Board to review plan for schools
By BECKY WALDROP
With the start of another year underway, Corvallis school
officials are ready to turn their attention to the future of the
district. A meeting tonight will provide school board members
with a chance to review a draft of a district plan created by the
managers and administrators.
In August, the board gave opinions about district goals and
identified priorities in the coming years. Principals and leaders
from the district office also contributed in creating the plan to
drive and focus the work of school employees.
Superintendent Jim Ford said the district is trying to align work
so that the most important things are accomplished, especially
in times of budget reductions. Under each goal, there are
strategies, but perhaps the best feature of the plan is that there
are performance measures, he said.
Under the goal of learning for all, the proposed strategies
include engaging students in meaningful and challenging
learning; ensuring kids are known in their school community
and improving instruction through staff development and
The ideas generated to achieve this goal include creating an
alternative education plan, finishing the implementation of a
behavior plan district-wide, ensuring all children can read by the
third grade, improving special education services, implementing
professional growth plans and building a database to track
Ford said the idea was tossed around to track kids' individual
progress, not just compare grade levels through state tests
results, report cards and work samples.
"It would be more comprehensive," Ford said. "Something to
assess work and life skills."
Learning for all could be measured by monitoring student
achievement on tests, the number of learning opportunities,
enrollment data, drop-out rates and staff development hours
School Board Chairwoman Cyrel Gable said an exchange
between district leaders and the board has allowed the plan to
take shape. She also said the board intended to use it as an
evaluation tool, once its completed.
"By having this guiding plan, we know which things are
consistent with what we want to be doing," Gable said. "It gives
us an idea for how we look at terrible choices."
Other district goals include building a collaborative and
innovative culture and aligning systems.
The board will also get an update on progress of the Corvallis
High School design team, and is set to approve a tentative plan
that would position a replacement building with the entrance
facing Buchanan Avenue, and locate the structure near 16th
Street. The board will also approve minor modifications to the
long-range facility plan, updating information to reflect progress
in planning a new high school and a new middle school.
District Business Manager Kathy Rodeman will brief the board
on the latest information on the state budget shortfall and how it
will impact Corvallis schools. The board will also vote on a
resolution to endorse Ballot Measure 19, which would transfer
$150 million from the state's lottery-funded education
endowment fund to the state school fund for local schools.
Measure 19, which appears on the Sept. 17 ballot, also converts
the endowment fund to a stability fund, which the legislature or
governor could tap in funding emergencies. Corvallis stands to
lose almost $1.9 million if the measure fails. The district would
either have to cut 37.5 teacher positions, reduce the school year
by 12 days or increase every class by 5 students to make up the
Becky Waldrop covers youth and education for the Gazette-Times. She can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 758-9510.
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