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Engaging the community on how to move forward will inform district's search for a superintendent

rict board of directors did not vote on many significant items at its Aug. 20 meeting, but the discussions it held did give a glimpse into how the district intends to move forward this school year and beyond.

The district is coming off a difficult year that ended with almost $4 million in budget cuts for 2018-2019 and nearly wholesale changes in leadership.

With staff largely off for summer break and interim superintendent Joe Morelock focused on preparing for the start of classes next week, the board held its annual retreat in early August, but had not yet addressed how it will tackle the major challenges ahead of it, including hiring a permanent superintendent and rebuilding trust with some parents and staff.

Discussions at the board meeting indicate it believes that engaging the community in the creation of a new strategic plan will be the best place to start.

By collecting feedback from a wide range of stakeholders up front, the board hopes to show it is making a good faith effort to be transparent and inclusive, then use the new plan to inform how it goes about making the other big decisions, including selecting a new leader.

"I think everybody recognizes that the immediate-term priority is that board and staff need to be present, visible and listening, and we need to create structures so that the community knows how to give feedback," communications coordinator Gregg Koskela said. "Then there's the recognition that at the 30,000-foot level we still have the same job. We have to educate all students. All those goals stay the same. The strategic plan feels like the mid-level stuff, how are we going to get there and move this all forward."

Morelock has experience leading districts through the planning process, having done it recently in Lake Oswego, but expects the outreach effort in Newberg to be much bigger.

"I think this is a great way to get a high level of public engagement," he said. "I think they'll find a lot of support among the community. I've met with a dozen people or more who have come in to tell me their stories about Newberg public schools. Those folks are engaged and they are interested and they want to help. So I think this is going to be a good process for them."

Morelock said he and staff will present the board with a basic outline for engaging the community at its Sept. 10 board meeting. The board will provide feedback and likely approve a more detailed plan at a future meeting.

The process will take place in the fall, which will allow the board to launch a superintendent search in the winter or early spring.

Schools in brief

Locals excel at Eastern Oregon University

Two Newberg students were named to the Eastern Oregon University dean's list for the spring term, with another earning their bachelor's degree. Joshua Annas and Benjamin Corum were among the 469 students to earn the minimum grade-point average (GPA) to be honored.

Heather Dawn Little also earned her bachelor's degree in business administration this past term.

Booster tailgater set for Sept. 5 at NHS game

The Newberg High School Boosters will host their annual tailgater at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 5 prior to the Tigers' home football game versus Grant.

The event will feature food, music by Nate Macy and lawn games.

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.newbergboosters.com.

Veritas earns high rankings in national poll

Veritas School has recently been recognized as one of the top schools in the state for 2019 by education website www.niche.com. According to the website, Veritas is the No. 2 Christian school for college prep in Oregon and No. 3 Christian school overall after receiving an 'A' grade. Veritas also ranked No. 6 among all private schools in Oregon, although its tuition of $8,900 was below the five schools ranked ahead of it: $13,395 for No. 3 Valley Catholic to $32,700 for No. 1 Catlin Gabel.

Niche credited Veritas for posting an average score of 1,360 on the SAT and 32 on the ACT, helping it rank No. 810 nationally among private prep schools.

C.S. Lewis Academy also made the rankings, placing No. 16 among private schools and No. 17 among Christian schools with a 'B+' rating. CSLA's tuition, ranging from $3,350 to $7,800 depending on the student's age, was also among the lowest of the top-20 private schools.

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