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New initiative introduced aimed at getting to know students and the schools they attend.

During the Monday, Sept. 12, meeting, the Lake Oswego School Board kicked off its newly integrated "school tour" program. The initiative will have the board travel to different district campuses to host meetings.

Students also will be present to share a bit about their school. This week, five students sat across from the board members in the library at Forest Grove Elementary School and shared what aspects of their school make it "special." Answers ranged from how inclusive the school is to the teachers who keep lessons engaging.

Data to be collected

The meeting carried on with the theme of equity and keeping students engaged in school.

During her regular update, Superintendent Jennifer Schiele outlined to the board what data the district would collect throughout the year. The data will help the district understand the student body in a more comprehensive manner.

This month, the district will sort through the demographics of all advanced placement testers and evaluate trends on which groups of students are more likely to take those classes. At the same time, the district also will dive into hiring statistics, state assessments, school report cards, ninth grade track records and ACT/SAT scores.

In November, the district will collect data on attendance, students on a 504 plan (typically used for students with learning disabilities to achieve academic success) and "talented and gifted students."

Throughout the school year, the district also will begin collecting demographic data on graduation rates, reading development measures, discipline reporting and PSAT scores, among other things.

More data collection and a better understanding of when data is collected have been hot topics for the school board.

Books added to classrooms

Regarding lesson plans, another book will make its way into 10th grade classrooms this academic year. The board approved the novel "The Monkey King: Journey to the West" by Wu Cheng'en as a comic adventure incorporating a retelling of the Chinese bureaucracy and the Ming dynasty.

LaKeyshua Washington, the district's executive director of curriculum and instruction, proposed the book to be used in the 10th grade honors language arts curriculum as part of the district's "secondary pilot novels project."

During the meeting, Washington also proposed another book for 10th grade language arts class. "Cloud Cuckoo Land" by Anthony Doerr tells the story of five characters whose lives span different time periods. Through these characters, the author explores ideas such as environment, war, immigration, sexual orientation, religion and treatment of women.

"The overall purpose for reading this book is for students to explore literature as a mirror for human nature and human psychology. To explore culture as an integrated pattern of knowledge, belief and behavior. To present characters that represent diverse groups of people," Washington said.

Community members can check out a copy of the book at the district office and provide feedback on the content. The board will potentially approve or deny the book based on community feedback.

The board will meet next at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27.

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