JUNCTION CITY SCHOOLS UPDATE: November 2016
I hope you all had a wonderful, restful Thanksgiving weekend! I can’t believe that the end of the first trimester of the 2016-17 school year is already upon us. A reminder to all that there will be no school for students next Monday and Tuesday, December 5th and 6th. Teachers will be working on their grades, participating in professional development activities, and hosting parent-teacher conferences at Territorial Elementary. Students will return to school on Wednesday, December 7th and then Christmas Break is around the corner. Our schools and District Office will be closed from December 19th until staff and students return on Tuesday, January 3rd.
There also are reports of possible inclement weather next week. Please be sure that you are subscribed to receive messages from “Blackboard Connect” (if you are not sure, you can check with Ronda Wheadon by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org ) You can also check our website (http://www.junctioncity.k12.or.us/) for information on snow routes, and to see notices regarding delays and closures when they are in effect.
What follows is the November 2016 issue of the Junction City Schools Update, along with some news from last night’s school board meeting. Happy reading, and stay warm!
TERRITORIAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Territorial’s Annual Food Drive is underway with boxes of donated, non-perishable food items filling the school’s entrance. Food donations will be used for holiday baskets that will be distributed to local families through the Goldson Grange and Food for Lane County this season.
Our Coordinated Approach to Child Health or CATCH team, kicked off program activities at Territorial this month, as teachers and students used program materials to learn about and discuss the importance of healthy eating and exercise. Second grade teacher Annette Sisler introduced the school to the CATCH program during our November 7th Bobcat assembly. In addition to sharing staff CATCH cards, Mrs. Sisler led the whole school in an aerobic dance. That afternoon, each class used whole foods to make a fun, healthy and yummy snack. Classroom teachers implemented CATCH program health lessons at each grade level, while P.E. teacher Rebecca Smith integrated CATCH activities into her P.E. lessons. Additionally, Wendy Erickson created a “Go”, “Slow”, and “Whoa” foods bulletin board which has been a great conversation starter for our students and parents. The CATCH team has plans to continue the conversations started this month as well as plan for additional school-wide activities related to promoting healthy eating and an active lifestyle using the CATCH program materials.
The Taste for Territorial Dinner, Art Sale and Auction held on November 18th, was a huge success. This TPA sponsored event brought in nearly $6,000 and provided an opportunity for students and families to spend time together enjoying food and fellowship. Everyone was wowed by the displayed art work and there was healthy bidding on a variety of donated items including a custom fire pit, garden cart basket, spa package, coast trip, and duck hunting excursion 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! A delicious dinner was provided by the Viking Inn. As a result of the tireless efforts of our Territorial Parent Association and other generous volunteers, we are well on our way to generating the substantial funding needed to support our upcoming Outdoor School Activities.
Territorial teachers are excited about the prospect of adopting updated and aligned Science Curriculum this year. To that end, teaching staff are working to identify and review available curriculum options as well as other resources to support implementation of Next Generation Science Standards in classrooms throughout the school. Earlier this month, Pam Nelson and Cheryl Glasser attended an NGSS Science workshop in Albany, while Elyse Elder spent Veteran’s Day weekend at the National Science conference in Portland. Elyse shared information and materials from the conference with staff on November 16th as part of our Early Release professional development activities. Coming up, we have arranged for Bob Curtis from the Lane ESD to provide additional training around NGSS standards during the January 11th Early Release.
As the first trimester comes to a close, teachers are preparing for completion of report cards as well as scheduling parent teacher conferences which will take place on the evening of December 5th and throughout the day on December 6th. This is a great opportunity to make the connections necessary to support student success. Teachers are hoping for 100% turnout this year!
In the spirit of the season Principal Dina Marschall 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 like no other”.
LAUREL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Laurel students raised $1500 in donations for our annual Turkey Drive. Because of our community’s generous contributions, we were able to extend the gift of giving and share Thanksgiving meals with 35 Laurel families. What a great way to teach our students about giving, compassion, and gratitude, which are skills that we instill in our students through the Laurel Vision. This event- along with the recent cookie dough fundraiser that brought more than $10,000 in proceeds- are great examples of the wonderful community in which we work.
