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Decision Education Foundation Recognizes JCHS with Major Steps Forward Article

Great Work by All! The Decision Education Foundation, also know as DEF, has recognized the efforts of Junction City High School's 9th grade TEAM teachers along with teacher Liz Henderson. DEF's Mission To improve the lives of young people by empowering them with effective Decision Skills. Steps to Success Reaches All 9th Graders A Decision Skills course reaching all 9th graders is underway this fall at Junction City High School, representing a major step forward for DEF. Based on previous success with DEF’s StrongStart program, Junction City decided to implement DEF material as the organizing principal of a first trimester freshman success class. DEF worked with school administrators, counselors, and teachers to frame class objectives and develop a course concept around Personal Best, Academic Success, and Career Exploration (PACE) with decision education at its core. “Steps to Success” is currently underway with 150 freshmen and has already generated positive feedback. As a model for reaching all students, Steps to Success can be adopted by schools as is, adapted in developing a course tailored to their school, and incorporated as modules within existing freshmen courses. Freshman success has become an area of expanded attention recently, since research has established freshman year on track measures as critical to eventual graduation.
JCHS senior, Gabe Bagley, being presented with OSU President Scholarship Award

JCHS Student Awarded Prestigious OSU Scholarship

Congratulations to Junction City High School senior, Gabe Bagley! Gabe was presented with Oregon State University's most prestigious award, the Presidential Scholarship. The Presidential Scholarship rewards academic excellence and inspires recipients to continue to be a positive force in the world. Gabe plans to major in engineering. Well done Gabe!!

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JUNCTION CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT UPDATE

JUNCTION CITY SCHOOLS UPDATE:

 
January 2020
 
2020 got off to a wonderful start in the Junction City School District! I hope that your new year- and new decade- has as well.  There are so many great things happening in our schools that I am excited to share with you, and also want to let you know what happened at the January board meeting that took place earlier this week.
 
January is National School Board Appreciation Month and at the January 27th board meeting, our board members were showered with much-deserved praise, recognition, cards, and lots of treats! These selfless community volunteers are dedicated to supporting our staff to provide exceptional educational services and support to the kids of Junction City.  We are incredibly blessed by, and eternally grateful for, their service.
 
Also, please note that next week (February 3rd through the 7th) is National School Counselor Week! We have the best team of school counselors in the state, if not the country- if you see any of our counselors, or our District Psychologist Dr. Sue Menen, please be sure to let them know how much we appreciate them and all they do for Junction City’s kids, staff members, and families.
 
TERRITORIAL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
           
The new-year is well underway and Territorial staff and students continue to approach the tasks of teaching and learning with great enthusiasm and purpose.  Easy CBM Winter Benchmark assessments will wrap up February 7th, with teachers meeting to review school-wide data the following week.  We are excited to see our students’ academic growth; however, we know that it is not just about the data, but rather about our individual students and what this opportunity for learning, growth and achievement will mean for them over time.  Undoubtedly, this is a direct result of the rigorous and focused instruction provided by our teachers every day, as well as the hard work and perseverance of our students, in addition to the support of their families. 
 
As part of Territorial’s CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) program, our staff will be sharing what healthy choices they are committing to for the next two weeks.  We will also be asking students to write a healthy goal: such as drinking more water, starting their day off with a healthy breakfast, or walking more.  Furthermore, students are able to earn CATCH “MVP” tickets for choosing health snacks or doing an exercise challenge at recess such as; jumping jacks, jump rope, hula hoops, laps around the track, or pushups.  We even have MVP Records for the most done in each category.  These earned tickets are then placed in drawing for things such as a Frisbee, Nerf balls, or a jump rope.  
 
Our fabulous Territorial Parent Association has been busy preparing for and supporting a number of traditional activities, events, and fundraisers.  In addition to hosting the Holiday Bazaar where students shopped for presents for their families prior to Winter Break (Thank you Deena McDonald, The TPA held a successful BINGO night fundraiser on 1/18. The Scholastic Book Fair is scheduled to open the week of February 10th, and of course our annual Grandparent’s Day is scheduled for Friday February 14th.  
 
LAUREL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
           
January is School Board Appreciation Month and the Laurel school community would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every Board Member for their time, effort and unwavering support for the children of Junction City. As we reflect on our commitment to students, we feel grateful to be supported by our Board Members who always put children first.
 
Laurel’s Lego night was amazing this year! As always, our halls were full of students and their families, and fun was the highlight of the night. During the event, our PBIS committee raised $400 through their pizza and popcorn sales to support the school. There is nothing like seeing our community come together to have fun and share memories.
 
