Superintendent's Memo February 6, 2017

News Highlights

Newberg Schools Are Mostly Compliant with State Standards

In The News: Newberg Graduation Rates Rise in 2016

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.

Schoolzilla

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.

Nutrition Services Showcased This Week

This week Newberg was the site for a conference on childhood hunger. Many of our nutrition services staff attended the conference as part of their professional development. As a part of the conference, staff from the Oregon Department of Education and “School Meals Rock” were in our area. Cheri Meeker and her staff invited ODE and School Meals Rock to tour Chehalem Valley Middle School to see the great nutritional programs we offer our students. They were incredibly complimentary of the work Cheri and her staff were doing to offer students great nutritional choices.

School Visits This Week

Tuesday, February 7: Mabel Rush

Wednesday, February 7: Edwards Elementary

Calendar This Week

Monday, February 6: Senior Staff

Tuesday, February 7: Chehalem Valley Future Focus; Board Meeting

Wednesday, February 8: Meeting with Senator Boquist

Thursday, February 9: Metro Ski League Meeting

Friday, February 10: Budget Prep

Friday Reflection

This seems like such a whirlwind week! We experienced a Groundhog day that predicted six more weeks of winter, followed by another day of ice and school closures all around us. Thank goodness we are right at semester break so our students didn’t miss another valuable day of instruction. I received a few comments of gratitude that we provide flexibility to our teaching staff to work on grading and end of semester work remotely. This allowed many on our staff to work from home rather than endure the road conditions this morning. This weekend there will be many of us scheduling time on Sunday for one of the biggest television days of the year. Some of us are watching for the game and others the commercials. Unfortunately neither of the teams is from this side of the country, so I think I am more in the “watching for commercials” camp this year.

This week teachers, counselors and administrators were also still working on master schedule models for next year. This is the first time all four secondary schools attempted to look at potential master schedules together. I am incredibly impressed with the thinking around criteria for decision making, alignment to support student flexibility and using planning and collaboration time effectively. The group did a thorough analysis of 8 plus scheduling models. The original group has also reached out to a wider group of stakeholders to get feedback, questions etc. Overall, it has been an impressive collaboration. I just want to express my appreciation for the time, thought and energy that has been put into making a good schedule decision. I know the process is not quite done, but I am appreciative for the work of everyone in this process.

Enjoy your weekend, Kym

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