Get On Board
The OSBA has officially launched the Get on Board campaign. The campaign focuses on encouraging community members to get involved and run for their local School Board. In 2015 they saw the lowest number of candidates run in a decade, and nearly three-quarters of all candidates ran unopposed. They are hoping that in 2017 to motivate and encourage community members to get more involved in their local community and consider running for a School Board position. For more information please visit getonboardoregon.org
Education, the 21st century and the American Dream
On Monday I got to serve as guest lecturer for George Fox University senior students. Director Mock teaches and facilitates this course for GFU and he asked that I address how education supports the American Dream. I got to speak to 2 groups of students and have dinner with Ron and some up and coming education majors in between. Not only did I enjoy the experience, I have received a couple of emails in follow up to Monday. This includes a student who is working to coordinate a project for her and 6 other education majors. They are interested in serving as mentors to middle school aged students through sports and activity. Ron, thank you for supporting this kind of learning for students.
This week we got the opportunity to preview our data dashboard system that has been the ongoing work of Schoolzilla, Luke Neff and Maria Fuhrmann. Schoolzilla has also been working with Gwen to pilot the integration of budget and accounting into the dashboard. It was exciting to see how we will be able to use all the various sources of data we have on students in a very powerful visual way. I was even able to give Todd Thomas and Bob Woodruff a glimpse of our work when we were planning for our next board meeting. I am looking forward to having Luke and Maria share the dashboard with you all very soon.
My Advocacy Work
As most of you know, I have now met with all of our state elected officials at least once. This week I had a very good conversation with Ron Noble. I was able to share some of our concerns over the proposed budgets and what that would do in Newberg. I was also able to talk about the work we have done and the data that shows our gains as we received increased funding for education. We also talked about our work around mental health support for students and families. I offered to give him a tour of schools and classrooms the next time we get to meet and he was very interested in seeing the great things we are doing.
This morning I was able to talk with Congresswoman Bonamicci. She and I scheduled time to talk about the work we are doing around mental health support in light of the number of students we have lost over the past year. We discussed our community group that is coming together over this issue and what she can do to support and advocate for our work in this area. I explained to her that in the old Elementary and Secondary Schools Act, the funding for Title IV was fairly minimal (about $300 million nationwide) and not specifically targeted at mental health support. However in the new ESSA, they updated Title IV to a block grant that specifically allows up to 20% addressing mental health needs through school climate work. Further, the new legislation calls for a significant increase in funding for this work ($1.6 Billion). I asked that she work with the other OR legislators to follow the progress of the budgeting in ESSA and help to ensure that this funding stays intact so that we can do the work needed in our community. She committed to following up on the bill and to advocating for this funding.