District Newsletter January 2017

Happy New Year!!!

Thank you for making the 2015-16 and the first half of the 2016-17 school year a huge success, we can’t thank you enough for all your support. We have a new elementary school, we achieved school-wide accreditation, we started 4 new Career Tech Programs of Study, our enrollment has increased from 220 to 250, and our academics are taking on a heightened level of expectation for all students. We are living our vision – Students, Staff and Community dedicated to excellence. Although, we’re not excellent in everything we do yet, with your support we can continue to put systems in place as pursue our dedication to excellence.

New Elementary School – June 2016

New Elementary School – January 2017

Marcola School Board Approves Application For A Virtual Charter School

Marcola School District will sponsor the Marcola Virtual STEM Academy (MSVA) for the 2017-18 school year. The STEM academy will have a strong focus on computer science, engineering, math, robotics and career technical education (often known as vocational education). Other core courses such as English Language Arts, Social Studies, the Arts, Physical Education, Foreign Language and a variety of electives will also be offered through the Virtual Charter School.

Many of the courses will be taught online with support from certified teachers. Intensive (project-based) experiences will allow students to get hands-on instruction in the areas of Computer Science, Robotics and Career Tech Education.

We have found that Students gravitate to online courses for a different “classroom” experience, to access courses not available to them in their local school, to accommodate a work schedule or to simply engage in a new kind of learning. STEM careers dominate the workplace in our increasingly complex and connected world, but many students lack the training and critical thinking to compete and engage on a global level. What can and should the education community do to support the growth of STEM education? How are schools and school systems ensuring quality in STEM education?

The Following Objectives For MVSA Have Been Established

  1. Increase student engagement and academic performance in core content areas with an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)
  2. Increase life-literacy skills
  3. Enhance and expand online delivery models
  4. Increase instructional capacity by creating a network of well-trained online educators.

The Following Major Activities For MVSA Will Be Established:

  1. Extend the success of Marcola School District’s capacity for online learning delivery model to better serve the educational needs of Oregon’s diverse rural and urban communities.
  2. More participating students will graduate career (workforce) and college ready.
  3. Participating students will demonstrate a higher course completion rate than non-participating students
  4. Increase student and parent satisfaction with course offerings
  5. Integrate successful strategies into the MVSA Project on a self-sustaining basis by FY 2020.

Last Year For The Indian Mascot

Recently, the Marcola School District approved a resolution that will allow our community and students to engage in a process for selecting a new mascot and mascot image. After two community meetings and many discussions in between, it was very clear that the process for keeping our “Indian” mascot would be met with resistance and possible litigation if we continue.

We know there are people who still hold the “Indians” close at heart, we recognize this and certainly know the nickname Indians has been a tradition for almost 90 years. The “Indian” sports mascot was born in an era when racism and bigotry were accepted by the dominant culture. For the last 50 years, there has been a huge surge of support from hundreds of tribal nations, tribal organizations, civil rights organizations and the National Congress of American Indians for the end to using ethnic races as mascots.

Please know, members of our community, myself and our school board have worked hard to develop an agreement that may be acceptable for keeping the “Indian” name. Also know, the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde did reach out with an agreement that could allow us to keep the “Indian” name, but we could not use any Indian images and all existing images (even the one on the floor) would have to be removed. The agreement came with no guarantees and could be terminated at any time by either party. Although, we appreciate the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde for working with us, the decision to allow us to keep the “Indian” was not in their control. The State will make the final decision – and the decision for some districts to keep an Indian mascot is already under litigation. We will appoint a committee and implement a process for moving forward and selecting a new mascot.  As we move forward, we recognize that Alumni can and will maintain their roots as “Indians”, while allowing current students to build memories around a new school identity. If we can’t be “Indians” it’s time to move forward. If you are interested in being on the committee please contact the school district – 541 933 2512.

End Of Year Testing Coming Up Soon

We will not begin our Smarter Balanced Language Arts/Math assessments until March/April, even though the testing window actually opens February 7th. If you do choose to opt out, please complete the opt out form and return it to your childs school. Opt out forms can be downloaded from: http://www.ode.state.or.us/superintendent/priorities/opt-out-form-2016-17.pdf

We know that an end-of-year test cannot possibly tell us everything about your child’s academic progress. However, the results do provide us with a snapshot of your child’s strengths and areas for improvement and be used as a means to ensure your child is getting the support necessary for future success. Our ultimate goal is to ensure that all students are set up to be successful in high school and careers beyond, and that will remain the focus of our district.

Volunteer Help Needed

  1. Board of Directors for Charter School: If you are interested in assisting with the start up and the operation of the Marcola Virtual STEM Academy (MVSA) please contact Bill Watkins: bwatkins@marcola.k12.or.usWe need five people who are can meet once or twice per month to be the governing board for all policies, practices and accounting for the new Charter School.
  2. Chairperson For Media Center/ Library Committee: We are looking for experienced librarians and/or someone who is knowledgeable about the design and operation of 21st century Libraries/Multimedia Centers. The chairperson will work with committee members, the community and the school district staff to design and equip the interior of our new elementary library/multimedia center. Please contact Tami White twhite@marcola.k12.or.us if you are interested or know of someone who is interested in the position. This committee will report directly to the Superintendent and School Board.

In closing, I want to remind our families to please go to our web-site for information regarding upcoming events. The web-site is progressing and changing throughout the year as we continue to add more information. Eventually, the web-site will be your one stop shop for all school information.

I wish everyone a very safe and healthy 2017 and thank you for the support you give to the youth of our community.