Vernonia School Board Report

At the November 12, 2014 Vernonia School  Board Meeting:

Board Hears Student Report- The Board heard a report from Alexis Baska and Summer Snow.  Both students from the Leadership Class reported on events and activities at the high school.

Class Size Report- Principal Nate Underwood provided an update on measures that have been taken to address overcrowding in the Middle School.  Underwood told the Board that all the problems have not been solved but steps are being taken.  Underwood informed the Board that a math class has been added for sixth graders and a gym class has been added.  Underwood also said an instructional aid is assigned to every one of the sixth grade classes.

Building Reports- Principal Aaron Miller provided the Board with a report from the Elementary School.  Miller reported that attendance at the Open House was down this year and estimated that attendance at parent teacher conferences on November 6 and 7 was around 80-90%.

Miller also provided an update on the Focus Schools program.  Miller told the Board that teachers are utilizing the new Independent and Reading Language Assessment program and that teachers will once again give up their own personal time on November 24 and 25 to develop instructional programs to align with Common Core State Standards.

Principal Underwood provided the Board with a report on the Middle and High Schools.  Underwood informed the Board about a Parent Survey available online at and encouraged parents to participate.

Underwood’s written report also included an article about the importance of ninth grade in regards to eventual graduation rates.

Instructional Hours Report- Principals Miller and Underwood provided the Board with a report on Instructional hours at each school.  Miller reported that with the current 157 day schedule K-5  will receive 971 hours of instructional time which includes conferences and staff development time.  The state requires 405 hours for kindergarten, 810 hours for grades1-3 and 900 hours for grades 4-5.  Mist Grade School will have 913 hours.  Underwood reported that  middle and high school will have 976.4 hours this year compared to 959 last year year.  The state requires 990 hours.

Booster Club Report- Maria Lemay gave the Board a presentation that provided statistics on fundraising at the snack shack during football games this past fall.  Lemay told the Board there were no  sales records from past years so she decided to compile them this year to provide better detail for future work.

Professional Development Report-Teacher Juliet Saifier, who is the acting Professional Development Coordinator provided the Board with a calendar of professional development activities for staff for the 2014-15 school year.  Saifier told the Board that teachers always need more time to accomplish their work and that the calendar provides more time this year for teachers to collaborate and work on data.  Saifier also informed the Board that staff is using a new system of videos called PD360 that help administrators and teachers improve performance.

Board Passes Three Resolutions From OSBA- Board member Greg Kintz, a representative to the Oregon School Board Association (OSBA), brought the Board three Resolutions concerning the OSBA process for adopting legislative policies, adopting legislative priorities and policies, and allowing appointment of committee members.  The Board approved all three resolutions.

State Report Cards- Superintendent Aaron Miller presented the 2013-14 School Report Cards to the Board.  Schools receive a grade on a scale of 1 to 5, (1 being lowest, 5 being highest) for Overall Performance and in three areas for reading and math: Academic Achievement, Academic Growth and Subgroup Growth.  The District received report cards for Vernonia Elementary School (VES),  Vernonia Middle School (VMS), and Vernonia High School (VHS).

Overall VES received a grade of 3, VMS received a 3,  and VHS received a 4.

Academic Achievement reflects the percentage of students that meet or exceed state standards and counts as 25% of the overall grade.  VES received a grade of 3 in reading, a 3 in math and a 3 total;  VMS received a grade of 3 for reading, a 2 for math and a 3 total and VHS received a grade of 3 for reading, a 3 for math and 3 total.

Academic Growth measures student growth compared to students throughout the state who have similar score history and provides a more complete picture of student performance and evaluation of school effectiveness.  It counts for 50% of the overall grade.  VES received a 3 for reading and a 3 for math; VMS received a 4 for reading and a 2 for math.  VHS received a 5 for reading and a 4 for math.

Subgroup Growth measures the growth of historically underserved students and counts for 25% of the overall grade.  VES received a 4 for Economically Disadvantaged students in reading and a 1 in math.  VMS received a 4 for Economically Disadvantaged students in reading and a 3 in math, and received a 2 for Students with Disabilities in reading and a 2 in math.

If no score was given for any category it is because the school did not meet the minimum size requirements to receive a rating.  Mist Elementary has too small a population to receive grades.

Miller told the Board that being part of the Focus School Program has helped the schools increase performance and that the District has focused on reading in the past and are now moving their focus to math.

Superintendents Report-Superintendent Miller provided the Board with a written report on the District.

Miller told the Board that financially, changes to staffing levels to address class overcrowding are having a negative impact on the Ending Fund Balance and that the District is considering a spending freeze.

Miller told the Board that the Oregon and Federal Emergency Management offices  have both signed off on all of the School District projects and is closing the school sub grant, which Miller said is “great news!”  Miller told the Board he is still waiting for the City and County to approve releasing final funds for construction of Spencer Park.

Miller told the Board construction of the shop main structure is complete and interior work is continuing.  The building should be completed over winter break and ready for classes in the spring term.

Softball field construction will begin when there is a break in the weather.  Board member Ernie Smith has secured fencing, poles and cinder through donations and discounts.