As superintendent of the Lake Oswego School District, I would like to dispel misinformation circulating in public and published in the LO Review two weeks ago that Lake Oswego Junior High (LOJ) is not a safe place to go to school. Contrary to this statement, LOJ is safe and student safety is our top priority at each of our schools across the district.
Safe schools start by creating positive relationships between adults, students and parents. LOJ is a safe and successful school where approximately 900 students and more than 50 staff members build rapport, create meaningful relationships and deliver highly-valued academic experiences to sixth, seventh and eighth grade students. School administrators, along with talented staff, have worked hard to create an inclusive environment by launching Extraordinary Abilities Week, Unified Sports programs and Better Together Day, to name just a few. When everyone is honored and welcomed, everyone contributes to a safe and healthy school.
Since the district began mapping, scheduling and delivering its safety projects within the 2017 bond capital improvement program, LOJ, River Grove Elementary and the high schools have been slated for safety construction projects during the summer of 2019. This decision was made in part because of the complexity and scale of these projects. For example, undertaking the LOJ vestibule while school is in session would have been a significant disruption to the school's operation (e.g., we are flipping the front office configuration to provide better sight lines) and the vestibule design needed input from our staff and our security consultants. The needed planning time and the City's land use and permitting process were very extensive as well.
In short, LOJ will have a new secure entry, additional portable classrooms to add capacity that will accommodate the loss of Uplands when Oak Creek moves to Uplands for the 2019-20 school year, and a new temporary second gym that will be rated at a seismic level 4. The goal is to have the majority of the work completed by the beginning of the next school year.
Student safety is the district's first priority. My bond team and the school board both have student safety as their primary focus. We stand by our decisions and we ask all concerned parents to visit with the school administration, the superintendent and the school board to access additional information if needed. To learn about our bond and safety work please go to: https://www.losdschools.org/bond.
Dr. Michael Musick is the superintendent of the Lake Oswego School District.
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