Laurel staff have developed a plan to keep the Laurel Vision present and alive by taking each component of our vision and dividing them out over the months of the school year and generated ideas of how to teach them to kids. For example, the November/December focus is on “each student is actively engaged.” We teach students that every student is important, and every student deserves an equitable learning opportunity.
All of Laurel’s grade level teams have articulated a plan for using the new Chrome books for math and other subject matters. It has been such a rewarding experience to be able to provide our students with the opportunity to integrate technology into the learning experience. Furthermore, we now have a promethean board in every first through fourth grade classroom! Teachers are able to be innovative in their lesson delivery and as a result, students’ learning experience is enriched.
Laurel teachers will be spending their December 6th professional development day participating in a series of flash trainings focused on topics that the teachers have identified as areas they would like to receive professional development on. During that day, teachers are going to rotate through the selected offerings that is most relevant to them and that are delivered by our own staff. We are happy to use this structure to our teachers’ choices and to build a sustainable model for professional development.
Laurel staff would like to extend an invitation to our community to come join our upcoming Family Fun Nights. Each month we have an event that highlights a certain important aspect of our students’ well-being, education, and over-all success. Here is a snap shot of those events:
December- Catch Dance Fever: A night full of healthy snack, movement, and dance
January- Lego Night: A night of creation, creativity, and fun
February- Bingo Night: an ALL-TIME favorite… Play and win lots of cool surprises
March- Dr. Seuss Literacy Night: An event full of cool books and love for reading
April- Math and science night: Calling all scientists and mathematicians of Junction City
May- Carnival: A night of pure fun!!
June- Field Day
OAKLEA MIDDLE SCHOOL
At Oaklea, the staff, student body, and Parent Group worked together to serve our JC community this holiday season. We are happy to report that the staff and students collected just over $1000 for our Thanksgiving Dinner coin drive. Over 20 families received the meal boxes loaded with turkey, pies, sparkling cider, and all the trimmings. A special thanks to Counselor Angie Elstone and the Oaklea Parent Group for organizing this service to our community. We are also excited to share that hundreds of dollars in clothing items were given to local families at the Clothing Outreach Project last week. Clothing and shoes have been collected over the past month, and our cafeteria tables were loaded with goods for families to choose from this past Tuesday night. Middle school is a time for students to learn empathy, cultural & community awareness, and service. These November projects have really helped us highlight all of these traits.
With the recent release of school report cards by the ODE, Oaklea staff celebrated the achievements that have been made by our students, particularly in the area of Academic Growth in math and language arts. Two years ago, we received a Level 2 designation in this important area. In 2015-16, our students had a Level 4 designation in Growth. This is the second highest level in this area, and although the state will not be issuing an overall rating this school year, we are striving to assist our students in continuing to make great improvements in academic achievement.
Oaklea’s Fall Family Fun Night took place on November 10th, with dozens of families coming to the building for games, activities, and the Book Fair. Our Parent Group has done an excellent job organizing these family events, drawing parents, students, and community members closer to our school.
On December 1st, ODE’s Deputy Superintendent, Dr. Salam Noor, will be visiting Oaklea Middle School to take a look at the Journalistic Learning Initiative project our 6th graders are working on. This project partners with the University of Oregon's Journalism department to provide opportunities for students to experience journalism. Students will be conducting distance interviews with professionals throughout the nation using Skype. Dr. Noor has been appointed by the governor to lead our state's department of education and we are honored to have him as our guest. Special thanks to Sherrene Kulm, 6th grade teacher, for organizing this meaningful experience for our kids.
JUNCTION CITY HIGH SCHOOL
Our heartfelt gratitude goes to the Tri-County Chamber of Commerce for recognizing Assistant Principal Steve Jones as the Junction City Educator of the Year. His contributions are nothing short of inspirational, and his recognition is well-deserved.
Our College & Career Center has been extremely busy as students worked to meet the new- and much earlier- FAFSA deadline. Three students gained “instant” admission to the University of Oregon, and the scholarship application season is in full swing.
JCHS Music presented a combined concert with students from all grades the day before the general election in front of a full house in the WW Gym. The patriotic theme was an inspired and welcome break from partisan politics.
