Oregon City School District plans for bond; Nominate an outstanding teacher; Holocaust survivor speaks in Gladstone; School Naming Advisory Committee to meet; City councilor visits middle school leaders

Oregon City School Board members recently determined to move forward with plans for a potential facilities improvement bond on the November 2018 ballot.

The district and school board have been working for over two years to assess the current property and facility conditions to determine needs of all school facilities.

Most recently, findings of the last two years were shared with a community taskforce charged with determining the specific scope and budget for an Oregon City School District construction bond.

The task force presented their recommendations to the school board in December 2017 with recommendations to move forward. The task-force agreed with community polls that said safety and security was the top priority. Additionally, the taskforce determined that the greatest facilities that will impact the student learning experience is improving old and outdated middle schools, Ogden and Gardiner.

Back in 2000, the community passed a projected bond rate of $2 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This time around the taskforce recommended a more conservative rate that could still accomplish the goals determined by the group.

For a 2018 school bond, the taskforce recommended to the board that the rate should not exceed $1.54 per $1,000 assessed property value over 30 years, which would be estimated to yield $188 million in capital funds for school improvements. Additionally, the taskforce and school board agreed on continuous community involvement and community oversight, before, during and after the passing of any school construction bond.

Phase one was successfully accomplished with construction of the new high school that opened in 2003. The 2018 bond, phase two, would address safety and security at every building, upgrade infrastructure to decrease operating costs and aim to replace the middle schools with an education environment that will support improved student learning and safety for future generations. Looking into the future, a third phase could be used to address projected future enrollment growth, new and improved elementary schools and improved Career and Technical Education (CTE) facilities.

"The community task force performed invaluable work for the board to consider and move the district forward," said Connie Curteman, Oregon City School Board chair. "The conversations will continue and I invite our community to attend a future meeting."

The district is having meetings to share additional information and asking interested community members to share their feedback. The first meeting took place on Jan. 11 and visitors were engaged and encouraged. The next meeting was scheduled to take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Jan. 23 at Ogden Middle School, 14133 S. Donovan Road, Oregon City.

Nominate an outstanding teacher by Jan. 31

The nomination period for the Oregon Teacher of the Year closes at the end of January. All Oregonians are encouraged to nominate their favorite teacher at

The 2019 Oregon Teacher of the Year will receive a $5,000 cash prize (with a matching $5,000 going to their school) and serve as a spokesperson and representative for all Oregon teachers. 

New this year, Regional Teachers of the Year will each receive a cash prize of $500 and will be celebrated across the state. 

Holocaust survivor speaks in Gladstone

PHOTO COURTESY: LESLIE ROBINETTE - Holocaust survivor Evelyn Banko shared her experiences as a child refugee with students at Gladstone High School. Advanced sophomore English students at Gladstone High School have a deeper understanding of the Holocaust after a presentation by survivor Evelyn Banko.

Born in Vienna, Austria, in 1936, Banko's family faced persecution when Nazis seized the country. After being tipped off about pending deportations to concentration camps, the family fled to Latvia.

After repeated attempts to immigrate to the United States, they were finally able to do so in 1940, ending up in Portland. A retired teacher, Banko is a frequent speaker on her experiences as a child refugee.

"I'm grateful my students had the opportunity to hear Evelyn's story to help them understand the impacts of prejudice and emigration," said teacher Siri Bernard. "These issues are still very relevant today."

School Naming Advisory Committee to meet

The North Clackamas School District School Naming Advisory Committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 30, to review names submitted and hear public comments for new elementary and high schools.

Resulting from the passage of the $433 million capital construction bond in 2016, NCSD will build a new elementary school, at 17915 S.E. Vogel Road, Damascus, and will create a fourth comprehensive high school at the current location of Rock Creek Middle School, 14897 S.E. Parklane Drive, Happy Valley. Both of these schools will need names, and NCSD has sought suggestions from the community.

NCSD has created the 15-member advisory committee consisting of community members, students, staff and local historian Greg Hemer to consider the suggestions.

The school board decided the potential names should be related to a geographic location, an historic event, or a local, state, national or international person who has made a contribution to humanity. Additionally, if the committee advances the name of an individual, the school board has encouraged the committee to consider women, people of color or members of other historically underrepresented groups.

The period to suggest new names ended Jan. 23. Suggested names can be submitted electronically at, or in person at any NCSD school, or at the district office, 12400 S.E. Freeman Way, Milwaukie, where the School Naming Advisory Committee will meet Jan. 30.

City councilor visits middle school leaders

PHOTO COURTESY: LESLIE ROBINETTE - Gladstone City Councilor Linda Neace discussed the art of leadership with students at Kraxberger Middle School.Gladstone City Councilor Linda Neace visited the leadership class at Kraxberger Middle School to share leadership strategies with seventh- and eighth-grade students.

She discussed how teams work together to reach compromise when making decisions, ways to work for positive change, how to run for elective office, and the importance of community involvement.

"I want students to understand that it's important to respect others' opinions even when you don't agree," Neace said. "Leaders need to keep an open mind."

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