Community meetings give 509-J insight
The community engagement meetings held recently in Warm Springs and Madras went very well, Superintendent Ken Parshall reported at the March 14 School District 509-J Board of Directors meeting, held at the Warm Springs K-8 Academy.
"We had very good feedback at the community meetings. Around 35 adults attended the meeting in Warm Springs, and 40 attended the Madras meeting," Parshall said.
The meetings featured stations where parents and community members could give suggestions and get more information. Station topics included high school graduation, freshmen on track to graduate, math achievement, English achievement, attendance, and participation in school activities.
"The families gave insightful feedback. Now I will take their suggestions to our advisory committee and then to staff," Parshall said, noting in Warm Springs, "We have a Native American advisory group and I will bring the information to those leaders first, then take the data to staff."
"We hope to do community engagement meetings on an annual basis, and I will bring a report on the feedback to the board, probably in April. But first, we want to dig in and look at the feedback," he added.
Board Chairman Laurie Danzuka attended the meetings and observed, "In Madras a lot of students attended and had suggestions, which gave us a different perspective."
Board member Jamie Hurd agreed, saying, "The community engagement process was a really healthy process and helps us build trust with the community.
At the meeting, Warm Springs students who had exceeded the Smarter Balanced state standards test were awarded certificates and congratulated by board members.
Parshall said students at the high school and middle school participated in the National School Walkout for Gun Safety that morning. "The students were really respectful. They did the walkout for 17 minutes (one minute for each person killed in the Florida school shooting) then went back to class. It went really well," he said.
The board accepted a Tides Center – National Farm to School Grant of $8,000 for Warm Springs K-8, to promote farm to school activities.
A contract was approved with the SolutionsYes Copier Co. to lease copiers for the district. Currently, the district leases 39 copiers from four different vendors, with SolutionsYes providing the maintenance. However, those machines are outdated and need to be replaced.
SolutionsYes won a competitive bid for a 63-month lease for 42 copiers and maintenance, to begin in April. The lease costs $75,921 per year, for a total of $379,605 over the 63 months.
The new lease agreement will save the district $18,561 in lease payments, and approximately $20,789 in maintenance costs annually.
Under personnel, the resignation of Warm Springs science teacher Rosa Gastiaburu was accepted, and temporary contracts ended for half-time data specialist Mary Soliz, and half-time teacher Vicki Anderson.
Parshall mentioned that several teams from Warm Springs would be participating in the Native Language Bowl in Pendleton on May 23 and 24, and will compete in all three languages of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
The next meeting will be held April 9, at 7 p.m., in the district board room on Buff Street.