JCHS Theater completed a three-day run of the “Little Women” including a special matinee performance featuring a complete cast of understudies. (Hopefully Audrey Sherman will bring a student’s eye view of the performances.)
The Tri-1 Breakfast of Champions will begin at 7:00am sharp tomorrow morning as staff recognizes students nominated for a variety of positive contributions to the school climate and individual efforts in overcoming personal adversity. It’s a great opportunity for students to be recognized before their parents and peers over a continental breakfast. Special thanks to Kristi Stahl for organizing this event, Leslie Lucir for hosting in her culinary arts classroom, and additional support from Alison Hellwege and Tye Rauschert.
Congratulations to our fall sport athletes and coaches. Cross-Country sent both the Girls’ and Boys’ teams to the State Meet after they each took second place at the Sky-Em District Meet. In addition, Girls’ Soccer won the first Sky-Em title in school history before being knocked out of the state playoffs in overtime.
As you know, this week brings the first trimester to a close with final exams this coming Thursday and Friday. This is also the kickoff week for winter athletics, so now it’s on to winter sports with live competition beginning this Wednesday with the girls’ and boys’ basketball jamborees. A full slate of swimming, wrestling, and basketball competition will many Tiger athletes in action throughout the winter.
BOARD MEETING NEWS
Now, turning to news from Monday night’s board meeting- after hearing the Monthly Report from each of our schools, and a report from JCHS Student Board Representative Audrey Sherman, the board received a letter from the Junction City Education Association indicating their desire to meet to negotiate a successor agreement to the current contract between our licensed staff association and the school board. The current contract expires at the end of June, 2017. The board affirmed their interest in starting negotiations this winter with the hope that a successor agreement can be in place before the expiration of the current agreement.
During the “Public Comment on Non-Agenda Items” section of the meeting, the board heard from several high school staff members, a student, and several parents about the “climate” in our schools- even at the elementary level- in the days and weeks following the election and multiple instances of harassment, bullying and discrimination directed at some of students of color. The student who spoke has been a part of our District since kindergarten, and reported feeling unsafe at school for the first time during the student’s tenure in the District. The teachers reported noticeable tension amongst the student body, and a feeling of a lack of clear direction about how they should respond when hearing of reports of harassment or discrimination. District leadership reported feeling unprepared for what they saw and heard from students, and in some instances, from staff.
In the 2 days following the election, the District issued a letter to parents, an email communication to staff, and posted information on our District’s website about our commitment to ensuring a safe and welcoming learning environment for each and every member of our student body. Expectations for appropriate student behavior were also restated, and we asked parents for their support and assistance in this matter. Visits were made to each classroom at Oaklea to discuss with students behavioral expectations, and the fact that while students have the right to free speech and differing opinions it is not acceptable to exercise that right in a way that is hurtful to others, discriminatory, or disruptive to the learning environment. The administration at the high school made several all-school announcements of this same nature, appealed to all students to unite as Tigers, and to invite students who had experienced negative, hurtful, harassing or discriminatory actions or words from others to share their experiences in writing. There were conversations as warranted with individual students at our elementary schools.
What was clear from hearing the public comment was that we still have students who are not feeling safe at school. We have had instances of race/nation of origin based discrimination occurring in our hallways, classrooms, and parking lots. We have had staff unsure of how best to respond to these issues. Whatever we- as school leaders and staff- did following the election was not enough to restore our positive school climate and ensure that all our students- especially those who are members of protected classes- feel safe, welcome, and supported in our schools.
After this discussion, the board affirmed their commitment that our District prohibits any form of harassment, intimidation, bullying, cyber-bulling, and discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability or age. The board asked that District leadership ensure that board policies and regulations governing these matters be again shared and discussed with all staff. The board also asked that we increase our students’ and parents’ awareness of these policies, reporting procedures, and consequences for violating these policies. To that end, all relevant policies have been posted on the front page of the District website at http://www.junctioncity.k12.or.us/ under a “hot button” that says “Junction City School District Non-Discrimination Policies”; all District staff are directed to read, understand, and follow these policies. Students and parents who wish to initiate a report of harassment or discrimination are invited to contact the District’s Human Right’s Officer, Tom Endersby at email@example.com or 541-998-6311. Such reports will be investigated and responded to in a manner commensurate with the findings of the investigation.
