The St. Paul public schools have continued to thrive as educational challenges and financial hurdles have made frequent appearances on the very prominent stage of public education in Oregon.

Like many other Oregon districts, St. Paul has a dedicated school board and district staff that focus their efforts on proactively implementing the many changes recently adopted by the state that have an impact on education. These initiatives target school improvement and alignment and hopefully will improve outcomes for all of our students.

The “Common Core State Standards,” a system designed to provide clearer, higher expectations in curricular areas based on world class expectations, is one such initiative. The common core concepts are consistent across the national educational system. These standards, when reached by our students, are designed to prepare them with the skills necessary for entry level positions in careers or college.

Additional legislation in the state requiring modifications to district staff evaluation systems and conversion to the Smarter Balanced testing system for students are also key areas of focus for our current work.

Steeped in tradition and with a long history of community support the district has experienced both athletic and academic success for many years. Many families have attended the local schools for generations; the caring and connected nature of this community to its schools is indeed an asset that is difficult to quantify.

As evidenced by the district report card released by the state in October, the St. Paul middle/high school earned the highest ranking possible - 5 - and placed in the top 15 percent of schools in the state based on academics, attendance and graduation criteria.

This past summer the St. Paul schools looked to the community to provide financial support for a cooperative project between the district and the local athletic booster club to jointly fund a resurfacing project of the high school track. This fall, the area Jaycees provided funding for elementary playground improvements. Likewise, the connection between the district and the local rodeo association through the use of their arena as a football stadium is a long standing agreement that provides a benefit to a large segment of the community. Our appreciation goes out to the many community groups who provide support to our schools.

The district is looking forward to accepting the challenge of moving from the OSAA 1A classification to a 2A classification in the Tri-River conference beginning in the fall of the 2014.

Athletics and activities are a big part of the St. Paul school experience. This fall our cross country, volleyball and football programs all had successful seasons. Cross country ended their season with personal records for all team members in their pre-district or district meets. The volleyball team finished fourth in the class 1A tournament and the football team claimed the league title. School leadership, Future Business Leaders of America and the St. Paul FFA chapter have all been actively involved in local and state activities and provide students with great learning experiences both in and out of the classroom setting.

With a quality education as our focus, the district’s school board and staff intend to continue to pursue the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, educational best practices and stakeholder engagement in a manner that serves the best interests of our clients — the students and families in the St. Paul community.

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