With the Student Success Act set to take effect next school year, an influx of funding will make its way to public schools throughout Oregon. The Newberg School District held a pair of forums this month to allow community members to make their voices heard on how they believe the district should spend that money.
Derek Brown, director of teaching and learning at the district, was in attendance for the second of two scheduled meetings – which took place Oct. 17 at Chehalem Valley Middle School.
"There was some really good dialogue," Brown said. "Folks really want to make sure the schools are creating meaningful relationships for their kids. They want to know their kids come to school and are valued."
The crowds at both meetings were mostly parents, but also included school board members, district officials, teachers and some former students. Brown said he is encouraged by board members' attendance because it shows their interest in hearing directly from the community, rather than leading from afar.
"I've been really thankful over the last couple of years that our board has shown up at these community forums and listened to what people have to say," Brown said. "They want to be part of the community conversation and hear where they think we can get better."
Brown gave a 15-minute presentation at the beginning of the meeting that outlined what the Student Success Act is, how it will impact Newberg in terms of funding, what the state's guidance are and more. After the presentation, the forum was opened up for suggestions and questions from the audience of mostly parents.
Much of the conversation centered around the data Brown and his colleagues have collected to determine what areas they believe where the funding would be best used. What they found and what the state suggests, Brown said, is that the district can do more to help out its underserved populations at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
"There's a big focus with the Student Success Act on increasing student achievement and decreasing disparities among traditionally underserved groups," Brown said. "Some of the data I presented was specific to our underserved groups and that was designed to give the folks that showed up a baseline of how we're doing."
One area that also came up as a point of near unanimous agreement was the desire to have later start times at all levels. Brown said studies show later start times increase attendance and improve student performance. He added that there was a strong desire among those in the room to pursue that change.
There were smatterings of discussions about a proposed school bond that the district is pursuing as well, but the primary subject of the night was the Student Success Act. Brown said there will be opportunities in the near future for community members to make their voices heard on the bond, and he noted that the Student Success Act and bond discussions are entirely separate but also deeply intertwined.
"There's definitely overlap with a lot of these things," Brown said. "We're just trying to utilize the resources we have and leverage them in compelling ways to do great things for kids."
The Chehalem Cultural Center invites students up to 18 years old to participate in a selfie portrait art show in November. The show encourages participants to create an artful, current self-portrait using any medium and in any size as long as it is unframed.
Students must drop off their artwork at the cultural center during the week of Nov. 19-23 with their name, age, school and contact information on the back of the piece. The show will be held in the cultural center's grand ballroom from Dec. 3-5, with the reception from 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 5. Awards will be announced and a "popcorn bar" will be provided.
For more information on the event, visit www.chehalemculturalcenter.org.
Immunization clinic set for Oct. 29 at Edwards
If your child needs immunizations for school, a clinic is on tap later this month for them to take care of that necessity. From 3 to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 29 in the cafeteria at Edwards Elementary School, clinicians will be on site to provide immunizations to students.
Those in attendance must bring their most up-to-date shot records, a parent or guardian if they are under 15 years old, and insurance information if they have it and a card for billing purposes. No student will be turned away due to an inability to pay, according to the release by Yamhill County Public Health. For more information, contact Anne Berger at 503-554-5363.
Holiday bazaar set at Ewing Young Elementary
Crater will hold auction
The Parent-Teacher Organization at Antonia Crater Elementary school is hosting a fundraiser of sorts in early November. The Crater Autumn Auction, slated for 6 to 10 p.m. Nov. 9 at The Water Oasis on Dopp Road, will provide food and drink to paying attendees with proceeds from attendance fees and auctioned items going toward various causes at the school. Dinner will be catered by Storrs Smokehouse, wine will be provided by Hyland Estate Winery and beer will be available from local breweries. Cost is $35 per person or $275 for a table. For more information, visit www.craterpto.org.
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