Teachers at Laurel are continuing to explore ways to support our students’ social and emotional learning needs through regular professional development opportunities that take place during our staff meetings. This year, they have had an opportunity to collect data about different areas of social emotional learning and they are using that data to implement lessons and provide targeted supports for all students. We value the social, emotional, and mental health of our students and know that it is so important to their academic success and future readiness.
 
During the month of January, we’ve focused on a very important and relevant component of our school’s vision, “Compassionate Citizens.” We have worked diligently as a Laurel community to support all of our students- including those who come from diverse socio-economic, political, racial and religious backgrounds. It remains our responsibility to ensure that every child feels loved, accepted and important in our school. Students who exemplify compassion receive “compassionate hearts” to recognize their kindness and caring for others. For every compassionate heart they receive this year, they will also get to add to a paper chain of compassion that we hope to extend throughout the whole school by the end of the year.
 
Laurel teachers have been using the valuable time during Early Release days to take a deeper look at standards, match their mastery objectives to those standards and ensure that there are formative assessments in place to measure students’ progress and plan interventions. We are excited for this precious time, and our teachers have done a wonderful job working and learning together.
 
Finally, many of our staff members and Laurel families felt honored to participate in the recent community engagement sessions hosted by the school district to gain input on important components of our district’s programs. Those who participated provided thoughtful feedback and were in line with the feedback we received from our licensed staff. In addition, we got the opportunity to engage our Parent Advisory Committee who generated some creative ideas and input to share with the school district. As always, we are continuously in awe of the supportive community we have here in Junction City.
 
OAKLEA MIDDLE SCHOOL
           
With the new year upon us, it’s a great time to thank everyone at Oaklea for their hard work and dedication to our students.  It’s great to see the collective efforts of each person playing a role in the development of our young people- Teachers, Instructional Assistants, Custodians, Secretaries, Cooks.  Awesome! 
 
We’re very excited that we were able to add an 8th grade Transitions class that focuses on preparing 8th graders for high school- by supporting their social and emotional development, decision making, study habits, and career research.  In other classroom news, Mrs. Doggett’s Language Arts classes has been making amulets from Fimo clay while studying Thunder Cave.   Mrs. Knutson’s fifth graders are starting their egg drop lab in science.  Social Studies students in Mr. Tedrick’s class will be engaging in simulations to help understand how governments solve real world problems and the common obstacles they face when doing so.  And, Mrs. Henry’s 8th graders are starting their sound unit, exploring how sounds are created, how they travel, and how we hear sound.  Just prior to Christmas break, 8th graders under the supervision of Mr. Meskil, Ms. Holman, and Mrs. Henry conducted their mock trials. 
 
In Oaklea sports, the girls’ basketball teams wrapped up their seasons in mid-December.  The season provided both fun and improvement with players getting better each game.  The boys’ season just began and we have a very large turnout, especially on the 8th grade team.  Games have just begun and we are looking forward to the season.  Wresting is nearing completion with a number of wrestlers competing at regionals and hopefully districts.  Track is just around the corner and pre-season runs will begin in February.
 
Our Oaklea Robotics team has done very, very well.  Fourth straight year qualifying for state and this year they brought home a trophy for professionalism in robot design, robot competition, core values, and project design.  The team scored the most points in Oaklea history at a Robotics competition! Also, OBOB is underway and preparing for all of their “Big Events”. 
 
A number of Oaklea students had the opportunity to audition for Missoula Children’s Theater on Monday.  All four grades were also invited to grade-level awards assemblies to celebrate successes from both third trimester of last year and first trimester of this year.  Teachers use the opportunity to award students for their individual achievements in different academic disciplines.  An impressive number of students were Honor Roll and Principal Award winners.  We also celebrated the end of the first trimester with a “No Referral Carnival” throughout the building.  
 
We’d like to thank the Oaklea Parent Group for their help in continuing the tradition of our extremely popular Winter Giving Store.  Hundreds of students purchased items with ‘Green Tiger Stripes’ (earned for positive and responsible behavior).  Many students give these items to family members during the holiday season.  We also enjoyed some fun with silly dress up days the week prior to break.  The parent club also hired a speaker in early December, Amy Corey (no relation to Principal Corey) to come to Oaklea and share her struggles and experiences growing up after being adopted in Vietnam.
 
