Superintendent’s Update

Shared with the Corvallis School Board during the May 6, 2021 meeting

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week is celebrated during the first full week of May each year. After a year like no other, I want to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of our teaching staff to do what is best for our students. Teachers change the lives of kids every day—and in a year where instruction could be virtual, in-person or a mix of both, their immense work and impact have provided a much-needed sense of community and connection. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers across our district are working hard to support all of our students and we are grateful for all they do.

Graduation Ceremonies

Last week we shared with our high school families that we are beginning to plan on-site graduation ceremonies for Corvallis High, Crescent Valley and College Hill.  As long as Benton County remains in the HIGH-Risk category or lower we will hold in-person graduation ceremonies outdoors at each high school. Due to social distancing requirements for the events, each student will receive two guest tickets and there will be two ceremonies at CHS and CV on June 5. All ceremonies will be live-streamed as well.

Maintaining Safe and Healthy Schools for Remainder of School Year

This is Week One of our return to fully on-site learning across the district. Our staff are excited to have students back in our schools and we are following our safety protocols to keep everyone safe and healthy.  It’s important for families to screen their children for COVID-19 symptoms each school day and should not send their child to school if they have primary symptoms. When we are notified of a positive case of COVID, our health and safety team begins their protocol.

  • The individual with the positive case of COVID is contacted by a district nurse and details about potential exposures are gathered. We work closely with Benton County Health Department staff on the investigation.
  • Staff and parents/guardians of students who were exposed are contacted individually by phone.
  • Depending on the investigation and recommendation of Benton County Health Department Staff, exposed individuals must quarantine for 14 days.
  • Individuals who were exposed are those who were within 6’ of the positive COVID individual for 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period. This is why our school staff are working hard to help students follow the safety protocols at school. Masks and maintaining six fee distance reduces the risk of exposure and the need to quarantine.

The number of individuals required to quarantine is low.  The district website includes a COVID-19 link on the home page which links directly to our COVID dashboard. Staff and families can expect that in every case, we will notify exposed individuals immediately, followed by a notification to the entire school community that there was a positive case in the building.

On May 20, a vaccination clinic at Reser Stadium will be marketed to 16-18-year-olds and will include activities for that age group. In addition, a Samaritan Mobile vaccination clinic will be offered at College Hill in the coming weeks. We are closely monitoring the FDA’s approval of a COVID vaccination for 12-15-year-olds.

Recovery of Learning - Summer School

Our recovery of learning planning will take place in three phases. Phase one will be Summer Programs that will take place from July through the end of August. Phases two and three will be a continuation of academic and other supports for the next two school years. Our students will receive additional instruction, mental health support, and opportunities to gain their confidence after this pandemic year.  While we have offered summer programs before, this year we have additional funding that will help us expand and enhance the support available for students. In addition, we are partnering with Corvallis Parks and Recreation programs in July and August and with the Boys and Girls Club child care program for the entire summer. Academic support this summer will include a 5-week credit recovery program for high school students and academic boost programs for both elementary and middle school students. Families will be receiving more information next week.

Planning for Next Fall

Our district is planning to fully reopen for five days a week of in-person instruction in the fall. We will follow all guidelines from the Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Health Authority, which may include protocols such as wearing a face covering, frequent handwashing and some form of physical distancing.

The first day of class will be September 8.  Calendars have been shared with families and are available on the district website.

Additional federal and state resources have been made available to the district to address the impact that COVID‐19 has had, and continues to have, on our educational community. We will strategically leverage these one-time resources to make investments to strengthen existing operations and identify new and expanded programs and services that will provide the supports our students need as we emerge from the pandemic. Details on these proposed investments will be presented as part of my superintendent’s budget message at the May 20 Budget Committee meeting.

US News and World Report

U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best High Schools rankings were published this month and both Crescent Valley and Corvallis High Schools earned rankings as a Best School. The highest-ranked U.S. public schools in the rankings are those whose students demonstrated outstanding outcomes above expectations in math and reading assessments, earned qualifying scores in an array of college-level exams, and graduated in high proportions. We are proud of the success of our students and the support of our committed staff to help our students achieve their potential in high school and beyond.

CSD Theaters Diversity Advisory Committee

Later tonight, board members will have an opportunity for the first reading of a revision of the educational equity policy. This policy will help us create more inclusive and equitable schools for students, staff, and the community. As is stated in the background document, our District acknowledges the historical, generational, and compounding reality of the systems and structures that have intentionally created opportunities for some groups and perpetuated racial inequities for others.

Listening to and seeking to understand the perspectives of our students, staff, and communities of color illuminates the urgency of this work. After several discussions, emails, and meetings with former theater students, we are taking immediate action to support changes in the CSD Theaters program to ensure that all students feel safe and welcome to participate.  We have established a new advisory committee and the application for new members is open through May 8. The Theater Diversity Advisory Committee (TDAC) will be a committee recruited from district staff, student representatives, community members, and alumni coming from underrepresented backgrounds and/or experience in anti-racist work to advise the theater department’s play selection, casting, and diversity and equity efforts. Assistant Superintendent Melissa Harder and Equity Coordinator  Marcianne Rivero Koetje will be liaisons to the committee.

School Lunch Hero Day

May 7 is School Lunch Hero Day and I’d like to thank our food services team for their hard work and commitment to our students. Between preparing healthy meals for our students, adhering to strict nutrition standards, navigating student food allergies, and offering service with a smile, our food services staff are true heroes and we thank them for the 496,558 meals this team has served since the end of March!

StoryWalk Project at Adams and Wildcat Elementary Schools

Thanks to district librarian Dana Zachary and the library media technicians at Wildcat and Adams Elementary schools, two pilot StoryWalk® installations are on display outdoors at the schools. This is a creative way for our students and families to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the school. Thank you to Library Media Technicians Echo Rue at Adams and Christy Koegler at Wildcat and district staff Elizabeth Wyatt who worked with public library staff to make this happen.

Laminated pages from a children’s book are installed along an outdoor path. As you stroll down the trail, you’re directed to the next page in the story.  The book used for the Wildcat StoryWalk is “I am Every Good Thing” by Derrick Barnes and the book used at Adams is “Dreamers” by Yuyi Morales.  A physical activity is also included with each page of the story adding a suggested movement. Thank you to the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library for their partnership.