Today, the District’s Equity Leadership Team (comprised of licensed, classified, administrative and District Office staff) met as previously scheduled and discussed this matter further. They will be issuing a set of recommendations to the District leadership team, and will work with building level administrators on action plans to be implemented at each school to ensure that students (and their parents) clearly understand expectations for their conduct, the process for reporting a concern, and accountability measures for violations of district policy. The ELT is continuing their work on a school climate survey that will be administered to all students so that student responses can inform further action on the part of District leadership and staff.
Tomorrow, the District’s Administrative Team will be meeting to further discuss this issue, review all policies and reporting procedures, conduct a “self-evaluation” according to a Civil Rights best practice checklist, and plan for strategies for related staff development activities and parent and student communications in both the short term and the long term. As members of our school community, we invite you to help us create and sustain school cultures where each and every child feels safe and supported, students’ learning is free of disruption from harassment or discrimination, and every student and staff member understands their responsibility for creating a sustaining a positive school culture.
With respect to action items at Monday’s board meeting, the Board acted to approve the minutes of the Board Meeting that was held on October 24th (copies of minutes are posted on the District website after they have been approved). The board accepted the resignation of Laurel 3rd grade teacher, Jessica Huff, who is leaving the area as a result of her spouse’s job relocation. The board also very reluctantly accepted the retirement of long-time Junction City Educator- and current Laurel Elementary Music Specialist- Deborah Adams. Deborah will continue working for the District through June of 2017; she will be missed so very much when she retires and will leave a remarkable legacy of joyful service to our students and community.
The board’s final action of the night was to award the contract for installation of the Territorial Play Shelter to 2G Construction; the materials are on site at Territorial and the contract specifies that the shelter should be completed by the end of December.
With respect to Discussion Items, the board heard an update about the bond from Scott Rose of DLR. The board heard from community members and Citizen’s Advisory Committee (CAC) members Ken Bells and Billy Dover and learned more about their first meeting. As previously reported, this committee will have responsibility for reviewing expenditures and progress related to our Facilities Bond; it is expected that the Committee will have a representative or two make regular reports to the board. It also is hoped that these committee members will help keep our entire community accurately well-informed on these matters.
The board received a “Focus School Report” from Laurel Elementary Principal Nadira Rizkallah. The board was delighted to offer their congratulations and appreciation to the Laurel staff for all their hard work, which has resulted in Laurel exiting Focus School status because of gains that have been made in school improvement goals. Well done!
The final discussion item for the evening was with respect to Measure 98. On November 8th, Oregon’s Measure 98- the “High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Act”- received overwhelming support from voters. The Measure is intended to provide “direct funding” to Districts for implementation of programs designed to increase high school graduation rates, prevent dropouts, and better prepare students for careers and college. While the rules have not yet been written, the intent of the Measure is to provide funding for programs that will improve graduation rates- such as establishing or expanding CTE programs, establishing or expanding college-level educational preparation programs and opportunities, and those programs that are proven to reduce dropouts.
Assuming the State’s May 2017 revenue estimate is 1.5B greater than the May 2015 revenue estimate, our District would receive approximately $800 per high school student- upon completion of an approved application for these funds. For our District, this could mean about $400K in revenue for the purpose of implementing this measure. The actual net impact on our budget is difficult to predict right now, and is complicated by the fact that the state is currently facing a 1.4+B shortfall and we have very little information about what level of State School funding we should plan on for the 2017-19 biennium. Worst case scenario might be that our overall SSF declines, and we would have to make reductions in other programs in order to meet the requirements of Measure 98. Best case scenario that we can expect- based on my understanding of the State’s fiscal outlook at this time- is that the state is able to keep our “regular” K-12 funding at a level that would provide for roll-ups enough to maintain current programs, and then the Measure 98 funds would be truly additive.
I will be attending a State Superintendents’ meeting this Wednesday, and the annual School Law conference on Thursday and Friday. I will be looking for sessions that can help inform our District’s implementation of Measure 98. My recommendation will be that we stay on top of updates coming out of ODE and plan to have a board work session in February to discuss how our District should implement this measure. To inform that work session, we should engage our high school students, our staff, and our community in surveying where we should plan to expand or develop programs to increase graduation rates and improve access to CTE programs and college readiness. The most recent FAQ sheet from ODE regarding Measure 98 was sent out last Wednesday; a copy of the FAQ can be obtained by contacting the District Office.
