Lincoln full 1:1 buildings, individual classrooms in other buildings), additional iPads for the High School AVID program and Special Education
● 480 iPad Mini’s for grades K-2 (Garfield and Lincoln full 1:1 buildings)
● 38 Anthro carts to secure and charge new ipads in various schools
● 160 HP 360 laptops for the High School Pilot Program
Other completed tasks include:
● All ipads are inventory tagged and enrolled in our mobile device management software program (MDM) and are ready for student check-out.
● A new Student Account system was initiated to streamline downloading apps and backing up student work. Generic iTunes accounts have been created for the K-2 classroom iPads. Individual student iTunes accounts have been created for tablet devices used in Grades 3-12.
● High School Pilot laptops are on order. Tech staff will format the devices and have ready for deployment mid-to-end of September.
● Wi Fi installation in school buildings:
Lincoln 100% completed
Garfield 100% completed
Wilson 100% completed
Harding Center 100% completed
Adams to be completed over Winter Break
Jefferson to be completed Summer 2016
Hoover to be completed Summer 2016
Head Start Coming to Corvallis School District:
The Oregon State University Child Development Center Oregon Head Start Pre-kindergarten Program and Adams Elementary School are partnering this fall to develop an integrated Pre-K model that aligns pre-kindergarten and kindergarten education approaches.
This preschool opportunity builds on Positive Behavior & Instructional Supports, promotes positive transition from Pre-K to Kindergarten, draws on professional expertise to build Pre-K and Kindergarten teacher collaboration, and enhances the experience of student teachers studying in the Child Development program at OSU.
● Adams Elementary has been selected as the pilot site for this year with OSU Head Start.
● There will be two sessions (am and pm) with a maximum of 20 students in each session.
● Students from Adams and Lincoln boundaries will be targeted for participation.
● A health navigator/family advocate will be assigned to the program to assist families.
● We are partnering with Early Intervention to provide services at Adams to eligible students.
May 4, 2015
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December 15, 2014
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The Corvallis School District does not discriminate on the basis of age, citizenship, color, disability, gender expression, gender identity, national origin, parental or marital status, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation in its programs and activities, and provides equal access to designated youth groups. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding discrimination: Jennifer Duvall, Human Resources Director, email@example.com
541-757-5840 | 1555 SW 35th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333