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November 2018
I hope that you and yours enjoyed a restful and relaxing Thanksgiving Holiday. We have so much to be thankful for as a District and as a community- you will see gratitude as a common theme in the update from each of schools as well as in the overview from the November board meeting which appears at the end of this e-newsletter.

During this Thanksgiving season, the JCHS staff is thankful for the opportunity to work with our kids and families, as well as a supportive school Board and District leadership team. With many exciting changes at the high school and the new addition opening in January, we have lots to be thankful for.

On that note, the collaboration space in the remodeled West Wing is now open, and the Youth
Transition Program students will be working with their advisor, Vassa Motes, to open up the new JCHS Coffee shop and Student Store. Students and staff are making full use of the new computer labs in the old media center as well. Staff had an opportunity to tour the new building a few weeks ago and it is absolutely beautiful. We will be having some Open House opportunities for parents and community members once the new addition is completed.

The administrative team met with a consultant group this month to begin preparation for our Accreditation Visit coming up in April. We are looking forward to showing the evaluation group the positive work being done to support JCHS students.

Our journalism students traveled to Chicago earlier this month with Ms. Bandow and Ms. Henderson. Over 6000 student journalists were in attendance! We put our kids in competitions against the best high school journalists in the country and our students came away with feedback and some really helpful critiques. Congratulations to Kamryn Potter who came home with an Honorable Mention Award in Portrait Photography. The group made the most of their time in Chicago and enjoyed visiting multiple museums, including the Chicago Art Institute, and also visited the Zoo.  Our students behaved wonderfully and represented the district very well.

The JCHS Drama team put on the play "Alice vs. Wonderland" earlier this month; it has been great to get that program back up and running, thanks in large part to drama teacher, Liz Henderson. Our music instructor, Tabitha Shepherd is significantly increasing the numbers in her choir and band programs, and these students held an excellent concert this past week.

Close to 15 students were honored, with their parents present, at this trimester's Breakfast of Champions. This is a wonderful tradition where staff can recognize students for being amazing contributors at our high school in a variety of ways that may not typically bring the recognition students deserve.

Last week, we held a school-wide "JCHS Gives Back" assembly where we reviewed volunteer/community service requirements for graduation, and had several community groups present to talk about options students have to serve.  The assembly featured guests from the
Moose Lodge, Lion's Club, First Baptist Church, Habitat for Humanity, Ophelia's Place, the Soroptimists, Junction City Youth Athletics, and the Scandinavian Festival. Toward the end, students had the opportunity to visit with the groups and sign up for  service.

Our JCHS Volleyball team qualified for the State quarterfinals, and over 60 students traveled on the rooter bus to see the team finish in the Elite 8 for the first time in years. Winter sports are now underway.

In December, we are planning on working with Ophelia's Place and SASS (Sexual Assault Support Services) to provide some very important information to our students on topics such as healthy relationships and consent, and to meet Erin's Law requirements. Our 9th and 10th graders will be working with Ophelia's Place, and our older students with SASS. Parents will be receiving information on what we will be covering, and we encourage them to call us with any and all questions they may have.

This month, we will review lockdown procedures with staff, as well as evacuation protocols. We held a lockdown drill last week, and worked with Sgt Hughes from JCPD, and our District Safety Officer, Ken Jackson to gain insight and feedback. We are looking forward to having a much more secured campus when our new building is completed. We will be working on changing the culture at JCHS when it comes to students coming and going only through the main entrance, and securing our perimeter doors. Thanks cannot be expressed enough for our community's support of the Bond and the construction of a high school that will be something we can all be proud of.

