Shared with the Corvallis School Board during the March 14, 2019 meeting
I want to take a moment to recognize Assistant Superintendent Kevin Bogatin. On Monday, Kevin’s hiring as the next superintendent of the North Bend School District was announced.
Kevin has served as the Assistant Superintendent here in Corvallis for the past nine years. During those nine years, some incredible work has taken place. From the development of a comprehensive dual language program, to our advances in the use of instructional technology, the implementation of our safety protocols, and the passage of our recent bond, Kevin has made a positive difference in the programs and services our students will continue to benefit from for years to come. Thank you Kevin.
Also, this week, Nikki McFarland was named Secondary Schools Coordinator starting July 1. Nikki will bring her experience from serving as Assistant Principal at both Cheldelin and Crescent Valley High Schools to her work as part of the Teaching and Learning Department team. Nikki has spent also spent a portion of her career as a high school science teacher and brings the sense of observation, inquiry and design to the role of school leader. She is a hard worker, committed to the success of our students and as a current district leader will hit the ground running.
Classified Staff Appreciation
Last week we celebrated Classified Staff Appreciation Week. More than 400 of our staff are classified employees who play an important role throughout our district. These workers include campus stewards, custodial and maintenance staff who make sure our schools are clean, safe, warm, and presentable. In our classrooms, hallways, and playgrounds, our educational assistants, family advocates, and specialists provide students with care and attention. Our central kitchen and food services staff help our students to be healthy and ready to learn. Registrars, fiscal clerks, accountants, payroll and benefits staff, assessment technicians, technology support staff help keep the district operating smoothly throughout the year, and last but not least, administrative assistants and office managers are the front line in our relationships with families and the community. Thank you to all classified staff for your contributions to the success of our students.
Throughout the Legislative Session, I believe it is important to stay engaged in the process by advocating for public schools. On Monday, during my visit to the Oregon State Capitol, I saw a Corvallis School District bus while walking towards the capitol steps. Once inside the rotunda, I ran into a group of Lincoln students who were there to learn about the legislative process. They had visited Governor Brown and Senator Gelser and were searching the grounds to learn more about the capitol building. There have been other student visits to the capitol this winter. Our CHS Spartacapella group performed on Presidents Day before the teacher advocacy march and Linus Pauling students visited Senator Gelser as well.
While my advocacy efforts are important, I am sure the visits that our legislators have with our students are even more compelling. My advocacy efforts have focused primarily on the level of funding our schools will receive for the next biennium. During a recent meeting with Representative Rayfield, Olivia Myers Buch and I were able to talk about the co-chairs level of funding and the Governor’s proposed budget and the impact either amount will have on our budget. I have also had the opportunity to advocate for HB 2224, a bill that focuses on funding additional resources and coordination to meet student wellness and social emotional needs.
Governor’s Instructional Time Workgroup Report
I am a part of this workgroup and we are making the following recommendations to the Governor’s office:
- Include in any requirement to increase instructional time, a provision for local community input and resources for targeted school improvement strategies that are relevant and responsive to local context.
- Maintain instructional time requirements in terms of hours, not days.
- Modernize the definition of instructional hours to include more high-quality activities that lead to graduation.
- Make certain sufficient time is provided for districts to renegotiate with labor partners, vendors, and other community partners.
- Ensure that any additional accountability requirements are able to be easily implemented.
Bond Expo Community Information Night
Community members are invited to attend an informational Bond Expo on April 24 at Garfield Elementary from 6:30 – 8pm to learn more about our current designs and activities related to Garfield, Lincoln, Hoover, Crescent Valley, the Harding Center and athletic field improvements.
Fostering Positive School Communities
One of our priority areas is to seek out student voice and listen. The YouthTruth Student Survey is a recent example of that focus. In a February 7, 2019 report to the school board, I shared data from the survey administered in our secondary schools last fall. As noted in that report, we heard from 1,337 middle school students and 1,808 high school students about their experience in school. Relationships, Culture, and Peer Belonging and Collaboration received the highest scores for both middle and high school students. In these areas, our students reported above national norms in their perceptions of school climate and relationships. These positive results align with our administrators’ commitment to fostering safe, welcoming, and inclusive school environments. Our elementary students completed a similar survey earlier this month and we will have those results later this spring. Still, there is work to be done.
Nearly 50 district staff recently attended the annual northwest PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports) conference. All district K-8 schools use PBIS, which is a structured behavior system for schools. PBIS provides a framework for how to recognize positive behaviors, create clear expectations, acknowledge those who meet those expectations, and provides support to those who do not.
At the high school level, interpersonal relationships are part of the curriculum in the Freshman Health class, which is now required for all 9th graders. Other arenas for supporting positive school communities at the high school level includes senior seminar, small group discussions, and the soon to be implemented Sources of Strength peer training.
With these supports in place student still experience bullying. Students are encouraged to report bullying to a staff member who will work to resolve the issue. Anonymous tips may also be made via the SafeOregon tip line by phone or text to 844-472-3367 or online at: https://tips.safeoregon.com/ All tips are investigated and followed up by school administrators or designated school staff.
Every student deserves to feel safe in school. We are committed to continuing to promoting positive school environments throughout our district.