Vernonia School Board Report

At the March 14, 2013 School Board Meeting:

Reports-Middle School Student Annika Johnson and instructor Ashley Rogers reported on the recent trip students took to the state capitol in Salem, where students met with State Senator Betsy Johnson, toured the Capitol Building and sat in on legislative sessions.   Middle School Leadership Class students are getting ready for Spring Fling on April 4; chaperons are needed.  The Close Up group is getting ready for their trip to Washington D.C. in April.  Sixth Grade students are creating a garden outside their classroom.  Track for Middle School students is starting.  Miss Campbell’s 8th class took a walking field trip to see Dave Anderson’s art exhibit about the holocaust at the VCLC.  Students were also encouraged to attend a Vernonia Library program, featuring holocaust survivor Evelyn Banko for bonus points.  Geography students are studying Europe and will have several foreign exchange students as guest speakers; students are continuing to produce “Topper News”; art students are studying prehistoric art and are making chalk drawings that simulate cave drawings. 

High school student Alexis Baska reported that Leadership Students and foreign exchange students also visited the capitol in Salem.  Spring sports are underway.  The Leadership Class is organizing Doernbecher Days from April 8-13 to raise money to for the Children’s Hospital.    The Leadership Class is working with the school newspaper to write some articles.  OSSOM is working  on a SKID presentation and a health fair.  Students took part in Sustainability Day by planting trees and plants around the wetland area.

Winter Sports Report-Athletic Director Gordon Jarman recapped a very successful winter sports season.  Girls Basketball had a large turnout and one of the most successful seasons in years, ending their season as Northwest League and Tournament Champions and earning a state playoff berth.  Wrestling sent four wrestlers to the State Meet; T John Wolf took fourth place.  Boys Basketball  was the only team from the Northwest League to advance to the State Tournament in  Pendleton.  The boys brought home a trophy for the second year in a row; Austin Cutright was twice named player of the game at the tournament and Jared Leone was named player of the game once.  Cutright was  named 1st Team All State.

Graduation Data-High School Principal Nate Underwood reported Graduation Data for Vernonia High School for the 2008-09 to  2011-12 Cohort.  Data shows that Vernonia is above the state average in overall graduation rates with  a 69.57% graduation rate for all students; the state average is 68.4%.  Male students in Vernonia graduate at a rate of 62.5%, female students graduate at a rate of 79.3 %.  Underwood reported that there are some areas for improvement and he is especially working to help freshman be successful and improve middle school attendance.

Title I Update-Deb Stahlnecker, the Title I teacher, presented the Annual Report.  Title I is the program that provides school wide reading assistance.  Title I is working with local preschools to help students get a good start before entering kindergarten.  Title I holds parent trainings to teach skills which are not well attended. The Barnes and Noble Book Drive provided 2,000 books; parents who attended trainings received free books for their children.

Collaboration Grant-Juliette Saifer updated the Board on the Collaboration Grant which provided $54,000 through state bill 252.  The funds have been used in a variety of ways, including several positions in the district.  Safier explained that they have also used the funds to revamp teacher evaluation process which is being required by the state.

Middle School Band Trip-The Board approved an out-of-state Middle School Band Field Trip to Battle Ground, WA.

Budget Committee Appointment- The Board approved the appointment of Lilja “Tobie” Finzel to the Budget Committee.

Budget Calendar-The Board approved the Budget Calendar which provides for Budget Committee meetings on May 9 and 23 and a Public Hearing on June 13 as part of the regular School Board Meeting.

Emergency Facility Use MOA-The Board approved an update to the MOA with the Public Health Foundation of Columbia County to use school facilities in the event of a vaccine emergency.  The MOA now lists the new school campus as the site in the event that emergency vaccines needed to be distributed.

Transfer Limitations-The Board set the limit of the number of students allowed to transfer into the district at five.  Under HB 3681, school districts are required to set a limit; school districts in Columbia County have an unofficial agreement to set that number at five.

Executive Session-The Board recessed and entered into Executive Session under ORS 192.660 (2) (I) “To review and evaluate the performance of the executive officer or any other public officer, employee or staff member.”

Teacher and Administrator Contracts-Upon returning from Executive Session the Board voted to approve Resolution 1213-04 which renews for two years the contract for all teachers recommended for renewal.  The Board also voted to approve Resolution 1213-05  which renews the contracts for three years for administrators Aaron Miller and Nathan Underwood.

Purchase of “Green Building”- After a discussion the Board took no action towards the purchase of the old Middle School building, often referred to as the “Green Building.”  The Board was considering purchasing the building back from the contractor doing the deconstruction of the old school campus with the intention of using the building at the new school campus.  Board members cited a lack of funds as the reason they are passing on this opportunity that the district had previously been pursuing.