We would like to send a huge shout out to the volunteers who made this year’s Harvest Festival happen! Thank you for dedicating your time and talents. Students loved the addition of Pumpkin Hockey and the yummy treats. Also a huge success was the Taste for Territorial Dinner, Art Sale, and Auction held on November 16th. This TPA sponsored event brought in nearly $4,500 while providing an opportunity for students and families to spend time together enjoying food and fellowship. Guests also appreciated the displayed art work and bidding on a variety of donated items including a custom quilt, tickets to the Nutcracker Ballet, and a spa package, to name a few. Many thanks to the volunteers who worked to put on this fabulous community FUNdraiser as well as those business partners who supported these efforts with donations of goods and services! As a result of the tireless efforts of our Territorial Parent Association, we are well on our way to generating the substantial funding needed to support our upcoming Outdoor School Activities.

It has been a humbling privilege to observe the selfless service that TPA members put into providing enriching experiences for Territorial students. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such dedicated parents, and to be a part of this “Small School with a Big Heart”!

Territorial’s Annual Food Drive is currently underway. We are collecting non-perishable food items to be used for holiday baskets that will be distributed to local families through the Goldson
Grange and Food for Lane County this season. Students who donate a non-perishable item will get to participate in various incentives; a few Fridays ago, participating students got to wear their pajamas to school!

5th grade had the opportunity to go on a field trip to Salem on Friday, November 9th. Students toured the State Capitol Building: including a tour of the House of Representatives and the Governor’s office. Students also got to visit Willamette Heritage Center and tour the colonial homes and Native American artifacts. Students were able to engage in hands-on activities with compasses, staking claims, and presentations on famous explorers.

Territorial’s Site Council has been working hard on our School Improvement Plan (SIP). We appreciate the valuable feedback that TPA members and others were able to give. This year we will be focusing on Attendance, Behavior, and Foundational Reading Skills. It will take a strong parent, staff, and student partnership to complete these goals. We look forward to collaborating and working with parents as we strive to help children be successful both academically and socially.

On that note, we also recognize that creating a safe learning environment is a critical part of helping each child achieve academic and social success. This year we have a new system that you can use to report school safety threats, the SafeOregon Tip Line. This is a reporting tool allows Parents and community members to submit anonymous tips on major threats that have the potential to affect safety at school. Such threats may be about threats to harm self or others, drug abuse, weapons, and bullying that has imminent or major safety threat to students. SafeOregon is run by an outside agency that will monitor the tips and forward them to the appropriate agency or person who can handle the situation. Individuals can access the SafeOregon system through a link on our school website or they may go directly to the safeoregon.com web site. Tips can be submitted through the web form on the SafeOregon web site, or by text, email, live call and mobile app. I encourage you to learn more about the Tip Line by visiting the SafeOregon website at www.safeoregon.com. Please note that this is not a replacement for you communicating to the school directly about the day-to-day student safety needs that we have always dealt with as part of an elementary school.
As the first trimester comes to a close, Territorial teachers are preparing for completion of report cards as well as scheduling parent-teacher conferences which will take place on the evening of December 3rd and throughout the day on December 4th. This is a great opportunity to make the connections necessary to support student success. We are hoping for 100% turnout this year! If you haven’t turned in your parent teacher conference request form, please do so as soon as possible. In the spirit of the season, Annette would like to express her thankfulness- she is thankful to be part of a school, district, and community that cares about and works to support students and families.

Laurel students raised almost $950 during their November Turkey Drive. Because of our community’s generous contributions, we were able to extend the gift of giving and share 30 Thanksgiving meals with Laurel families. What a great way to teach our students about giving, compassion and gratitude; these are skills we focus on and teach to our students through the Laurel Vision. This event- along with the recent cookie dough fundraiser that brought in close to
$11,000 in proceeds- are great examples of the wonderful community we work in. To celebrate this success, we had so much fun during our silly string assembly where students who sold 10+ tubs of cookie dough got to silly string Principal Rizkallah. Thanks to all who came to have fun with us.

At Laurel, we make a concerted effort to keep the Laurel vision alive and lived to the fullest extent. November/December focus of our vision has been on “each student is actively engaged.” We teach students that each of them is very important, and every student deserves an equitable learning opportunity. It is especially important to our staff to see each student achieving to his/her full potential, no matter who they are or where they come from.

