Oregon Department of Education provides second-year grant funds to tribal schools for attendance.

SUSAN MATHENY/MADRAS PIONEER - Metolius Elementary fourth-graders receiving awards at Monday night's school board meeting included, from left, Orren Heckathorn, Matthew Suppah Scott, Orion Reynoso Canales, Marvella Terrazas Orquiz, Ana Oliveres, Alicia Quinto and Ava Leach. School board members, from back left, are Courtney Snead, Stan Sullivan, Tom Norton Jr., Jamie Hurd, Metolius Principal Adam Dietrich, and board chairman Laurie Danzuka.Warm Springs K-8 Academy will be receiving a grant of $155,000 from the Oregon Department of Education to support the second year of its Tribal Attendance Pilot Project.

The grant funds were accepted at Monday night's meeting of the School District 509-J Board of Directors.

Superintendent Ken Parshall explained that the funds would go to hire two family advocate positions.

"The advocates help families overcome barriers to attendance for students who have been chronically absent in the past," Parshall said.

He said the advocates talk with parents on the phone, make home visits, and help with transportation problems.

"They have problem-solving sessions with parents and work side by side with families instead of using a punishment-type system," he said.

He told a success story of one girl who was only attending school 50 percent of the time. After the family advocates addressed her problems in getting to school, she had 100 percent attendance last year.

Board Chairman Laurie Danzuka asked how improvement was being measured. Parshall said if it hadn't been for last year's six-week snowstorm, the absentee rate would have been reduced from 29 percent to 22 percent. However, the snow kept several students snowbound.

Several other grants and donations were accepted, including:

. $1,000 from Go Beyond Racing LLC, for the Warm Springs K-8 track and field program.

. $6,600 from PacificSource Foundation, for health improvements. Of that, $3,000 will be used to purchase healthy snacks for district employees, $3,000 will go to Metolius Elementary to improve health at the school, and $600 will go to Jefferson County Middle School to improve health.

. Two Career Pathways grants totaling $6,270, for career, technical and engineering programs at Madras High School from the Oregon Department of Education. General agriculture classes will receive $2,000, and graphic design classes will receive $4,270.

. Grant revenue of $52,780 was accepted from local sources and used to hire district personnel to provide transportation and security to outside agencies during the solar eclipse.

School spotlight

Metolius Elementary fourth- and fifth-graders, who exceeded last spring's Smarter Balanced state tests were recognized with certificates by Metolius Principal Adam Dietrich, board members and the superintendent.

Under personnel, the resignations of teacher Amy Love and district substitute Briana Hansen were accepted.

New hires included Briana Hansen as a full-time teacher at Metolius Elementary.

Coaching hires at MHS included: Evan Brown, head boys basketball; Nicholas Brown and Brian Horton, assistant boys basketball; Zachary Lillebo, head girls basketball; Ellison David, assistant girls basketball; Cameron Mitchem, head wrestling; Shawn Smith, assistant wrestling; Melissa Heying, Pep Club advisor; and Timothy Nelson, swim coach.

Coaching hires at JCMS included: Shawn Darrow, head boys basketball; Jessica Williams, head girls basketball; Jeremy Shaw and Shawn Darrow, assistant girls basketball; Ronald Oliver, head wrestling; and Zane McCourtney, assistant wrestling.

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