Shared with the Corvallis School Board during the June 10, 2021 meeting
Recognizing our Partnership with Families and the Community
As an educational system, the trust of our community is one of our greatest treasures and something that we do not take for granted. As we close out this year of a constantly shifting landscape, I’d like to take a moment to thank our families for their perseverance and commitment and for advocating for the needs of their children. I’d like to thank our dozens of community members that have continued to help us conduct the business of committees related to the bond program, school renaming, and other important work, and finally, to our staff, who showed up day after day to what seemed to be daily changes to work plans and schedules to the requirements of the pandemic. No one has experienced the pandemic in exactly the same way but we all have had ups and downs and weary fatigue is giving way to hopefulness for a new normal.
Recognizing Outstanding Staff
One of the highlights of the last weeks of this school year was being a part of the Golden Apple Presentations, coordinated by the Corvallis Public Schools Foundation. With appreciation to the Foundation for coordinating the surprise presentations at four of our schools this spring, I am pleased to announce this year’s recipients:
- Maria Adams, Kindergarten teacher at Wildcat Elementary. Maria makes Zoom fun and engaging for kindergartners and parents alike. She is tireless in her efforts, and when problems arise she “researches the problems, finds a solution, and helps the families.”
- Isley Gonzalez-Dumble, PE/Health teacher and SAFE Advisor at Cheldelin Middle School. Isley is a trusted mentor to all students, but especially students of color and students that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. She is an inspiration to staff and students alike.
- Matt King, Teacher at Corvallis High School. Not only is Matt an educator who has deep connection with his students in the classroom (or Zoom room), but he is tireless in his advocacy for students who have experienced trauma or struggle. His work centers the needs of vulnerable students and their families.
- Angela So, Educational Assistant at Crescent Valley High School. Angela takes the time to reach out to her students to make sure their needs are being met on an emotional and physical level. She is dedicated to making sure students understand the material not just to pass a test, but to have the knowledge for a lifetime.
Recognizing Our Students
High School graduation is one of the most inspiring activities that we have to celebrate students who have completed the work needed to receive a high school diploma. The stories are as diverse as our student’s graduation cap decor. It is truly one of the best things about being a superintendent, to be a part of that moment when a high school graduate receives their diploma and moves the tassel on their cap. Graduates from College Hill include 35 students who earned their diplomas and nine who completed their GED. Corvallis High had a total of 273 graduates, and Crescent Valley had a total of 210 graduates. We are also proud of the 53 students who earned a Seal of Biliteracy in addition to their high school diploma. Students earned a seal in Italian, Mandarin, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Special recognition goes to Kevin Dai, from Crescent Valley High School. Kevin is a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar and was honored at an outdoor gathering at Crescent Valley last month. He is one of only 161 American high school seniors to receive this award, two from each state. To earn this award, students have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, artistic excellence, technical expertise, leadership, citizenship, service, and contribution to school and Community. At the CV event, Principal Aaron McKee, and Writing Center Jill Sisson spoke about Kevin’s positive impact and leadership in the school community and his volunteer work as a writing mentor. In Ms. Sisson’s words, Kevin is a person of keen intellect, a hard worker, and someone with a great heart. Congratulations to Kevin Dai!
Supporting Our Students Mental Health and Wellness
At the May 26 Sources Showcase, CHS students Benny Storniolo and Ruby Krebs were recognized as Peer Leader Award Winners, College Hill principal Eric Wright was recognized as an Adult Advisor Award Winner, and College Hill and Corvallis High were recognized as Team Initiative Award Winners. The showcase celebrated students, young people, and adults across the state who are working to create belonging and connection in their schools and communities, either through Sources of Strength programming or other youth-led suicide prevention and mental health promotion efforts.
Through their efforts, Benny, Ruby, Eric, and College Hill and CHS staff advisors have demonstrated the power that tapping into strengths can have on individuals and entire communities. Throughout the challenges that this past year presented, these individuals met the moment in unique and powerful ways and we are grateful for the message of hope, help, and strength that Sources of Strength provides in our school communities.
Recognizing Outgoing School Board Member Jay Conroy
This meeting marks the end of Jay Conroy’s service on the Corvallis School Board. We appreciate the experience that Jay has brought to the work of the school board. As a former educator and high school principal, and through his work with new teachers and his longtime community involvement, Jay has provided an important perspective during his four-year term.