Early December offered our staff some training opportunities in iReady Reading and SEL (social emotional learning) training during our professional development time. During our Early Release time each week, our staff members continue to work in PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) with a focus on developing common formative assessments and interventions.  We are so thankful for the vision to see how important and valuable this work is and will continue to be.  Some of our staff participated in the World Café Community Events, helping to plan for upcoming SSA funds.  And, Mr. Surface will be working with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on archery training for PE in late January.  
 
As we prepare to head into February we’ve got more engaging activities in classrooms, more sports, our Valentine’s Day Dance, and more silly assemblies.  Progress reports will be coming out at the end of January.  School Counselor Week is approaching and more professional development will take place focusing on our PLCs, SEL, Math and Language Arts.  We will also start to develop our plan for state assessments which are right around the corner.  It is so wonderful and humbling to work in a selfless environment.  Every day we witness the hard work on so many levels from so many people.  This is what it means to be a Tiger.
 
JUNCTION CITY HIGH SCHOOL
 
This new year, we would like to thank our Board members for their volunteerism and work to make our school district the best for all of our kids-we appreciate each of you. 
 
Winter sports and clubs are well into league season with swimming, wrestling, basketball, cheer, chess, and Robotics competing.   Speaking of Robotics, both of our teams qualified for the upcoming State Championship tournament by finishing 3rd and 4th in District.  One of our teams won the distinguished computer programming award.  Stacey Johnson was selected by coaches throughout the state as the Oregon Robotics Volunteer of the Year!  We are proud of Stacey for all she has developed over the course of this past decade- this is a well-deserved honor. 
 
Our scheduling committee continues to work with our staff on the development of a bell schedule for next school year that will allow for intervention support for struggling students.  We have decided to maintain the trimester, five period framework, while looking for creative options for adding intervention time during the day. 
 
Parent Teacher Conferences for winter term were held last Thursday night, and midterm reports have been picked up or mailed home.  We are encouraging parents and students to use the Home Access system to monitor grades.  If individuals do not know their login information, they can contact the office for support; this is a very helpful resource for all those who use it- and we encourage every parent and student to use it!
 
We want to continue to encourage students and parents to be using the SafeOregon tipline to report school related issues that need administrative or law enforcement attention.  This is such an important tool for reporting anything of concern.  We want to continue to emphasize to kids, “If you hear or see something that isn’t right, say something.”  Together as a community, we can work together to keep our students and staff as safe as possible, and to hold those accountable whose actions impact our students’ right to a safe, secure, and positive learning environment.  
 
The high school has added an “Attendance Monitor” position to strengthen our communication with parents and our follow-through with students.  One change that will be taking place very soon is a “Safety Check”- which will be a personalized phone call for any student not in class each morning.  Parents will receive a morning call from our Attendance Monitor to make sure an absent student is safe and accounted for.   We also will continue to use our “Robocall” system for phoning home about absences.
 
As we look ahead to National Counselors’ Appreciation week in early February, we want to thank the best counseling team out there.  Particularly at the high school, we’d like to thank Angie Elstone, Brian Miller, Courtney Madsen, and Dr. Sue Menen for all of their important work supporting kids.  They are a truly amazing team. 
 
Finally, the Tiger Auction will be taking place on the evening of February 1st.  It’s not too late to purchase tickets.  If you have questions, feel free to check out our website or call the main office. 
 
DISTRICT NEWS
 
In District news, on Monday afternoon we had nearly seventy of Junction City’s kids in the High School Cafeteria to try out for this year’s Missoula Children’s Theater production.  This year, the troupe will be performing Cinderella, with show times at 3 PM and 7 PM this Saturday, February 1st, in the JCHS Theater.
 
We recently held two very well attended and very productive Engagement Sessions to help inform our district’s planning for implementation of Oregon’s new Student Success Act.  Our SSA surveys continue to be available on our district and school websites and we look forward to analyzing all the input to make sure that our plans are reflective of our community’s hopes, and that we develop an application for funds and a budget that allows us to better meet students’ mental health, health and social emotional needs as well as focusing our efforts to close the achievement gaps that have existed for our students from historically underserved populations. 
 
BOARD MEETING NEWS
 
The board held a work session prior to their board meeting on Monday night. The work session was facilitated by Erika Vaughn, who updated the board on Student Success Act input the district has received thus far via engagement sessions and survey responses. Some preliminary Student Investment Account plans regarding new programs and additional staffing were also discussed, with the board offering their feedback and input. 
 