There is much to accomplish between now and Christmas break. I encourage our students and our staff to keep working hard, growing, and working together to make our District the best place it can be for each and every student.
JUNCTION CITY SCHOOLS UPDATE: October 2016
What follows is the October 2016 issue of the Junction City Schools Update, along with some news from last Monday night’s school board meeting. Happy reading, and have a safe and fun Halloween tonight!
TERRITORIAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Excitement is building with the Bond-funded outdoor covered play shelter components delivered recently. Students and staff alike are eagerly anticipating the end of indoor “Rainy Day Recess” at Territorial!
From the successful Scholastic Book Fair and Open House/Curriculum Night to the annual Jog-a-Thon which has already raised over $1,000 for school programs and activities it's clear Territorial and our ever-involved and supportive parent group is off and running this year! Coming up, the TPA will sponsor an all-school Harvest Party on the afternoon of October 31st, with the Taste of Territorial spaghetti feed and art show scheduled to take place on November 18th at the Long Tom Grange.
October marked the start of multiple after-school programs at Territorial including; Garden Club, LEGO Club, OBOB, and Yearbook. So far, students in the Garden Club have harvested strawberries and tomatoes, viewed compost material through a microscope- identifying micro-organisms that live within the compost- winterized both garden spaces, and participated in a variety of garden related games and activities. Students in LEGO Club are presented with a LEGO challenge weekly, providing opportunities for small groups to learn about and demonstrate a variety of skills related to teamwork, creativity, and sportsmanship. At the conclusion of each club meeting, LEGO creations are collected and displayed in the hallway for the week. New this year at Territorial is the addition of LEGO League activities for our older students who are learning about programming robots to complete predetermined tasks and challenges. These students will compete in a LEGO League tournament in December. Oregon Battle of the Books and Yearbook activities also got underway this month and look to be generating a lot of excitement among involved students.
On another note, our grant-purchased iPads are on campus and in use in classrooms K-5, bringing us up to 8 iPads per classroom, with additional devices deployed in our Special Education/ELD classroom as well as in our Music and PE programs. Teachers are finding a variety of ways to use these devices to enhance student access to core curriculum and materials as well as for research, demonstration of skill and intervention and enrichment. A huge thank you to the District Technology staff, Bob and Laci, for getting these processed and out to us so quickly, and also to parent volunteer Wendy Thelander for her work getting the barcodes registered in the computer system so that the iPads could be checked out to teachers.
Our 4th & 5th grade students- along with several staff and parent volunteers- had the opportunity to participate in a fun and exciting Coast field trip to Newport, facilitated by “Maritime Discovery Tours”. The group of about 50, headed out to sea observing and learning about sea life first hand, including whales, jelly fish, porpoises, sea lions, crabs and plankton. This trip was the result of Ms. Elder’s great luck as she won the tour in a drawing at a Science conference last year. Preschool, Kindergarten and 1st grade students enjoyed a trip to Wintergreen Farms where they visited the Pumpkin Patch, selecting their very own pumpkin to bring home.
Beyond that, Territorial’s Fall Easy CBM benchmark testing wrapped up earlier this month, with staff coming together for a school-wide data meeting on October 13th. We looked at student scores in both Math and Reading and used this information to plan for interventions to support student growth and enrichment. We continue to be excited about the turnaround in math scores and improvement in achievement over the past few years and will focus on continuing to identify the best resources and strategies to elicit similar outcomes in reading going forward.
LAUREL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
Laurel has great news to share with regard to our Focus School designation. Oregon’s Department of Education recently released school report cards. We should be very proud of the progress Laurel has made; it's a tribute to the very hard work of our students and staff. While schools were not rated this year, we received a Level 4 in Academic Achievement with Level 5 being the highest score. Given this score, Laurel met the criteria to exit Focus School status. This is cause for celebration for our students, staff, families and the community at large. In looking at other scores we received, we realize that there is still work to be done in the area of Academic Growth and Student Group Growth. All of the Focus and Priority Schools received a 5th year of funding, which provides us an extra layer of support for the current school year. This means we still have a coach (Jennifer Haliski), access to professional development through the Regional Rural Schools Network, and funds to support our Focus School priorities. The Laurel staff understands that it is important that we make the most of this 5th year! To achieve greater growth and improve our scores, we have decided to focus on the following aspects to ensure progress.
