Superintendent’s Newsletter

Welcome Back Students, Staff and Parents

With great pleasure, I welcome you back to continue our journey toward creating the perfect school district.  Our goals continue to focus on providing each individual student with a premier, individualized educational experience and a path to an aspiring future, based on every child’s interests and needs. Marcola School District continues to be committed to delivering a balanced educational program designed to provide access and opportunity for ALL students to support college and career readiness. Our emphasis is to deliver a balanced Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Social (PIES) program through differential curricular and extracurricular opportunities.

Our staff is returning to school on Monday, August 26th for a week of Professional Development Activities and preparing classrooms for the first day of school.  I am very excited to have Dr. Lee Jenkins, a very inspirational educator, come to Marcola to train our team.  I’ve known Dr. Jenkins for 30 years and had the pleasure to have him as my Superintendent during my first 6 years as an administrator.  His latest book, How to Create a Perfect School is about continuous improvement in all systems that work together to provide the best education possible for every student we serve.  We may never reach perfect, but it’s always good to set the bar high and measure your success based on continuous improvement from year to year, month to month, week to week and day to day.  He will be presenting in the elementary cafetorium on the 28th and 29th of August.

Maintaining a safe environment is always a top priority, and although we have a safety emergency plan we will work with our local fire and police officials to update the plan and continue training staff, students and community how to respond to tragic events.  We have also enhanced our Social Emotional Behavior team to provide behavioral supports to all students who may need assistance at any time. Our new half time SEB and Academic Counselor, Ms. Lisa Sequiera will now be working side by side with the other members of our SEB team.

Additional funding from the Student Success Act and High School Success Act (Measure 98), is allowing us to fully fund the programs necessary to help students to be college and career ready upon graduation.  We are using these additional funds to expand our social emotional behavior program, provide more professional development opportunities for our staff, hire more staff, expand and support our Career Tech Education (CTE) programs, expand technology and the use of technology in K-12, and expand opportunities for students to access internships and college level courses before graduation from high school.  These additional funds used to support our efforts towards continuous improvement in all programs will have a direct impact on Dropout Prevention, Career & Technical Education, Opportunities for College Level Education, Teacher Collaboration Time around Data, and most importantly the Physical, Intellectual, Emotional and Social interests and needs of every student we serve. Every improvement we make trickles down to the kids we serve – it’s all about the kids.

We have some new faces on our campuses.  Mr. Terry Augustadt our new elementary principal comes to us with a wealth of successful experiences including leading an elementary school to become one of the higher performing elementary schools in Oregon.  Ms. Stacey Whaley will be the Assistant Principal for Mohawk Junior/Senior High School and will most likely be the first administrative contact for staff, students and parents for any concerns or suggestions regarding Mohawk.  Ms. Whaley has over 16 years of experience as an excellent Special Education team leader in the Springfield School District and she lives very close to our School District. JFYI, her father was a teacher and coach at Mohawk many years ago.  Stacey has a very positive history with the Marcola Community.  Ms. Lisa Sequeira, is a behavior specialist and counselor with many years of experience and we are very fortunate to have her working with students at MSD and TNW.  She will be a very important asset to our Social Emotional Behavior Team. Ms. Jaclyn Brown (newly married a few weeks ago – congratulations) has been hired as our new 1st grade teacher.  She comes to us with successful experiences working with primary students.

We have fully transitioned our Student Information System (SIS) and Gradebook into Powerschool.  Teachers will be trained to set up their gradebook next week and soon after we will be sending information to parents for access to your child’s grades.  We have just learned that Powerschool also has their own Learning Management System (LMS) which allows our teachers to put their whole course online – we are currently using Google Classroom to store all course content.  With this application, Powerschool could become a one stop shop for parents and students. You can check your academic progress and access the course from anywhere at anytime.

Our Farm to School program is in the very beginning stage of implementation.  We have hired an Architect to design a small Career Tech Education Facility on the farm and we hope it can be built before the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.  The Farm to School grant application should be released in the Fall along with the CTE Revitalization grant and we plan to apply for both. With financial support from our wonderful neighbor, Curt Irish, we were able to buy a tractor for the farm!  Curt has been very involved in a positive way to get the Farm to School program up and running.

The charter school we sponsor, TEACH NorthWest (TNW), is expanding rapidly.  With over 1600 students on a wait list, we have hired new educational facilitators to serve more students.  TNW also provides a safety net for MSD students. When we have students struggling to be successful in the traditional brick and mortar environment, they no longer have to leave our district to search for other options.  TNW also offers services and courses to students who are registered with MSD. TNW/MSD is a great partnership. TNW offices are located on the Lane Community College Campus – a great place to support our students who want to begin taking college classes while still in high school.

Last but definitely not least, I just received this notice from EPUD which highlights one of our outstanding graduates from the class of 2019,  Brett Jallo  If you get a chance, click on the link and read about this outstanding young man.

In closing, please know my job as a leader of Marcola School District is to put systems in place that support a Growth Mindset and eliminate the Fixed Mindset that prevents students and teachers from doing their best work. It is my job to help both staff and students unleash their talents in a culture of creativity through innovation.  Everyone has strengths – we need to focus on the strengths. Innovation and change in education is not easy, as we have experienced over the past 5 years, but Marcola is now on the map as a very innovative school district that focuses on the needs of students. We will continue to be innovative in the best interest of the kids we serve.

If you have questions or suggestions please don’t hesitate to email me. Please continue to check our website for updates on calendar events and information in general. We are looking forward to a great year ahead.



Bill Watkins
Marcola School District