The January board meeting began with honoring “Students of the Month” from each of our schools, and we were pleased to have three of the four honorees in attendance to receive their certificates.  The honorees are as follows:
 
Territorial – Brody Parker is a super hard worker in the classroom. He has a good attitude and follows directions. He is also a good citizen, picking up trash at recess without being prompted to. Brody is friendly to everyone, making him a buddy to all. We are so pleased to nominate Brody as student of the month for January.
Laurel – Evelyn Harrison is one KIND kiddo. As a fourth grade leader at Laurel, she works diligently to spark kindness in her community. Evelyn recently took the time to write down her thoughts and experiences in sharing/participating in kindness in her communities. She detailed and described how she and her Mother go out of their way to share a little bit extra for the homeless individuals in their community. Last year she noticed when peers were without and wanted to share with them when she could. This year, Evelyn was chosen to be able to share her thoughts/poem at a local event about kindness, and her poem was passed out at this event to attendees. Evelyn is also working hard to better her kindness skills with friendships at school and will be a leader in Laurel’s new Kind Club supporting kindness at school. Way to go Evelyn!
Oaklea – Dalton Vogt’s favorite class is PE, the color blue, and eating chicken linguine. He enjoys the family trips to Hawaii, his two Great Danes, and his pet tortoise. His favorite movie is Avatar and celebrity CrossFit star Matt Frazier. In addition to being a great student, he also plays football, basketball, track, and does CrossFit.
High School – Wyatt Lee – Wyatt is a junior at JCHS who makes a positive impact at our school on a daily basis. His leadership at school and in the community is to be commended. Wyatt has been instrumental in strengthening our music and drama programs. A substitute teacher recently commented that Wyatt should be on the district payroll, as he was basically teaching the drama class when the primary teacher was out (we need to get him licensed first). ☺ You can find Wyatt singing the National Anthem at school activities, blowing everyone away with his amazing voice in the talent show, being a stellar student in the classroom, and looking out for others around him. Wyatt wrote and directed his own play this school year. We want to thank him for what he brings to JCHS and our community and recognize him for his dedication, compassion, and excellence.
 
In other Special Recognition, Chair Waddell read a proclamation for National School Counseling Week ( February 3-7): “Junction City School District’s counselors are actively committed to helping students explore their abilities, strengths, interests, and talents as these traits relate to career awareness and development.  They help parents focus on ways to further the educational, personal, and social growth of their children. Our counselors work with teachers and other educators to help students explore their potential and set realistic goals for themselves.  They seek to identify and utilize community resources that can enhance and compliment comprehensive school counseling programs and help students become productive members of society. Comprehensive developmental school counseling programs are considered an integral part of the educational process that enables all students to achieve success in school.  The Junction City School District Board of Directors wants to take a moment to thank our District’s counselors: Laurel’s Miranda Linville, Territorial’s and Laurel’s Whitney Moss and Miranda Linville, Oaklea’s Laura Martin, and Junction City High School’s Brian Miller, Angie Elstone, and Courtney Madsen, and our District’s School Psychologist, Sue Menen.  Thank you all for your commitment to our students, their parents, and our staff.”
 
Following the special recognition items, the board then heard a presentation regarding the 2018-19 Annual Program Audit. The auditor gave the district a “clean” report with no findings or concerns expressed. The board then acted to approve the program audit. 
 
Following the auditor’s presentation, the board welcomed Tony Scurto, Superintendent of the Lane Educational Service District (LESD).  Mr. Scurto was present to see if the board had any questions or concerns about the proposed Local Service Plan that they will be acting to approve next month.  The board expressed great appreciation for the services that LESD provides to the students and staff of Junction City.
 
The board then revised the order of the agenda to allow for consideration of action items before a board member needed to depart for a work obligation.  The board approved the consent agenda, which included approving the minutes of the November 25th board meeting.
 
The board heard a brief presentation regarding Division 22 Standards for Public Elementary and Secondary Schools; annually, our District must review all of Oregon’s statutory and regulatory requirements for public school districts and determine if we are in compliance with each of those standards.  This process is a meaningful one because it allows our administrative team to reflect on what we are doing well, and where we may need to adjust programs, budgets, staffing and so on.  After completing the review, the board acted to approve our submission to the ODE to verify that we are in compliance with these standards.
 
Next, the board approved several new hires, including the hiring of Jennifer Williams as a temporary half-time special education teacher for Laurel Elementary school, and the addition of .5 FTE to Rebecca Smith’s position so she can now serve as the K-8 teacher for JC Online in addition to her .5 FTE as the district’s K-8 TAG specialist. 