We have adopted a growth mindset and put a major focus on what we do best - teaching kids! Through our school’s vision and the research-based strategies we are using to instill a growth mindset in our staff and students, we are confident that we will improve achievement for ALL students, including our sub groups. There is great buy-in from students and staff into this paradigm shift and a whole new way of looking at reasons for growth and how best to impact students’ learning.
Another area of focus this year is on our Positive Behavior Support System. We revised and updated our systems to reflect the growth mindset and a desire for each and every student to feel a sense of belonging, and to have caring and strong relationships with peers and school adults. While this is a shift in viewing how discipline works, it is proving to be very effective in keeping kids present at school and engaged in the learning. We identified our collective understanding of why we discipline students, and that is to reconnect them to their learning and their school community. We do this with compassion, care, and a desire to understand each child’s story. Our staff at Laurel is working really hard to embrace this way of thinking. We have put systems in place to celebrate students and staff who show commitment to these shifts and therefore contribute a positive school culture where we all can thrive and grow.
We’ve started practicing our safety drills to highlight and emphasize safety procedures for a variety of emergency situations. Fostering a safe learning environment is at the core of the Laurel’s vision and we are focusing on teaching this concept throughout the month of October and in the months to come. In addition to fire, earthquake, lockdown/lockout, and evacuation drills, we teach students that social-emotional safety is also important. We talk about friendship, compassion, and caring for one another. We explain that a safe learning environment is the right of each and every student and that we are all responsible to make sure we contribute to such an environment. We invite our community to support us in this endeavor; building a strong partnership will help strengthen our kids, our school, and our community.
Finally, Laurel is having a Harvest Spirit Day on October 31st. Students are invited to dress up in Harvest-themed costumes and show their autumn spirit. We invite you to join us in this fun celebration.
OAKLEA MIDDLE SCHOOL
At Oaklea, we have been striving to get our students thinking about college and careers at an early age. This past week, we hosted “College Knowledge Night” in our main gym. Parents and students had a chance to listen to reps from several local universities and community colleges. After the presentations, guests visited tables, asked questions, and gathered "swag" from all of the schools. We would like to thank Liz Bolton and Courtney Madsen for attending and helping to answer questions about high school, scholarships, and what to do in middle school to prepare. We would like to personally thank our counselor, Angie Elstone, for her work to organize this event.
Throughout the month of October, we practiced our emergency procedures for lockdown, lockout, earthquake preparedness, evacuation, and fire drill. Our safety committee values the importance of making sure our staff and students know the procedures. Our school resource officer, Ken Jackson, and the JC police department have been present to evaluate our emergency plans and to provide feedback. Students enjoyed participating in the Great Oregon Shakeout with thousands of other students in the state on 10/20 at 10:20 AM.
Fall Parent -Teacher Conferences will took place this past Wednesday evening as well as Thursday. This was a great opportunity for parents to meet with teachers and learn more specific information about individual student progress and what students will be learning this school year.
Spirit Week coincided with the JCHS Homecoming celebration this past week, as students took part in dress up days, a schoolwide assembly, and wearing the color Orange on Unity Day to stand up for demonstrating kindness, compassion, and respectful non-violent treatment of our peers. Unity Day is part of the national Bully Prevention Month.
This past week, students participated in the national Drug & Alcohol prevention program called Red Ribbon Week. Students were invited to pledge to be substance free, and students saw numerous examples of positive mentors making a similar pledge in TEAM class. As a heads up to parents, our Fall Family Fun Night will be Thursday, November 10th at 6pm., with the Scholastic Book Fair taking place in the building along with all kinds of fun activities.
In combination with our Turkey Dinner Drive for families in our JC Community, Jamie Williams is organizing a clothing drive to support our families. If you are interested in donating, please call the Oaklea office.
JUNCTION CITY HIGH SCHOOL
The October question at JCHS is, “Where did this month go?”
