Superintendent’s Newsletter

Please complete this survey to provide feedback on what’s working well and what could be improved: Student Investment Account Survey

Community, Staff and Students

We are so proud of our fall athletes for putting Marcola back on the map when it comes to competing for regional and state titles.  But most importantly, we are proud that our students and coaches represent Marcola with pride, respect and great sportsmanship when they compete at home and away competitions. Our student athletes have been on a continuous improvement plan since 2014!  We now have competitive teams who can compete against the best in the state and do it with pride and respect. We have great kids!!

Proficiency Based Education Systems

As we approach the end of the first quarter and first benchmark for measuring students progress toward proficiency and beyond in all their classes, I want to remind our community that Marcola School District is a proficiency based school district.  We have put systems in place that support the philosophy that Learning is the Constant and Time is the variable and all students should be learning well without the loss of enthusiasm for learning.

Our Beliefs for a proficiency based education:

  1. We should provide learning in the “sweet zone” of a student’s ability and not at the average level – focus on the individual needs of each student.
  2. We promote students based on proficiency and not time spent in class.
  3. We must be clear and transparent to allow students to learn anywhere, anyplace and anytime.
  4. We will provide all students with a guaranteed (equal opportunities) and a viable (enough time) curriculum.
  5. Our instructional program is focused and agile to prepare students for their future and we will always continue to innovate to provide the skills our students need to be successful in a wide variety of careers that are changing rapidly.
  6. We will do our best to provide a seamless K-12 system to eliminate the endless roadblocks of bureaucracy.
  7. Most importantly, we will provide learning opportunities that apply skills in both simulations and meaningful projects.

Marcola School District is providing students with an opportunity to earn credits in math, science and career tech education by taking one course.  We have been aligning our CTE (Career Tech Education) courses to math and science standards and in some cases English Language Arts and Social Studies standards.  We align the CTE course to the multiple standards for proficiency in one or more core academic courses and students who demonstrate proficiency in the standards earn credit for one or more courses.  For example, we offer a Construction Math class that allows students to earn a CTE credit and Math credit if they can demonstrate proficiency in both. Students enrolled in our Construction Math are asked to demonstrate their ability to master basic mathematical skills, measuring techniques, squaring techniques, leveling techniques, calculate and lay out angles, calculate and lay out stairs, calculate and lay out rafters, plus many, many, more mathematical standards that connect to Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. Marcola School District continues to move forward with Project Based Learning (PBL) to allow students an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency beyond worksheets and tests. We also align our Computer Science (engineering and robotics), Agriculture and Health Occupations Career Tech Programs to the Core Academic standards for dual credit in CTE and Core Academic courses.  Students learn well and are more engaged when they can apply their math, science, English Language Arts, and Social Studies standards/proficiencies to a project that is aligned to the proficiencies of a variety of core content areas.

Student Success Act  And our Social Emotional Learning Program – Additional Funding for our Academic Programs and the Students we serve.

We have been sharing information about the Student Success Act and the additional funding we receive for investing in our student’s education.  Please know the top 2 priorities are:

  1. Reducing academic disparities (gaps between outcomes for different student groups – including those who are at risk due to environmental issues beyond their control.
  2. And Meeting student’s mental and behavioral health needs.

Marcola School District has invested in both, reducing academic disparities and meeting the student’s mental and behavioral health needs.  Unfortunately, I have heard from a few community members a resistance for pursuing our Social Emotional Learning program and instead go back to the tradition of kicking kids out of school and provide more aggressive punishments to students who have weak social – emotional skills.  When we have students who struggle academically, we throw more support at them, we need to do the same for students who struggle with their social and emotional behaviors.

I arrived as your Superintendent in 2014, a time when the district only had 190 students and was considering partnering with Springfield School District due to a continuous decline in enrollment?  A time when it was common to kick kids out and forget about them. Our staff agreed that to improve graduation rates, the percentage of Freshman on Track for graduation, and 3rd grade reading and math scores, we needed to put systems in place to support students’ physical, intellectual, social and emotional needs.   Today, Marcola School District has over 320 students, and when you count the new Charter School we created (TNW), we have over 700 students. We have increased our enrollment, our graduation rates, our Freshman on track for graduation and our elementary students are continuing to improve their levels of proficiency in reading, writing and math.

Please remember our job as a school district is to provide supports and resources for all students to achieve success.  Never give up on kids, they are our most important asset.

Parent-Teacher Conferences and Report Cards

Thursday, November 7 from 2:00 – 7:00 pm.

Minimum Day Schedule: Elementary out at 12:00, Secondary out at 1:00.

If you are reading this newsletter and forgot to sign up for Parent-Teacher Conferences, please call the school and do so prior to this Thursday, November 7th.  We are still working on getting the gradebook set-up to score both traditional grades and standards grades for Mohawk Students. The elementary is scored on a 1-4 scale.  We expect most students to come to us at a level 1 and we work hard to get them to a level 3 or 4 by the end of the year. If your child has a 1 or 2 at the end of the first quarter they are still on track to achieve a level 3 or 4 by the end of the year – this is continuous improvement.

Upcoming Events:

Parent-Teacher Conferences – Thursday, November 7th 2:00 – 7:00

Veterans Day Assembly – Monday, November 11th at 11:00 – 11:25 (Mohawk Gym)

School Board Meeting – Monday, November 11th, 6:00 pm Mohawk STEM Rm

Mustang Pride Day – Tuesday, November 12th (All Day)

Student Success Act – Community Mtg. Monday, November 18, 6:00 p.m. STEM rm

Oregon School Board Conference – November 14-16 in Portland

ASVAB Testing – Tuesday, November 19th

Accreditation Training – November 20 and 21st in Eagle Point

Robotics (VEX EDR) Travel to North Marion – November 23rd

Minimum Day, Tuesday, November 26th

No School, Wednesday, November 27th

Thanksgiving, Thursday, November 28th