The board considered and then approved 4 “Overnight Travel Requests”- 3 for high school sports teams to attend tournaments, and the fourth was to allow the JCHS Culinary students to travel to a competition at Camp Withycombe in April.  The board’s final action item for the evening was to have first readings- and then they acted to approve- 25 updated policies and administrative regulations. 
 
After hearing the District Update- as well as reports from the Junction City Education Association and the Student Representative to the board, the board received the monthly District Improvement Update Director of Instruction Erika Vaughn. Erika let the board know that our District’s Continuous Improvement Plan was approved by the ODE.  She then shared a brief overview of what she had shared in the work session held earlier that evening.
 
There were several items of robust discussion that followed; the first was regarding getting board consensus for contracting for an updated Population Projection study.  Our last population projection study was done in 2013, and for the most part, our enrollment has tracked closely with the mid-range growth projections that were offered. However, as noted in our recently-updated long range facilities plan, the City has approved development plans that will bring 800 new units online in our community over the next 3 to 5 years.  Because of this, we need to get as much valid information as possible to allow the board to begin planning for how to deal with potentially significant enrollment increases. 
 
We’ve reached out to Charles Reynerson at PSU’s Population Research Center. While they will be very busy with the 2020 Census over the next 6 months, Charles shared that after July 1, they could potentially take on a new study such as ours.  He estimated the cost of a new 10-year population projection study to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $10K to $12K. The board then provided unanimous consensus support to move forward to contract with PSU for such a study, to take place after July 1, 2020.
 
Also related to concerns about significant growth in our student enrollment that may be on the horizon, Business Manager Alison Covey shared with the board some information that she had been gathering regarding the possible purchase of one or more modular classroom buildings to prepare for expected enrollment increases, particularly at Laurel where we already have significant space constraints and enrollment concerns.  Laurel’s principal, Nadira Rizkallah, shared some thoughts about how portable classroom units might be used to address some of the space challenges we face there.  The board asked Alison and Nadira to work with our Facilities Director, Chris Meyer, to learn more about what kinds of infrastructure improvements we may need to make in order to place portables at Laurel beginning next school year. 
 
Next, Erika Vaughn asked the board to review the guidelines for development of the 2020-21 School Year Calendar. Erika will be convening the Calendar Committee soon, and will come back to the board with calendar options and recommendations.
 
Territorial Principal Annette Sisler then addressed the board about 5th grade class sizes at Territorial.  In recent years, there have been disparities in 5th grade class sizes between Territorial and Oaklea, with Territorial having only 12 5th graders this year- due in some respects to parents requesting that their child transfer to Oaklea for grade 5.  The board offered their support for the recommendations to stabilize and equalize enrollment between the two schools’ fifth grade classrooms, including reducing or eliminating the number of transfers to Oaklea from current Territorial students- including those who may be at Territorial on a transfer from Laurel up through grade 4.  Another strategy was to offer the parents of current Laurel 4th graders the option of requesting a transfer to Territorial for 5th grade.  The administrators from the three schools (Oaklea, Laurel and Territorial) will be working together to develop clear standards, expectations, and processes for parents regarding intra-district transfers of 5th graders, beginning this spring.
 
District Athletic/Activities Director Craig Rothenberger and JCHS Co-Principal Brian Young briefly shared with the board an estimate and a plan developed by a vendor regarding installing lights at the track/soccer complex and then using that field as a completion field for football and soccer after lights would be installed (Peden Stadium field would then be used as a practice field).  Because the vendor is not on the ORPIN approved vendor list for the state, Craig and Brian were informed that they would need to seek additional bids, as well as securing a complete understanding of the scope and cost to do all of the trenching, electrical, and installation of such a lighting system.  The board encouraged Craig and Brian to take a “higher altitude” view and develop a comprehensive approach, with corresponding timelines and reasonably estimated costs, for future athletic department facility improvements.  Mr. Rothenberger also was encouraged to work with the high school track coaches to learn from their tremendous successes in fund-raising and obtaining grants to improve the track facility recently.  They also were encouraged to form a subcommittee which would include coaches, several board members, parents and others to develop a very comprehensive long-range facilities improvement plan for our athletic facilities and grounds. 
 
After a brief financial update from Business Manager Alison Covey, the board had their final discussion update of the evening, which was to consider the monthly student enrollment update.  The number of students enrolled in January is exactly the same as the number enrolled in December; further, the year-to-date average enrollment is 28 students greater than the 2018-19 yearly average.
 
The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 24th at 6 PM.    Until then, GO TIGERS!
 
Kathleen