More than 160 students were represented by family at parent-teacher conferences this month. Parking was tight that evening as Girls’ Soccer and Volleyball hosted matches that evening, but it was another opportunity to showcase student sparks, and free game admissions were provided to families who came to conferences.
Over the past month, students participated in an orderly bus evacuation drill and completed the annual PSAT exam without a hitch last week. Liz Bolton and Brian Miller took 80 students to the College Fair at the University of Oregon, and another sizable group got their hands dirty at the Construction and Engineering Fair at EWEB.
Lastly, students punctuated this special month with the completion of Homecoming last week. One hundred percent of the credit belongs to student body officers Caitlyn Victor, Audrey Sherman, Rachel Meighan, Ryan Meighan, Nick Hogan, and Kyle Moore. Without their selfless work behind the scenes in pre-dawn meetings, their willingness to forego lunches, and time invested after athletic practices and games, the Homecoming experience for the students of JCHS would have been sorely lacking. This may be a little bit long, but they weren’t the only significant contributors, and JCHS would like to recognize Kieley Leatherwood, Lexi Tishmack, Ben Swancutt, Ara Tedrick, Kyla Lenker, Jesse McClintock, Trae Knabe, Melanie Hanb, Jessica Puderbaugh, Travis Wheeler, Johnny Wheeler, Garrett Spangle, the many many parents who helped construct and present the class floats, the Junction City Fire Department, the Junction City Police Department, Craig Rothenberger, Steve Jones, Brian Miller, and the many others who worked behind the scenes without recognition.
Football won their homecoming game over Sutherlin, 42-7 and finished tied for 3rd in the Sky-Em League. A coin flip tiebreaker put them in fourth place and likely just out of the post-season play-in round. Tiger Cross-Country participated at the District Championships at LCC on Oct 27 with the boys’ team the form chart favorites. Finally, congratulations to JC Tigers Girls’ Soccer, outright winners of the Sky-Em League Championship. The Tigers will skip the play-in round and host a 1st round OSAA playoff game at Willamette High School tomorrow night, November 1st.
BOARD MEETING NEWS
Now, turning to news from last Monday night’s board meeting- with respect to action items
, the Board acted to approve the minutes of the Board Meeting that was held on September 26th (copies of minutes are posted on the District website after they have been approved). The board also very reluctantly accepted the retirement of long-time Junction City Educator- and current JCHS Assistant Principal, Steve Jones. Steve will continue working for the District through June of 2017. In the meanwhile, the District hopes to leverage Mr. Jones’s considerable expertise as we explore establishing our own Online Learning Options program for students K-12 beginning next year. The board also acted to approve a calendar for preparation of the 2017-18 District Budget.
At Monday night’s meeting, the board also acted to name the appointees to the District’s “Citizens’ Advisory Committee
”. This new committee will have responsibility for reviewing expenditures and progress related to our Facilities Bond; it is expected that the Committee will have a representative or two make regular reports to the board. It also is hoped that these committee members will help keep our entire community accurately well-informed on these matters. There were 6 very outstanding applicants for the Citizens Advisory Committee: Ken Bells, Billy Dover, Mike Kaiser, Judy Kazmierkoski, Allan Schweigert and Lynda Taylor. The board met in a brief work session just prior to the board meeting to review and discuss these applications; given the caliber of the applicants, the board unanimously approved naming all 6 of these applicants to the committee.
In Discussion Items, Board Member Tina Nash and I reported out from the OSBA Dinner and Regional Meeting that we recently attended. The OSBA’s Priorities and Legislative Agenda
were shared, and they also can be found on the Oregon School Board Association’s website at http://osba.org/~/media/Files/Resources/Legislative/2017-18%20Legis_%20Policies_Priorities-approved%20by%20LPC%208-22-16.pdf
The Board also heard an update about the Oregon Rising Project
. Last spring, I asked the board, our staff, and members of several local service organizations to respond to the Oregon Rising survey. The results are back, and the final report has been published. Nearly 11,000 Oregonians responded to the survey, and there was representation from every area of our state.