On December 3rd, Laurel teachers are going to spend the day working on record keeping. Teachers use student progress, standard-based report cards, and proficiency scores to report to
families on the progress of their children. This is one way we establish and maintain that home- to-school connection and strengthen our partnership with families to produce better student outcomes.

Laurel teachers will spend the morning of December 4th participating in a training to further their craft in teaching the standards to mastery. They will also collaborate to develop plans for individual students who need extra intervention and support in the general education classroom. In the afternoon, we will engage in a series of flash trainings focused on those topics Laurel teachers have identified as areas they would like to receive professional development on. We capitalize on the collective wisdom and genius that lies within the Laurel staff to administer such sessions. During that afternoon, teachers will rotate through the selected offerings that are most relevant to them, and delivered by their own colleagues. We are happy to use this structure that offers our teachers choice and builds a sustainable option for professional development.

Finally, we are getting even more excited for the changes that are happening in our nature center. On December 4th, Sperry Tree Care will be donating labor and materials to do some work in the nature center with the estimated value of that work being $1400. It is so amazing to see our larger community being so giving and generous to our school; this effort will surely add to the awesome potential this space has to offer.

November is a time for thanks. The hard work and dedication of Oaklea staff to support students and families has never been more evident. Even with so many activities taking place and the first trimester coming to a close, the staff and students worked to raise nearly $1,000 for Oaklea’s Thanksgiving Turkey drive.

That money- along with numerous food donations- enabled our Parent group to put together 24 full Thanksgiving meals. The families receiving these meals were so thankful and it is a reminder that a small amount, collectively, can really do a tremendous amount of good for people in need.
We want to give thanks to the many volunteers who helped with the shopping and coordinating of the food.

Earlier in November, Oaklea also took time to decorate our TEAM doors for Veterans. Among the guest judges we had our own Officer Jackson who at one time was a member of the U.S. Navy. Every door was fantastic, and the judges had a hard time settling on a winner. Thank you to the service men and women within our community.

Oaklea started the month with the 7th and 8th graders’ first dance of the year with DJ KJ (Officer Jackson) spinning the wheels of steel. We also concluded our spirit week with crazy hat/hair day and fun socks day. Our parent group put on a fantastic book fair that sold over 400 books! In addition, the parent group put together a great Family Fun Night earlier this month to celebrate reading. OBOB will benefit from this all the great reading going on!

During the early release our PLC groups were able to work through and discuss curriculum standards. Our plan is to discuss the standards and how we can be sure each is being covered, where our gaps are, and what will need more support over the course of student’s time at Oaklea. Our Team Leads will have two more days of training this week and our PLCs will have additional time to work with the standards on December 4th. Specifically targeting math, our 6th grade math team has built in an additional 50 % of math for our current 6th graders. By December 3rd, all of our math teachers will have had two professional development trainings (the later specifically targeting priority standards) focused on our math curriculum. The time given to our PLCs is already paying off and proving very valuable. During the early release day our IA team was treated with training from Ophelia’s Place. It was also Instructional Assistance day so we pampered them a bit throughout the day. We are so grateful for their supports each day.

Mrs. King’s 5th and 6th graders put together an amazing Thanksgiving ABC’s book with each page describing what they are thankful for. Mrs. Haney’s students had a Maze Day where students worked on social skills, interaction, and communication to put a puzzle of tickets together. PE just finished their volleyball unit that culminated with great sportsmanship while competing in their competition between classes. Mr. Harrington’s students are working with an interior design
program called Room Sketcher. Two students had researched the CAD program and then presented to computer classes how to use the program. 8th graders have been comparing numbers in scientific notation posters from word problems. Their posters- making sense of the problem, solved two ways, with reflection- were on display for a gallery walk. Science and Language Arts in the 8th grade are joining forces in December to research and make a claim in a mock trial. OBOB and Robotics continue to practice, with their competitions still to come. Later this week Oaklea band and choir students, under the guidance of Ms. Liechty, will have their first performance of the year; come enjoy their talents at 7:00 this Thursday.

