Superintendent's Memo December 5, 2016

NHS Vocal Point at Newberg's Christmas Tree Lighting on December 2


Monday – out of office

Tuesday – Chehalem Valley Future Focus meeeting; Newberg City Club meeting, Mabel Rush visit, MVMS & CVMS Concerts 7pm

Wednesday – Senior Staff meeting, Edwards school visit, Newberg High School visit

Thursday – “Keeping students connected”- community meeting, NHS Winter Concert 7pm

FRIDAY- NEA Contract maintenance, Joan Austin school visit, NHS Pioneer Square Caroling Competition 5:30pm

In the News

The robotics program has long been a strength at Newberg High School, but administrators are in the process of creating a wide variety of three-credit CTE pathways by adding new courses over the next few years.

2017-2019 School Calendar

We have started to compile the results of the parent survey and build school calendars for the 2017-18 and 2-18-19 school years. While there are definitely preferences that ran consistently through the survey there are other questions that came up too. We will share the two proposed calendars as well as our survey results that informed the calendars. We will also share some of the patterns of comment input at our December meeting.

Nationwide Opiod Epidemic

There is an opioid epidemic in America that reaches into schools on a daily basis. Many teenagers are not aware of the dangers of prescription drugs and feel they are safe since they are approved the by FDA and marketed by drug companies as beneficial. One thing is clear: teenagers are in need of education on the dangers of prescription drugs. Substance abuse related to mental health disorders is a risk factor that must be taken into account, according to the CDC. School counselors can be overwhelmed as it is due to a lack of mental health professionals for children who need services for a variety of reasons. The National Superintendents Roundtable has put together a very interesting article on some current research on this epidemic and some of their findings.

Governor Kate Brown's Proposed Budget

Governor Brown has released her proposed budget for the 2017-19 biennium. She has continued to communicate concern over a 1,7 billion revenue shortfall, which frankly had many education leaders quite worried about the K-12 budget for this next biennium. It indicates that the Governor considers this one of the most important priorities in her proposed budget. The document indicates $8.6 billion for early Childhood and K-12 education. What this really means for K-12 is 8.015 billion, as there is $141 million dedicated to Measure 98, 11 million to the work of Colt Gill around the issue of graduation, achievement gaps and drop-out. There is $39.7 dedicated to Oregon Promise as well. I will remind you that the 2015-17 biennium was funded at $7.4 billion. However COSA and OSBA has calculated a need for $8.4 billion in order to adequate fund current service level as well as increased PERS costs.

That said, I do feel we are beginning the process at a reasonable place. In the past three biennia, the governor’s proposed budget was approximately $400-$500 million less than the actual budget that was passed by the legislature. If we continue to follow pattern, I have optimism that we could at least get close to an appropriate level of funding to appropriately support K-12 education. Gwen and I have already begun to discuss what this proposed funding level will mean for Newberg. Once we feel confident in our initial projections, we will share them with you.

I also got the opportunity to attend the annual law conference on Thursday with a few of our assistant principals. We got to hear from attorneys on the challenges of social media, as well as state required policies addressing use of social media by students and staff. We also learned about special education legal trends, bullying and harassment and employment issues. The conference always provides great reminders and new information from the legal realm that impacts education. I was glad to see some of our lesser-experienced administrative team there learning.


CVMS students collecting gifts for Newberg's Toy and Joy program

Today my reflection is centered on gratitude. I know Thanksgiving was last week, but this week was such a poignant reminder of the character of our district staff and our community. First, when I reached out to staff and asked for volunteers to help fellow colleagues so that they could honor a student we lost last week, I was incredibly proud of the generosity of our staff. There were over twenty-five responses to my email within an hour or so. In fact, I don’t think we needed more than 2 or 3 people come over to each of the schools impacted. This was due to the willingness of colleagues inside those schools who covered. I also reached out to community leaders this week. I asked faith-based leaders, youth support organization leaders, city leaders, county leaders, school district staff and non-profit leaders in our community to come together prior to winter break. I asked everyone to help us to coordinate meals, social opportunities, community events, services and supports available to young people every day of the winter break. We intend to provide students and families a calendar of all of these things prior to our break. We will also ask these people to help us take a community approach and establish a long-range plan at addressing student loss. Again, within hours every person I reached out to had indicated an interest in coming together to help address the needs of our youth. We have experienced some very tragic losses over the past 6 months, so I am incredibly grateful for our community’s willingness to come together and take a community health approach to addressing the needs of our students.

Have a great week!

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