These Oregonians shared their thoughts, and their hearts, about our students and our schools and they were in remarkable agreement. “They value education, and they are not satisfied with the status quo. They want more for our students. Simply put, they believe that the gap between what Oregon students need and what Oregon is giving them is far too large” (Craig Hawkins, COSA, 9/27/2016). Respondents overwhelmingly prioritized adding teachers and staff to ensure students get the individual attention, and smaller class sizes, they need to be successful. They also agreed that Oregon students deserve a well-rounded education, with CTE opportunities, art and music, civics and culture and more. You can see the entire Oregon Rising Project Report and other information at http://www.oregon-rising.org/What-Oregon-Said
The board also received the October Student Enrollment Report
, which is down 3 students from the beginning of the year; last year that same time period saw a decline of 16 students. One of the issues with student enrollment that was surfaced for a future board work is the issue of students enrolled in Online Charter programs such as Baker Web Academy. In years past, when parents homeschooled their children or used other online programs, we were able to offer their children part-time attendance in our schools so that they could take a class or two and participate in student activities such as band or enrichment. Unfortunately, online charter schools such as Baker’s will not share student enrollment ADM with us and therefore we are unable to offer their students participation in our classes.
Other Lane County Districts are facing this same challenge; in fact, South Lane School District developed their own K-12 online option so that families could elect to use a “hybrid” approach like we did for so long with homeschoolers. Online students enrolled in South Lane District’s program may take classes at their schools, while those enrolled in online charters such as Baker Web Academy cannot. South Lane also uses a tiered fee structure for Online Charter School students’ participation in sports and other activities. Because the online charter students are not part of their resident District’s State School Fund revenue- but this revenue is used to support athletics and student activities- South Lane charges more (I believe double the regular fee) for online charter students to participate. Students in South Lane’s own online program have the same fees as students in their brick and mortar schools.
Steve Jones and Ronda Wheadon have been charged with working together to explore options for our District offering our own K-12 online programming next year so that students in that program could also participate in classes and programs at our schools. They will be examining the South Lane program, as well as the Lebanon School District’s program and perhaps others. Once they have gathered information and begun to formulate some recommendations, the board will have a work session to discuss these issues and determine if we should go down that road.
The Board also heard an update about Bond Work
. We have received all the materials for the Territorial Play Shelter! Because we are out to bid for the installation, the time frame for completion is unknown at this time. The play shelter will be the first bond project to be completed and we will definitely have an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony when it is done.
We are getting near the end of our Schematic Design planning phase for the high school addition. It is really starting to take shape and it is so incredibly exciting that we will be able to consolidate the campus with this addition, rather than waiting until a future phase of our District’s long-range plan. It has been great to get involvement from different “end users”, such as students, parents and HS staff members. We do have an updated Bond Projects timetable spreadsheet (copies are available in the District Office), and we are working with DLR and a cost estimator to determine what we should budget for the increased scope of the HS work, and how we should budget for the other priorities that were identified for the capital matching and bond premium funds. Updates about the Bond process are posted regularly on our District website at http://www.junctioncity.k12.or.us/
In other facility news, we have submitted our application for the State Seismic Retrofit grant program and will keep our fingers crossed that this proposal is funded. We will wait to learn that before launching into planning Oaklea’s mechanical system upgrades and cedar shake siding replacement as if we get the grant that work will have to be coordinated.
In addition to keeping the board, our staff, and our community involved in and apprised of our bond projects and facilities issues, we also are trying to keep the City very much in the loop. We had an extensive survey of the high school property done so we have detailed information about locations of city utilities, etc. and we plan to work closely with both the City’s Code consultant, Clair Company, and the fire department and fire marshal to make sure that we are proactive about aspects of our bond projects that may be impacted by their requirements. On a related note, Chris and I met recently with the City Administrator and Public Works Director to discuss a well the city owns that is essentially land-locked by District property. The City would like to improve their access to the well so that they are more easily able to service the well. We will be talking about a solution that may involve the City removing the 2 car-garage on District property just to the north of the Pitney Center; we also will be considering allowing them to improve access to the well via a curb cut on Maple, and possibly resurfacing the grassy area north of the Pitney Center. Of course, we will bring any Inter-Governmental agreement proposals to you for consideration prior to taking any action. We think that working together with the City is a good thing for our community as a whole.