Oaklea Football finished a great season, making it to the semi-finals of the playoffs. A thank you to the Moore’s and the coaching staff for another great season. Oaklea girls Basketball is about half way through their season and will end at the December break. The girls have been successful and competitive in their games and have been representing the school well. Wrestling has now started practicing with their first match scheduled for Wednesday, November 28th at Sweet Home Middle School.

First trimester comes to a close this upcoming Friday with a record keeping day on Monday December 3rd. We have more professional development scheduled on Tuesday, December 4th that will continue our PLC work. Again, we have much to be thankful for at Oaklea Middle School. Students, staff, parents, community members; everyone plays a role in our students’ development. We thank you sincerely. We hope everyone was able to spend some quality time with family and also reflect on how fortunate we are.

The Board convened on Monday, November 26th, and the meeting began with an expression of gratitude and thank you card from our JCHS student-journalists to the school board. The students were expressing their appreciation for the Board’s support of their recent trip to Chicago for the National Student Journalism Convention (more details can be found above in the section pertaining to happenings at JCHS).

Next, under special recognition, the Board heard from new JC Community member Susan Inman who is proving to be an extraordinary volunteer asset to the district and our community. Susan and her husband Mark presented to the board an update about improvements to the Laurel Nature Center; these improvement efforts have been a shining example of staff leadership and community involvement. Two Laurel teachers, Britni Cacun and Melissa Tofell, have been leading the charge to make the nature center a beautiful place for our students and staff. They have been working closely with retired school administrator and Soroptimist Volunteer extraordinaire Susan Inman, to coordinate donations, work parties, and high school students working to fulfill their community service requirements. It has been wonderful to witness the ongoing transformation and we all look forward to seeing the vision become a reality.

In other special recognition, the Board acknowledged National School Psychologist Week, which occurred earlier this month. We (our administrative team and entire district staff) took the opportunity to express how grateful we are to the board to agreeing that it made sense for the district to hire our own school psychologist a number of years ago rather than continuing to contract with the ESD for those services. In the years that she has been with the District, Dr Sue has proven to be an invaluable member of our staff. Dr. Sue takes a leadership role with our district counselors, works closely with our administrators, District Safety Officer, District Nurse and others, and she provides tremendous support to our families, teachers, and of course students.

The board also had the opportunity to hear from JCHS Student Representative to the Board, Emma Motes. Emma let everyone know that our Robotics Team will be hosting at League Meet at Oaklea Middle School on January 26th and many volunteers will be needed. Those interested in volunteering should contact coach Stacey Johnson at Oaklea Middle School. Emma also talked about the recent assembly featuring organizations from the community who identified ways that JCHS students could work with them to meet their community service requirements. Finally, she shared that a Pep Assembly is right around the corner, and Winter Week and the crowning of “Mr. Frost” will be happening soon as well.
Next, the board heard a “Bond Work Update” from our project management team from DeChase Miksis and the group discussed the possibility of scheduling a special tour of the new addition to the high school- as well as the remodeled areas in the high school- prior to the next board meeting.

Director of Instruction, Technology, and Professional Development Erika Vaughn and District Special Programs Director Katie Bradford addressed the board concerning a broad array of improvement initiatives underway in our District. Key points from that presentation include the following:

TAG- Thanks to the efforts of District TAG specialist Rebecca Smith, we received over $75K in Chintimini-grants this year- which will fund these programs for eligible students:

OBOB- Stacy Johnson, Jessica Bevans, Wendy Thelander
Rubik’s Cube- Beau Dussell, Ralph Davis
Lego League- Brandon Bower, Aime Barnes, Sara Probert, Amber Coleman
Speed Stacking- Beau Dussell, Ralph Davis, Pam Nelson
Beyond Math Oaklea- Shelly Allen

Efforts to address and reduce Chronic Absenteeism (CA) are underway in our schools.

