Superintendent’s Update

Shared with the Corvallis School Board during the September 10, 2020 meeting

New Staff Introduction

I am pleased to welcome new leadership staff to our team. Peter Henning was hired as principal at Adams Elementary. Peter began his career in public education as a Teach for America high school special education teacher. He has taught reading intervention and social studies and served as an Intervention & Prevention Coordinator for five years. He has eight years of experience in school leadership as an assistant principal and principal at the middle and elementary school levels.

Responding to Oregon Wildfires

We are heavy-hearted with the news of our neighboring school districts and the impacts of the severe winds and fire on their communities. We will do all that we can to provide assistance.

We are currently working with the Benton County Emergency Operations Center to provide evacuation shelter sites. Our liaison to the EOC is Karen Selander, district risk manager. We are planning to have Linus Pauling serve as a shelter when additional capacity is needed We will have a staff on site 24/7 and our Food and Nutrition Services Department will be contracted to provide meals at Linus Pauling and the Benton County Fairgrounds shelter location.

Start of School Year

Yesterday was our first day of the 2020-21 school year. The first several days will be focused on student and teacher connection and making certain students have access to technology and learning materials. Staff are reaching out to individual students and families to ensure they are equipped and prepared for the start of instruction next week.

As I announced in late July, we started the school year in a fully remote Hybrid model. A significant amount of planning and scheduling activities have been underway since July and we appreciate our staff that have been working on this difficult and complex task.

All elementary schools were planning supply pick up days this week but they have been postponed due to the hazardous air quality. Supplies will be distributed starting tomorrow. All elementary students will participate in a whole class meeting on Friday at 1 pm.

At the secondary level, five staff have been training and preparing our teaching staff for the use of Canvas, our new learning management platform. Thank you to Jared Callis, Amy Knoke, Jenna Boss, KC Perley, and Chris Gregory for this important work. Middle and high school students will be taking four classes this semester and four classes next semester.

At CHS, the freshman orientation was held virtually yesterday and it included 292 students. Student leaders assisted 9th Graders to get them comfortable logging in and participating.  They worked to establish norms for creating safe spaces in virtual meetings, during small group breakouts.  This is an example of how we can continue to build community in a virtual environment and we appreciate the leadership of our students.

Corvallis Online is our new fully online school choice. Administrators are Byron Bethards for elementary and Mark Henderson for secondary. Today, while visiting Linus Pauling I observed our STA bus drivers collecting materials to be dropped off for Corvallis Online students so they are ready to log in to their classes next Monday.  Corvallis Online teachers are meeting one on one (virtually) with their students this week.

I want to extend thanks to several of our departments. Thank you for the countless hours of work by food servers, technology staff, facilities crews, and administrative support staff who have worked throughout the summer to prepare our district for this new normal. This is such an unusual start to the school year. The first day of school started across our community rather than in our school buildings and we are working extra hard to connect with students and families. We are focused on equity and inclusion as we do this work. 

Bond Program

It is exciting to drive through south Corvallis and along Garfield Avenue to see the bond projects well underway. At Lincoln, the health center has been relocated and a large crane is at center stage on the worksite. At Garfield, the main entrance of the building has been removed and ready for major improvements. We appreciate the flexibility of Garfield staff as they have been required to retrieve their materials and work at different locations this fall. I am extremely pleased to see this work moving forward. You will receive a full bond report at the board meeting on September 24.

Free Meal Program Extended

Earlier this week, the Corvallis School District received word that funding will continue for the free meal program, similar to what was offered last spring. Starting this week, meals will be served via drive-up grab-and-go.

The Free Meal Program will start September 9 and will continue through December 31. Drive-up grab-and-go meals will be available to children 18 years and under from 11:45 am – 1 pm Monday through Friday. Locations are Adams, Jaguar, Lincoln, Mountain View, Wildcat, Cheldelin, Linus Pauling, Clemens Primary in Philomath, Corvallis High (4-6 pm only).

One breakfast and one lunch will be provided per child per day. Families are encouraged to pre-order lunch using a form that is available on the district website.