News from the Superintendent – April 2017

Marcola School District Offers New Career Plans Of Study

The Marcola School District may be small when it comes to enrollment, but we are large when it comes to CTE (Career Tech Education) and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) offerings. MSD has 5 complete CTE programs of study that allow students to graduate with special certifications in preparation for careers and college. Marcola students can choose career paths in Agriculture, Construction, Engineering, Health Occupations and most recently Computer Science. In the past 3 years, MSD has expanded CTE programs of study from 0 to 5. Each CTE program has its own connection to STEM activities. We are very grateful to Weyerhaeuser for their very generous donation of over $40,000 to support our initial efforts to expand our CTE programs. We have also been very fortunate to receive grant funds specifically for the expansion of CTE programs.

Measure 98 and CTE: Measure 98 was approved in November of 2016 to provide all Oregon high school students with the more opportunities to be career and college ready. It expands career tech education and provides increased access to college prep. School districts are preparing to receive additional funding beyond the State School Fund for new and expanded CTE programs. There are some people who feel that districts are not prepared to use these funds. Marcola School District has a plan waiting for the funds to arrive. We will be purchasing Career Ready 101 – to support students earning the National Career Readiness Certifications and other purchases will be used for equipment to expand our existing CTE programs and courses – such as robotics, computer science, agriculture, health occupations, construction and engineering.

Mohawk Robotics Is Heading To Nationals And Worlds Competitions!

Once again, Marcola may be a small school district – but we are quite large when it comes to our robotics program. Only in our 2nd year of robotics, we have teams heading to National and Worlds competition. Renee Klein our robotics teacher has invested hours and hours to get the program up and running – she now has her own robotics room with two competition pits and a large space for building and programming the robots. Next to the robotics room is the STEM room – a place where students can design, print 3-D, program and develop their own games and applications. Thanks to the generosity of numerous people our robotics team has raised enough money to pay for Nationals and is now working on raising funds for Worlds.  We still need approximately $4,000 to send our teams to Kentucky for competition against teams from other countries.

MVSA – Marcola Virtual School Academy

The Marcola School District has authorized the Marcola Virtual School Academy to begin operation in the fall of 2017. Marcola Virtual STEM Academy (MVSA), will give students access to an education that has no barriers. MVSA uses the acronym REACH, (Revolutionizing Educational Access in Communities and Homes) when describing its mission: “Eliminate geographical barriers to engage learners through synchronous, asynchronous and blended educational opportunities while increasing academic rigor, integrating opportunities to expand worldviews through the development of global citizenship skills, improving academic performance, increasing graduation rate, cultivating a culture of connectedness across district lines, increasing postsecondary success and creating a Statewide sustainable model for virtual teacher professional development.

The director of MVSA (Phil Johnson) has had over 16 years of experience providing virtual education to students in Alaska and beyond. He connects students to job shadows, internships, and intensive experiences that go well beyond the 4 walls of a traditional classroom. The program he will be guiding will be a hybrid approach to delivering instruction to students who may be homeschooled or desire to be part-time Marcola Students and part time MVSA students. MVSA and Marcola School District will work together as partners in providing a blended education that meets the needs of all students. If you want more information or you are interested in enrolling in MVSA please contact us at 541-933-2512.

School District Facility Plan

We are extremely excited to have moved into our new elementary school. I reflect back on my first board meeting in July of 2014, when our board members reported that the condition of the elementary school and the school district facilities as a whole can no longer be ignored. They directed me and the facility committee to find solutions – and 2.5 years later, our community has a new elementary school. There is no pause for the facility committee, we still have plenty of work ahead. We will be developing a deferred maintenance plan for the new elementary school, just as we are doing for the existing middle/high school. This summer we have some big projects to accomplish. New roof, replacement of gutters, new boilers, refinish of gym floor and sealing the exterior of the middle/high school. We must continue to invest in deferred maintenance as a method to save money in the long run.

Oregon Education Budget

Superintendents across the state have made a case for increased school funding. As it stands now, the 7.8 billion proposed will require many districts to cut staff and instructional days. Marcola School District is currently balancing their budget on the 7.8 billion proposed education budget. We need an additional teacher or two and we have a need for more equipment and supplies. Currently, we are surviving by accessing alternative funds (grants) outside of the state school fund. Grant funds used to support personnel costs and other long-term costs to sustain the program is not wise. Once the grant goes away, so does the program. We must have the State School Funding necessary to support our basic instructional program – including personnel costs. We are pushing for an 8.4 billion education budget to keep our existing personnel, number of instructional days and programs in place.

Mascot Committee Asks For Your Input On New Mascot Name

The Mascot Committee was formed last month and has been hard at work to help the district select a new mascot. Now through April 4th, we will be in the brainstorm phase and collecting mascot names. The committee will review them and provide a top 10 list. The top 10 list will be open April 5th to April 11th. We want students, parents, and community to share their ideas, please visit:

Kindergarten Round Up

Calling all incoming Kindergartners! If your child is 5 by September 1, they are eligible to start Kindergarten. It will be held at Marcola Elementary on the afternoon of April 20th 1:00 – 2:45 PM. There will be early release for Kindergarten on April 20th at 12:00 PM to accommodate Kindergarten Round up.

KITS (Kids In Transition To School)

We are taking applications for incoming Kindergartners for the KITS program this Summer. It is a research backed program that makes the transition to kindergarten easier on the student and family. Please contact us 541-933-2411 for more information.

In closing, we appreciate the support of our community as we continue to make huge improvements for the students we serve each and every day. Our mission is to have all students learn well without the loss of enthusiasm for learning. With your support we have accomplished many of our goals and we continue to set new goals to achieve excellence in all aspects of providing a quality education.


Bill Watkins
Marcola School District