Improving attendance is a goal for the state, part of their plan is having a school coach to support this effort in every district.
We are working with Ross Davis who serves as a CA coach, provided trainings, webinars and assistance in developing our intervention plans.
On Nov. 7th, Ross attended our administrators’ meeting and helped us develop a plan to improve attendance in every Junction City School in grades k-12.
Erika recently attended a Chronic Absenteeism network meeting that focused on using data for 9th grade success. Students with poor attendance as they enter high school find it difficult to earn enough credits to be “on track” to graduate in 4 years. Improving attendance leads to improved graduation rates.

Erika also talked about the work our staff is undertaking during our Early Release times, specifically with respect to their Professional Learning Community (PLC) work. She reported that:

Teams continue to work on Question 1: What do we expect students to learn? In this work they have done a standards review for their subject area and/or grade level, worked on curriculum mapping to guide what to teach and when, and are starting to dig deeper into priority standards.
Team leads and building and district administrators will attend another 2-day session with Janel Keating this Thursday and Friday which will be continued training for PLC work.
This is a textbook adoption year for Social Studies; social studies teachers from our district will attend a Social Studies Materials Caravan on December 18th. PLC work fits into this; as our teachers become even more familiar with their standards, they can more accurately assess how various instructional materials will match what they want and need out of the social studies curriculum. As part of PLC, Student Support Teams are meeting to revise forms and process, as well as beginning to meet on students at the MS and HS. SST are data teams that address student needs in the areas of academics, behavior, attendance, and health.

Katie provided an update about on-going training and support for staff at Laurel. After providing an all-day training for Laurel IAs and several teachers on October 12th, Rachel Gibbons, our Behavior Specialist from the ESD has continued to provide training for IA-IIs at Laurel about how to support behavior. Specifically, the group has been focusing on identifying “triggers” for student behavior and taking data so that the team can develop high-quality behavior plans that are specific to individual student’s behaviors and needs.

In Action Items, the Board approved the minutes of the October 22nd Board Meeting. They also approved Resolution 2018-19 #15, Supplemental Budget. This Resolution allows the District to bond more than 50% ($13M) of our unfunded actuarial liability (UAL) for future PERS obligations. This will have the effect of immediately and significantly lowering our district’s PERS rates; the “savings” between what we would have paid for PERS debt without the bond and the lowered PERS rate by bonding that portion of our UAL will be used to pay back the bond. It must be noted that this bond does not create any additional financial obligation for local tax payers; the PERS bond- and/or our district’s PERS obligation costs with or without the PERS bond- are paid from our district’s State School Fund (SSF) revenue, not property taxes, a levy, or a general obligation bond. It is anticipated that within several years, this action will result in more of our district’s SSF going back into the classroom rather than going to higher PERS rates.

In terms of other discussion items, the board heard a financial update from District Business Manager Alison Covey. The board also received the monthly student enrollment update. While our November
enrollment dipped slightly from October, it is still significantly higher than our enrollment for November of 2017.

Finally, a discussion item was added by addendum to allow a subcommittee (Members Gibson and Pratt, as well as the superintendent) about a recent meeting the group had regarding possible sale of District surplus land. A few weeks ago, this subgroup met with land use planning specialists Teresa Bishow and Attorney Bill Kloos. We asked these consultants to advise the board with respect to the possibility of declaring some of the Laurel Ballfield parking area as surplus, having it rezoned for medium density residential development, and then putting that property up for sale. Teresa recently provided the District with an overview and timeline for the process the District could use to move this issue forward; this information was distributed to the board. After considering this information, the board reached consensus to contract with these land use specialists and begin the process as outlined. The board also affirmed the continued involvement of several board members; the process will include multiple steps along the way where we will need to be present for public hearings before the Planning Commission and City Council.

The board’s next meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 28th at 6 PM.  Until then, GO TIGERS!